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Johnson / Incorporation of Prairie View, TX, Part Two

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Johnson: We get our lights through St. Bernard, a co-op. Most of us. Some on the fringes have a different electric and, of course, you know you can go individual. They have ways now. Different companies provide, but basically, yeah, the—and quite often the people from the university who work at the university make up the government. Either working actively or former workers. They may have a few instances where somebody lives somewhere else and holds some kind of position. Interviewer: If I remember correctly when we spoke with Mayor Frank Jackson, he said that the incorporation started because it was the president of the university at Prairie View at the time wanted the city to be incorporated and I think he was also elected the first mayor of Prairie View? Interviewer: Yeah, or the president of the council. Johnson: Do what? Interviewer: The president of the university, he gained a leadership position when the town incorporated. Either mayor or as—I think mayor. Interviewer: I think it was mayor if I’m not mistaken. I forget what his name was. I have it in my notes somewhere. (crosstalk) Johnson: I don’t know—the first mayor was a former corn farmer over here. I don’t—Frank is about the highest official—well, there have been others early on, but not president. I don’t know of a president that was mayor. Interviewer: At Prairie View? I’ll have to look at my notes. Maybe I have it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t president. Maybe he was trying to run for mayor and there were some conflicts. I can’t remember. Interviewer: We’d have to look back, but yeah, he did say there was a lot of tension though. Johnson: Oh yeah, because what happened, this first mayor I’m talking about, he had been elected quite a few times as mayor. Somehow or another again, the HGA had them to continue the sewage with the university and I think the mayor had a different idea about the line going to the sewer from the city and I think the mayor arrested the president. Of course, he subsequently filed a suit and won. The tension is still existing on that because I think the city owes the university a lot of money for processing the sewage that they can’t seem to bring to an amicable end somehow.

Interview Interview with James E. Johnson
Subjects Education › Higher Education
Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics › Local Elections
Tags Prairie View A&M University
Jackson, Frank
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Interview date 2015-07-21
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees Johnson, James E.
Interviewers Acuña-Gurrola, Moisés
Bynum, Katherine
Locations Prairie View, TX
Duration 00:03:41
Citation "Incorporation of Prairie View, TX, Part Two," from James E. Johnson oral history interview with Moisés Acuña-Gurrola and Katherine Bynum,  July 21, 2015, Prairie View, TX , Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed December 01, 2020