Hattie Mae White made history when she was elected the first black to public office in Texas since the Reconstruction. While in his position on the Houston school board, White fought for desegregation and racial equality.
White graduated as valedictorian from Booker T. Washington High School and earned her degree from Prairie View A&M University. She spent several years teaching before marrying optometrist Charles E. White in 1941. The couple had five children.
After overhearing another parent announce it was not the right time for a black person to hold a position in office, White decided it was the perfect time to make her bid for position on the school board.
Her 1958 victory, shocked the conservative political establishment and wasn’t without incident. White’s car windshield was splintered by air rifle pellets and a gasoline-soaked cross was set ablaze in her yard after the election.
White spent nine years on the school board, championing desegregation and racial equality during her nine years as a school board member. Conservatives eventually defeated her bid for reelection in 1967. After the defeat, she returned to teaching, retired at age 70, and died seven years later, in 1993.
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