Sam Tasby played a prominent role in the desegregation of public schools in Dallas, TX. Mr. Tasby was born in Arkansas in 1921. At age 20, he moved to Dallas where he married and had six children. In 1970, his son, Phillip, was denied admission to two all-white schools that were near his home and was forced to attend an all-black school miles away from the neighborhood where the Tasby family lived. Joined by the parents of 18 other children, Sam Tasby was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that charged the Dallas Independent School District with continuing a dual school system that was prohibited under the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
Mr. Tasby’s lawsuit made it possible for his son to attend a school in his neighborhood. It also led to the creation of magnet schools, bilingual education programs, and other innovations that have improved educational equity for all children in Dallas. Mr. Tasby believes that the lawsuit also helped desegregate public places in Dallas and created opportunities for residents of Dallas to secure better jobs. To honor Mr. Tasby, a coalition of 50 organizations in the Vickery Meadow area of Northeast Dallas worked with the Dallas Independent School District to develop four new schools, one of which is Sam Tasby Middle School, which opened in August 2006. Mr. Tasby attends many events at the school and was present on March 29, 2012 for the naturalization ceremony hosted by the school during which 57 immigrants from 23 countries became new American citizens. The school used the Citizenship Counts curriculum and worked closely with Citizenship Counts staff in preparation for hosting the ceremony.