First African-American Texas Rangers


Christine Nix was hired in 1994 and became an officer with the Texas Rangers after serving in the military and as a police officer in Temple before moving to another state.  She later returned to Texas, moving to Austin.  She happened to live near the Texas Department of Safety office which helped to spark her interest in returning to law enforcement.


Department of Public Safety had begun hiring female officers in 1972.  Nix hired was hired in 1984 and moved to the Texas Rangers after ten years.  This made her the first African-American female Texas Ranger, following Lee Roy Young, the first African-American Texas Ranger, in the late 1980s.

Christine Nix served with the Texas Rangers for ten years before retiring in 2004.  Upon her retirement, she became program coordinator and an assistant professor of Criminology at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.


The male first African-American Texas Ranger was Lee Roy Young.  Young was born in Del Rio in 1947.  After graduating from high school, he served four years in the United States Navy from 1966 to 1970 and recalled that when he boarded the ship on the west coast that the largest body of water he had seen prior to this had been a Texas lake.  After he was discharged from the Navy, he earned an associate degree from Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde and began to attend Sam Houston State until he was hired by the Texas Department of Public Safetly in 1973.  His Department of Public Safety class included the first female recruit in the history of the department, he believes.  Young’s first service was not as a patrolman but rather as part of Capitol Security in Austin for a couple of years.  He then transferred to become a patrolman, serving in Bryan-College Station before before transferring back the Del Rio area.

One of the requirements for becoming a Ranger was that the candidate needed to have eight years of experience in law enforcement, at least four of which needed to be with the Department of Public Safety.  Young continued to serve with Department of Public Safety until he joined the Texas Rangers in 1988 at the age of forty.  Young eventually relocated to McKinney were he served in a one man office.  Prior to his posting, Rangers would work crimes in the area from larger offices out of Garland or Greenville.

Reflecting back on his career, he could still recall the rush of emotion that he felt the day that he first wore the Texas Ranger badge.  He also recalled not being motivated by wanting to be the first at doing anything, and that becoming a Texas Ranger was something that he had previously felt the strong desire to do.  He had been acquainted with law officers as a youth and it was something that he wanted to do.  Young was treated with the mutual respect that one Ranger holds for another, and recalled thinking that whatever their background, all of the candidates had to go through the same process to become a Ranger.

Young retired from the Texas Rangers in 2003 after which he worked as a private investigator.  He realizes that he has become a role model, but hopes that one thing that he is able to convey is the need for people to be the best that they can at whatever they are trying to accomplish.

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