Friona Makes History: First Integrated School in Texas - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Friona Makes History: First Integrated School in Texas

Emily Allen Emily Allen
Freddie Walker Freddie Walker
Sharon White Sharon White

Friona will forever go down in the history books as being the first integrated school in Texas. It all started when one black family came to Friona as sharecroppers.

They had three children. Two of them were school age, and simply needed a place to get an education. Before Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream... before Brown vs. The Board of Education... Friona, Texas was making history. "This was in 1954 and all of that kind of thing didn't take place until 1960."

"He said sure, just have them get on the bus and they can come to school just like everybody else." And with that, Friona became the first city in Texas with an integrated school.

Emily Allen studied the Friona Integration extensively in high school. She says, "We couldn't afford to building another school, to have two separate schools, especially since there was only three children, they didn't have enough resources from that family to build another school, so they had to go to the only school here."

Freddie Walker's older brothers were the first black children to walk through the doors of that school. He says, "They would never let them do anything. A lot of times they wanna play football but they say sometimes they let them dress up but they kept them on the bench all the time. They never let him play."

It wasn't always easy for the superintendent's family either... Threats came in from as far away as Georgia and Alabama. Allen adds, "And there were a lot of phone calls coming in from parents, but all in all there wasn't any violent measures taken against that family."

Sharon White remembers it like it was yesterday...she was sitting in the classroom when those first black students walked in. And while some parents may have thought otherwise... "You sensed from the adults that there was something big going on," She and her classmates thought it was great fun. "There was some excitement in the air and we didn't really know why. I remember she was tall and nicely dressed. We all sorta fought over who would get to sit by her."

Freddie says he's proud of how far Friona has come... And he's living proof that change is possible. He says, "We always had a lot of dreams and look how it is now. I never thought I'd be sitting here with my own business. I worked all my life."

Freddie credits his brothers with opening the door for him and every other minority in Texas... Freddie's Tire Shop has been open for two years now and it's still going strong.


Summer Celebration 2009

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