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Desegregation in Austin

Five Decades of Social Change: A Timeline

This web project presents an annotated chronology of major events in the desegregation of Austin, Texas, from 1940 to 1980 as they appeared in local newspapers and other materials such as the Austin Files (AF) in the archives at the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. The timeline is intended as a guide to key events necessary for an understanding of this extraordinary time in the city’s history.



Local African American firsts Local African American firsts
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts
Local desegregation facts Local desegregation facts
Statewide desegregation facts Statewide desegregation facts
National desegregation facts National desegregation facts

Note: The Austin American-Statesman newspaper had several name changes over the five decades covered in this timeline. The variations reflect usage for that time—Austin Statesman, The Austin Statesman, The Austin-Statesman, The Austin American, The Austin American-Statesman, American Statesman, The American-Statesman, Austin American-Statesman.

overview | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | all

1940 | 1946 | 1948


Local African American firsts Follow this link to Austin History Center photograph PICB 19327 Arthur De Witty becomes the first African American to be appointed to a Travis County Grand jury. [AF-Biography-Arthur De Witty; The Austin American, “City Civil Rights Leader Succumbs,” December 03, 1968]


Local desegregation facts In May, Heman Marion Sweatt files a lawsuit against The University of Texas at Austin president Theophilus Painter and other school officials for denying him admittance into The University of Texas School of Law because he is African American. [ handbook/online/articles/SS/fsw23.html]


University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts Representatives of the Campus Guild at The University of Texas at Austin congratulates Hazel Scott, a nationally known African American pianist, for refusing to perform before a segregated audience at Gregory Gym. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (1)-University of Texas; The Austin American, “Campus Guild Defends Artist,” November 17, 1948]