The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas

by Reginald McKnight

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What significant law has been recently enacted in "The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas"?

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This is not actually mentioned outright in the story, but it is obvious from the way the narrator describes his mixed classrooms that desegregation had only recently become law in much of Texas. He gives the year 1966. Although schools in Texas began the process of desegregation in 1955, it was not until after the Mansfield School District crisis in 1965 that all schools across the state were finally desegregated. As such, in 1966, desegregation was still a relatively new phenomenon in Texas; it is evident that in this story, the white children still see the black children in their classes as a novelty, with the small number of black children in each class viewed as spectacles or curiosities. The narrator, a black boy, has internalized the racism that surrounds him to the point where he is ashamed of the behavior of other black children.

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