Texas Christian University Examines its Ties to Slavery, the Confederacy, and Racial Segregation

Texas Christian University’s Race & Reconciliation Initiative has released the First Year Survey Report following nine months of intensive exploration, uncovering documents and artifacts, and hosting public forums and town halls. The report covers the founding years, 1861-1891 and the racial integration of the university.

Among the findings of the study are:

  • The research revealed that the father of the university’s founders owned slaves. The founders did not own slaves, but their upbringing did expose them to slavery and racism.
  • The university’s founders were Confederate soldiers who believed they fought for their family’s survival and against “invaders from the north.”
  • Several decades before TCU officially desegregated its entire campus, a small number of Black students had partial access to a TCU education. The first evidence of any Black person taking classes at TCU occurred in 1942-1943, during the Second World War. TCU obtained government contracts to provide “background training for naval & marine officers, soldiers and for airplane pilots.”
  • Next to soldiers, teachers were among the first Black people to enroll in educational opportunities supported by TCU in the 1950s. Such opportunities were limited, usually not transcribed, and done reluctantly.
  • On January 29, 1964, the TCU board of trustees moved to racially integrate the entire campus, the seventh (out of eight) of the Southwest Conference universities to desegregate. The first full-time Black undergraduates were admitted in the fall of 1964. All students in the first Black undergraduate class departed TCU after only one year.

“I am grateful to the students, faculty, and staff who contributed to this independent academic endeavor to fully uncover the university’s history,” said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “This arduous journey required the utmost integrity in our analysis process but was also a personal journey for many Race & Reconciliation Initiative committee members.”

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