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Alton Alman Spearheads Integration in Plano

Alton Allman was raised in Plano and served as the city's mayor prior to the high school's integration in 1962 - 1964. "We used to go across the railroad tracks and back up to the Douglass Community to plant kickball with the black kids," he recalled. "Being around black people was never a problem. My mother and dad were very open-minded and never prejudiced, and I never heard them say a derogatory word toward black people. It was just sort of a natural thing."

Although the two groups lived as neighbors to each other, Lewis recalled a few periods of discomfort during Plano's integration process. "We had [a little] friction in integration. But there are only two times I know of. And I wasn't very smart, but I kept my head on a swivel. I knew my surroundings."

He remembered that at one point some of Jim Thomas's children had moved away from Plano. "One of the Thomas boys came back in town. He had been living in California or somewhere else on the West Coast, and he came to the front door of the Dairy Queen and wanted service," The owner of the Dairy Queen was a former Department of Public Safety Trooper and was still carrying his firearm. "The Thomas boy came in and demanded service. In a threatening manner, he demanded service," John Lewis recalled. The owner retrieved his weapon and told the man to get out and the young man left in such haste that he broke the glass in the door or window. "His father, Jim Thomas, found out and told him. 'Look, this is our home, this is our community. These people have helped you boys out -- they are my family, they are my friends. If you are going to act like that, you are not welcome in my home.' As far as I know, nothing ever came of that." added Lewis.


Football and Integration In Plano, Texas

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