The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 280
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
lege student. Initially he served as a teacher in a special training school
for illiterates and later as a group supply officer, rising through the ranks
to become a Warrant Officer.
After the war Patterson returned to the University of Texas as a gradu-
ate student and part-time instructor in economics. He was awarded a
Ph.D. in economics in 1951. In 1950 he joined the faculty of the Univer-
sity of Alabama as assistant professor of economics with promotion to as-
sociate professor in 1955. In 1957 he came to Davidson College as Asso-
ciate Professor of Economics and was promoted to professor of
economics in 1966, after a series of delays caused by his socialist views.
Throughout his career at Davidson, Patterson urged his students to make
informed decisions on public issues based on rational thought, not on the
inherited views of others. He served as a model for them by writing liter-
ally hundreds of speeches and letters to the editor of the Charlotte Observ-
er, arguing his positions with clarity, wit, and compassion for the common
man. He himself actively opposed the House Un-American Activities
Committee, which brought him a number of visits from the FBI. He op-
posed the Vietnam War, United States policy in Latin America, the North
Carolina speaker-ban law, engaged in the civil rights movement, and sup-
ported disarmament. His trademark from the mid-sixties until his death
in 1992 was his black tie with the peace symbol tie tack, which he vowed
to wear until the United States spent half as much on development in
Vietnam as was spent on the war.
After Dr. Patterson's death, his widow, Anna L. Patterson, began the ar-
duous task of organizing and typing his personal papers, among which ap-
peared this memoir, a remarkable story of what it was like to grow up on
a subsistence farm in the Cross Timbers section of Texas in the 1920S and
'30S, written by an unusual man whose contributions to the academic
world and to our understanding of ourselves as human beings have been
considerable. Because of advanced age and failing eyesight, Mrs. Patter-
son was unable to complete her work, and two years ago asked me to work
with her. The full memoir, Son of Rising Star: Memoirs of a Texas Childhood,
is now complete. I have selected here from the manuscript about forty
pages, which include excerpts illustrating the wide range of activities de-
scribed in the memoir, beginning with the author's birth in 1914 and
ending with his decision to leave home in 1932.
I was born on an 8o acre "subsistence" farm lying two miles south of the
small town of Rising Star, Texas on June 5, 1914.
The Census Bureau defines a "subsistence" farm as one "where the val-
ue of commodities consumed at home exceeds the value of the com-
modities sold in the market." A definition that would include the follow-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/324/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.