Neighborhood integration across the United States was a challenge to say the least. Blacks met great resistance when trying to integrate all white neighborhoods during the civil rights movement. Many times if blacks had the opportunities to move into white neighborhoods they would be the only residents and their movement into the neighborhood would prompt a term coined “white flight.” This meant the mass exodus of whites from a neighborhood due to integration and fear of dropping property value. While not all whites would flee some took more drastic measures like antagonizing the African American home owners or even bombing their homes to force them our of the neighborhood.
The neighborhood integration movement in Fort Worth progressed slowly and violent occurrences happened during the process. Many of our interviewees talked about their negative experiences from neighborhood integration.
Meijore Crenshaw highlights her experiences with neighborhood bombings.
“Across Evans they bombed a house and blew the porch out. They were going to do a bombing but somebody stopped them, they got into the house on Morphy before night with their rifles and stopped the bombing.”
She discussed that the white children did not see color.
“ The kids had no problem those white boys would come down here and play football and baseball. I told them that the children had more sense then the grown folks they had a good time”.
She explains her encounters with the Ku Klux Klan
“ The Klan had a little house on the corner where they had meetings, and when my dad would go out of town on his run to texarcana they use to rock our house at night. My mother slept with a 45 by her bed, and my dad said don’t ask any questions just shoot if they bother you.”
Loyd Austin speaks on his experiences in the community.
“I was grown and married. I moved over on riverside on Judkins street, I passed the house all the time when I pastored the church. I was going out to my wife’s church; they called it Mossier Valley, a little ole black community. We passed by this house, finally they put a sign for sale out in front. One day I said why don’t we see if we can by that house? I was by a white community and the man was real nice that was selling it, He worked for merchants freight line. I asked him if he would sell it to me. He said he would sell it to anyone that has some money, so he sold it to me. We went down and got it all, we were so poor that we had just enough to pay down on it, and he did whatcha call a second note and um, we did it like that. Well moved in there on Labor Day, was it labor day, yeah I think it was Labor Day. I moved in there on Labor Day…. Well we moved in and the white people started to migrate from everywhere, the street just piled with them. And um… every was calling you nigger, nigger this, nigger that. We hadn’t done nothing to nobody but bought a house, so we was unloading our stuff carrying it back and forth in the house and they were picking at us all kinda way. So we got through with the moving and the fellow around the block was gonna make us move because we didn’t have no business over there. We don’t need no niggas over here. Lloyd don’t you wanna move out of here, don’t you wanna cause no trouble, I said what you talking about, I didn’t cause no trouble. I bought this house this is my house. Naw it nonna house it’s a white community you aint supposed to be in here. I might supposed to be in here but I bought it. So he tried to make me move… all the dignitary’s had a big meeting with me, so they asked me Lloyd don’t you want moved out of this and not cause anyone no trouble. I got peace, I aint causing no on no trouble. I thought we call this America, well I aint moving no where. The chairman said, this nigga you heard what he said this meeting is adjorned. It alright with me cuz I aint movin. I didn’t move, so they kept picking at me, the white people did so one day I was sitting in the living room and they talked about burning my house down. So I said to my wife, well missy I think I have had enough of this, I don’t want no more of this. Im gonna hurt me somebody, still got it. 22 revolvers holds 13 pump, so I went in there and raised the window, the street was like that, packed. I shot out the window I just raised it up high enough to shot out. POW!! Everybody running and jumping and going. There was a man that had a 55 shouly. He lived way out there by TCU somewhere; he didn’t have no business over here. But anyway the bullet ricochet off the front of his car, I didnt hit nobody. And then he says in the fort worth star telegram, we gonna run this nigga out of here he hit my car. Wel then I wrote me up an adjunct story the same thing, he didn’t have no business over here. Cuz I aint gonna take it back cuz he didn’t have no business over here.”
Roy Brooks on the neighborhood migration
Overall the only way that neighborhood integration was accepted was by force, eventually whites could not escape blacks moving into their neighborhoods. The blacks began to move into these neighbors in a search for a better quality of life understanding that their children had little chance of going to the schools surrounding these neighborhoods.
” Fort Worth was unique in that blacks lived in every quadrant of the city and in between. We were often segregated by one street. You could not escape black people if you lived in Fort Worth because they were all over the place.”
Bob Ray Sanders
“ In fact another black family had bought a house maybe the second door from us. They never let the whites in that house know they owned it. Somebody collected the rent for them. It was that bad.”