This project was initiated in 2000 to document personal narratives about the coming of school desegregation in Texas communities. In partnership with the Texas Association of Developing Colleges (Dallas) and the Texas African American Heritage Association (Austin), Humanities Texas (formally the Texas Council for the Humanities) developed Parallel and Crossover Lives: Texas Before and After Desegregation, a pilot community oral history project at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins and Huston-Tillotson College in Austin.
With funding through the Extending the Reach initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the two private, historically black colleges hosted public screenings of Ricardo Ainslie’s grant-funded video Crossover Lives: A Story of Desegregation and held oral history workshops before launching projects to record oral histories from members of the community. Each project site produced a video, which can be rented through Humanities Texas. Interview transcripts are available.
An essay by Dr. Glenn Linden, Dedman College Associate Professor of History, Southern Methodist University, and author of Desegregating Schools in Dallas: Four Decades in the Federal Courts, offers a brief overview of the project.
Brief biographies of the people interviewed about their experiences with desegregation in their communities and schools.
This guide offers discussion and activity ideas related to the Civil Rights movement, desegregation on the national level, and the interviews available here. Download a PDF version of the Teacher's Guide.
Contact Humanities Texas to rent Parallel and Crossover Lives: Texas Before and After Desegregation, a video that includes Remembrances of Austin (oral histories collected by Huston-Tillotson College) and Remembrances of Fouke, Hawkins, and Big Sandy (oral histories collected by Jarvis Christian College).
Also available to rent is Crossover: A Story of Desegregation, a documentary directed by Ricardo C. Ainslie that addresses issues of cultural conflict and transformation by examining the impact of school desegregation on the community of Hempstead, Texas.