Archive: Feb. 2004 Cover Story

Feb. 2004

“We Don’t Want to Integrate!”

That was the outcry

made by 4,000 students in 1963 when Texas A&M President, General Earl Rudder, convened a campus forum

to discuss plans to admit women. According to the Brazos Genealogical Society online, “Rudder’s

concluding remarks are drowned out by a chorus of boos.”
Even today at the College Station

campus, if 4,000 people are shouting together about something, it will not be a good day for

diversity.

How do we approach these persistent and discouraging dynamics? During Black

History Month, we are going to try to keep our scholarly wits. There are crucial questions to

answer.

For instance, we have yet to locate a document that supports the Texas A&M

announcement to extend the vestiges of Hopwood. We tried looking in the Regents’ agenda packet, but

there was absolutely no mention of race or affirmative action there.

Where is the

documentary trail that leads to the decision to uphold the vestiges of Hopwood and why was it made? It

is remarkable that the Regents didn’t put a single word in writing.

Professor Marco

Portales reports that A&M President Robert Gates met with “minority” faculty on Dec. 18, two weeks

after the announcement was made. So who did he meet with before?

As we continue to

collect materials and to think about the possibilities of winning a civil rights victory, we cannot

forget that we live in a state rich with civil rights intelligence. James Farmer, Sr., taught at Sam

Huston College in Austin (now Huston-Tillotson) and Wiley College in Marshall. He raised up a son,

alright, who was not a Young Conservative.

And speaking of Wiley College, we marvel at

the golden age of scholars who would today still be considered heroic for their intellectual

courage.

Oliver Cromwell Cox, for instance, who taught at Wiley College, wrote a durable

analysis of Caste, Class, and Race. For him, the anti-integration fervor of young people was not to be

explained by any innate tendencies to wickedness. These attitudes have to be cultivated. And behind

that cultivation, Cox looked for interests served.

So how do we understand the

conditions that cultivate such dreadful images as jungle parties, affirmative action bake sales, and

open protests against the arrival of a Vice President for Diversity?

As we continue to

sift for documentary evidence, we will also continue to read our Black History and reflect on the Texas

struggles that have brought us this far.

And we will not apologize for following quite a

different path of scholarship than what is being pursued by Young Conservatives these days, who are the

intellectual heirs of a staunch tradition to be sure. In the end, will the elite leaders of the state

do what Cox predicted they would do–cultivate neo-fascist youth–or will they stand up to the boos?

Mark your calendars for March 11, when the Univ. of Texas Regents have scheduled a

special meeting during Spring Break whose agenda has yet to be announced.

Greg

Moses
Site Editor

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