The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 43
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Desegregation of the Hamilton
Park School, 1955-1975
WILLIAM H. WILSON*
ON A WARM MORNING IN LATE AUGUST 1975 YELLOW BUSES BRAKED IN
front of the Hamilton Park School, a trim red-brick building in the
Dallas suburban Richardson Independent School District (RISD). Chil-
dren spilled out of the buses to begin their first class day in new sur-
roundings. The scene was one often repeated in Texas and elsewhere,
the busing of children to achieve a racial ratio acceptable to the federal
But the details were painted with a different brush. The bused chil-
dren were white. Hamilton Park, the subdivision containing the school,
had been built a generation before to allow middle-class Dallas blacks
an escape from overcrowded, inadequate housing. White parents were
volunteering their children in the new Pacesetter program at the for-
merly all-black school. Pacesetter included a strong enrichment-magnet
curriculum; therefore the bused children would integrate the school
while receiving a quality education. The smooth juxtaposition of deseg-
regation and superior learning contrasted sharply with the acrimony
* Willam H. Wilson is Regents' Professor of History at the University of North Texas. He is
the author of The City Beautzful Movement (1989) He is writing a history of Hamilton Park, an
African-American community in Dallas
IDallas Times Herald, Aug. 20o, 1975 Desegregation studies abound. Foul books presenting
the issue from various points of view are Frank T. Read and Lucy S Mc(;ough, Let Them Be
Judged. The Judicial Integration of the Deep South (Metuchen, N.] : Scarecrow Press, 1978), Wal-
ter G. Stephan and Joe R. Feagin (eds ), School Desegregation Past, Present, and Futuwe (New
York: Plenum Press, 1980); J. Harvie Wilkinson III, From Brown to Bakke The Supreme Court and
School Integratzon. 1954-1978 (New York. Oxford University Press, 1979); and Raymond
Wolters, The Burden of Brown Thirty Years of School Desegregation (Knoxville: University of Ten-
nessee Press, 1984). Lino A. Graglia, Disaster by Decree The Supreme Court Decizzons on Race and
the Schools (Ithaca Cornell University Press, 1976), presents searching analyses of federal court
decisions from a legalistic, conservative vantage Jack Bass, Unlikely Heroes: The Dramatic Story of
the Southern Judges of the Fzfth Czrcuit who Translated the Supreme Cout's Brown Decaion into a Revo-
lution for Equality (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), applauds the desegregation decisions
of the Fifth Circuit Court and lauds the judges who wrote them, while presenting the great
range of problems and issues confronting the court George R. Metcalf, From Little Rock to
Boston- The Ihstory of School Desegregation (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983), deals with
many of the political difficulties of desegregation from a liberal perspective Although the
words "desegregation" and "integration" have distinct meanings, they are used interchangeably
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/71/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.