Browse Exhibits (2 total)
From the time of its inception in 1915, the Texas chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fought for the rights of black residents in the Lone Star state. Even with resistance from the Ku Klux Klan, Citizen's Councils, and occasionally the Texas government, the NAACP continued to protest Jim Crow laws and put forth litigation that would heighten the status of African Americans as equal to that of white citizens.
The organization had many peaks and valleys in the 20th century, from closing chapters due to heightened violence to winning long-fought battles in courtrooms. The biggest blow to the organization was a state trial that attempted to prohibit the NAACP from operating in the state. The determined activists persevered and continue to affect change in Texas today.
On August 17, 1956, a mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Jackson v. Rawdon stated in part “Nathaniel Jackson, Charles Moody, and Floyd Stevenson Moody, and all other negro minors of the same class as the named minor plaintiffs, have the right to admission to, and to attend the Mansfield High School on the same basis as members of the white race, and that the refusal of the defendants to admit plaintiffs thereto on account of color or race is unlawful.” Floyd S. Moody, one student named in the case, recalled that thirteen days later on August 30, 1956, the three named students along with L. Clifford Davis, T.M. Moody, and John Lawson went to register at Mansfield High School where Superintendent R.L. Huffman told them, "That would never happen." The following day, August 31, 1956, residents of Mansfield and surrounding areas gathered at the high school, joined by Texas Rangers, sent by Governor Allan Shivers to “maintain law and order.” Oral histories, area newspapers, NAACP regional archives, and documents in the Mansfield Historical Society and Mansfield Library convey the anxieties of the town, the curiosity of outsiders, the anger of radical segregationists, and the fears of local African Americans.