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02/15/19 08:38 AM #4274    


Eugene Knox (1972)

$4272 Nancy, i did send you an email this morning, with attachment. :)  I can not seem to attach a document here on this web page, so i will try next to cut and copy. It is quite long.  Wish me luck.  Gene

02/15/19 08:39 AM #4275    


Eugene Knox (1972)

“Know Your Tigers”

School Culture and Students’ Perspectives on Racial Desegregation (1970-1972)


Demonstrator picketing outside Yates High School. Houston, May 10, 1965. 

Demonstrator picketing outside Yates High School. Houston, May 10, 1965. 



José Antonio Ferreira da Silva Júnior

Dr. Byrd | HIST. 521

Final Project

December 12, 2018 




The struggle against racial segregation in the South reached schools after the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954. Zoning plans for student enrollments in Houston were part of the efforts to comply with federal ruling. This paper is about how students from Sam Houston High reacted and perceived racial integration in the 1970s. The Aegis, the oldest high school newspaper in Texas, bares these students’ perspectives, their daily life, their anxieties, their fights. After talking to Sam Houston alumni, their perception and memories provided a glance of those days showing how youth and school culture were important in defining their actions and reactions. This is an analysis of how sports and music were mobilized by teenagers to build an understanding of all the changes that were happening in the desegregation era. This is also an attempt to understand youth agency through cultural expression.








First of all, let us hear some music. Choose something from Otis Redding discography. Now, let me be direct: I studied a students’ newspaper because I wanted to find out how students conceived racial issues in order to understand how school culture played a role in school desegregation. Racial segregation happened in Houston’s schools throughout the twentieth century. In the 1970s, a long history of unequal schooling conditions was finally being confronted in a process full of contradictions and challenges. I chose to work with student’s perspectives to get closer to some of that history that does not appear in official reports or school board minutes. This is how I discovered Sam Houston High School and The Aegis, their newspaper. On its pages, students wrote about fashion, sports, music, and everyday life. When desegregation policies brought African American students to their school, their perceptions of racial issues were conceived in terms of this youth culture that provided them identities on a deeper social and cultural process. This song you are listening to is black music. If you switch to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first album, for example, you are not just changing music genre, you are navigating through symbols. This is a history about how these symbols were mobilized to understand racial desegregation, its conflicts and, ultimately, its acceptation.

Actually, the desegregation plans of 1970 in Houston were not the first attempt to promote racial integration in the city. Since Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954, the Houston Independent School District promoted (HISD) efforts through the years to comply with federal court ruling that ordered the end of “separate but equal” doctrine in education. Aiming educational equality, advocates of integration saw HISD’s policies stall effective desegregation. In fact, freedom of choice was largely deployed as principle and was used to keep de facto segregation under the veil of equal rights and tokenism. (Breeden 2017, 329) The photograph used to illustrate my cover was taken in 1965 during demonstrations that picketed schools and showed that the African American community was actively denouncing how white supremacy was stalling Brown decisions. (Berger 2013, 76) “Who said we are satisfied?” seems to be an excellent question that explains what led to the events of 1970 and on. HISD was not trying to satisfy the black community and it deferred action as it could. Under federal orders, the city had to trace other plans for desegregating its body of students.

This is the history I am here to tell about. Not about the protests of 1965, but about what happened when the HISD could no longer stall and had to implement policies that were more effective. I am here to tell about the first years of the 1970s when Houston was struck by mandated zoning orienting student enrollment and defining a new desegregation policy in the city. Not that this meant successful statistical racial balance in Houston’s schools. As historian Edwin Breeden argues, HISD was aiming for a smaller scale integration while investing to improve the quality of education in predominantly black and Mexican schools. (Breeden 2017, 384)

That’s how Sam Houston High School (SHHS) gets the historians’ attention. It was, in that year of 1970, the biggest school of the HISD in numbers of pupils. According to The Aegis, the number of students in September 1970 was 3343, 149 more than the previous year. It also reports 136 teachers and 183 employees. Other sources reveal the racial distribution in the school: according to a report of 1972, in that year about 300 black students were zoned to SHHS, composing a ratio of “14 percent black, 9 percent Chicano, 76 percent white”. These numbers are impressive if we consider that Breeden, referring to the HISD Pupil Accounting Department, talks about black representation in Sam Houston High as .1 percent before 1970. (Breeden 2017, 312) As the numbers shows, it seems right that HISD had the idea of a smaller lever of integration since SHHS was seem as the most integrated school in 1970-71. Although desegregation was conceived in a small scale, Sam Houston was precisely among those schools directly affected by the zoning policies of those years. According to Breeden,

HISD’s 1970 zoning policies had a more direct integrative impact on Anglos living in Houston’s lower-to-middle income neighborhoods, most of them in Houston’s Northside and Near Northside. This likely surprised few local residents. From virtually the beginning of the Ross lawsuit, discussion of the impact of any zoning-based desegregation plan referenced the likely disparate impact such policies would have in north and east Houston, while leaving much of west and southwest Houston’s schools overwhelmingly white. (2017, 310-11)


The social profile of the neighborhood was also reported as “low-income, blue-collar area. It was the center of the old conservative regime that controlled the Houston Independent School District”.

The Aegis, then, brings us the student’s perspectives but we must understand that this is mostly white students’ perspectives, even after new zoning rules. This does not mean that black teenagers were absent from the pages of the newspaper. Articles and columns brought to The Aegis interviews and stories about the new students, and they were featured in fashion session and sports. But despite these efforts, the visibility given to white students is still overwhelming. It remains significative the fact that a group of around 300 black teenagers still made to the pages of the newspaper aimed at more than 3,000 students. This shows that the official position of the school and the teachers behind the newspaper program was to include and promote integration. For example, in the first issue of 1970-71 school year, The Aegis brought an editorial about how integration is important for equality and how it can develop human relations in a more democratic world. Since I am interested in the students’ perspectives, I am aware that this analysis is mostly about how white students dealt with racial desegregation in their school. From the interviews with Sam Houston High Alumni, I am also drawing on white accounts because I couldn’t find African Americans students to talk to.

I am especially concerned with this description because the violent events that took place there between 1970 and 1971 should be seem as part of a disruption in everyday life. Students, teachers, parents, and administrative personal of Sam Houston High were facing in their daily lives consequences of what to some judge in Washington was a stroke of a pen. In February 5th, 1971, a fight between black and white students was described as “cultural clash” by newly indicated Area Supt. Lawrence Marshall in an article in the Houston Chronicle. (Lee, Browne, and Ward 2010, 263) I believe that was not black and white culture that were colliding. The status quo established by white supremacy in Houston was being challenged and it brought material changes to a school, implicating everybody that was involved in its functioning. It was indeed translated in cultural terms, but those kids were not fighting over cultural superiority. They were fighting because they felt their life was changing for worse. People back then had new concerns regarding their daily lives, and I believe that we must frame these racialized conflicts in a bigger frame of a defied status quo.

Recognizing these anxieties and worries is imperative for understanding that integration was not some instant, magical process, but a significant disruption to the daily lives of many of the people who lived it, and one that existed through particular policies and regulations that could impact local people in a variety of ways. Especially in a sprawling urban district like Houston, any new plan of student assignment, even an impotent desegregation plan like HISD’s, was bound to meet some resistance from people regardless of color. (Breeden 2017, 334)


    There were two major events of violence among students of Sam Houston in the school year of 1970-1971. In September 25, 1970, according to the Houston Chronicle, thirty teenagers were arrested by the police for physical altercation in a street near Sam Houston High. This happened among instabilities that were shaking schools all over Houston, only a month under the new rules for desegregation. The Mexican American community were protesting the new zoning plan because it was enlisted as “white” in the racial balance of HISD. That, of course, was only beneficial to white schools that were not supposed to face integration with Mexican American kids paired with black schools. Huelga schools were created and striking families kept their children out of HISD desegregation plan.

Also, in those first months, fights happened in other schools of the district: Mary Brantley Smiley High School and William C. Smiley, both from the Northeast district, also registered “racial clashes” between students in September that year. The Houston Chronicle reported an increasing tension those days as parents were protesting and demanding security enforcing in schools. Amidst critiques of the zoning policy and demands for freedom of choice, parents were also reporting threats in phone calls and rumors of terror among students. While mayor Louie Welch was resisting police enforcement in schools, HISD talked about a possible “conspiracy” that was behind the occurrence of those disturbances. The objective, according to Houston school Supt. George Garver, was to force suspension on the integration plans. (Lee, Browne, and Ward 2010, 245-54)

In the subsequent issue after these fights, published in October 9, The Aegis discussed the racial problems from an inclusive perspective. Interviews with black and white students were made and the tone of their answers showed that they were advocating for convivence as a goal for “the betterment of all mankind”. Also, this issue brought a press collective with Supt. Garver held at HISD for high school journalists. The questions and answers reproduced in the pages of The Aegis were concerning not only violence problems but also themes like freedom of choice, over-crowding, dress code, non-grading system, the Mexican American boycotts, and so on. The Aegis, that way, built its position on a perspective very akin to the official positions of the HISD.

The Aegis. Vol 82, n. 3, Oct. 23, 1970. p. 2.

The Aegis. Vol 82, n. 3, Oct. 23, 1970. p. 2.

The second moment of physical violence among students happened in February 1971. A fight was initiated in the cafeteria of the school in the morning of the 4th and three students were hospitalized that day. The next morning a bigger fight happened in the same location. This time, a white student was stabbed by a black man, 20 years old, outsider. The testimony of EK, a white Jr. student re-zoned to SHHS that year is very illustrative of that day:

There ended up being a big fight that started in the cafeteria one morning, and spilled out from there. Older brothers well past school age, from both races also showed up to throw some fists...note, the majority of the students, fled to the exits and out to their cars to avoid any physical altercations, as there was an announcement over the P.A. to exit the school property, immediately...Damage to the cafeteria, was as such, the school closed it’s doors for a week […].


The serious aftermath of the February 5th fight, which also vandalized the school cafeteria, led the school to be closed for several days while it was repaired. When reopened, students were divided in working groups and through a week there were no classes. Students went to school with their parents and participated in “rap sessions” to work their differences and uncover any problem that still remained among the school community. Area Supt. Marshall, who had just begun working in Sam Houston High, stated “For the first time, everyone had the opportunity to vent their feelings. They developed mutual respect for each other. The whites said the blacks were never punished. For the first time they found out how blacks were being punished”. This frames the conflicts in those terms that I highlighted before: white students felt punished by changes and could not see that black students had also been taken out of their communities and schools.

That is the kind of problem that impacts African American students and that is pointed out by educator Asa G. Hilliard as a consequence of desegregation plans that sought to promote body mixing only to comply with court ruling. For Hilliard, black communities and relationships that were important for the education of black teenagers were broken. (Morris and Morris 2002, x) According to Supt. Marshall, white students from Sam Houston High were failing to see that black students were being affected. Breeden elucidates in this case what kind of disrupted relationships Hilliard were concerned:

Beyond the plan’s general disruptiveness, African Americans’ concerns extended to its more specific impacts on student life. Black athletic boosters were especially anxious over how the transfers would impact the rosters of their alma maters. […] Especially upsetting for students and parents was the courts’ refusal to allow seniors to remain in and graduate from the high schools they had attended for the past three years. They worried that transferred seniors would suffer in their studies if separated from the friends and faculty to whom they had grown accustomed or that transferring would jeopardize scholarship opportunities, especially if the student was an athlete. Others pointed out that many seniors had already purchased their class rings and insisted it was unfair to make them either buy a new one or settle for a ring from a school from which they did not graduate. (2017, 333)


 After that week of mediations, classes went back to normal, but students were required to keep visible identification and supernumeraries started patrolling the halls. HISD promised higher level security in schools and Principal Kenneth Wilbanks announced strict rules against fighting and inciting. He also urged “[…] that parents and students report any faculty member they felt to be ‘teaching the wrong thing’.” (Lee, Browne, and Ward 2010, 264)

When looking for the causes that led to such a violent fight, EK highlights external motivation:

I do want to add, I truly believe the fights were pre planned, as the neighboring Jr. High also had fights that started that very same morning. Some folks coordinated the whole thing. When I and some friends left Sam Houston piled in an old Mustang to get away from flying fists, two guys had younger brothers at the neighboring Jr. High, so we went to see if everything was ok over there. It wasn’t, when we pulled up, we saw fighting out in front of Burbank Jr. High, and we did see the two younger brothers, and they jumped in our car and we all went home in shock and yaking our heads off.


These fights in other schools and the fact that the stabber was not from the Sam Houston student body seems to have circulated among students, since other interviewees mentioned external influence in what happened. Maybe it was that “conspiracy” that terrified parents in September 1970 that was still active among most resistant members of the community of Northside Houston. But school administration and the 1972 report identify other instigators. That concern of Principal Wilbanks around teachers “teaching the wrong thing” is explained in the 1972 report. When referring to the altercations of February 1971, the report states that: “The main instigators were two white coaches who used racial slurs to push their teams to victory. […] Houston sources feel that the two racist coaches incited the white students to give the new black Area Superintendent [Lawrence Marshall] a reception”. Although the second sentence can’t see to confirm its suspicion against the white coaches (the sources “feel” they incited a troublesome first day for the new superintendent), the first reveals that racism was part of school culture through sports.

    A junior student that year, DQH affirms that she doesn’t believe that faculty in Sam Houston was “one of the most racist faculties in Houston”. She says, “I can’t speak for what happened over in the boys’ gym or the football program, but I can tell you that almost all of my teachers were extremely liberal and egalitarian people who promoted an atmosphere of learning opportunities for everyone.” She also provides an interesting account of what motivated the fights and animosities between black and white students that school year:

[…] when the zones were drawn, there were star athletes from Kashmere –– the predominately black school nearby –– who found themselves suddenly forced to go to school with their football rivals. And, understandably, they didn't want to play for the Sam Houston team. How this escalated to the grand-scale protests, riots, and violence, I am still not sure, but it got ugly.


    So, sports rise once again as part of this racialized school culture in the form of a football rivalry. In American culture, high school sports are really important and at Sam Houston it was not different. In the period covered by this study, The Aegis had a lot of sports sessions, columns and it covered closely the games of the football, basketball and baseball teams. Other sports also received attention like tennis and volleyball, with a few mentions to track, golf, and shooting. The column “Know Your Tigers” presented athletes and their achievements, and “Tigers Den” kept students informed about the recent news around Sam Houston’s sports teams (the tiger was their mascot). The sport session could take two of the usual six pages of the newspaper, or even more in special issues or at the high of football season.

    It is important to understand this dimension that sport builds around student daily life in American schools. In times of racial confrontation in the city and its desegregation plans, among students it is expected that a football rivalry would discharge the tension that was being built in everyday life at school. Maybe aggravated by racist pep talks at the locker room, the situation at Sam Houston High was really tense if the rap sessions of February 1971 were the first time that white students understood that integration was not something to punish them and that black students were also being affected.

Although one can see the fights as mere football rivalry, I am sure that understanding sports as part of a school culture that was mobilized to translate racial tension is more useful if we want to address the connections between race and education in Houston in the era of desegregation. To see these fights as students’ loyalty to their alma mater teams is to inscribe all the racialized differences that these teenagers experienced back then in a tradition that take sports as a colorblind and value-neutral institution. This mainstream vision of sports and race relations is part of the national American sports culture. It posits equality among athletes but denies racial identities that become political challenges to the white capitalist patriarchal hegemony. (Giardina and McCarthy 2008, 50) This can be deepened by what historian David Ponton called a “color-evasive” attitude towards race relations, which avoids interpreting inequalities in racial terms and denies that color or history should be considered in correcting present day differences. (Ponton 2017, 12)

I am arguing that sports were so important to Sam Houston High student’s culture that once they confronted such a tense atmosphere because of the changes in their lives, they expressed their non-conformation through what came in to hand in everyday life. That is also the case after the violent events forced them to deal with racialized differences in the school. It is significative that DGG, a senior student that year, expressed the acceptation of the zoning plans referring to sports culture in the school.

Once we calmed down - both the white and black students - we made many new friends. We felt sorry for the seniors who wore their senior rings from their former school, and lost their positions in clubs and sports. Our teams voted to have co-captains - one black and one white. The football coach was going to kick one of the black players off the team, but the boys voted no, and threatened to quit if the coach did that. The girls volleyball team was the same way. We voted for 2 co-captains, and we were happy to have them serve our team.


As she describes, acceptance was translated through welcoming black students in their teams. Also, to have co-captains showed that African American students were not only playing for Sam Houston teams but were also put in a position of leadership.

Sports were used then to express the tension built through the first part of that school year. From September 1970 to February 1971, the efforts around integrating students could not avoid incomprehension about who was being “punished” by mandated desegregation. It became part of the everyday lives of these students the fact that something had changed for worse (overcrowded classrooms? overcrowded parking lot?), which led them to reinforce sport differences. But then, in a second moment, sports were used to approximate the students and create shared experiences. This shows how sport was a source of cultural symbols for teenagers to navigate through problems existing in the world outside and that were now inside the walls of their school. Far from being colorblind, football, volleyball, or any other sport at Sam Houston High, revealed how racism can be found even at the simplest everyday practices of our society. Threatening black students that were joining the white’s team or giving them a co-captain position were attitudes defined by symbols and codes of their youth culture.

The definition of youth culture is a discussion in sociological and historical studies that traces back to the professionalization of the disciplines in the 19th century. After conceptualizing teenagers as agents in the historical process of societies, sociologists started studies that took youth entertainment as objects of analysis. Debating over terms like subculture, lifestyle and identities, this kind of approach produced a compelling scholarship that historians took as base to studies of youth fashion, music, urban life, and ethnic identities. (Bennett 2000, 20-32) Popular music is certainly one of the defining terms in this tradition that seeks to explore how teenagers interact with social and political settings through cultural symbols. In Sam Houston High student’s lives, during the desegregation years, music certainly was part of their mobilized cultural symbols to understand and interpret the changes they were living.

Not only The Aegis gained a music column (“Cat’s Wax”) in the 1971-72 school year, but alumni interviewees revealed how popular music was part of their lives in school. DQH, that became editor in chief of The Aegis in her senior year, uses music as central element to articulate her memories of shared experiences among students:

[…] I felt that this was something all the students had in common to enjoy, regardless of our backgrounds. We listened to the same radio stations, calling the deejays up at night to make song requests and dedications. We listened intently, hoping to be able to win concert tickets and other prizes. The music of that era brought us together, and even today, when talking with former classmates (yes, we do that, even after 45 years), this is still a commonality. Certain songs are easily associated with certain social events or fond memories. When I hear Rod Stewart's “Maggie May,” my mind immediately goes back to a fall morning when I was listening to the radio and getting dressed for school.


It is really important here the way she relates music of her youth with fond memories or commonalities that existed then and still exist now. Music, as part of our cultural lives, is a powerful tool that mobilize feelings, identities, and shared social experiences. Another interviewee also used music to articulate his description of high school days:

Back in those days, popular music was still ruled by the Beatles and The Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues, etc.  […] I can only tell you us young Houstonians very much identified with the Hippie dippy styles of yesteryear. […] Back in High School Days, there was A LOT of Soul, or Black music, that we all loved. We almost secretly listened to it. lol Michael Jackson, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, BB King, etc.  Jimi Hendrix was always leading the pack for hard rock and roll electric guitar, and being a black man, just made him much more interesting.  sadly, lot’s of them passed at the age of 27, while my generation was still in High School.


Music was not only shaking their bodies in parties and socializing spaces, but it was also creating, circulating, and disseminating a racialized view of their present. This kind of testimony reveals that youth culture and youth entertainment was not colorblind. In fact, it was very aware of political and cultural meanings that were behind the sound waves that reached their ears or the rhythms that made their feet dance.

    Their present in the early 1970s was really peculiar when it comes to race and its connections with popular music, culture, and political context. In fact, the 1960s was the stage for many acts that followed the Civil Rights movement in earlier years. James Smethurst describes how the Black Power and the Black Arts movements reached national visibility in the United States promoting the African American identity. The “black pride” popularized this perspective that black culture was not inferior as white supremacy portrayed it for many years, but rich and beautiful. The famous “Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud”, by James Brown was only one among many hymns that became cultural and political symbols for African Americans through the country. Personalities such as Malcolm X were emphasizing the importance of culture as identity and awareness of social power for black people. (Smethurst 2016, 89-91) In the news, people saw urban uprisings that “created an environment in which revolution, both domestically and internationally, seemed realistically imminent […]” (Smethurst 2016, 92). In local levels, institutions and organizations were spreading the black pride through journals, theaters, murals and so on. Radical black thought was being circulated and it was being consumed not only exclusively by African Americans, but by any other individual that was experiencing popular culture.

    This kind of cultural movements was on the minds of Sam Houston’s students. Their perception of black culture was oriented by the visibility that national movements gained. They were aware of black identities that were growing positively. They were listening to radio stations, going to concerts. They were not immune to the popular culture of those days. How each of them enjoyed or avoided listening to black music we can’t know. But collectively they were aware of how this kind of music was not simply music. It had cultural and political meaning. It is significative that “Cat’s Wax” did not feature any black artist through The Aegis issues of the 1971-1972 school year. Mainstream rock and roll led (and it still does) youth music preference and white bands and artists from the U.S. or England dominated the music market.

    All these transformations were part of everyday life in those years. EK put into words these feeling when describing how things were changing:

My freshman and sophomore year, HISD would still make all the boys keep their hair cut short, and there was an inspection on the first day of school each year in gym class. Your hair couldn’t touch your ears, or even come close to your collar.  Something happened summer of 70, that took that control away from coaches and Principles (who HATED long hair).  So my junior year and senior year, most boys wanted shoulder length hair, which now days, is nothing.  I live by a High School here in a NYC borough, and long hair and short hair, and shaved heads, all seem to hang out together…  Sounds silly, but it was a BIG deal in 1970 to have that personal freedom, in red neck Houston.  Oh, that same year, the girls were then allowed to wear pant suites, then dress slacks, and finally blue jeans.  Hard to believe that was ever an issue.


These teenagers were living a moment of constant change broadcasted directly into their homes. Through the world or inside the United States, revolutions were happening in each single aspect of private and public life since at least a decade. The feminists, college students’ protests, sexual liberation, Africa and Asia decolonization, pacifist movement…the list is endless. Sam Houston youth was watching the world changing and experiencing it in those years of new zoning rules.

To be anxious when feeling that the ground under your feet is shaking is even more affecting when you don’t understand what caused the tremors or why you are even standing right there in the first place. Adults were dealing with racism and how unequal education was historically forged in the urban South. These kids were trying to rationalize all that was going on and got caught in all kinds of discourses and narratives that they heard through different sources: parents, relatives, teachers, friends, the press. They could understand that black culture was important. Maybe color-evasiveness was a way to protect themselves of being accused of racism. What we can be sure about is that colorblind attitudes reveal the incomprehension of how deep rooted and structural racism can be.  It could be hard to explain to somebody for the first time that even though they are not racist, society still is, and that by denying historical inequality one can only reproduce it. It could be particularly hard for a teenager to understand that kind of complex association. DQH’s testimony explains a bit how her perspective changed:

When they were in the same school and the same classes as me, learning from the same teachers and the same books, I'm sure I believed they had access to the same educational opportunities and could succeed just as easily as I could. I don't think I ever considered that there might be other social, political and economic factors that acted as barriers to their success, but as an adult with clearer hindsight, I understand how naive I might have been.


My challenge here was to grasp these students’ perspectives through their testimonies produced nowadays and The Aegis as the newspaper printed back then. I end this text by claiming the importance that school and youth cultures have if one seeks to understand how students were affected and actively participated in the desegregation process. At the end of the day, these are the faces that still look at us from their yearbook pages.

Primary Sources

The Aegis:    Volume 82 (Sep./1970 – May/1971)

        Volume 83 (Sep./1971 – May/1972)

Interviews:    DGG, class of 1971.

DQH, class of 1972.

EK, class of 1972.

“It's Not Over in the South: School Desegregation in Forty-Three Southern Cities Eighteen Years After Brown.” Alabama Council on Human Relations, 1972. Available at: 


Cited Bibliography

Bennett, Andy. 2000. Popular Music and Youth Culture : Music, Identity, and Place. Palgrave.

Berger, Martin A. 2013. Freedom Now! : Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle. Berkeley: University Of California Press.

Breeden, Edwin. 2017. “Educational Politics and the Making of School Desegregation Policy in Houston, Texas.”. Ph.D. Dissertation. Rice University.

Giardina, Michael D, and Cameron McCarthy. 2008. “Screening Race in America: Sport, Cinema, and the Politics of Urban Youth Culture” in: Giardina, M, and Michelle Donnelly. Youth Culture and Sport: Identity, Power, and Politics. Critical Youth Studies. New York: Routledge. pp. 35-54.

Lee, E Bun, Louis A Browne, and James W Ward. 2010. Local Newspapers and the Houston Public School Desegregation, 1954-1984. 

Morris, Vivian Gunn, and Curtis L. Morris. 2002. The Price They Paid : Desegregation in an African American Community. Teachers College Press.

Ponton, David. 2017. “Criminalizing Space: Ideological and Institutional Productions of Race, Gender, and State-Sanctioned Violence in Houston, 1948-1967.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Rice University.

Smethurst, James. 2016. "The Black Arts Movement" in: Diouf, Sylviane A, and Komozi Woodward. Black Power 50. New York; London: The New Press.



02/15/19 12:02 PM #4276    


Peter Olafsen (1967)

Eugene Knox,


Thank you for that indepth look at the troubling times of the late 60's and early 70's. While I think your information is undoubtedly accurate, I would take issue with the statement regarding whether or not the faculty was racist. I am sure that many or most were not. However, I do remember that in 1967, my civics teacher, responding to questions about the riots at TSU, made the comment..."There should be open season on N....s". I remember how appalled I was. I think I remember his name, but don't want to get it wrong and disparage someone falsely. Again, thank you would the most interesting read.

02/15/19 03:22 PM #4277    


Judy Maxwell (1971)

Eugene Knox,

Thanks for posting  Jose Silva's article on here. #4275

This is the post from the young man that wrote the article Eugene Knox posted on here for us all to be able to read.

José Silva

Hello everyone!

My name is José da Silva and I am a grad student at Rice University in the History department. This semester we are working in a seminar on Race and Education in the 20th century South. I writing a project about racial segregation in the Houston area. I came across with Sam Houston High School in my research and I found your alumni forum. I am specially interested in reading the Aegis. Would anyone possibly know where I can find it? Also I would love to talk more about everyday life in the school in the 1960s or 1970s. If anyone is interested in sharing memories please contact me: or (it's the same).
I thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

Very interesting to read about my senior year.



02/22/19 11:16 AM #4278    


Judy Maxwell (1971)

Good Morning,

A quick update on Sam…..Andrew Monzon, Associate Principal, said they moved into the new building on January 7th. The asbestos abatement is going well. Once that is completed, they will know a date for demolition.



02/23/19 11:16 AM #4279    

Rita Simms (Bane) (1971)

Thank you Judy for all your hard work and your time,to keep all of us informed.

02/23/19 01:38 PM #4280    


Dianna Riley (Watson) (1968)

#4278 ..thanks Judy Judy Judy ....

02/23/19 01:42 PM #4281    


Caren Reynolds (Cates) (1965)

Thank you so much, Judy, for your diligence in updating us on Sam Houston.

Hope eveyone has a great weekend!


02/23/19 04:34 PM #4282    


Judy Maxwell (1971)

Glad to help Ladies. ...Rita lets get together next time I am in town

02/24/19 12:16 PM #4283    

Rita Simms (Bane) (1971)

Sounds good to me Judy. Juse call and let me know when that will be.

03/05/19 04:37 PM #4284    


Judy Maxwell (1971)

There is a post on Facebook of a found Sam Houston High senior ring. From 1996 with blue stone and the name Eric engraved in it, picture below. In case anyone knows a 1996 grad named Eric.


03/07/19 02:11 PM #4285    


Beverly McNease (Boudar Reed) (1968)

How sad to have lost one's senior ring! This is a beautiful one. I hope "Eric" sees this post and will be able to claim it.

03/08/19 09:52 PM #4286    

Rosa Echols (Hernandez/Styner) (1969)

To Jose Silva, young man who wants info on SH at the time of 1969, 1970, issues at the school I remember them very well, check out the newspapers of that time,like The Houston Post

03/11/19 01:28 PM #4287    


Judy Maxwell (1971)



Jose Silva, the Rice student has already done his interviewing and his paper. There is a copy of it above if you would like to read it,




03/14/19 12:58 AM #4288    


Katherine Newton (Courtland) (1968)

   Hi everyone!   That was an interesting  perspective by the Rice professor, emphasizing the music and sports  I agree those were important, especially since there were so many successful black performers and athletes and that was a way for them to be admired and more accepted by the whites  Did you watch the movie, The Green Book, yet?  It was an eye opening true account of the challenges a black performer had in trying to find hotels and restaurants  that allowed black customers as they travelled and performed in the South   It ends with a scene from Birmingham where I now live. The country club had a sellout crowd who could not wait for a black pianist to perform but refused to allow him to eat in their dining room, instead wanting him to eat in the janitor’s closet even as he was dressed in tux or tails  He left without performing.

It was at Baylor where I first had a couple of fellow black students that I met and got to know. It was a strange and curious thing for me. I wondered if their skin had a different texture to touch. I hugged a Kindergarten student in my teacher training and felt her little arm. I was glad I felt the same care for her as the white students, but it all seemed strange at first. We have come a long ways now, from a total unfamiliarity to almost every family having mixed race couples or grandchildren, cousins, etc  I remember hearing about the riots at SHHS while I was at Baylor  They made national TV news.  I felt embarrassed at the parents who jeered and demonstrated against the buses of black students and was relieved when it all settled down. I can imagine it was a tough adjustment on both sides, white and black, and I don’t blame people for trying to get equal access to oppportunity. The bribing scandal around getting rich kids into elite schools is also not fair and in my opinion, America is about providing equal opportunities for all of its real (legal!) citizens, whatever the color, origin, or economic status! My husband grew up in an orphanage but ended up with a Baylor MBA and achieved a debt free life. He was from a disadvantaged Hispanic background but prejudicial bias just caused him to work harder.  Besides work, it takes luck and courage to try and fail.  It has been disappointing to us the way some political groups belittle success instead of encouraging our youth that everything is possible. Sam Houston students on the whole seemed to me to be hard working, salt of the earth good people! 


03/14/19 05:04 PM #4289    


Judy Maxwell (1971)



First of all I just want to say I love your Wedding picture. I do weddings so I alsways notice if we have a bride among us!!

You are right about the blacks also suffering that were bussed over to SAM, They were not wanting to be take from their schools.  Also even though some did have fights and caused some issues, there had to be several students scared and were worried about what might happen to them. Not to mention their parents worry for them.

Yes things have come a long way ~ some for the good and some not so much! I don't remember but was just wondering did any of the white students get sent off to black schools? One thing I can always say I was at SAM in 71 when it all started happening. Even with some injuries, Glad we all survived!!



03/14/19 09:16 PM #4290    


Debbie Vollert (Campbell) (1971)

Judy asked if any Sam students were sent to other schools. I grew up on the west side of I-45 & Parker Road. Some of us in this area attended Sam. Others attended Reagan and I believe others attended Waltrip.  Prior to the situation that caused so many students to change schools, we were allowed to go to any school we wanted as long as we could get there. I had to walk to Parker & Nordling to catch the bus to Sam.


After the policy change, we were supposed to go to a high school west of Shepherd Drive. My friends & I tried to find it one day but weren’t successful. Most of my friends & acquaintances’ parents decided to not comply with the changes. Several families came together & started Northwest Academy. Other families found family members or friends that had addresses they could use to stay at Sam, Reagan, etc.


We used a relative’s rental house address. This worked for a while until I was called to the counselor’s office and told me that they knew I didn’t live at that address. I was told that I would have to leave Sam and enroll in the school assigned to my address. I called my mother at work so she could come get me. She told me to tell them that I was dropping out of school. 


I was out of school for about a week until my mom found an apartment near Sam we could afford. My mom, sister, brother & I moved from the house we had been in since 1959. I was reenrolled at Sam with a valid address. Most of my teachers let me make up any work or tests I missed while I was out. I only had one teacher who wouldn’t. This particular teacher didn’t give tests on a regular basis. During the time I was away, she gave two tests. Since I couldn’t make them up, I got my first & only F on a report card. 


We never knew how the school found out I wasn’t living at the address we were using.  We suspected someone turned us in but could never prove it. My friends who went to Reagan using someone else’s address continued there until they graduated in 1971 & 1972. 


I always thought it was sad that so many students were forced to change schools in their junior or senior years. This was played out all across Houston in many different neighborhoods. Families didn’t move around for work then the way they do now. Most of us had been going to school with the same friends we made in kindergarten or first grade. It was hard to be told that we wouldn’t be graduating with them.  Of course, there were probably no easy answers to the situation HISD was trying to solve. They had to start somewhere & we were part of the change.

03/15/19 12:33 PM #4291    

Diane Grayson (Goloby) (1971)

I remember those days of students being called to the office on "non-riot" days. Everyone would be in class working, and suddenly the intercom would come on, and one or two students names would be called. We knew immediately what that meant. Someone wasn't living in the Sam Houston area and were going to be told to leave the school. Things sometimes were worked out, like in your case. It was a sad situation. They should have made the change gradually, staring with 10th grade the first year of busing, and allow Juniors and Seniors to finish out their SHHS attendance. After all by their Junior year they already had their Senior rings!

When I taught in Magnolia ISD and Magnolia West was built, they didn't force students in grades 9-12 to change to the new school if they lived in that area. They started with 9th grade only, having 9th grade the first year, 9th and 10th the second year, and so on. Finally after 4 years, the 9th graders who came in had become Seniors and there was no adjustment to change. This is how it should have been done with busing in HISD. But that's hind-sight. Perhaps it's because of the issues we had during our time, school districts deal with changes gradually.

I remember Northwest Academy too. Wasn't Mr. Doherty Principal there at one time?

03/16/19 05:05 PM #4292    

Charles Ellis (1969)

1966-1969 Everyone on my street south of Crosstimbers went to Sam. At least several (7) students.

However, in those days you had a choice.

My Mother had gone to both Marshall Jr. Hign & Jeff Davis HS.

She was dead set against me going to either.

I went to PIGG, on Merill for the eighth grade, but to Burbank for the ninth.

MY parents, owned a buisness a block away from Burbank, so my Dad wired the deal.

When the forced busing started, all students were affected.

Kids torn from the neighborhood they went to Elementary & Jr. High were hit hard.

Transfering to a new school, in your Senior yr. after you had your ring, must have been a real disappointment.

03/19/19 01:06 PM #4293    


Judy Maxwell (1971)

Just looked in on the camera that is mounted on top of SAM, they are about 1/2 way through with tearing down all the shop classes that were at the back of the property towards Hardy. Strange to see it being torn down. I am in hopes of being in Houston the day the main three story structure comes down.

Also ~ Looking up at the sky from the camera you can sure see all the smoke from the refinery plant that is burning as it drifts across the neighborhood.





03/20/19 02:47 AM #4294    

Jerry Deason (1962)

Jane Ellen (Deason) Pavey, class of Jan.1962, has past away on March 19, 2019, at the age 75.

03/20/19 11:01 AM #4295    


Lynda L. Voswinkel (Boehm) (1962)

Jerry 4294

So,so sorry for your loss. Not just a sister but your twin. Thank you for letting us know. She was Class of 1962.

03/20/19 11:57 AM #4296    

Lawrence Tracy Lott (1976)

Judy #4293

Thanks for posting this - I looked yesterday early and didn't see anything. Now the shops are almost gone, but the ROTC building is still standing. Sad day indeed - I took a good look around at the Open House in December and the buildings definitely were not "falling apart". I understand that they want a fresh start, but throwing a huge amount of money at something for no good reason is a formula for disappointment. Just my $0.02... Tracy

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03/20/19 01:16 PM #4297    


Judy Maxwell (1971)



My thought and prayers go out to you and your family at the loss of your sister.



03/20/19 01:28 PM #4298    


Judy Maxwell (1971)


It is interesting to watch them tear it down.

I went to 2 couple of the tours of the old building and even though parts were ok, there are some major issues with a lot of the building. The gym and locker section was terrible and the pool area too. I know that the smell of mold was so stong my sister could not go back for the second tour. SHe had a lot of trouble breathing in the lunch room and in the hall ways. SO anyone with asthma would have a hard time stayng in the building and breathing.

I do wonder why some of the windows, doors etc...could not have been salvaged and perhaps sold or donated to someone. BUT that may cost more in the long run to do. A lot of Houston schools need to be upgraded and I am glad the students at Sam have a nice new building to attend ~ I bet grades go up just due to the better atmoshere they are in.

I have not heard from Mr. Monzon about how the abatement is going. I will shoot him an email or text and get an update. This morning looking at the camera the old shop buildings are gone and it looks like a bomb went off out there.


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