African American Library at the Gregory School

Ernestine Mitchell Collection MSS.0052

An Inventory of her Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Mitchell, Ernestine S.
Title: Ernestine Mitchell Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1959-1969
Dates: 1946-2011
Identification: MSS.0052
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: African American Library at the Gregory School

Biographical/Historical note

Ernestine Stewart Mitchell was born October 3, 1928, to Reverend Timothy and Mrs. Malinda McBeth Stewart; the fifth of eight children, she graduated valedictorian from Marshall High School in Angleton, Texas, in 1946.

Ernestine Mitchell's teaching career began in Houston in 1957, when she was assigned to teach first grade at the Old Gregory School in Freedmen's Town, Fourth Ward. She remained in this position for ten years. In 1967, as a participant in HISD's desegregation efforts, Mrs. Mitchell was asked to become a Crossover teacher. She was transferred to Kolter Elementary School in Southwest Houston, which was populated mostly with the children of prominent Jewish families in the area. Because of her position as Crossover teacher during HISD's desegregation period, Mrs. Mitchell was transferred rapidly from school to school as teacher and assistant principal as part of the school system's desegregation plan. She simultaneously returned to college and earned a Master of Education degree as well as an administrative certification. In 1973, she was assigned to Allen Elementary School as principal and, after three years of concerted efforts, had one of the most productive schools in the district. Mrs. Mitchell retired in 1988, after 36 years in education.

Scope and Contents note

The Ernestine Mitchell Collection contains letters, certificates, and newsclippings that chronicle her career in education and of her family history in her hometown of Angleton, Texas.

Much of the materials within the collection reflect a period in Houston’s educational history in which schools were desegregated by federal law. What followed were “Crossover Teachers”, African American teachers who had initially taught in segregated African American elementary schools who were brought in to teach at predominately white schools. This is the story of that period.


Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by subject and material type.


Conditions Governing Access note


Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Ernestine Mitchell Collection must be obtained from African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder. Please ask reference staff for information and assistance on the possibility of photo duplication and any associated fees. The library reserves the right to restrict duplication.

Index Terms

African American women--History--20th century
African American women--Texas--Houston
Gregory Elementary School
Kolter Elementary School
Public Schools--Texas--Houston

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by Ernestine S. Mitchell, March 2011

Processing Information note

Erin Norris, August 2011

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box Folder
1 1 HISD Letter of Assignment as Teacher, Gregory School (1957)

Box Folder
1 2 Certificates of Participation
Professional Growth Course-Elementary Science (October 27, 1959)
Professional Growth Course-Arithmetic (March 14, 1960)
Professional Growth Course-Phonetics and Word Structure (December 10, 1962)
Professional Growth -Teaching Modern Mathmatics (December 13, 1965)
Professional Growth Course-Personal Speech Improvement (April 6, 1966)
N.D.E.A. Summer Institute for Teachers (1966)
MacGregor Professional Growth Course (June 30, 1969)
Transcript of Pasadena College Summer Courses (August 4, 1966)

Box Folder
1 3 Program
Erma Hughes Business College-program commencement exercises autographed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964)

Box Folder
1 4 Diploma
Angleton High School-Ernestine Stewart Mitchell (1946)

Box Folder
1 5 Certificate of Appreciation
A.B. Marshall High School Reunion (2010)

Box Folder
1 6 Program
Marshall High School Reunion Program (1994)

Box Folder
1 7 Biography
Ernestine Stewart Mitchell (2 pages n.d.)

Box Folder
1 8 Stewart and Mitchell Family Histories
Malinda McBeth Bradshaw Stewart (2008)
An Index to the 1867 Voters' Registration of Texas (n.d.)
In Memory of Mrs. Theresa J. Stewart (n.d.)
In Memory of Professor Abraham B. Marshall (n.d.)
In memory of Mr. Thomas J. Wright (n.d.)
Timothy Marshall Stewart Sr. (n.d.)

Box Folder
1 9 The Learner's Creed
The Learner's Creed bookmark (1988)
The Learner's Creed information brochure (n.d.)
The Learner's Creed poster (1988)
The Teacher's Creed-sheet of self affirmations (2011)

Box Folder
1 10 Photograph
MSS0052.001-8 x 10 color portrait of Ernestine Mitchell (n.d.)

Box Folder
1 11 Correspondence
Letter from Ernestine Mitchell to Dr. Patricia Montgomery (August 3, 2010)
Letter of reply to Ernestine Mitchell from Dr. Patricia Montgomery (October 18, 2010)

Box Folder
1 12 Angleton Colored and Abraham B. Marshall High School
The History of the Angleton Colored Schools and Abraham B. Marshall High School (n.d.)

Box Folder
1 13 Newsclippings
"City School Assignment Rules Issued" Houston Chronicle (August 7, 1970)
"Poor neighborhoods don't always mean poor students" by Susan Besze Houston Post (October 15, 1993)
"Willie A. Stewart: Recording the last train call" by Leon Hale Houston Post (November 29, 1981)
Miscellaneous newsclippings of Ernestine Mitchell along with 3 photos of Elementary School classes she taught (photocopied) (n.d.)
"Growing up black: Close-knit family proud of Freeport roots" by Melanie Markley, The Facts (March 15, 1981
"Dallas blacks recall integrating diners" by Eliot Kleinberg, Dallas Morning News (April 27, 1985)
"The Crossover Teachers' by Brenda Beust Smith. Houston Chronicle (December 14, 1969)
"Houston School Integration Plan may be Appealed" by Fred Harper, Houston Chronicle (June 2, 1970)
"New Principal Posts Approved" (unknown author and newspaper) (n.d.)
"Desegregation, considerable assimilation but little integration in 40 years" by Clarence Page, Houston Chronicle (1994)
"HISD reading guru Lott retires" by Melanie Markley, Houston Chronicle (February 16, 2002)
"Text of Desegregation Opinion by Judge Connally", Houston Chronicle (June 2, 1970)
"40 School Administrators Volunteer for Crossover", Houston Chronicle (April 5, 1970)