Story Experience 1955-1980 (1955-1980, Section 1)
In its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory segregation in public schools in 21 states was unconstitutional. Segregation continued in other public facilities, including hotels, restaurants, restrooms, and hospitals, but the Supreme court decision lit a spark that encouraged African Americans in their long fight to end the era of Jim Crow.
In the early 1960s, students from Texas Southern University (TSU) joined the protest efforts of other African Americans by staging sit-ins to protest segregation at various public facilities in Houston. As in other southern cities, the students turned to African-American professionals and businessmen to provide the financial support for their efforts. The physicians of the Houston Medical Forum eagerly participated, paying bail to secure the release of protesters arrested.
In the decades following Brown v. Board of Education, the United States made great strides in the integration of its medical and educational institutions, although the changes were rarely uncontested or complete. As they continued to care for their patients, Houston’s African-American physicians often stood at the forefront of these transformative efforts.