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Ernestine S. Mitchell Collection

Identifier: MSS 0052

Scope and Contents

The Ernestine Mitchell Collection contains personal and professional papers of Ernestine Mitchell. This collection, which dates from 1946 to 2011, contains letters, certificates, newsclippings, and photographs that chronicle her career in education and of her family history in her hometown of Angleton, Texas. The majority of the photographs are digital only and are available online at the Houston Public Library Digital Archive.

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 initially taught in segregated African American elementary schools that were transferred to teach at predominately white schools.


  • 1946 - 2011
  • Majority of material found within 1959 - 1969

Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical / Historical

Ernestine Stewart Mitchell was a longtime educator and principal in the Houston Independent School District. She was born October 3, 1928, to Reverend Timothy and 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 Gregory Elementary 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.


0.25 Linear Feet (1)


The collection is arranged by subject and material type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by: Ernestine S. Mitchell, March 2011

Processing Information

Processed by: Erin Norris, August 2011
Ernestine Mitchell Collection
An Inventory of her Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Erin S. Norris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002