A University Reminiscence, 1928-1946
CARL C. WRIGHT*
The present is a propitious moment to lay
the foundation of a great moral and intel-
lectual edifice, which will in after ages be
hailed as the chief ornament and blessing
Mirabeau B. Lamart
ONE DAY IN 1927 I ANNOUNCED MY INTENTION TO ENTER THE UNI-
versity of Texas after my graduation from high school the fol-
lowing year. Neither of my older brothers had finished high school,
and getting a university education bordered on the fantastic. Not in
my father's thinking, however.
A tenant farmer on the same black land for twenty years, Father
expressed the hope that I would never "harness up a pair of mules."
With pride he said that I would be the only member of his side of the
family to enter a university. His forefathers had been wheelwrights in
North Carolina as far back as the 178os. After the destructive Civil
War his father headed farther south to farm. My father could help
little financially toward my higher education, his help being encour-
agement and respect for learning.
Graduating from Lytton Springs High School in 1928 as valedic-
torian, I found two doors of opportunity open. First, I won an aca-
demic scholarship from the University of Texas, and C. L. Mullens,
superintendent of the high school, found me a job in a cafe adjacent
to the Texas campus. Second, I received a similar scholarship from
Texas Technological College in Lubbock. There, an aunt, a nurse in
the home of President Paul W. Horn, secured me a room over his
garage and potential employment as sign painter and handyman.
*Carl C. Wright, a retired professor of English at Pan American University, taught at
the University of Texas from 1945 to 1951. A contributor to the Quarterly for four
decades, he has also published in a number of other journals.
tMirabeau B. Lamar to the Texas Congress, quoted in Philip Graham, The Life and
Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar (Chapel Hill, 1938), 53.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/. Accessed April 30, 2016.