Mrs. Brenda Norwood Speaks at Mansfield Historical Society Annual Luncheon
Brenda Norwood and Raymond Meeks
The Mansfield Historical Society recently held their annual member luncheon at the MISD Administration Building in the Dr. Rachel Howell Room in the first Mansfield High School.
Over one hundred people were in attendance to listen to retired Mansfield teacher, Brenda Norwood, speak about her experience during desegregation of schools in Mansfield in 1965.
Local attorney Raymond Meeks introduced Mrs. Norwood, as they were both 1966 graduates of Mansfield High School – the first integrated graduating class in Mansfield. Raymond recalled that he had to walk about one mile every day to school at Erma Nash Elementary and Brenda (Hawkins) Norwood had to walk about one mile every day to school at the Colored School on Broad Street.
Brenda talked about her first day in the fall of 1965 at Mansfield High School located where Erma Nash Elementary School is today. She said there were crowds of people outside the school including photographers and newspaper reporters. When she and her sister entered the school the atmosphere inside wasn’t any more welcoming. She told her mother that first night that she didn’t want to go back but her mother would not allow them to quit. The girls took it one day at a time. She joined the choir and made it through her senior year and graduated in 1966.
Mrs. Thelma Louise Jones was Mrs. Norwood’s teacher until the 8th grade. In 1968 Willie Pigg asked Brenda to work for MISD as a special education assistant at Mary Orr school. She worked at Mary Orr raising her family with husband Norman Norwood. Mrs. Norwood earned her degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1996 and taught at Mary Orr until she retired.
A new elementary school will be named in honor of Mrs. Norwood and her accomplishments and dedication to the Mansfield community. Brenda Norwood Elementary is set to open in 2020 at 2101 Julian Feild Street in Mansfield.