The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995 Page: 552
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Besides adhering to southern tradition, university officials also opposed
desegregation activities that might upset supporters of the university. Di-
rect action had become an important tactic in the struggle for civil
rights after the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. In 1963 the Student
Interracial Committee announced that "The Negro at UT has also come
to realize his responsibility for direct action in the struggle." The in-
volvement of University of Texas students in direct action, however, oc-
curred at least three years before this statement. Students mirrored
much of the civil rights activity in the nation and even initiated some na-
tional tactics as they challenged segregation in non-academic areas on
the campus and in Austin.2 On February 1, 1960, a student-led move-
ment of direct action challenging segregated lunch counters began in
Greensboro, North Carolina. By the following month University of
Texas students had adopted direct action in the struggle against segrega-
tion. A biracial group of thirty-two students, twenty-five blacks and seven
whites, demonstrated outside the campus on March 11. One protester
announced that they wanted to make the student body aware of segrega-
tion in university policies. The protesters passed out leaflets pointing out
that only one-fifth of the university's dormitories accepted African
Americans and that these segregated dormitories were substandard. The
printed statement also pointed out that although the Southwest Confer-
ence had no rules against black players, the University of Texas, like oth-
er schools in the conference, did not allow African Americans to play
intercollegiate sports. The university also excluded blacks from stage
productions, and a protester carried a sign exclaiming, "All the World's
a Stage, but Negroes Can't Participate in Drama at UT." Protest leaders
urged activists to avoid "heated discussion" or actions that might be per-
ceived as causing trouble. The picketing lasted for a few days and ended
after a meeting between university officials and demonstrating students.
Students labeled the meeting unsatisfactory,3 but turned their attention
to demonstrations against Austin's segregated lunch counters.
The Austin Commission on Human Relations initiated negotiations
between lunch counter owners and an interracial coalition of student
groups in April. When negotiations broke down, University of Texas stu-
dent Lynn Goldsmith announced that unless the counters were desegre-
gated in a week, the coalition would be forced to utilize other methods
"to present the problem effectively and to find a satisfactory solution." A
week later, activists from the University of Texas, St. Edwards University,
2 Release from Student Interracial Committee, Sept. 27, 1963, im Almetris Marsh Duren Pa-
pers, Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (cited hereafter as CAH).
' Student flyer in ibid.; "Integration-University of Texas," scrapbook, Vertical Files: Subject,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995, periodical, 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/m1/622/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.