Linton, Dolores Burton (1910–1980)

By: Sherilyn Brandenstein

Type: Biography

Published: March 1, 1995

Dolores Burton Linton, black teacher, was born on February 21, 1910, in Seguin, Texas, the daughter of Samuel R. and Jennie Lee Burton. She grew up in Seguin, Hondo, and Moody, where her father taught school. She entered Samuel Huston College in Austin at seventeen but left after a year and became a schoolteacher. She had been teaching at Pleasanton, Texas, when she visited the poor and isolated black community of West San Antonio Heights in 1931. She learned that the closest school for black children was miles away in San Antonio. With no transportation available, the town's children attended irregularly.

Dolores Burton gained permission to use Paradise Cove, a former dance hall, for classes and organized a parents' petition drive requesting public funds to support the school. Leon Valley School District trustees authorized rent for the dance hall and enough salary for Burton to offer classes for six months. The students' parents contributed funds to cover a seventh. Using leftover textbooks, Burton opened her school one month after the official school year had begun, teaching all six grades herself. After three years the county built a one-room schoolhouse for her thirty students, but, like most of the town, the structure still had no water supply. The teacher transported water daily.

Dolores Burton married Walter Linton, a barber, in 1937. Having taken courses part time for nearly a decade, she graduated from Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson College) in 1939. Mrs. Linton interrupted her teaching career during World War II to work for the USO briefly, then returned to the West San Antonio Heights school. In 1946 a barracks building was moved onto the former site of the dance hall, providing a two-room school facility. Still, her classes had no water, indoor plumbing, or electricity until she persuaded the school board to construct a modern four-classroom school, which replaced the military building in 1952. That year she also completed her M.A. degree at Our Lady of the Lake College (now Our Lady of the Lake University).

Dolores Linton continued to teach multiple grades at the school until 1966, when a court order forced racial distribution of students. The Northside Independent School District transferred her and her students and closed their former school temporarily for repairs. She taught at Thunderbird Elementary School until retiring in 1971. The district named a new elementary school for her in 1980, in honor of her commitment to equal educational opportunities. She died on November 19, 1980, in San Antonio and was buried there. The Texas State Teachers Association honored her with its Human Relations Award posthumously in 1981.

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San Antonio Express-News, October 11, 1980. San Antonio Light, August 24, 1975, October 5, 1980. Vertical Files, University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio.
  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Educators
  • General Education
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sherilyn Brandenstein, “Linton, Dolores Burton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995

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