October 9, 2020
Why am I blogging about Texas football?
Those of you who know me know that I am a huge Michigan football fan. But my second choice is the Texas Longhorns. My grandfather owned a store just off Congress Ave. in Austin (the main drag leading to the state capitol) for many years, my dad lived in Austin for a while in his teens, my uncle and aunt have lived in the same house in Austin since the 1960’s, and my cousin and her husband and their two kids live just blocks away in the very house that her grandmother lived in for decades. Oh, and in May of 2019, my daughter earned a Masters in Global Policy Studies from UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.
If I didn’t bleed maize and blue, I might well bleed burnt orange.
But I digress.
Joe Jamail was a billionaire lawyer (best known as the “King of Torts”). He gave millions to the University of Texas, and had the football field at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Stadium stadium named after him.
But recently, his family requested that the name of the field be changed to Campbell-Williams Field, in honor of two of the greatest football players in the school’s lengthy football history: Heisman Trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
My father recalled that, as a teenager in the 1940’s, drinking fountains in Austin were segregated, the Austin American-Statesman wouldn’t publish obituaries of Black residents, and when, if there was a fatal car accident involving three people, two of whom were Black, the newspaper would report that “one person died.” Heck, the Texas football team didn’t integrate until 1970.
We have a long, long way to go, but the fact that the field is now named in honor of two Black athletes tells me that we’ve made some progress. And makes me hopeful that we’ll see a lot more.