Courtesy The Williamson Museum
School district fully desegregated by 1966
Desegregation took on many forms throughout the South as schools worked to resolve their issues related to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. In Georgetown, the maintenance of segregated schools came down to money.
Local property valuations had not been updated since the days of the Depression, and it was not possible to build or repair schools without more funding. Raising property taxes to meet the needs of the district was an unpopular but necessary move, allowing the district to borrow money for updating the buildings.
Decisions about how the increased funds should be spent created even more controversy throughout the community. In the past, the school district had maintained separate facilities for black and white students. Facilities at the Carver School for black students were in such poor condition that the district faced losing accreditation from the Texas Education Agency.
A group of concerned citizens who toured the school agreed with the TEA’s assessment that the buildings did not meet the accreditation standards of the time. Enrollment at the school was less than 200 students with eight teachers compared to more than 1,100 students and 44 faculty members in the two white schools in the district. The school board’s proposed solution was to improve some of the existing buildings and construct a new school to serve the black students in grades one through 12.
This proposal prompted a group of local citizens, both black and white, to form the Committee for Better Schools. The committee consisted of ministers, business leaders, concerned residents and professors and their wives from Southwestern University. The group’s objective was to halt the construction of schools built for a segregated population, especially after the Supreme Court had ruled against such schools.
After an unsuccessful attempt to register more than 20 black students at Georgetown High School in fall 1962, an injunction was filed by the members of the CBS in U.S. District Court.
As the lawsuit worked its way through the courts, improvements were made throughout the system. The district also began to implement free-choice enrollment, allowing students in specific grades to attend either school. By 1964 there were more than a dozen black students who had moved to the white schools.
The school board continued to add grades to the free-choice enrollment and by spring 1966 had voted to fully integrate.
Integration was accomplished in Georgetown without disruption or violence.