Mansfield School Desegregation Incident
In 1956, the Mansfield Independent School District was segregated and sent its black children to separate, run down facilities. This went on for many years until three students brought a suit with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, school districts were ordered to desegregate. The school board approved the measure and allowed Mansfield High School to desegregate. The mayor and police chief of the city did not approve of this measure. When school started on August 30 of 1956, they joined over 300 whites in front of Mansfield High School. Their goal was to prevent the enrollment of the three black students. The town turned into complete turmoil as 3 blacks were hanged in effigy as part of the demonstration.
Texas Governor Allan Shivers supported the protests, and even dispatched Texas Rangers to prevent integration. He then authorized the Mansfield Independent School District to send its black students to Fort Worth, Texas. By doing this the school district had effectively ignored a federal court order for integration.
After the transfer of the black students to Fort Worth, the demonstrations soon ended and order was restored. It was this success that in 1957 inspired Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus to attempted a similar ordeal in Little Rock, Arkansas. Later that year, Texas passed more segregation laws that delayed integration even further. Facing the lack of federal funds, The Mansfield Independent School District quietly desegregated in 1965.