Mob masses at Mansfield

August 30th, 1956

On this day in 1956, an angry mob surrounded Mansfield High School to prevent the enrollment of three African-American students in what became known as the Mansfield School Desegregation Incident. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had sued the Mansfield school district over its segregation of black schoolchildren. When a federal court ordered the district to desegregate--the first time a Texas school district received such an order--many white citizens resisted. Vigilantes barred integration sympathizers from entering town, whites hanged three blacks in effigy, and downtown businesses closed in support of the demonstrations. Governor Allan Shivers authorized the Mansfield school board to transfer black students to Fort Worth, seventeen miles away, and dispatched Texas Rangers to uphold the district's policy of segregation. The successful defiance of the federal court order helped inspire the passage of state segregation laws in 1957, delaying integration for several years. The Mansfield school district finally desegregated in 1965.

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Mob masses at Mansfield

August 30th, 1956

On this day in 1956, an angry mob surrounded Mansfield High School to prevent the enrollment of three African-American students in what became known as the Mansfield School Desegregation Incident. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had sued the Mansfield school district over its segregation of black schoolchildren. When a federal court ordered the district to desegregate--the first time a Texas school district received such an order--many white citizens resisted. Vigilantes barred integration sympathizers from entering town, whites hanged three blacks in effigy, and downtown businesses closed in support of the demonstrations. Governor Allan Shivers authorized the Mansfield school board to transfer black students to Fort Worth, seventeen miles away, and dispatched Texas Rangers to uphold the district's policy of segregation. The successful defiance of the federal court order helped inspire the passage of state segregation laws in 1957, delaying integration for several years. The Mansfield school district finally desegregated in 1965.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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