Longview woman recalls her children's desegregation experience

Longview woman recalls her children's desegregation experience
Dorothy Walker says deseregation wasn't a problem for her kids. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - In August of 1970, Longview ISD was ordered by the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to desegregate. In honor of Black History Month, we spoke with Dorothy Walker who had children who were part of desegregation while attending LISD.

Dorothy Walker had a large family of seven kids, and she recently spoke with two of them about their experiences during Longview's desegregation, although all of them went through it.

Her daughter Vicki Lloyd started attending Longview High School rather than Womack, which was closed down by that time.

"I asked was she afraid and she says, 'momma, no, I wasn't afraid, but my friends and I were asked such dumb questions by the other students,'" Walker said.

Dorothy said some questions didn't come right away.

"One had stopped me at lunch and says 'does the black rub off?' And she says, 'momma, I looked at that person and I smiled and I went on about what I was going to do,'" Walker stated.

Vicki told her that question came up two months after school started, and she didn't answer it.

"There was no answer to a stupid question like that," Walker said.

Another daughter, Emily Lloyd, who went through desegregation in junior high school, didn't see a problem at all. She said:

"What is there to be afraid of?" Dorothy recalled Emily saying.

Extracurricular activities were required to have at least one minority. and Emily got involved when she went to high school.

"Emily got it, she was the first black girl to play on the tennis team," Walker recalled.

Vicki tried out for the Viewettes.

"She split her foot trying to do the high kick, and she has never forgotten that," Walker laughed.

Vickie didn't become a Viewette, but was involved in other activities. Dorothy was a PTA member and heard concerns from parents.

"The parents were more afraid than the kids," Walker said.

But it turned out her kids had no problems with desegregation. Dorothy, however was saddened by the closing of Longview black schools, K-12.

"They were losing part of our history, and the only thing that you can do is to be a part of the history that is to be, and be a good part of it," Walker said.

Initially there was a voluntary desegregation, but there were too few who took part, so it became mandatory.

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