On this day in 1956, an angry mob surrounded Mansfield High School to prevent the enrollment of three African-American students in what became known as the Mansfield School Desegregation Incident. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had sued the Mansfield school district over its segregation of black schoolchildren. When a federal court ordered the district to desegregate--the first time a Texas school district received such an order--many white citizens resisted. Vigilantes barred integration sympathizers from entering town, whites hanged three blacks in effigy, and downtown businesses closed in support of the demonstrations. Governor Allan Shivers authorized the Mansfield school board to transfer black students to Fort Worth, seventeen miles away, and dispatched Texas Rangers to uphold the district's policy of segregation. The successful defiance of the federal court order helped inspire the passage of state segregation laws in 1957, delaying integration for several years. The Mansfield school district finally desegregated in 1965.
On this day in 1901, the El Paso Electric Railway Company took over as supplier of electricity for much of the Southwest from the Brush Electric Light Company. Brush had been organized in the late 1880s by Mayor Joseph Magoffin and the El Paso City Council at the urging of a group of local citizens. By 1890 El Paso pioneer Zach White had taken over the electrical business and installed generating equipment to enable the use of incandescent lamps in the city. The El Paso Electric Railway Company was originally incorporated in 1901 to provide power solely in the El Paso area. In 1905 the company purchased the International Light and Power Company, and in 1914 acquired the electrical divisions of the El Paso Gas and Electric Company. The name was changed to El Paso Electric in 1925. The company expanded into New Mexico. As it subsequently grew, it extended its services to other communities and added capacity from new generating plants, including nuclear and solar voltaic generators. By the 1990s the company was serving 550,000 customers over an area of 10,000 square miles.
On this day in 1862, Hood's Texas Brigade played a distinguished part in the battle of Second Manassas. After a Union assault was broken up by artillery fire, Confederate general Longstreet launched his First Corps, with the Texas Brigade in the lead, in one of the most successful counterattacks of the Civil War. The Fourth Texas Infantry, under the command of Lt. Col. B. F. Carter, captured a federal battery of artillery, losing eleven killed and twenty wounded in the process. After the battle the commander of the brigade, Gen. John Hood, encountered the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, who playfully asked him what had become of the enemy. Hood answered that the Texans had chased them across Bull Run "almost at a double quick." A regiment of New York Zouaves was shattered by the assault, and, seeing their brightly uniformed bodies scattered about the next morning, a Texan officer wrote that they gave the battlefield "the appearance of a Texas hillside when carpeted in the spring by wild flowers of many hues and tints."