Mansfield Media Coverage, after 1956

Threatened with the loss of federal funding the Mansfield school board announced the district would integrate in the Fall of 1965. Approxmently 40 African American students enrolled for Fall classes as juniors and seniors. Mansfield School District also integrated still was for the most part segregated. The district claimed full enrollment of K-12 would overwhelm the district especially the elementary school. Therefore, the district offered two solutions: 1) build a new school but cannot afford it until 1966 so that would postpone full integration for another year. Or 2) reduce zoning districts and allow white students in the area of the colored elementary school to attend therefore integrating the colored school. Both were rejected by the federal government leaving the district to fully integrate.


In 1965 the Mansfield school board, in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, approved a plan to allow all students in the junior and senior high schools to attend regardless of “race, color, or national origin.” It was the first year of integration in the small community and uneventful compared to reactions in 1956 when a federal court ordered the school district to desegregate. In 1965 the school provided bus transportation on an “equal basis” for all students, which differed from previous years when African American students rode a Trailways bus to Fort Worth and then walked to the I.M. Terrell High School.


On January 28, 1965, the Mansfield News-Mirror published a front-page story about the school board’s decision to integrate Mansfield schools. It also published a page 1 editorial encouraging the community to support the board’s decision and called for “sound thinking and responsible action” as well as a healing of “the wounds of the past.”


After a long history of segregation in Mansfield, as the title of this Dallas Morning News article reads, “Mansfield Schools Integrate Quietly.” In 1956 some residents of Mansfield were not ready to accept the Brown v. Board of Education II decree that school districts must integrate with “all deliberate speed.” When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was announced and funding was going to be withheld, the school district complied. According to minutes from the Mansfield School Board meeting on January 26, 1965, the Assurance of Compliance form H.E.W. 441 would be signed and they requested an announcement to run in the Mansfield News-Mirror accepting compliance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This section of the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. According to the article, on August 31, 1965, the integration of African American students finally happened peacefully and quietly.