Wall of integration highlights history of campus inclusion


By Ariana Williams

A display showcasing the desegregation of TCU highlights important aspects of TCU’s history that may have been forgotten.

“From this day henceforth…Integration at TCU,” a display, is located at the west entrance of the Mary Couts Burnett Library and commemorates court cases, presidential elections and the civil rights movement in relation to on-campus events that highlight the progression of unity at TCU.

Timeline of events that is located near the University Drive entrance of the Mary Couts Burnett Library. Photo by Ariana Williams

The Special Collections team at the library was in charge of this initiative, which is headed by director Ann Hodges.

“The aim for the new display was that we wanted to support the university’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion,” Hodges said.

The events represented on the timeline highlight school-related events such as the first black nursing students, the black enrollment percentages at TCU and the approval of the National Panhellenic Council organizations on TCU’s campus.

Various archives were used by the Special Collections team to create the exhibit.

Mary Saffell, a senior archivist with the Special Collections team, said this was a necessary addition to the library because people have been curious about when and how TCU became integrated.

“We spent several years gathering the information,” Saffell said. “We thought that a good way to present the information was through the display.”

The wall did run into an issue, however, when the timeline display incorrectly cited the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency as 2009.

A student, Victoria Lyons, quickly took to Twitter and highlighted the mishap.

“I didn’t expect anything of it,” Lyons said. “After a week or so, TCU’s twitter responded saying they would fix it, and it was fixed fairly quickly, so I have no complaints on that end.”

Hodges said the incorrect timeline date was simply a mistake.

“It was just a human error, when you are proofreading and under a lot of stress it is very easy to miss a single digit,” Hodges said. “It was an accident and it certainly wasn’t intentional.”

The Special Collections team corrected the timeline and expanded the display to include wallpapers.

Wallpaper displaying the 1971 walkout that was staged by football players at the university. Photo by Ariana Williams

One event highlighted within the expanded wallpaper portion of the display was the walkout staged in 1971 by four football players.

Larry Dibbles, Hodges Mitchell, Raymond Rhodes and Ervin Garnett quit the football team because they felt the dress code policies in place for athletes explicitly targeted African Americans.

The integration wall is expected to be up until Jan. 19, 2020.