Martin Luther King Jr.

Julian Bond, civil rights activist and former Georgia state senator, stressed the importance of millienals in advocating for continued progress in civil rights. 

A distinguished figure in American history, Bond recalled his early involvement in the civil rights movement. He was one of eight students to take a class taught by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

“Dr. King only taught one time. Only taught one class. Only eight people in the class. I’m one of the eight,” Bond said. “So I’m one of the eight people in the whole world who can say I was a student of Dr. King.” 

Bond expressed frustration in regards to a perceived stagnation in the fight for equality.

“[The civil rights movement] demonstrated the mobilization and courage of black people against white supremacy in a way that was unprecedented and has not been seen again,” Bond said. 

Bond referenced contemporary anecdotes in explaining the persistence of racism today.

“Obama’s election demonstrated one man’s singular achievement, not racial nirvana around the world,” Bond said. “The task ahead is enormous — equal to, if not greater than, the job already done.” 

Evan Garza, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum, said Bond reminded listeners they are in a new era for civil rights.

“In the 1960s, civil rights activists were fighting for fundamental rights,” Garza said. “Now, the fight is for social equity and equality on very real terms.” 

Bond discussed issues such as police shootings and the racial gap in health care and jobs. He said blacks are 33 percent less likely to have health care, and, in the past 25 years, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled.  

Jay Ellinger, intern for state Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), said 92 percent of 2013 arrests involved black people in Ferguson, Missouri, where riots broke out in 2014 after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man. 

“The only justification for these numbers is the system is inferior, or the system works against black people,” Ellinger said. 

According to Bond, race relations have improved, but present-day issues demand more action. Everyone should fight for police fairness and engage in the civic duty of voting, Bond said. He encouraged millennials to continue to unite and press for change.

Monica Rashed, international relations and global studies freshman, said she realized the importance of being a millennial.

“We’re the last generation to know people from the civil rights movement,” Rashed said. “We have to absorb their accounts, learn from them and build our own legacy.” 

UT students, staff and other members of the Austin community gathered to celebrate the life of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. through performances, speeches and a march throughout Austin.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Thousands of students and community members gathered around the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in the East Mall on Monday morning to celebrate King’s legacy and call attention to a number of social justice issues, including police brutality against African-Americans.

Brenda Burt, a Diversity and Community Engagement officer, said at least 15,000 people walked in the annual MLK Day march from campus to Huston-Tillotson University. The event began with speeches from civil rights activists and concluded with a festival at Huston-Tillotson, a historically black university.

In his keynote speech before the march, Kevin Foster, associate professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, said police brutality is one of the most crucial issues facing African-Americans today.    

“Our police are the most heroic when they don’t shoot,” Foster said. “That might sound like an odd thing to say, but the reality is they have been trained to be scared. We need to be developing the policies and programs to help [the officers] live into that greatest possibility. And the reality is that sometimes it’s difficult for them to not shoot because they do get scared.”

Foster said all people should work to protect the right to use video cameras in the event of an altercation and also promote the use of police body cameras. Many people of color still face police violence today, Foster said.

“If you are black in this country, we have never yet fully realized the possibility of a state that exists to protect us and to serve us and to have us live into the pursuit of happiness,” Foster said. “In fact, the reality has been that the darker your skin, the more likely you are to be shot while unarmed.”

Biochemistry senior Tia Scott, who attended the march, said she thinks African-Americans often fear they will be racially profiled by police officers.

“I think many African-Americans have an unspoken fear,” Scott said. “Maybe they don’t say it outright, but they think it. When a cop drives by, it’s just nervousness because it’s like, ‘Am I going to be treated unfairly, or am I going to be pulled over because I’m black or because I’m a black woman?’ I think there’s a general unspoken fear, and we shouldn’t be afraid of people that are supposed to protect us.”

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) said King’s work toward equality is not yet complete.   

“We cannot sit back on our laurels when we continue to see actions that discriminate and profile against a few,” Dukes said. “And if we truly believe that every single person — whether they are black, whether they are Hispanic, whether they are Anglo, whether they are Asian — that their lives matter, that we will stand up each and everyday — not just on the day that
we march.”

President William Powers Jr. also spoke before the march and characterized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of renewing the fight for equality. In his speech, Powers referenced recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which broke out after 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in August, and protests in New York City, where Eric Garner, also African-American, died after a white police officer put him in a choke hold.  

“If we look at Ferguson and New York, the poverty that still exists in our communities — the inequality — the dream has not yet been fulfilled,” Powers said. “So yes, today we celebrate a great man, a great legacy and a great dream, but, more important, is that we rededicate ourselves and our energy not just today, but every single day when we wake up — rededicate them anew to his dream.”

UT alumna Maytè Salazar protests the Ferguson decision in front of the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of protesters marched from the Austin Police Department headquarters to the Capitol building. 


Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

After the Nov. 24 decision by a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, tensions ran high among the citizens of Ferguson as well as across the nation. The majority of protesters have no personal connection to the Browns but recognize a bigger issue at stake. While there are mixed opinions on whether Wilson was justified in his act, there is an undeniable trend of black males being killed by police. Those who have taken to the streets have the right idea in mind, but could potentially be more effective with different approaches.

The majority of protest coverage came from the neighborhoods of Ferguson, with a stream of images and video of burning buildings, looting and seemingly out-of-control crowds. An expected symptom of contemporary sensationalized news, many media outlets portrayed Brown supporters as criminals and animals, although the majority of the protests were peaceful. While the surface level showed violence, even a cursory examination reveals the fervor is an outlet for long-felt pain and suffering. This story is bigger than Brown. In the eyes of protesters, it’s the thousands of others like him — unarmed, with only their race as a trigger.

Although instances of arrest and police brutality occur against every racial and ethnic group, the percentage of African-American and Latino victims is disproportionately high in relation to their make-up of the population, especially in drug-related cases. There aren’t statistics proving the racial motivations or bias in these cases, but the racial correlation supported by the data is eerie. After months of protesting with only heavy military and police force as a response, these people wanted to be heard in any way possible. But instead of compassionately portraying the hurt that the protesters feel, the media painted them as monsters, wild and out of control rather than merely exasperated.

An unspoken yet ubiquitous societal mantra teaches that African Americans are not entirely human and therefore more dangerous, just another reason intentionally or unintentionally racist officers, in fear for their lives, will grab for the gun in lieu of using a slower, less lethal method. Violent revolt will only reinforce racial stereotypes and worsen the situation. Everyone has a right to be angry about the loss of human life, but it’s the reaction that defines individuals, and even an entire cause.

The variety of protests over the decision mirror those of the Civil Rights Movement a little over 60 years ago, with the peaceful petitioning aligning with Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy and the more radical opposition with Malcolm X’s. The two symbolize what can be seen as a nonviolent versus violent approach to change. Both men were great leaders in the movement, although King’s ideology was arguably more effective with its perseverance and refusal to give in to anger. We see the same stark differences today between the various protests in response to Ferguson and other similar incidents. And again, King’s methods will prove to be more effective in combating the racial prejudices that spark police violence against racial and ethnic minorities.

Austinites and UT students were perfect models of how to put King’s teachings into practice as they organized and stood in solidarity Tuesday evening. The chants of “Protect black life” and “Black lives matter” not only diffused the message of their marches to passersby, but demanded the attention of the Austin Police Department, which has its own record of using lethal force against black and Latino men. Writing letters to local and state officials, peacefully protesting and most of all exercising patience and perseverance are key to eroding the system of bias that perpetuates the continued loss of life. Racial prejudices weren’t formed overnight, so it can’t be expected that their extinction will be a swift process. Clearly, the peaceful widespread opposition is making a difference, as Wilson recently announced his resignation from the police department. Again, the most important motif in these events is solidarity to address the widespread issue of racism. The anger and hurt of one demographic alone cannot change the status quo. Every group needs to stand together to stop injustice and do so in a peaceful manner.

Griffin is a journalism freshman from Houston. Follow Griffin on Twitter @JazmynAlynn.

University Naval trainees celebrate the end of World War II in downtown Austin.

Photo Credit: Daily Texan file photo

As the Fourth of July approaches, The Daily Texan looks into the past to explore how major moments regarding civil liberties and freedom in American history have impacted UT. From Reconstruction, to celebrating the end of World War II, to the grief surrounding the incomprehensible act of terror on 9/11 — the struggles and triumphs of this country have changed UT, too, and in turn, UT has changed the course of this country throughout its history.  

The Legacy of the Civil War
The Confederacy’s influence on UT is apparent to anyone who looks up at the bronze statues of immortalized Confederates that line the Main Mall. UT first opened its doors in 1883, just 18 years after the Civil War and in the immediate aftermath of reconstruction. The first president of the University Leslie Waggener, Regent George Washington Littlefield and others on the original staff were Confederate veterans. Littlefield, a former Confederate officer, was one of the University’s early benefactors. George Washington Brackenridge, another regent and benefactor of the University, had been a Union sympathizer and war profiteer. Because of their differing wartime
sympathies, the two became well-known rivals. In 1910, Brackenridge donated 500 acres of land on the Colorado River, proposing the University be moved there. As a way of keeping the University on the original 40 Acres, Littlefield combated the proposal by donating $250,000 to build what became the Littlefield Fountain. The fountain became a memorial to World War I, and was originally to have statues of Confederate and Union figures, symbolizing the reunification of the North and South through World War I. The final design differed from this plan and the Confederate figures were displaced along the Main Mall alongside Woodrow Wilson representing the North.

World War II
When the United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941, UT followed, as numerous students, faculty and alumni left to participate in the war effort. In the fall of 1942, 80 faculty members left the University to join the military services as well as defense research and other government agencies. “Faculty members in psychology and philosophy began to teach physics and math,” a Daily Texan article stated on August 19, 1945. “Faculty members in physics and chemistry left the University to join research projects.” Among these defense researchers, 22 University scientists worked in various capacities developing the atomic bomb. On August 9, 1945, just days after the result of their work was put to use, the front page of The Daily Texan read in large text “PEACE!!”  According to that day’s paper, “a whooping, honking, hugging crowd of campusites poured out of afternoon labs and away from supper tables to storm the Drag on Tuesday afternoon as news of war’s end spread like a prairie fire across the Forty Acres.” The war was over. After the war, students and faculty returned to school. Frank Denius, UT alumnus and chairman of the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Veterans Committee, attended the University fall 1945 after serving in the Marines during World War II and being a part of the D-Day Invasion. “There’s no question of being a much more serious student,” Denius said. “I took education much more seriously.”

The Civil Rights Era
On March 9, 1962, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to UT and spoke in front of 1,200 people at the Texas Union Ballroom. “Old Man Segregation is on his deathbed,” King said to the crowd. “The only question is how expensive the South is going to make the funeral.” Though Old Man Segregation was on his deathbed, segregation at UT persisted in student housing, athletics and at several businesses near campus. “They didn’t integrate. They had these black students, but they were always on the periphery of the campus, literally and figuratively,” said Dr. Dwonna Goldstone, author of “Integrating the 40 Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas.” Segregation limited the opportunities of black students in all aspects of life. “The black students couldn’t go watch the movies that their professors had assigned them,” Goldstone said. “They couldn’t get their hair cut, or they couldn’t cash a check.” Dorm sit-ins and other protests on campus took place throughout the civil rights era in an attempt to change the divided environment on campus. In 1969 the Longhorns were the last all-white team to win the National College Football Championship. The next year, Julius Whittier became the first black player on the Longhorn varsity football team — a major step in putting down Old Man Segregation.

The Vietnam War 
Though many students, faculty and alumni served in the Vietnam War, UT was more known for anti-war activism in the early ’70s. Daily Texan alumni John Pope recalls his six years on campus as being a time of uncertainty. “You never knew if something would get out of hand and tear gas would be used on crowds. We were told to carry damp rags,” Pope said. “People were so angry.” One of the largest protests took place on April 21, 1972 when approximately 1,000 anti-war protesters gathered on the Main Mall and, from there, many entered the Tower. In an article on April 22, 1972, Daily Texan staff writer Tom Kleinworth wrote, “About 10 minutes after the protesters had entered the building, police using back entrances, flooded onto the second floor using nightsticks and Mace.”  The protesters then fled the Tower but were pursued by police. Kleinworth wrote, “The police threw tear gas into the crowd then pursued the demonstrators as they tried to escape, throwing tear gas canisters on the East Mall steps as the people ran down.” Commenting on the campus’ climate of fear, an editorial by Daily Texan staff writer David Powell the following day stated, “The Daily Texan wants peace now — in Southeast Asia … and Austin.” 

Sept. 11, 2001
“We’re all a little scared” read the headline of the Texan on Sept. 12, 2001 the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The night of Sept. 11, a crowd of approximately 2,000 mourners packed onto the Main Mall in remembrance of the victims. At 8 p.m. they began lighting their candles. At the vigil, Student Government president Matt Hammond spoke to the crowd saying, “As a generation, tonight we must answer our call. Our call is not one of vengeance or one of hatred but rather we must answer the question, how can we help?” Following funeral services and mourning came debates on how the country should respond to the attack. On the brink of war, students rallied for or against going into the Middle East. Meanwhile, Muslim students, faculty and locals feared backlash. Professor Mohammad Mohammad of the Arabic department removed his headdress in order to avoid confrontation after being spat on the morning of the attack. “At that time I didn’t know why he spat on me,” Mohammad said. “A few minutes later, I found out. Some of my students were scared.” While classes continued, students on campus spent the weeks following the attack mourning and helping out any way they could by means such as donating blood.

Civil Rights Summit

Andrew Young, former congressman and United Nations Ambassador, speaks at the "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream" panel at the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson had an amicable relationship, even as King and others pressured Johnson to introduce new civil rights legislation, according to Andrew Young, former United Nations ambassador.

The second day of the Civil Rights Summit began with the “LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream” panel, a discussion that featured Young, as well as LBJ’s special assistant Joseph Califano Jr. and historians Taylor Branch and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

“[Johnson originally] said, ‘I just don’t have the power,’” Young, who also served as a congressman and mayor of Atlanta, said. “I thought it was arrogant for him to say that … [but] we went to Selma on the second of January, and by the end of March the president had all the power he needed to get the Civil Rights Act introduced.”

Young said both Johnson and King were adept politicians, and he overheard phone calls between the two men that suggested they had a close relationship.

“I heard them on the phone talking like brothers, like pastor and member,” Young said.

According to Branch, people have disagreed about what Johnson’s views about race were — whether he changed his views over time, or if he consistently supported the enfranchisement of African-Americans.

“I think Johnson had an empathy his whole lifetime,” Branch said. “I think those were his sincere views, and my guess is that they were formed long before it was popular to believe they were there.”

Goodwin said although she knew Johnson only during the last few years of his life, it was clear he was proud of passing civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965.

“There was no question in the time I spent with him … he was proudest of the Civil Rights Act than anything he had ever done,” Goodwin said.

Branch said Johnson had several advantages that President Barack Obama does not, including an American public that possessed a patriotic sense of sacrifice and an optimistic attitude following World War II.

“To change the mood of the country from cynicism to optimism is not something that is wholly in the purview of the presidency,” Branch said.

Young said he thinks issues should not be considered on the basis of race.

“Looking back to everything I did to help people helped black and white people together,” Young said. “We’ve got to de-racialize these issues to get people to look at them a bit more objectively.”

Young said he thinks poor people of all ethnicities still struggle economically.

“We really still have to have a way to make democracy and free enterprise work for poor people of all dollars,” Young said. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Read recaps of Wednesday's events by scrolling down here. Click here for the liveblog of Thursday's events, which include addresses by President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Updated (8:55 p.m.): For a full recap of Clinton's speech, click here.

Updated (7:22 p.m.): Former President Bill Clinton said voting in the U.S., because of voter ID laws and other restrictions, does not reflect the goals of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Here in Texas, the concealed carry permit counts, but there’s one photo ID that doesn't count,” Clinton said.  “One from a Texas institution of higher education.”

Clinton also said the economy is a factor in preventing the country from fulfilling the goals of the Civil Rights Act.

“It’s all the more difficult today because of the economic conditions in which we find ourselves,” Clinton said. “The statistics show economic growth, but almost all of it is going to the top 10 percent.”

Check back soon for a full recap of the event.

—Julia Brouillette

Updated (6:10 p.m.): During the Clinton administration, there were students on campus calling for greater recognition of LGBTQ and black students' rights. Read that story here.

Updated (5:50 p.m.): Planning a Civil Rights Summit watch party? Click here for a guide on how to do that.

UT Law School hosted a watch party for former President Jimmy Carter's speech Tuesday evening. Photo by Pu Ying Huang / Daily Texan Staff

Updated (4:50 p.m.): As several civil rights leaders spoke about their contributions to the movement, they recognized that the movement was guilty of certain prejudices as well.

Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, speaks at the "Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line" on Wednesday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff

Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, said even within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which had more gender equality than other civil rights organizations, there were still tensions between men and women.

“There were enormous tensions over the role each would play,” Bond said. “Had it not been for women, there would not have been a movement.”

Read the full story here.

—Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (3:35 p.m.): The University Leadership Initiative held a rally in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on campus to show support for immigrants who have been deported.

Students involved in the rally held a number of signs, one of which said “we have a dream 2,” and chained themselves to the MLK statue, as representatives said the ideals of the Civil Rights Summit did not align with current U.S. policy towards undocumented immigrants.

Juan Belman, a second year engineering major who said his father is at risk of deportation, said that Austin needs to show support for families who have to deal with deportation.

“If we are a progressive community here in Austin, we need to show that,” Belmot said. “We need to show Texas how to move forward.”

— Adam Hamze

Updated (3:30 p.m.): For a full recap of "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream," click here.

Updated (3:02 p.m.): At a press conference at Fort Hood army base Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama spoke about the recent shooting that left four dead and more than a dozen injured, and called for increased support for Americans suffering from mental health issues.

"Part of what makes this so painful is we've been here before," Obama said. "We cannot ever eliminate every risk, but as a nation we can do more to counsel those with mental health issues, and to keep firearms out of the hands of those having such difficulties."

Obama also offered words of support for the soldiers' families.

"We hold each other up, we carry on, and with God's amazing grace we somehow bear the things unbearable," Obama said. "...This army and this nation stand with you for all these days to come."

— Julia Brouillette

Updated (2:50 p.m.): In their early 20’s, at the same age that many of today’s college students learn about the impact the two activists had, Bill Russell and Jim Brown were already utilizing their status as high profile athletes to strengthen the civil rights movement.

(From left): Former NFL running back Jim Brown, former NBA center and head coach Bill Russell and Harry Edwards, sociology professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley speak at the Sports: Leveling the Playing Field panel Wednesday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff

At the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday, Russell, Brown and Harry Edwards, a former sociology professor at the University of California, noted that their opportunity to contribute to the civil rights movement at such a young age came as a result of their strong upbringing.

“[Many of the people] around me at a young age were impeccable at stressing the importance of education,” Brown said. “Because I was helped at a young age, I knew my life’s work would be to help others.”

Read the full story of the Sports: Leveling the Playing Field panel by clicking here.

— Stefan Scrafield

Updated (2:12 p.m.): According to Andrew Young, former congressman and former mayor of Atlanta, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson had a very amicable relationship, even as King and others pressured Johnson to introduce new civil rights legislation. Young spoke about the relationship between King and Johnson at "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream," the first summit panel on Wednesday.

“[Johnson originally] said, ‘I just don’t have the power,’” Young said. “I thought it was arrogant for him to say that… [but] we went to Selma on the second of January, and by the end of March the president had all the power he needed to get that civil rights act introduced.”

Andrew Young, former congressman and United Nations Ambassador, speaks at the "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream" panel at the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Ussery / Daily Texan Staff

Young said Johnson and King were both adept politicians and said he overheard phone calls between the two men which suggested they had a close relationship.

“I heard them on the phone talking like brothers, like pastor and member,” Young said.

According to historian Taylor Branch, there was some disagreement about what Johnson’s views about race were—whether he changed his views over time, or if he consistently supported the enfranchisement of African Americans.

“I think Johnson had an empathy his whole lifetime,” Branch said. “I think those were his sincere views, and my guess is that they were formed long before it was popular to believe they were there.” 

Check back soon for a full recap of the event.

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (12:32 p.m.): UT President William Powers Jr. said that although the University has made great strides in advancing civil rights, historically, UT has been on the “wrong side” of the argument.

UT President William Powers Jr. speaks about the University's role in civil rights, and how sometimes it has been on the wrong side of the argument. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

"The University of Texas has had a special role in the history of civil rights — first, of course, on the wrong side of those issues as a segregated school, and in Sweatt v. Painter on the wrong side of that case," Powers said in an address at the Civil Rights Summit Wednesday. 

To read more about Powers' remarks, click here.

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (12:03 p.m.): After students reported low attendance at several panels during the first day of the summit, event coordinators announced the creation of a stand-by line for admission to the remaining panels on Wednesday and Thursday. The line, which will begin on the east side of Sid Richardson Hall,  will be available to anyone with a UT identification card.

No stand-by lines have been announced for the remaining presidential addresses. To read more about yesterday's seating vacancies, click here

— Nicole Cobler

Updated (11:57 a.m.): The Google Cultural Institute, an online collection of historical archives, partnered with the National Archives and released various archives relating to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in light of the civil rights movement.

The “Historic Moments” exhibit features documents, images and videos of the development of the civil rights movement and the legislative process leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Google creates platforms and tools like this, such as the National Archives, to tell the story of diverse cultural heritage and share these archives worldwide,” Gerardo Interiano, public affairs manager for Google, said.

Gerardo Interiano, public affairs manager for Google, talks about the Google Cultural Institute, an online collection of historical archives. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

Google is a sponsor of the Civil Rights Summit and is hosting “G+ Hangouts” with various summit speakers. Today’s “hangout” will feature playwright Robert Schenkkan at 2 p.m. To watch the livestream of the hangout, click here. 

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (11:53 a.m.): UT Parking and Transportation Services announced additional road closures on the east side of campus during the ongoing Civil Rights Summit in an email sent to students on Wednesday morning.

Robert Dedman Drive between Dean Keeton and 23rd streets will be closed on Thursday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition, Trinity Street between Robert Dedman and 23rd streets will be closed sporadically between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. President Barack Obama’s keynote address to the summit is scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As a result of the closures, the PTS email said UT shuttles that regularly stop on 23rd Street will now do so on Winship Circle next to the Winship Drama Building.

Last week, PTS announced Clyde Littlefield Drive would be closed during the summit.

— Jacob Kerr

Updated (11:42 a.m.): According to psychology graduate student Christa Vassillieri, the Forty Acres Bus, which circles campus and has a stop across from the LBJ Library, has been more crowded since the Civil Rights Summit began Tuesday.

Vassillieri said she had forgotten the summit was happening, but did notice that the bus had more patrons than usual. Although Vassillieri said she heard promotions for the summit over the radio, she did not believe four presidents would have reason to speak in Austin.

“That’s what I thought I heard, but I was like, this can’t be,” Vassillieri said.

— Nicole Cobler

Updated (11:23 a.m.): Although former President Bill Clinton was originally supposed to tour the “Cornerstones of Civil Rights” exhibit at the LBJ Library before his address this evening, he will be arriving too late to take the tour as scheduled, according to Elizabeth Christian, president of the LBJ Foundation.

The exhibit, which opened  on April 1 and will remain open until April 30, features a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by former President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both signed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (10:40 a.m.): Ben Barnes, former Speaker of the Texas House and Lieutenant Governor, said President Lyndon B. Johnson would be concerned about the rising influence of the Tea Party in Texas and the increasing divide between political parties nationally.

Ben Barnes, former Texas lieutenant governor and former chairman of the LBJ Foundation, speaks to media Wednesday. Barnes said he thinks President Johnson would be concerned by the polarization of the country's two major political parties. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

Barnes, a UT alumni, was the youngest Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives at 26, and served from 1965 to 1969, while Johnson was president. Following Barnes’ tenure as Speaker, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of Texas. In 1995, Barnes received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Texas Exes, the University’s alumni organization.

“As happy as President Johnson would be about what these four days are going to mean, he’d still be very concerned about the bigotry and the prejudice that are two of the important components going into the very divisive government we have today,” Barnes said.

Barnes said he was especially concerned by the state-wide prominence of the Tea Party.

“I read a column by a Washington writer last week where he said Texas is in a situation where the Tea Party is going to be stronger in Texas than in any other state, as far as state elected officials — I’m not proud of that,” Barnes said. “I’m not proud of where they want to take Texas and I think it’s a very, very grave time in our state and I think President Johnson would share that disdain.”

According to Barnes, Johnson — who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law and increased the United State’s involvement in the Vietnam War — will be remembered for his impact on the functions of today’s government.

“As time goes by and there’s more public forums like this and people really understand Johnson and what he accomplished, people are going to remember Lyndon Johnson for what his domestic policy was,” Barnes said. “He really passed the legislation that is the framework and foundation of our government today — you can’t erase that.”

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (7:45 a.m.): While all available tickets were distributed for the first day of the summit, attendees reported a lower turnout. Check out this story by Madlin Mekelburg to read more about it.

Updated (7:26 a.m.): The timing of the summit is meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July of that year. This video by Dan Resler explains the history of the landmark legislation.

Updated (7:00 a.m.): The first day of the Civil Rights Summit featured a conversation with former President Jimmy Carter, who said civil rights as they relate to racial minorities and women still need to be addressed, ranging from modern-day slavery to sexual abuse at college campuses in the U.S. 

Tuesday's panels also included:

1) A discussion about whether gay marriage is a civil right featuring attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson, who teamed up in 2010 to challenge Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment in California that banned same-sex marriages. 

2) San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour talked about immigration laws and border security.

3) Musicians Mavis Staples and Graham Nash performed Tuesday night and spoke about their experiences and what influences their music.

Other highlights from the day can be found on our Civil Rights Summit, Day 1 Liveblog.

Singer-songwriter Graham Nash plays guitar at a panel on music and social consciousness during the LBJ Civil Rights Summit on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

The Music and Social Consciousness panel on the first day of the Civil Rights Summit gave a nod to popular culture’s involvement in the civil
rights movement.

Mavis Staples and Graham Nash, two musicians known for their contributions to pop culture and the civil rights movement, spoke Tuesday afternoon, followed by a four-song performance given by Nash. Both Staples and Nash talked about how the civil rights movement and political atmosphere influenced their careers in music.

Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin introduced the speakers, and the panel was moderated by Bob Santelli, the executive director of the GRAMMY Museum.

Staples, a rhythm and blues and gospel artist from soul group The Staples Singers, said she attributes her lifetime as a gospel singer to meeting Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. early in her career.

“I think that, if he can preach it, we can sing it,” Staples said. “That was the beginning of our writing of civil rights songs, freedom songs, message songs and the first one was ‘March Up Freedom’s Highway.’”

Throughout the beginning of her career, Staples spent time with King. She said her favorite memories with the man most people saw as stoic and serious were moments of laughter.

“[I] just loved to hear Dr. King’s laughter,” Staples said. “He had jovial laughter.”

Staples said that she continues to sing freedom and gospel songs in her performances today.

“These kids, you know, they weren’t there,” Staples said. “I was there, and I’m still here, and I’m bringing it to you. I’m still on the battlefield, y’all, I’m on the battlefield, and I’m fighting, everyday.”

After Staples left the stage, Nash, a singer-songwriter from the folk rock group Crosby, Stills & Nash, entered and played three songs from earlier in his career that all reference political events from the late 1960s and early 1970s, in addition to one new song.

Before he played the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song “Ohio,” which references the 1970 shootings at Kent State, Nash said the group had to push their label to release the song so soon after releasing “Teach Your Children” just a few weeks prior. 

“When America starts to kill its own children, we’re in deep trouble here, so let’s put this out,” Nash said. “We must make sure that we make it a better place. We can make it a better place. There’s no doubt about it.”

While many of Nash’s songs are focused on civil rights and freedom issues, he said he doesn’t feel like he has a personal responsibility to spread those messages.

“I have to express myself, and the way that I do that is through art and music,” Nash said. “I had a responsibility to talk about stuff that bothers me. I have to get my feelings out.”

British journalist Gary Younge discusses his newest book "The Speech; The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream" with Eric Tang, director of the University's Social Justice Institution, at the Joynes Reading Room on Wednesday evening. 

Photo Credit: Brianna Holt | Daily Texan Staff

When Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, it wasn’t immediately considered iconic, according to British journalist Gary Younge, who spoke about his research on the speech Wednesday.

Younge said King delivered his speech to a crowd that was passionate — but also overheated and tired. Younge said many audience members traveled all night to be at the March on Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963. 

“It was a hot day — 87 degrees by noon — and King was the 16th of 18 speakers,” Younge said. 

Younge said King had hoped civil rights could be achieved without holding a march. Activists and politicians were anxious in the days prior to the March on Washington.

“There was actually a kill switch planted inside King’s microphone,” Younge said. 

King had given similar speeches hundreds of times before — even the week before, during a march in Detroit — but the well-known “I Have a Dream” section was not in the final draft of his intended speech, Younge said. 

According to Younge, this speech in Washington, D.C., was neither the birth nor the peak of King’s popularity. After King’s speech, he began to speak on topics other than civil rights, and, by the time of his assassination, he was considered to be irrelevant in the view of the public.

“He spoke on the economy and the redistribution of wealth. … He had lost control; he [was] no longer relevant. That’s how he was viewed when he died,” Younge said.

Although the King speech was not remembered by that generation as iconic, a 1999 public opinion poll revealed that King was viewed as the second most influential historical person of the 20th century, only behind Mother Teresa, according to Younge.

Younge attributed the change in the public’s perception of the speech to the broad language King used.

“There was something for everyone in that speech,” Younge said.

Eric Tang, an assistant professor in the African and African diaspora studies department and director of the University’s Social Justice Institute, said he hopes Younge’s talk is just one of many civil-rights-themed events the University will host this year.

“This event is part of what I hope will be several campus activities that mark the 50th anniversary of a pivotal two years in the long civil rights movement — 1963 and 1964,” Tang said.

Sociology professor Ben Carrington said he hopes people don’t oversimplify the civil rights movement.

“We want students to leave knowing the civil rights movement wasn’t attributed to one man and one speech, but it was a much wider movement,” Carrington said. “It’s about changing the world.”

The University median located between 21st St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. won the 2012 Turf Landscape Maintenance Award by the Texas Turfgrass Association for sustaining its landscape by organic methods.

Photo Credit: Yamel Thompson | Daily Texan Staff

The medians on University Avenue between 21st Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard are officially award-winning, all thanks to UT’s Landscape Services. 

The service team, overseen by supervisor Mike Wallick, was awarded the 2012 Turf Landscape Maintenance Award by the Texas Turfgrass Association in the 10,000 square feet-and-
above category.

“The award was for the way we installed and are maintaining that landscape,” Facilities Services spokesperson Laurie Lentz said. “The challenging aspect of maintaining this site is its high visibility and prominence as a visual corridor between the capitol and the UT Tower.”

Lentz said the landscape on University Avenue is maintained with sustainable methods, including organic fertilizer and an upgraded irrigation system.

“[The landscape] reflects well on the University as the whole,” Lentz said. “It underscores the University’s commitment to stewardship and conservation of resources.”

Wallick said he began work on the University Avenue landscape in 2008 with the renovation of the medians.

“I’ve been involved in landscape management for 40 years,” Wallick said. “I guess I’m just one of those people that likes to play in the dirt.”

Wallick said in addition to using only organic fertilizer, Landscape Services prioritized the sustainability of the project by the converting the existing cross-campus irrigation system into a centralized control system in 2011. The new system has the capability to detect breaks in the piping and sensors that automatically shut off irrigation during rainfall.

“Sustainability is a big buzz word these days. It gets a lot of play but not a lot of follow-through,” Wallick said. “We are constantly trying to figure out ways to be more efficient as we do our job and to conserve resources.”

Justin Hayes has been the crew leader of Landscape Services for 15 years. Hayes said he wakes up at 4 a.m. during the week so he can begin his eight-hour workday by 6 a.m.

“Landscaping is very physical in the first place,” Hayes said. “You have to mentally know that you’ll be able to take the heat and be able to work and stay hydrated.”

Despite the intense labor and Texas heat in the summer, Hayes said receiving the maintenance award was an extra reward for the work he and his four-member team do. He said receiving words of thanks and seeing students lying on the grass and enjoying the sun help the team carry on.

“It’s nice to know that your job makes a difference that way,” Hayes said.

UT officials are considering a location near University Medical Center Brackenridge for the Dell School of Medicine. The medical school steering committee will continue to meet to make a more definite decision on the location.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

UT officials are looking for possible locations for the new medical school facilities in the general Brackenridge area south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

UT spokesman Robert Cullick said the area that includes University Medical Center Brackenridge, which is owned by Central Health and leased to the Seton Healthcare Family, is under consideration because of the close proximity to the current medical center and the main campus.

“The University is intently looking at that area — looking at facilities that need to be constructed including education, administration and research facilities.” Cullick said. “They’re trying to decide where these things can go.”

Cullick said although the University has selected the prospective location, no decisions have been made for the school, which will be called the Dell School of Medicine.

“Something might go here and some years down the path another building could be built. It all will be part of the master plan that is being developed,” Cullick said.

Cullick said the master plan for the design and construction has not been fully developed by the University.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the medical school in May 2012. In November, Travis County voters approved a tax increase to help fund the school.

The school was named in honor of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation following a $50 million donation announced Jan. 30.

Lisa Meyer, administrative associate to Robert Messing, the medical school steering committee chairman and recently hired vice provost for biomedical sciences, said although the location has not been specifically determined, the steering committee will meet several times in the coming week to make a more definite decision.

Cullick said the medical school and teaching hospital will work closely with Seton Healthcare Family, which is committing $250 million dollars to replace the University Medical Center Brackenridge, to have an equally up-to-date facility. UT’s medical school and teaching hospital will be funded by the UT System, although there is not yet an estimated cost.

“They will add more residency slots to provide more opportunities for students in the area to continue their education here,” Cullick said. “They currently have 200 students in residency and they would open it up a little more, and hopefully let in more UT students.”

Rosie Mendoza, chairwoman of the Central Health Board of Managers, said UT, Seton and Central Health are working to find an agreeable location through a memorandum of understanding between the entities. The Central Health board will meet with UT officials when the master plan has been developed.

“Our executive staff at Central Health has met with UT for the initial planning,” Mendoza said. “I think what they’re hoping for is to build a huge medical school campus, in one whole area. The specifics we do not know yet.”

Published on February 8, 2013 as "Med school site search narrows". 

This article was corrected after its original posting to clarify University Medical Center - Brackenridge is owned by Central Health and leased to Seton Healthcare Family.