September 7, 1971: Judge Taylor Creates Busing System for Desegregation

After Brown v. Board of Education forced desegregation in schools on May 17, 1954, many Southern cities resisted, much like Dallas’ Independent School District (DISD). After 15 years of struggling to implement a desegregation plan in Dallas, Judge William Taylor passed a forced busing plan (McCorkle, 2008, p. 305).

In 1970, Tasby v. Estes went to federal court and Judge Taylor was set to hear the case. He was in favor of desegregation and was looking for a way to implement a plan in Dallas that would appease the equality movement in schools. In Tasby, the argument focused on the fact that black schools were inferior to white schools in quality of textbook, their libraries, their educational services, and the facilities. Because of these differences in quality, black and brown students were underperforming and it was being reflected in test scores (McCorkle, 2008, p. 311).

In response to this case, Judge Taylor directed TEDTAC to draft a plan that would incorporate busing into the desegregation effort, but this plan was not received well by the black community. Many leaders in the community felt that it was unfair to only bus black children into white schools and not bus white students into black schools as well. They called for two-way busing in the new plan (McCorkle, 2008, p. 311).

Shows desegregation beginning in public schools, with children of every background and color going to the same school (McCorkle, 2008).

When Judge Taylor made his ruling in Tasby, it was clear that he was not focused on the “separate but equal” dimension and was mainly concerned with the segregation of DISD. In order to avoid massive crosstown busing, which would be highly disruptive, Taylor requested a new busing plan that would be due in one week (McCorkle, 2008, p. 314).

This plan created a tri-ethnic committee that contained many people that felt that black schools did not offer quality education programs and wanted proportional desegregation of the staff. Ultimately, this lead to the creation of the “Confluence of Cultures” plan, which led to 5,000 juniors and seniors being bused to other schools. Also, it created “TV integration” that would help young children who could not be bused get interaction with students of a different race (McCorkle, 2008, pg. 215).

An old newspaper showing Oak Cliff residents protesting the forced busing mandate (The Commit Partnership, 2021).

After the forced busing was enacted, it lead to lots of violence and unrest between the different races in the same school. The media took over and put out articles about violence in low-income, minority schools, which scared the white families who had children attending school there. Because of these failures, DISD slowed down their efforts of desegregation and made the quality of education in black schools more of a priority (McCorkle, 2008, p. 331).

Dr. Emmet Conrad, the first black member of the DISD Board of Trustees, said:

“Busing is the one weapon minority groups have to achieve equal education.”

Dr. Emmet Conrad, DISD Board of Trustees

Using busing as a weapon helped minorities achieve better teachers, smaller class sizes, and better test scores, showing improvements in many of the problems they highlighted.

A few years later, it became apparent that massive amounts of white flight was occurring in Dallas. The only students left in Dallas public schools were those who could not afford to attend private school, and it was a predominantly minority school system. According to D Magazine, 36.89% of white students in 4th-6th grade dropped out of public school within one year of Taylor’s busing plan (Curts, 1977, par. 9-10).

At the beginning, the white flight occurred because of racist beliefs and the fear of white students sitting next to black students in schools. The white flight that occurred a year afterwards was attributed to the fact that schools were losing resources and the quality of education was declining. Parents did not want their students falling behind, so they sent them to private schools instead (Curts, 1977, par. 10).

Busing was also harmful to communities because students could no longer participate in sports and extracurriculars because they lived too far away to travel the long distances to the school. Parents were also less involved in the schools and this hurt the culture that pulled people together (Curts, 1977, par. 16).

To learn more about how Dallas county handled desegregation, and the effects that still linger in Dallas today, listen to the podcast from The Commit Partnership (2021) below:



McCorkle, G. S. (2008). Busing Comes to Dallas Schools. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 111(3), 304–333.

Partnership, T. C. (2021, October 27). The Miseducation of Dallas County:… ( [Text/html]. The Commit Partnership; The Commit Partnership.