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The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Estes, and the Johnson County town became the first Texas school district to integrate under aecourt order. According to Davis, this was the first time, too, a court ruled that community resistance could not be a permissible excuse for delaying integration. Well, there was some resistance, all right. School superintendent R. L. Huffman said then that Mansfield was the “guinea pig” for the NAACP, and that “they [black high school students] are happily situated where they are [at Fort Worth’s Terrell High]. If left alone, they’d remain there.” Willie L. Brown, then principal of Mansfield Elementary School for Negroes \(later renamed the Willie Brown petition to the heads of local black households with juniorand seniorhigh-school-age children, and all except two said they would prefer sending their children to a black high school, rather than the white school. Unfortunately, there was no black high school in Mansfield. Along with the resisters came the “outsiders,” causing all that trouble, many residents believed. Davis, a Fort Worth resident, certainly was an outsider. Worth lawyer retained by the Mansfield school district, and so was J. Evetts Haley, several times an unsuccessful candidate for governor, who came to town to tell Mansfield whites how to keep their schools segregated “by passing new laws before the next legislative session.” The Texas Rangers were “outsiders,” too. Along with a telegram advising the school superintendent to transfer out of the district any disruptive students Shivers sent in the Rangers to insure that such transfersand, thus, a violation of a federal court orderwent smoothly. \(Constable Tom Beard said residents were happy with Governor Shivers’ strong stand, and that several people had told him they wouldn’t have voted for You might say the effigies found swinging from treetops and flagpoles were outsiders, but according to a StarTe e grain article headlined “Dummy Hangings Not New to Residents of Mansfield,” hanging stuffed figures was something of a local tradition, so the effigies probably went unnoticed, swaying there a few feet above the natives. \(In 1960, when Mansfield author John Howard Griffith’s Black Like Me was published, he didn’t even bother to go Undoubtedly, many of the outsiders were sightseers, probably quite a few Fort Worth teenagers on a joyride or curious folks wanting to see firsthand what was going on. Business was booming. “Better than on Saturdays,” said one merchant, regretting that he was unprepared for the influx. “All of ’em want souvenirs, and we don’t even have a postcard to sell them,” he told a reporter then. According to the Star-Telegram and to Davis, the integration issue was not pressed after 400 people surrounded the high school to protest the enrollment of any black students. The mob hung an effigy from the flag pole, and an assistant district attorney and a minister had to be “removed for their personal safety,” after the prosecutor was roughed up a bit. Floyd Moody says he doesn’t remember much about the demonstration, and contrary to what Davis says, claims the three students never really expected to attend Mansfield High. He even agrees, in retrospect, with the school board’s argument against integrationthat the community wasn’t ready for it. “Black community and white community,” he adds. “Remember, only three of us tried to enroll. We didn’t want to be the only three in a white school where there was a lot of hostility.” But what justice, federal court orders, and brotherly love couldn’t accomplish, Floyd Moody is not an angry man, all things considered. The only rancor he reveals comes when discussing lost opportunities. He believes many black kids dropped out of school simply because the effort to attend was too great. money, or the lack of it, did. Nine years later, in 1965when faced with the loss of federal fundsthe school board voted to comply with school integration provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The following September about 35 black students enrolled in the junior high and 35 in the high school, without incident. One of these was Floyd Moody’s younger brother. The only rancor Moody reveals comes when discussing lost opportunities. He believes many black kids dropped out of school simply because the effort to attend was too great. \(One who didn’t drop out was his fellow classmate and busmate from Mansfield, Leonard Briscoe, Moody feels he could have been an athlete, had he been able to go to school in his hometown, where he could have practiced every afternoon instead of taking the 5 p.m. bus. Maybe sports would have led to a college scholarshipnot just for him, but for others as well. “And I can’t help but think Mansfield would have gained something by having us there.” One good thing came from those turbulent few days when Mansfield made the national news, Moody says with a smile. His father was a sharecropper, and the family nearly worked themselves to death, eking out a living. When word got out that young Floyd was attempting to enroll in the local high school, the landowner told his father that the family would have to move. “Finally, we got off that farm! My father got a better job in town, and I didn’t have to make that two and a half mile walk twice a day. Man, I never want to see another farm again!” Floyd Moody’s recollections are those of an adolescent; he was only 17 in 1956. But Ira Gibson, who was on the school board then, refuses to talk about those days. “It was such a sad situation, and I’m not very proud of it.” Credit, then, to a man somewhere past retirement age, a man a generation older than Floyd Moody, a man who saw his placid town suddenly torn by criticism and controversy, for admitting some shame, whether for the school board’s actions or the town’s, he won’t elaborate. Credit to Floyd Moody, who shows no particular bitterness to the community that forced him to walk those miles and ride that bus. He seems to recognize that Mansfield was no different from any other small Texas town of the ’50s. Nodding toward his wife Dorothy, he even says if he were starting all over again, if it were 20 years ago when he and Dorothy married, he would return to Mansfield to raise his family. “It’s a good place for kids,” he says. Sheila Taylor writes for the Observer from Fort Worth. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7