the eyes of texas history

They were joining thousands of others across the world protesting the killing of George Floyd; when they reached the Texas Capitol, players, coaches, and support staff knelt in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Floyd was pinned to the ground with a policeman’s knee on his neck. It bothered him that they played other schools’ songs, like “Fair Harvard.” He wanted a tune to call Texas’s own, but didn’t know how to write the lyrics. He approached his classmate John L. Sinclair, the editor of the yearbook. Sorry, we’re unable to find an account with that username and password. “The University of Texas, at least originally, had very clear minstrel connections,” Gordon said. Athletics director Chris Del Conte tweeted in response to the letter: “I am always willing to have meaningful conversations regarding any concerns our student athletes have. Cactus yearbook editor John Sinclair is credited with changing the “Railroad” lyrics to the UT version. Details on “The Eyes of Texas History Committee” Thread starter HllCountryHorn; Start date Nov 8, 2020; Status Not open for further replies. Brian Davis “The Eyes of Texas” had always been a part of my life as a fifth-generation Longhorn, with words as ubiquitous as those in “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” I had never questioned where those songs came from; I assumed they had always been there. “They’re asking for institutional changes that they think can have an impact on the racism that they see.”. More than a century later, Texas athletes stand at attention on their field of play after every home game and sing “The Eyes.” At times, it can be a prideful, emotional moment, especially after big wins or crushing defeats. A student started singing the words, and soon, hundreds of others at Clark Field were joining in. On June 4, after one of their first in-person practices since the coronavirus outbreak, the Texas Longhorns football team lined up outside Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium and began to march toward downtown Austin. If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. We were required to. ESPN commentator Greg McElroy discusses the Big 12 and the challenges teams have faced during this pandemic. In particular, the final item on the players’ agenda has ignited a debate throughout the Longhorn community over the past week: they called for officials to replace “‘The Eyes of Texas’ with a new song without racial undertones.”, The saying stuck with Prather as he became a lawyer and then eventually a UT regent. American History Reviews: The Eyes of Texas Are Upon This Book. Littlefield has long been known as one of UT’s earliest and most prolific donors, and all around campus, you can still see his influence: a cafe and residence hall are named after him, and two of the campus’s most prominent landmarks are the Littlefield Home and Littlefield Fountain. Fight!” It’s not clear whether this was included just for the recording, or if, in 1928, a yell was a normal prelude to singing the Eyes. “(‘The Eyes of Texas’) was first sung and played at a minstrel show which featured performers in black face.” The song was written and performed in a period of intense anti-black sentiment in Texas, Gordon said. Religion. 17 Texas 20 – Cyclones knock Longhorns out of Big 12 contention. [Verse] G G7 The eyes of Texas are upon you, C G All the live-long day G G7 The eyes of Texas are upon you A D You cannot get away [Chorus] D G Do not think you can escape them C B At night They watch above you all the day, the bright blue eyes of Texas. 2021 Bum Steer of the Year: The Texas Democratic Party, With Salons Closed, an 89-Year-Old Houston Woman Washes Her Own Hair for the First Time in Decades. The question at hand was whether it is possible to distinguish between the song’s racist … Countless as the bright stars, that fill the midnight skies. “They’re not asking for new iPads, and we already have the best locker rooms in the country,” says Daron K. Roberts, the founder of UT’s Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation. John Burt, a receiver who graduated in 2019, the school paper, “Whenever I sang ‘The Eyes of Texas,’ I was singing it because it’s the school song, and I was singing it purely out of school pride.”, If UT has proved anything over the years, it’s that change happens slowly and traditions have a stubborn grasp on the institution. “They’re not asking for new iPads, and we already have the best locker rooms in the country,” says Daron K. Roberts, the founder of UT’s, Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation, . The Best Things in Texas, 2021: H-E-B’s Charles Butt. The Eyes of Texas History Committee's mandate is directly related to acknowledging and bringing clarity to the full history of the song, including understanding its origin, its historical usage and its use in life events and popular media. They watch you through the peaceful night. In their letter, student athletes are calling for his name to be removed from Littlefield Hall because, as Gordon teaches, Littlefield was a slave owner who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. 1 of 2 Longhorns guard Andrew Jones stands for the playing of “The Eyes of Texas,” a requirement UT athletes hope to do away with along with the … “Railroad” was believed to have first been known as “Levee Song,” published in 1894 by Princeton students. He won the quarter. Silver Member. ‘Eyes of Texas’ roots The biggest change that fans would notice is the request to drop the ‘Eyes of Texas’ with a suitable replacement. He won the quarter. UT fans love to stay for “The Eyes” after beating their chief rival at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. You have a voice. “When Prather became president of the Univeristy of Texas, he began saying at the end of his talks to students and faculty that ‘The eyes of Texas are upon you.’, “Students, as students will do, decided to make fun of that and created a satirical song that have words that were appropriate to the University of Texas,” Gordon continued. Sing me a song of Prexy, Of days long since gone by. Together, Johnson and Sinclair wrote a song titled “Jolly Students of Varsity,” but it wasn’t quite what they wanted, so they shelved the idea. Yea Texas! They’re with you all the way. Email bdavis@statesman.com. The saying stuck with Prather as he became a lawyer and then eventually a UT regent. William Lambdin Prather learned the phrase “The eyes of the South are upon you” from Robert E. Lee, turning the phrase into “The eyes of Texas … Since around 2001, Gordon has been leading. They watch you in the early dawn, when from the eastern skies the high light, tells that the night is gone. Days later, a group of more than two dozen Texas student athletes—including football, basketball, and track stars—posted a letter on social media in which they vowed not to participate in upcoming recruiting or fund-raising events until the university administration addressed a series of concerns. We report on vital issues from politics to education and are the indispensable authority on the Texas scene, covering everything from music to cultural events with insightful recommendations. One subject of Gordon’s tour is George Washington Littlefield. I Still Got COVID. news Education. If UT has proved anything over the years, it’s that change happens slowly and traditions have a stubborn grasp on the institution. Those included renaming certain buildings on campus that are named for men who supported the Confederacy or segregation, creating an outreach program for underprivileged communities, and establishing a permanent exhibit centered on the history of black athletes in the, , which opened last year and features statues of running backs, and Ricky Williams. Sing me a song of Texas, and Texas’ myriad eyes. Prather, though, had the last laugh. The song was written in 1903 in response to the campus desire for a UT song. The university took trademark ownership of the phrase “The Eyes of Texas are upon you” in … By 1899, he was named president of the university and delivered an address to students on the first day of school. Sing me a song of Prexy, Of days long since gone by. In an email to students earlier this week, interim president Jay Hartzell wrote: “Working together, we will create a plan this summer to address these issues, do better for our students and help overcome racism,” although he never addressed the song by name. We will do the same in this situation and look forward to having those discussions.” (The athletics department declined to comment for this story.) Days later, a group of more than two dozen Texas student athletes—including football, basketball, and track stars—, on social media in which they vowed not to participate in upcoming recruiting or fund-raising events until the university administration addressed a series of concerns. Littlefield has long been known as one of UT’s earliest and most prolific donors, and all around campus, you can still see his influence: a cafe and residence hall are named after him, and two of the campus’s most prominent landmarks are the Littlefield Home and Littlefield Fountain. 13 Iowa State 23, No. One subject of Gordon’s tour is George Washington Littlefield. "The Eyes of Texas" debuted May 12, 1903, at the Hancock Opera House on West Sixth Street. If you are an existing subscriber and haven't set up an account, please register for an online account. November 2020. The Eyes of Texas History Committee’s mandate is directly related to acknowledging and bringing clarity to the full history of the song, including understanding its origin, its historical usage … It Was a Massacre. (A history of the song is here.) His daughter recalled one instance when students were waiting to hear the president speak. Aug 14, 2010 10,364 23,770 113.  American-Statesman Staff, Cedric Golden Instead It Led to Divorce. “They’re asking for institutional changes that they think can have an impact on the racism that they see.”, Other people—including alumni—are resistant to the change, citing tradition. He debuted the song at the minstrel show. By 1899, he was named president of the university and delivered an address to students on the first day of school. “As we move forward and continue to perform and sing ‘The Eyes,’ it is critical that we understand the full history of the song, share that history broadly and … The song was first performed at the Hancock Opera House in Austin and became a hit. As people discuss the history of the university’s famous spirit song, “The Eyes of Texas,” it’s worth considering both its present-day and historical contexts. Alumni join in song at weddings and funerals, and they whisper it to their babies as they rock them to sleep. Sinclair was the editor of the Cactus yearbook and a UT band member, and he wrote the lyrics per the request of band member Lewis Johnson. According to a 1926 Dallas Morning News column remembering her father, Prather’s daughter said the crowd roared when the president said: “I would like to paraphrase [Lee’s] utterance, and say to you, ‘Forward, young men and women of the University, the eyes of Texas are upon you!” From then on, it became Prather’s catchphrase. He Hoped Sheltering in Place Would Save His Marriage. According to multiple football players who played under coach Mack Brown, incoming freshmen were instructed to meet with Jeff “Mad Dog” Madden, the strength and conditioning coach, to learn the words to the song before even coming onto the field for their first practice. I Live in the Middle of Nowhere. San Antonio Public Library. His daughter recalled one instance when students were waiting to hear the president speak. “Bet you a quarter he says ‘eyes of Texas’ before he gets through,” one student said to another. The “Varsity quartet,” with Johnson on tuba and Sinclair on banjo, performed after the school choir, in the middle of the show.  American-Statesman Staff, Brian Davis Then head coach Tom Herman addressed his players: “You’re a minority football player at one of the biggest brands in the country. Do not think you can escape them At night or early in the morn The Eyes of Texas are upon you 'Till Gabriel blows his horn. American-Statesman Staff. 14 North Carolina 67: Matt Coleman ices Tar Heels to win Maui Invitational, Craven’s Corner: Backing Texas, Texas A&M in pivotal contests; three NFL wagers, The Dotted Line: Texas pledge Jonathon Brooks sets school record; 2022 running back targets, Texas loses two contributors for the 2021 baseball season, PHOTOS: No. The Eyes of Texas are upon you, You can not get away. Leave them blank to get signed up. Don't have an account? He watched how university president Robert E. Lee, the old Confederate general during the Civil War, addressed the students. “As ambassadors, it is our duty to utilize our voice and role as leaders in the community to push for change to the benefit of the entire UT community,” they wrote. At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, a twenty-piece band played the tune to introduce Lyndon B. Johnson onstage. Why in the World Are Texas Universities Playing Football in Front of Fans? Fight! Other people—including alumni—are resistant to the change, citing tradition. Get our weekly newsletter, filled with good reads, news analysis—and updates on special events. According to Gordon, it’s likely that the men donned blackface onstage as they performed the song. But the song’s origins, lyrical tune and meaning has been a sore subject with minorities for years. For his part, Gordon doesn’t currently have a position on whether or not the university should cease singing “The Eyes of Texas.” Either way, he says, the discussion is vital. (“The Eyes of Texas” is UT’s official alma mater tune and an unofficial fight song; the school’s official fight song is “Texas Fight”). Since around 2001, Gordon has been leading “racial geography” tours of the UT campus that highlight the school’s forgotten racist history. Do not think you can escape them At night or early in the morn The Eyes of Texas are upon you 'Till Gabriel blows his horn. Fight! Ivory black and crimson lac, and eyes of every hue. Serbin's church on the hill . To trace the history of the tune, you must go back to the late 1860s, when William Prather was a law student at Washington College in Virginia (now called Washington and Lee University). On message boards and comment sections, detractors say that the song’s meaning has changed over the years. #BlackAtSMU Tries to Pierce the “Bubble” of Southern Methodist University. The ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Reboot Is Ready to Kick Some Ass, Mourn Some Wives, Texas Monthly Recommends: A West Texas Animal Shelter, The Texas Beers That Helped Us Get Through 2020. Robert E. Lee was the university president and would frequently remind students that “the eyes of the South are upon you.” According to Dr. Edmund T. Gordon, a professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology at UT, the saying was Lee’s way of reminding students to work hard and to uphold Southern traditions. Bohls: Coleman spearheading a different Texas team that has a banner to prove it, Golden: If Texas really wants Urban Meyer, then Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is the blueprint, No. Use it.”, His players took that message to heart. In their letter, student athletes are calling for his name to be removed from Littlefield Hall because, as Gordon teaches, Littlefield was a slave owner who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. At midnight they’re with you all the way, the sleepless eyes of Texas. At some point, the song’s origins were forgotten and “The Eyes of Texas” became the school song. It’s unclear if any decision will be reached this time, either. You Don’t Have to Move to Austin. (The earliest recording of The Eyes of Texas was made in 1928 by the Longhorn Band. San … Enter your email below to send a password reset email. 17 Texas 66, Indiana 44: Horns never let up in blowout, ‘I can’t be mad at them’: Sam Ehlinger and Ta’Quon Graham react to Texas teammates’ opt-out calls. What Happened at Pease River Wasn’t a Battle. Listen to it – as well as the first recording of “Texas Fight” – here .) Again I seem to great him And hear his kind reply. The university announced in July that “The Eyes of Texas” will continue as its alma mater, and also recognized that not all community members are fully informed or agree about some aspects of the song’s origin. Acho continued on the controversial, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ song: ‘Most black players hated singing that song. The Texanist: How Can Whataburger Say That It’s Still “Family Owned and Operated”. In particular, the final item on the players’ agenda has ignited a debate throughout the Longhorn community over the past week: they called for officials to replace “‘The Eyes of Texas’ with a new song without racial undertones.”. A tradition was born, and “The Eyes of Texas” eventually became ingrained into Longhorn student life. When Littlefield refused, Coppini replied: “As time goes by, they will look to the Civil War as a blot on the pages of American history, and the Littlefield Mem­orial will be resented as keeping up the hatred between the Northern and Southern states.”, In recent weeks, Gordon’s tours of what he calls a “neo-Confederate university” have become so popular that the College of Liberal Arts made them available virtually. For many Longhorns—myself included—the athletes’ letter marked the first time they had learned of the song’s problematic origins. Nearly a year later, Johnson was standing in line at the post office when Sinclair ran up to him and handed him a scrap of paper torn from a bundle of groceries. Late in his life, Littlefield poured money into making UT more Southern-centric and commissioned Italian sculptor Pompeo Coppini to design statues of, “not dismayed by defeat nor discouraged by misrule [and] builded [sic] from the ruins of a devastating war a greater South.”, Interestingly, when he was completing the project, Coppini recommended to Littlefield that the monuments should honor Americans fighting in World War I. About a decade ago, a group of Texas basketball players refused to sing it after learning the song’s history, and just two years ago, the Texas student government debated the merits of the song. His players took that message to heart. A reckoning with the racist past of “The Eyes of Texas” has been gaining momentum in recent years, though.  American-Statesman Staff, Kirk Bohls The backlash surrounding ‘Eyes’ has grown considerably in the five days since the student athletes’ letter was published. Take the annual Texas-Oklahoma football battle, for example. 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