In his upcoming presentation, Dr. Andrew J. Torget will describe his pedagogical approach to this project, along with the logistics and digital tools he used, offering a template for Southwestern faculty to facilitate original, high-impact undergraduate research in their own courses.

After the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954, schools began to integrate. Some did not. In 1956, Mansfield High School was ordered by the courts to desegregate, becoming the first Texas public school to do so. What followed became known as “the Mansfield Crisis,” when local white residents rallied to prevent black Texans from registering at the school.

Governor Allan Shivers refused to uphold the court order, and white Texans in Mansfield physically prevented the desegregation of Mansfield High. Public schools in Mansfield remained segregated until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Dr. Torget and 30 of his students conducted archival research on this crucial but often overlooked chapter in civil rights history, and assembled their findings into an interactive online exhibit that challenges the accepted national narratives of the era. 

Seeds of Empire bookA veteran of pioneering work in digital scholarship, Dr. Torget has been a featured speaker at Harvard, Stanford, Rice, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and the Library of Congress. 

In 2011, he was named the inaugural David J. Weber Research Fellow at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. 

His most recent book, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, won twelve book awards and prizes.

Dr. Torget will speak at 4pm, Thursday, April 19 in the Prothro Room, on the second floor of Smith Library Center.


The Crisis at Mansfield: A digital museum

Andrew J. Torget’s Website

Publisher’s Blurb on Seeds of Empire

Texas Slavery Project