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60th anniversary of WT’s integration to be commemorated

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:12 AM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - WT is honoring the legacy of the school’s first black students at a homecoming dinner to mark the 60th anniversary of integration at the university.

The dinner will be held at 6:00 p.m. in Legacy Hall on October 8.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

“Our Black students and all of our students of color today owe a debt of gratitude to those who took the first steps toward integration at WT,” said Angela Allen, the University’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Indeed, all students and the entire WT community need to hear these students’ stories. WT has a fundamental commitment to equity and dignity for all, and remembering and learning from our shared past shows us how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.”

West Texas State College (prior name of WTAMU) denied applications from at least two black students in 1959.

When John Mathew Shipp Jr. took his case to court, U.S. District Judge Joe B. Dooley found in February of 1960 that the school’s attempt to maintain a racially exclusionary college to be unconstitutional.

The case opened the door to black students in the fall of the same year, including Betty Jo Thomas, Mae Deane Franklin and Roy Watson.

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