MIDLAND, TX (Big 2/ Fox 24) – Segregated schools ended in America in 1954. However, many places in the nation were already desegregated, but in Midland it took them awhile for schools to be desegregated.
A former carver student and her husband lived through the time of segregation and desegregation in Midland and shared their story.
Robbyne Fuller, a former carver student, said walking to her school during the time of segregation was part of the norm during her time.
“We walked to school together, we had classes together, there were students going to break and into lunch and going from class to class just an ordinary day for ordinary students who grew up together in the community,” Ms. Fuller said.
Ms. Fuller said her teachers and mentors helped her and all of Carver students to get ready to what was to come – being outside of her community.
“We loved our school we loved our teachers; we had the utmost respect for them, and they taught us an awful lot,” Ms. Fuller said. “They taught us to respect our elders they taught us that we needed to certainly do all of our homework and that we needed to listen to everything they told us cause they were getting us ready for the world out there that we really had not been able to be in.”
A world, Robbyne Fuller said, many didn’t venture out in to go to school with other ethnicities. However, for Fuller she was ready to go into a world many of her teachers prepared her and others for.
“I got married and moved to Lubbock and that was the first time I had been able to work outside of my community,” she said. “The last job that I had when i was in midland i was the first african american to sell real estate and i began to sell property outside of our community over the other side of time and that was when i began to venture out across the track as you might say.”
James Fuller, Midland ISD Board of Trustee member, Chair of the Board Facilities Committee, and a member of the Board Policy Committee, shares his views during the time of segregation.
“I came over here as a young boy with my family. We had friends who lived in Midland; African American friends and I were able to see the obvious,” Mr. Fuller added. “There was one thing we would never, I think regain and I saw it in San Angelo the community ironically segregation contributed to that unity to that participation to that ethnic recognition that we were somebody and that we were capable of doing great things.”
1982 is when both Midland and Adessa officially desegregated and the Fuller’s say during the times of segregation and desegregation. The African American community pushed and fought for more.
“Segregation pushed schools like Black Shier and San Angelo, Black Shier in Odessa, Carver, Albine to be persistent,” Fuller said. “To persevere when people say no you can’t do it and that’s the message. On a daily basis when we went to school we were reminded both in midland and all of these other places I just cited you can achieve you go in there and do your very best.”
Community leaders say it is important to remember our history while growing our future. “What I want people to remember is not to repeat the history when you don’t know your history you’re sometimes doom to repeat it,” Fuller added. “Just because segregation was then and it is not now it is to some degree still in this country.”