Johnson, Thomas 1998-10-30

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Thomas Johnson discusses his work as an attorney for several Lubbock Independent School District civil rights cases.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Thomas Johnson

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: October 30, 1998

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Allison

Length: 1 hour, 35 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Thomas Johnson Born: Danville, Illinois (1939) Raised in Indiana Father: a physician Indiana University Was encouraged to attend law school because his best friend/fraternity brother attended law school University of Texas Law School (1963-1966) Lubbock, Texas Moved there after law school and began his practice Army (1961-1963) Reserves during Vietnam conflict Fortunate not to have been called University of Texas Law School (again) Lubbock (again) Practicing law in Lubbock since 1966 University of Texas Law School (again) Training Study of law Lubbock (again) Reasons for choosing Lubbock Weather Law Practice: McWhorter, Cobb and Johnson Lubbock Bar Association Good Lawyers Charles Cobb Tried lawsuits Litigation since 1977 Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) A client of McWhorter, Cobb and Johnson Very little litigation up until the 1970s Lawsuits against LISD Civil rights Student rights Desegregation Equal access Desegregation Reasons for desegregation Hal Woodward (1970) Federal district court judge Phases of litigation (1977) Deliberate segregation by LISD Precedence in cases Busing CASS’s intervention neighborhood organization Magnet schools Tool to help desegregation, Approved in 1978, CASS (again), Hal Woodward (again), Magnet schools (again), Lubbock School Board and the School Administration, Changes due to litigation of desegregation, Lubbock (again), Busing, School closings, Achieve desegregation, Too small to keep open, LISD’s position.

Tape 1, Side 2: LISD position (continued), Neighborhood school policy, No intentional segregation, Neighborhood school policy (again), Struck down in the South, Many landmark cases helped strike this defense, Federal Government sued the school district not the city, Unitary Status and LISD, Lubbock (again), Emotions of the citizens, Social issues involved with the desegregation case, School closings (again), Carroll Thompson Junior High, Lubbock and desegregation attempts, William Bradford Reynolds, Assistant U. S. Attorney General for Civil Rights, Opinions, Declaration of the Unitary Status, Presidential administrations, Opinions, Lines of Authority with civil rights case, Justice Department files suit for the government, Hal Woodward (again), Non-partial judge, Filed in 1970, dismissed in 1991, Longest litigation in this part of the country, Equal access case, School prayer in regards to LISD (1979), Lubbock Civil Liberties Union filed suit in the, federal district court, Claim: school prayer violates First Amendment.

Tape 2, Side 1: Equal access case (continued), 1981-1982: court reversed Woodward’s decision found school prayer is unconstitutional, Lubbock ACLU v LISD, Petitioned the U. S. Supreme Court, Leon Jaworsky, U. S. Supreme Court, Decided not to go through with the case, The U. S. Supreme Court took a case similar to the LISD case; found it constitutional for religious, affiliated groups to meet before and after school on campus, Separation of church and state, Precedence in cases, Civil Rights Effort, Student Dress Code for LISD, Defenses for school boards, Student Dress Codes (again), Single Member school districts (1970s-1980s), Midland Texas, Case involving single districts, Effects on School Board concerning single member districts, Lubbock (again), School buildings all equal, School bus and train wreck (1973), Littlefield Texas, One of the largest accidents of this kind in the nation, on U. S. Highway 385, 7 children died 16 seriously injured, Lawsuit, Against the Santa Fe Railroad, Settled out of court, Johnson defended Santa Fe Railroad, Changes in Settlement Laws, Lubbock Bar Association (again), Involvement.

Tape 2, Side 2: Lubbock Bar Association (continued), Ethics, Growth.

Range Dates: 1939-1998

Bulk Dates: c. 1970-1980s

Access Information

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