James Lee Dickey: An Analysis of One African-American's Leadership in Jim Crow Texas

Blackshear School 1947

The state of Blackshear School was abysmal. According to a 1969 report made by Taylor Superintendent T. H. Johnson, Blackshear School in 1950 had 49 pupils in each of two 1st  grade classrooms, 98 students in only one 2nd grade classroom and between 48 and 50 students in each of the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms. 3rd grade was fortunate to have only 28 in each of two classes. Some of the classroom floors had holes due to termites. None of the classrooms had electrical outlets. There were no facilities for science labs, industrial arts, or vocational activities. The classrooms windows were the only source of light. The school did not even have a clock. In 1947, Dr. Dickey petitioned the city council and school superintendent about overcrowding in the colored school and the decrepit hand-me-down equipment from the white school.  Several school board members voiced concerns that colored students would vandalize new desks until Dr. Dickey showed them a specific desk with the initials D. M. engraved in the wood. Dating from about 1912, it had likely been the desk of Dan Moody, the future governor of the state of Texas. In 1954, the city purchased all pristine desks for newly named Blackshear/O. L. Price School, and within another 3 years, eight additional classrooms, including chemistry and physics labs were added to the school. The plum of the expansion was the Blackshear/OL Price gymnasium built in 1957.

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