McKinney ISD Trailblazer Reflects on Legacy of Integration

A McKinney Independent School District legend toured the campus named in his honor this week.

Leonard Evans, Jr. is considered a pioneer in the district, as the first black teacher to leave MISD's segregated high school.

This week, a McKinney tour for senior citizens brought together some of the trailblazers of the district's integration in the 1960s.

Evans and several dozen other senior citizens toured three schools on Wednesday, including Evans Middle School, his namesake.

The school has been open since 2004, but the novelty of having a living legacy hasn't worn off for Evans, a retired teacher and coach now in his 90s.

"I come by here two, three times a week  just to see my name," he said.

Evans was the district's first black staff member to cross the line of segregation in the district, leaving all-black Doty High School in the mid-60s.

He said the welcome within the district was warm, but there were hurdles to integration, like finding him a suitable office.

"It was a broom closet and I was in with the janitors," he recalled.

Evans' longtime friend George Webb was also on the tour this week.

He was among the board members who voted in favor of integration, specifically for Evans to change schools.

According to Webb, the district tour in 2015 is quite a contrast to 1965.

"It's so great to see the difference of when we had it segregated, of everyone together," he said. "Sometimes I think we started something, but we should have started it sooner."

Evans said he learns something new about McKinney ISD every time he visits his namesake campus, and, always the teacher, said they've earned a grade with a "big number, a 98.7 percent."

However, Evans wants to see minority students continue the work he started decades ago, stressing the need for minorities to be involved in the arts and music.

"But they're going in the right direction," he said.

Evans also served as a McKinney ISD trustee, retiring from the school board after more than a decade of elected service. He first joined MISD in the 1950s.

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