Today, students in Dallas are heading back to school, many to Sam Tasby Middle. The school’s namesake, Sam Tasby, passed away on Sunday, August 16 from prostate cancer. He was 93 years old. Though Tasby was not one to enjoy the spotlight, he initiated a lawsuit 45 years ago that would forever change education in the city of Dallas.

In 1970, Tasby filed a court case against the DISD superintendent, Dr. Nolan Estes, because his sons weren’t allowed to attend a “white school” near their home in Arlington Park. Instead, they had to attend a “black school” further away. This was 16 years after the Brown v. Board ruling in 1954. This lawsuit initiated years of integration efforts in the district, including bussing programs and the creation of magnet schools. To learn more about those programs, take a look at this post about the Brenda Fields Dallas Schools Desegregation Collection.

Early on, Tasby found himself the subject of considerable harassment. However, as the years passed, he was beginning to be seen as a prominent, yet quiet and humble, activist in the world of equal education. In 2010, Sam Tasby Middle School was named in his honor. Dallas citizens should take a moment to reflect on how times have changed since that lawsuit started in 1970.

The materials in the Brenda Fields Dallas Schools Desegregation Collection offer a view of the changing educational landscape in North Texas following the Tasby v. Estes case. Court reports and six VHS recordings of NAACP public meetings concerning parental involvement in schools are exciting inclusions of this collection.


-by Alexandra Traxinger Schütz

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