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October 14, 2004

Statue Plans Underway

By Byron LaMasters

Last year students voted to allocate $2 per semester in student fees towards statues for Barbara Jordan and Cesar Chavez on campus. Since almost all of our statues are White men, and since Confederate generals are severely overrepresented, while women, Blacks and Hispanics are severely underrepresented, supporting this was pretty much a no-brainer since the cost per student was minimal. UT's Office of Public Affairs issued a press release today on the plans for the statues:

University officials Wednesday (Oct. 13) announced the sites of new campus statues of two nationally recognized champions of civil rights—the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. Congress, and the late Cesar Chavez, a civil rights and labor leader who became a force for social change.

The statues will be the first on campus honoring the contributions to society by a woman and by a Latino.

The Chavez statue will be placed at the south end of the West Mall, across from the Undergraduate Library. The Jordan statue will be near the Battle Oaks at 24th and Whitis streets.

Each statue will cost about $400,000. Artists interested in recreating the historical figures should submit their qualifications by Nov. 15. Finalists for each statue will be announced this spring.

The only other prominently displayed statue of an ethnic minority on campus is the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was unveiled on the East Mall in 1999.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 14, 2004 08:30 PM | TrackBack


Interesting fact many people don't know about my Pop - the conservative, renowned GOP strategist from Sugar Land.

He owns the high-backed, leather swivel/recline office chair used by Barbara Jordan in her D.C. Congressional office.

Go figure, huh? My Pop daily plants his keester where BJ used to park hers. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam at October 14, 2004 09:40 PM

If true, which is hard to say about Republicans these days when they lie about such important issues as why we happen to be at war at any given momment, that little story is almost shameful, that the chair of someone of Barbara Jordan's stature should be proudly used in such a way.

Must be fun to sit in Jordan's chair strategizing about ways to shred Democratic voter registration cards or otherwise disenfranchise the democratic process by ignoring house rules and holding votes open til all hours.

Posted by: Karl-T at October 14, 2004 11:40 PM

Lighten up Karl-Thomas, but that is a bit ironic, Chris. Barbara Jordan would probably turn over in her grave if she knew a Republican consultant / strategist did his work in the chair where she once sat.

Posted by: Byron L at October 14, 2004 11:57 PM

Karl... lighten the hell up. I know you're stressed out and all, but why would I make something like that up? I know you probably think I'm lying every time I open my mouth to tell somebody "good morning", but its just an interesting little tidbit of history that my family happens to own. You have no idea how I feel about Barbara Jordan or her accomplishments in her Congressional career.

As far as sitting around shredding voter reg. cards and strategizing with Craddick / DeLay... boy... gee, that's kinda creepy. Its like you've got a hidden camera in here. Can you see the "Hammer" here right now? =) I better hide him quick. hahaha

You boys give us way too much credit. We're just a couple of hard-working, Christian men from Sugar Land. We're both Aggies... given your collegiate affiliation, that in itself should ease your minds. It's news to me if we approach sinister-genius-Karl-Rove level, like Karl-T attributes. But I guess whatever helps build rep... =)

Dude, I hope you get much sleep this weekend. =)

I have so much fun commenting with you guys. I hope you feel the same way. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam at October 15, 2004 10:44 AM

I've always found it ironic how UT seems to fall over itself at any chance to honor minorities, yet the vast, vast majority of the student population are white suburban kids. Not to mention whenever their students come here to U of H, or I go there, all I hear is "nigger" and "ghetto" school.

Mind you, this is not petty trash talk. These are general observations I've taken in over the course of my academic career, and I wish they'd change.

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2004 11:12 AM

i agree. karl, lighten up a little bit. just remember...kerry 3, bush 0. that should brighten up your day. though, i agree that some GOP strategist doesn't deserve to be sitting in the same chair Barbara Jordan sat in.

mike, UT is changing its admissions policy in light of the affirmative action ruling by the supreme court which is more than i can say about aggy. then again, aggy and tolerance have never gone hand in hand.

Posted by: Sal D at October 15, 2004 11:39 AM

I am glad to see this. I went to grad school at UT and was really surprised when I saw whose statues were there, especially the Confederates who had little to do with Texas. I am not for revising history, but is there any reason to have a statue of Jefferson Davis so prominently displayed? He was even offered the presidency of A&M for cripes sake. How about replacing him and Robert E. Lee with Sam Houston or Stephen Austin or Lyndon Johnson. Now those guys belong on the campus of the University of Texas.

Posted by: Doug at October 15, 2004 02:50 PM

A question Chris--- where did your Dad get Rep. Jordan's chair? Who owned it before he bought it? The chair is a piece of history, but it is still only a chair. Barbara Jordan served this state, and our country honorably. I rightly consider her a political pioneer. Although I don't really know anything about him, I would hope that as a consultant, Mr. Elam is serving his political constituency.
Politics is an honorable, and necessary profession. Since the time of Adams and Jefferson, we have had political parties with different agenda, and more often then not, the various agendas do not agree. Hey, if I had the opportunity to buy a high-backed leather chair once owned by Richard Nixon, or Joe McCarthy, I would jump at the chance--- even though the chair was owned by an individual who brought disgrace to our country, and to the profession of "politician."

P.S. K-T, please get some sleep.

Posted by: tomm in Texas at October 15, 2004 05:12 PM

Sorry kids, its not a very exciting story.

Back in the early 80's, Dad bought, at a government auction, a number of office furniture items that formerly belonged to the offices of U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan and U.S. Ron Paul.

Great pieces of furniture at auction prices. Solid wood desks, etc. Awesome deals for somebody starting a small business. I don't know for certain if they still have these auctions today, but I would imagine they exist.

Who knows how many other similar items exist around the country? Its very probable that LBJ's desk or Lloyd Bentsen's chair resides in someone's office rather than a museum.

Posted by: Chris Elam at October 15, 2004 08:29 PM

As for your illegitimate statement about the civil war generals having "little to do with Texas," you're crazy. The confederate heroes have as much to do with Texas as any other Southern State. If ou remember, the number of Texans (Southerners from other parts of the South) that fought for Texas' short lived independence were very small compared to the amount (nearly 100,000) that valiantly for the the South. Before you start elevating Texas' war for independence above its civil war dedication, you really need to do a little research into your own state. Ours was one of the first to secede and one of the states with the fewest number of union loyalists. We were proudly a member of the CSA from the beginning until the forced end. Reconstruction left its mark heavier than any period of Texas independence did. Slavery was a huge part of the Texas economy and the eastern half of the antebellum state had nearly 200,000 slaves in it and the numbers were exploding at the time of the civil war. All in all, the Confederacy and civil war, along with reconstruction had a much more profound affect on the state than the Alamo did, period. If the civil war had "little" to do with the state of Texas, then what the hell were all of the brave men who died for the South thinking? Texas was one of the most important and dedicated states of the confederacy and you sir, are ignorant.

Posted by: Matt Heermans at June 10, 2005 04:15 PM
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