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

Dyess Elementary School

 
 
Dyess Elementary School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 19, 2016
1. Dyess Elementary School Marker
Inscription.  On January 21, 1963, Dyess Elementary was the first school in the Abilene Independent School District to integrate all students. African American military families living on Dyess Air Force Base were previously forced to send their children to the segregated Woodson School, which was located further from the base than Dyess Elementary. Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that school segregation was unconstitutional, the state of Texas passed House Bill 65 that prohibited the desegregation of schools without a local referendum.
     However, in December 1962, Texas Attorney General Will Wilson ruled that HB65 was unconstitutional. The Department of Defense also threatened to pull funding from Dyess Elementary if it was not integrated during the '62-'63 school year. Abilene Independent School District board members voted unanimously on January 14, 1963, to begin the integration of district schools. Dyess was chosen as the first school to integrate kindergarten through sixth grade. The board quickly approved new attendance zones to allow parents to choose between keeping their children at Woodson, or integrating them at Dyess. The
Marker in Front of Dyess Elementary School image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 19, 2016
2. Marker in Front of Dyess Elementary School
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following week, on January 21, 38 African American students began school at Dyess Elementary.
     The remaining AISD schools desegregated kindergarten through sixth grade in the fall of 1963, with the other grades integrating gradually. Complete integration of Abilene schools was achieved in 1970, 16 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s initial ruling.
 
Erected 2016 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 18470.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsEducation. A significant historical date for this entry is January 21, 1963.
 
Location. 32° 24.976′ N, 99° 48.831′ W. Marker is in Abilene, Texas, in Taylor County. Marker is at the intersection of Jennings Drive and Delaware Road, on the left when traveling west on Jennings Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 402 Delaware Rd, Dyess AFB TX 79607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Air Force Medal of Honor Recipients (approx. 1.1 miles away); 7th Bombardment Wing, Heavy (approx. 1.1 miles away); 12th Armored Division at Camp Barkeley (approx. 1.4 miles away); 12th Armored Division Memorial (approx. 1.4 miles away); Lt. Col. William E. Dyess (approx. 1.8 miles away); Abilene Woman's Club Building
Dyess Elementary School image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 19, 2016
3. Dyess Elementary School
Marker is visible at a distance in center background
(approx. 2.9 miles away); Prairie Dogs (approx. 3 miles away); Site of Western Cattle Trail (approx. 3˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abilene.
 
Also see . . .  Marker will denote Abilene’s first integrated school — Dyess Elementary. An article from the Abilene Reporter-News newspaper. (Submitted on January 14, 2017.) 
 
Dyess Elementary School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lescoe Gene Furrow
4. Dyess Elementary School Marker
The 2nd grade class at Dyess Elementary. First year of integration 1962-63 school year. Gene Furrow, back row, 2nd from right.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 14, 2017, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 267 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 14, 2017, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.   4. submitted on November 24, 2021, by Lescoe Gene Furrow of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.

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