Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 20, Number 2, Fall, 2008 Page: 45 of 68
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Young Bill McElvaney poses with his father, prominent Dallas banker Eugene McElvaney.
tive church building-what the Reverend
McElvaney called "the first freeform church
building in America"-was constructed for St.
Stephen in December 1962, designed by Pratt,
Box, and Henderson of Dallas.5 Almost immediately,
McElvaney engaged himself actively in
community affairs, setting his sights on desegregating
the Mesquite Independent School
"A Presbyterian pastor came by one day and
said, 'Have you ever seen the black school?"'
McElvaney recalled in an oral history interview
with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
"There was no sidewalk. There was no playground
equipment. And there was no American
flag."6 African Americans totaled less than one
percent of the 10,831 students enrolled in the
MISD at the end of 1963; fifty-one attended the
all-black Carver Elementary, while four high
school students were bussed to nearby Forney.7
McElvaney gathered support from the lay leaders
at St. Stephen and spoke with many of the
African American parents at Carver, who
expressed to the young minister that they were
"nobodies in this society."8 Three meetings were
held with MISD officials, and at the conclusion
Fall 2008 LEGACIES 43
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Dallas Heritage Village. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 20, Number 2, Fall, 2008, periodical, 2008; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46806/m1/45/: accessed February 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.