Other racially restrictive home lending, sales, and rental policies continued in practice until they were outlawed by President Lyndon Johnson’s Fair Housing Act of 1968. It was not until 1977 that the Community Reinvestment Act was able to target remaining discriminatory lending practices.
Public housing complexes, commissioned by Maverick in 1940, provided a safer living situation, but concentrated government housing facilities remained segregated until an executive order by President John F. Kennedy in 1964 prevented racial discrimination in federally funded housing. And the 2,554 units of the Alazan, Apache, Lincoln, Wheatley and Victoria Courts posed another problem: They improved living conditions, but provided no additional income for schools. They also ensured that the city would continue to group its low-income and minority citizens together, preserving white middle class areas where investment and wealth would be protected.
For most of the 20th century, virtually no area of life went unsegregated in San Antonio. In a 1984 interview, former Mayor Lila Cockrell noted as much: “Because you can see, you know, when you look back and think that segregation was still a part of San Antonio as recently as of about 20 years ago.” According to several studies, it’s still part of San Antonio today.
Which brings us back to school finance. As property values grew in white areas in the late 20th century until today, they stagnated or declined in areas available to black and Hispanic families. By tying school finance to property tax, which is based on the value of the property, the Texas Legislature built an inherently inequitable system. As of 2016, the “property wealth per average daily attendance” (property wealth per student) in Alamo Heights ISD was $1,179,836. Edgewood was at $91,813.
Over the course of the 20th century, a cycle of isolation, spurred by low property values, would keep Edgewood mired in difficulty. Meanwhile, innovation and wealth spread among its neighbors. The next essay in the series on Texas school finance examines how Edgewood was excluded from consolidation, perhaps its best chance at recovery.