In 1954, when Brown vs. Board of Education (Brown) ruled that segregation was illegal, Dallas, like most southern cities, was very residentially segregated and not eager to welcome black children into white schools as mandated. The city dragged its feet far longer than others, and in 1961 it was the very last large school district in the country to allow black students to attend white schools (SMU Law 1). Busing for integration was implemented even farther behind other cities, but white flight out of the school district occurred in Dallas to a greater degree than most other metropolitan areas. Currently, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Dallas school district has the second lowest percentage of white students, only behind Detroit (“Status and Trends”). There is no question that residential segregation in Dallas was happening long before segregated schools became illegal, leaving uncertainty about the true causes of the wholesale abandoning of the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) by whites. Some researchers believe that the fear of integration doomed the process before it started, while others believe that the flawed implementation is responsible for its failure. I believe that the racial and political atmosphere in Dallas at the time supports a combination of both explanations, as the resisted, prolonged roll-out facilitated a level of fear that the actual implementation could never overcome.
"Dallas Students Take Flights,"
SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 2
, Article 14.
Available at: https://scholar.smu.edu/jour/vol2/iss1/14
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