“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Friona in Parmer County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Friona Schools

Friona Schools Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, May 3, 2012
1. Friona Schools Marker
Inscription. Friona has the distinction of being the first town in Texas to integrate its schools. The first school opened on this site in 1908 in a one-room frame building, with Roxie Witherspoon teaching 18 pupils. A two-story brick school finished in 1911 burned after being struck by lightning in 1922. A new two-story brick high school opened in 1924. Attendance grew in the 1940s, when rural schools at Lakeview, Messenger, Black and Rhea consolidated with Friona.

The school achieved its greatest fame in 1954. Racial segregation of schoolchildren was considered legal in the 20th century, reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. On May 17, 1954, the court overturned the decision, declaring segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” Federal and state government moved slowly to implement change, but in Friona, progress would not wait.

The Robert Walker, Jr. family came to town in September 1954. When Superintendent Dalton Caffey chose to enroll Walker's three African American sons in Friona's only school, he quietly achieved the first integrated public school in Texas. Caffey then informed the school board of
Friona Schools Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, May 3, 2012
2. Friona Schools Marker
his decision, and things generally went smoothly for the school and new students. The Walkers moved away during the school year, and in the spring of 1955 three more African American students attended school here. Since that watershed year, Friona schools have continued to uphold Caffey's wish for equal educational opportunity.
Erected 2006 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13615.)
Location. 34° 38.316′ N, 102° 43.235′ W. Marker is in Friona, Texas, in Parmer County. Marker is at the intersection of West 8th Street and Euclid Avenue, on the right when traveling west on West 8th Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Friona TX 79035, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Friona (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of First Church in City of Friona (about 800 feet away); Friona Women's Clubs (approx. 0.3 miles away); Site of Parmerton (approx. 6.1 miles away); Black Community (approx. 7.5 miles away); Bovina (approx. 12.5 miles away); Bovina Cemetery (approx. 12.5 miles away); Bovina United Methodist Church (approx. 12.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Friona.
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsEducation
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 197 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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