Council To Get Rid of 83-Year-Old Ordinance Defining Segregation

Lubbock City Council will put an 83-year-old ordinance up to a vote Wednesday, and the vote is to do away with it. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire has been digging through city archives and tells us why the ordinance is an issue.

The ordinance was written in 1923 with the goal of segregation in mind. However, Tuesday, city council members say the ordinance is a negative reflection on Lubbock's history.

You can find signs of unity and integration across Lubbock today. However, a part of Lubbock's past many would like to forget is resurfacing.

"There are a lot of things in our past that none of us are proud of and we hope those get rectified and things get better as we move along as a country, as a state and also as a city," said Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Martin.

He's referring to what's listed as ordinance number 225 in the city's archives. The ordinance stated African-Americans could only live in what was then most likely considered southeast Lubbock south of Avenue C and east of 16th Street, which is now considered central Lubbock. Because so much has changed geographically and racially since then, the city council will officially repeal the ordinance.

Written in 1923, the ordinance states "their residence is dangerous to the health and pollutes the earth and atmosphere." Anyone found violating the zoning ordinance, would be subject to fines up to $200.

"If we're going to have something in our archives that's so detrimental to the unity of the city of Lubbock, that should be squashed, completely out of our archives, put to rest," said City Councilman Floyd Price.

Price remembers when race divided Lubbock. He recalls when African-Americans could buy food at downtown restaurants, but they couldn't sit inside.

"I remember all that and those are the things we need to get out of the mix," said Price.

The nation has made great strides in the civil rights movement since 1923. Most cities, including Lubbock have a street named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Price says Lubbock needs to continue with that progress.

"We don't need anything like that on the books of Lubbock where people can go back and research and say this that and the other. We need to move forward, not stay back where we were in 1923," says Price.

In 1959, the city created a new code book that did not include ordinance 225. We looked at the books and saw that the draft was never signed or dated and an attorney said he believes that could mean it was never an actual law. The city council will vote to officially remove it on Wednesday.

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Lubbock Segregation Ordinance
Lubbock City Council is set to do away with an 83-year-old ordinance dealing with racial segregation. Read the entire ordinance here. (Image is large and may take a few moments to load.)