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introduction title image

This chronology lists the most important events and people pertaining to African-American civil rights, and educational struggle, desegregation and advancement on the national and state levels, and at Texas A&M University from 1862-2000.

1862

  • President Lincoln signed Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act into law.

1863

  • President Lincoln issued Emancipation Proclamation, "freeing" the slaves.

1865

  • June 19, or Juneteenth, Emancipation Proclamation first read to Texas slaves.
  • U.S. Congress ratified 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

1866

  • 12th Texas Legislature accepted terms of Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act.

1868

  • U.S. Congress ratified 14th Amendment, granting full citizenship to African-Americans.

1871

  • Texas governor signed law establishing Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas.

1876

  • New Texas Constitution enacted segregation in public facilities.
  • Texas Legislature established state A&M college for "colored youths."
  • A&M College formally opened, initiating higher education in Texas.

1878

  • Prairie View (PV) established and placed under A&M Board of Directors.

1885

  • Opening of Bryan Public School for Coloreds, first educational institution established for African-Americans in Brazos County.

1890

  • U.S. Congress passed second Morrill Act, withholding funds to states if admission is based on race unless a similar college for African-Americans is maintained, allowing "separate but equal" education.

1891

  • Texas Legislature passed act to apportion funds under Morrill Land-Grant Act, three-fourths to A&M and one-fourth to PV; not the one-third originally allocated by Governor Ross.

1914

  • 129 African-Americans enrolled in colleges, out of a total population of 690,049 statewide (1910).

1915

  • African-Americans hired as district and county extension agents for first time in Negro Cooperative Extension program headquartered at PV.

1927

  • Fight for civil rights in Texas began with attack on legal exclusion of African-American voters from Democratic primary elections.

1939

  • Texas Legislature approved bill granting aid to African-Americans wishing to pursue post-graduate work out of state. The bill was pending since 1937, but the ruling in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, and African-Americans seeking admission to The University of Texas (UT) Graduate School, prompted reintroduction and passage.

1941

  • At its annual conference in Houston, Texas, NAACP outlined 10-year plan to eliminate school segregation.

1944

  • Bi-Racial Conference on Negro Education released study, The Senior Colleges for Negroes in Texas, acknowledging lack of professional and graduate education for African-Americans in Texas, and that PV was inadequately funded.

1945

  • Texas Legislature changed name of PV to PV University, with permission to offer courses in law, medicine, engineering, pharmacy, journalism and any course taught at UT in attempt to avert African-Americans applying to all-white universities.

1946

  • A&M Board passed resolution authorizing legal training for African-Americans in Houston.

1947

  • Texas Legislature created Texas State University for Negroes (later Texas Southern University).
  • UT charged with establishing law school for African-Americans in Austin.

1950

  • U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that denying Heman Sweatt entry to UT Law School violated 14th Amendment.
  • Some 32 African-Americans who applied to UT were accepted into graduate and professional programs not offered at exclusively Black colleges.

1951

  • University of North Carolina joined growing list of major Southern universities to admit African-Americans.

1952

  • Two African-Americans admitted to UT Dental School.
  • Some 22 formerly all-white colleges and universities in Texas now admit African-Americans.

1954

  • U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools violated equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, reversing the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that allowed "separate but equal."
  • In statewide poll, 80% of white population of Texas opposed public-school integration.

1956

  • University of Alabama desegregated, with admittance of Autherine Lucy.
  • A&M Student Senate voted 24-7 "opposing segregation."
  • In campus-wide election on whether students were in favor of or against segregation, A&M students voted to continue segregation.

1957

  • President Eisenhower enforced integration of Little Rock's Central High, Arkansas.

1960

  • U.S. Congress passed Civil Rights Act, expanding protections of voting rights.

1962

  • Texas A&M University System Board decided to "admit qualified students regardless of race" to Arlington State College to avoid threat of lawsuit for admittance by three African-Americans.
  • University of Mississippi forced to integrate over defiant objections of governor and violent protests when federal marshals accompany James Meredith to register.

1963

  • University of Alabama forced to integrate.
  • Three African-Americans quietly enrolled for first summer session as "special students," becoming the first African-Americans to attend A&M.
  • Public schools in both Bryan and College Station began process of integration.

1964

  • Passage of 1964 Civil Rights Act and its Assurance of Compliance with Title VI of that act brought an end to the era of segregation in Southern higher education.
  • Five freshmen became the first African-Americans in A&M Corps of Cadets.

1965

  • A&M's head football coach, Gene Stallings, publicly stated that recruitment of African-American football players would create disunity on the team. He was responding to Southern Methodist University's recruitment of Jerry Levias, the first African-American football player in the SWC.

1966

  • 119 institutions of higher education in Texas desegregated.

1967

  • Clarence Dixon, Jr., graduate student, became "first" African-American to graduate from A&M.
  • A group of African-American students at Texas A&M formed Afro-American Society.
  • Three African-Americans received athletic scholarships on 196768 track team; two others joined football team.

1968

  • James L. Courtney and Leon J. Greene graduated in January, becoming the first undergraduates to graduate from Texas A&M.

1969

  • Formation of Committee on Black Student Affairs as ad hoc committee to promote dialog between African-American students and Texas A&M administration.
  • Group of about 15 African-American students, members of the Afro-American Society, issued list of 8 demands to A&M, setting September as deadline for meeting demands. The A&M System Board refused to consider demands due to veiled threats of violence contained within.
  • African-American student population estimated at 46.
  • Ally F. Mack hired as instructor in political science, becoming the "first" African-American on the teaching staff at A&M.

1970

  • Dr. Roscoe Lewis hired as professor in biochemistry.
  • African-American students form Black Awareness Committee (BAC), successor to the Committee on Black Student Affairs.

1971

  • BAC celebrated week of cultural activities as part of annual Black Experience, coinciding with the national Black History Week celebration.
  • African-American student enrollment was about 100.

1973

  • BAC presented list of demands to Texas A&M through local press, claiming A&M was a "racist institution..." Demands included higher enrollment of African-American students, hiring African-American faculty, and offering Black history courses.

1974

  • Gail Sedberry was first African-American female in Corps of Cadets.

1976

  • Fred McClure elected first African-American student body president at A&M.

1977

  • 111 African-Americans attended Texas A&M (0.37%), out of 29,414 student population.

1978

  • Department of Health, Education and Welfare investigated A&M to determine compliance with Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • African-American faculty comprised 11 (0.6%) out of 1,831 faculty members at Texas A&M.

1979

  • Office of School Relations opened to aid in recruitment of minorities to Texas A&M.
  • Curtis Mills was first African-American inducted into Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame.

1980

  • African-American enrollment was 296 (0.8%) out of student population of 33,370.

1981

  • Texas Equal Education opportunity plan submitted by Texas to U.S. Civil Rights office in compliance with Civil Rights Act. Texas A&M had to enroll 525 more African-American undergraduates, 13 more graduate students, 4 veterinary and medical students by 1986, and 12 administrators by 198788.
  • 383 African-Americans attended Texas A&M out of 35,146 students, including 21 graduate students.

1982

  • 441 African-Americans attended Texas A&M out of 36,127 students; about 30 in Corps of Cadets.
  • About 11 African-American faculty members were at Texas A&M.
  • President's Committee on Minority Conditions, after 8-month study, issued report conceding minorities were underrepresented among faculty and students.

1983

  • Position of assistant director of Student Activities and coordinator of Minority Affairs created as part of new policy to recruit, increase and retain minority students.
  • Texas A&M's Medical School graduated first African-American, Phillip Jones.
  • 489 African-Americans attended Texas A&M out of 36,846 students.

1984

  • Texas A&M University System Board approved almost $1 million budget for new minority-recruitment program.
  • Over 500 African-Americans attended Texas A&M out of 36,827 student population.
  • African-American faculty numbered 18 (just over one-half a percent); only 4 were tenured faculty.
  • Formation of Texas A&M University System Black Student Retention Committee to increase attendance of African-Americans in Texas colleges and universities.

1985

  • 544 African-Americans attended Texas A&M out of 35,675 students, with freshman retention rate of 86.9.
  • Texas A&M University System Board approved $1.3 million appropriation for minority recruitment to fund scholarships at undergraduate (520) and graduate (45) levels.

1986

  • Texas A&M graduated 115 minority students with B.S. degrees in engineering, highest in U.S. 22 African-American students received engineering degrees.
  • There were 780 (or 2.2% of 36,570) African-American students and 28 faculty members at A&M.

1987

  • A&M, under federal desegregation plan agreed upon in 1983, failed to reach its minority recruitment goals for 1987-88.
  • Formation of Black Graduate Student Association.
  • Opening of Multicultural Services Center to aid minority retention at A&M.
  • 974 African-Americans, including 87 graduate students, attended Texas A&M out of 39,079 student body.
  • Robert Goodwin appointed assistant deputy chancellor for External Affairs, first African-American to hold such a high position in Texas A&M University System.

1989

  • 1,165 African-American undergraduates and 143 graduate students attended A&M.
  • 1990 Celebration of first Black Former Student Reunion which becomes annual, later biannual, event.
  • There were 1,202 African-American students and 40 faculty at A&M.

1992

  • Executive Committee study of minority conditions at Texas A&M recognized A&M's progress in recruitment of minority students, but said diversity lagged behind other state public senior colleges and universities.
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity hosted party with "Jungle Fever" theme featuring black face, grass skirts and "slave hunts." After charges of racism, Inter-fraternity Council judicial board fined them and placed them on probation.
  • Cartoon in The Battalion mocking state representative Ron Wilson caused uproar. President Mobley called it "inappropriate and subject to misinterpretation."

1993

  • A&M visited by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to review progress in diversity efforts.
  • Faculty Senate proposed all students take U.S. cultures and international requirement courses in order to sensitize them to diversity.

1994

  • Establishment of University Diversity Awards to recognize accomplishments supporting diversity of Texas A&M faculty, administration and student body.
  • Bo Armstrong, vice president for publicity of College Republicans, forced to resign following posting of flyers concerning affirmative action and perceived by some as "racially offensive" or "insensitive to minorities."

1995

  • After months of discussion among various campus organizations concerning campus environment and diversity, MSC Council created task force to study and recommend changes to help MSC represent entire student body.

1996

  • Texas A&M administration rejected proposal by College of Liberal Arts that all students be required to take cultures course. Instead, each department could institute own cultures course.
  • 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Hopwood v. State of Texas that UT could not discriminate against white students to boost minority enrollment in its law school.
  • A&M announced it would no longer use race/ethnicity in admissions or granting scholarships as a result of U.S. Supreme Court decision not to hear appeal of Hopwood case.
  • African-American students numbered 1,320 out of student population of 41,892.

1997

  • Hopwood decision took effect. African-American freshman enrollment of 178 down 23% from previous year; decline blamed on Hopwood.

1998

  • Cadet filed lawsuit against A&M because of Corps policy barring display of Confederate symbols. Corps manual, The Standard, bans display of divisive symbols.
  • Perspectives on the Climate for Diversity: Findings and Suggested Recommendations for the Texas A&M University Campus Community-based on a campus-wide survey of racial/ethnic issues which stemmed from 1996 request by President Bowen to vice president for Student Affairs-to accurately assess campus climate.
  • Texas A&M Foundation created Foundation Excellence Award, new scholarship program to help attract underrepresented students to A&M.

1999

  • A&M hosted 63rd annual Texas State NAACP Convention.

2000

  • Charles Sippial made vice president for Administration, first African-American vice president at A&M.
  • Texas A&M University System Board of Regents granted preliminary approval to addition of international and cultural diversity to core curriculum.

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