Forced integration leads to bussing of highschool students



Just as Pleasantville was being constructed, the nearest highschool, Phillis Wheatley High in neighboring 5th Ward, was undergoing a renaissance from which it would emerge as one of the best Black schools in the south. Forced integration in 1970 meant Pleasantville’s students were unwillingly re-zoned to Sam Houston High twelve miles away.

Until 1970, the young people of Pleasantville were zoned to Phillis Wheatley High school, just three miles outside the neighborhood in the community of 5th ward. In 1950, Wheatley High underwent a major renovation to become a crown jewel of Black secondary education in the era of segregation. A Houston Chronicle article from the time called it “the finest negro high school in the south.” Desegregation was slow to come to Houston’s schools, and in 1970, an integrationist slate of candidates won seats on the school board, leading to widespread rezoning and forced integration. Pleasantville was re-zoned to Sam Houston High School, twelve miles away. Wheatley, of which the neighborhood had been quite proud, began a period of decline.