The separate but equal rule that defined many of Jim Crow laws extended into the realm of education. Black and white students could not attend the same schools, and there was a distinct discrepancy between the quality of educational institutions of black students and the quality of educational institutions of white students. Black schools received far less funding, which in turn meant that the schools had fewer resources, books and money to pay for teachers. Teaching salaries were low as many black teachers were not paid enough to support their families, and they were often forced to work service jobs at night in order to make some extra money. The magnitude of neglect of black schools by the surrounding white power structure helped to produce black schools that were not equal to white schools.
As a teacher, Marjorie Crenshaw experienced the inequities of the school system firsthand:
“Well I know one thing is that they didn’t want to be with us, and it didn’t matter how much education you had, it was the color of your skin. And finally when they integrated well you had to meet together and there were a lot of folks that didn’t want to do that. The equipment that we had was always less, ah the materials that we had were less than theirs, and most of the black teachers, you saw their salary being used to buy some things so that the children would have, it was the sacrifice you made. Because the district didn’t give it to you, and if you needed something you were lucky to get it if you asked for it. We always got the dilapidated books, worn out, old books. Yeah, so uh it’s like here’s something for you. And eventually when integration came we got new books that weren’t torn up. I remember having to use scotch tape to keep books together sometimes.”
– Marjorie Crenshaw
There were some cases in which the inequities of black schools could be avoided in elementary school, as there were a few catholic schools in Fort Worth in which black students could attend. After elementary school, black students would all be forced to enter the segregated school system, in which students that attended catholic elementary schools often were ahead of the students that attended black elementary schools. Fort Worth only housed one black High School called I.M. Terrell. I.M. Terrell was the only school within a large radius that black students could attend, which meant that some students were forced to ride a bus for 40 miles just to attend school.