The fountain’s inscription, which was removed in 2016, described how Confederates were “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. They watch you through the peaceful night. (The earliest recording of The Eyes of Texas was made in 1928 by the Longhorn Band. 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. The very next day, on one of Johnson’s Promenade Concerts, the band marched through campus playing the song while students sang along. Instead It Led to Divorce. The saying stuck with Prather as he became a lawyer and then eventually a UT regent. Enter your email below to send a password reset email. We will do the same in this situation and look forward to having those discussions.” (The athletics department declined to comment for this story.) Map. In spite of the song’s damning origins, the Texas athletics department has yet to take a stance either way—and it’s unclear if it will be sung again come fall. At some point, the song’s origins were forgotten and “The Eyes of Texas” became the school song. The Eyes of Texas is performed at a slower tempo than what is usually heard today, and the song is introduced with a yell: “Yea Texas! Cactus yearbook editor John Sinclair is credited with changing the “Railroad” lyrics to the UT version. The Texanist: How Can Whataburger Say That It’s Still “Family Owned and Operated”. https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/ut-austin-eyes-of-texas-song-racist/. If you are an existing subscriber and haven't set up an account, please register for an online account. It was then performed by white singers in blackface at the Varsity minstrel show, which was a fundraiser for UT athletics in the early 1900s. 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. In show of unity and force, Texas athletes call for changes to address UT’s racial past, future, What’s in a name? The Texas Longhorns open the season on Sept. 12 against UTEP. We were required to. The song was written in 1903 in response to the campus desire for a UT song. “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.  American-Statesman Staff, Kirk Bohls History of the Lone Star State connects the prominent dots and tells stories of the lesser known. 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. The stories you want, in one weekly newsletter. And on Tuesday morning, a group of former Longhorn athletes, including Cat Osterman and Quan Cosby, in solidarity with current athletes. Texas Longhorns sing it to begin and end every UT game. Use it.”, His players took that message to heart. 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. 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 … 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. Johnson was also the program director of the Varsity Minstrel Show that raised funds for the university track team. He approached his classmate John L. Sinclair, the editor of the yearbook. “I just think people need to know what its roots are,” he says, “And then we should decide collectively what we want to do about that.”. 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. ‘Eyes of Texas’ roots The biggest change that fans would notice is the request to drop the ‘Eyes of Texas’ with a suitable replacement. 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. Aug 14, 2010 10,364 23,770 113. Student athletes wrote a letter urging officials to change the tune, which has racist origins. 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. A reckoning with the racist past of “The Eyes of Texas” has been gaining momentum in recent years, though. Alumni join in song at weddings and funerals, and they whisper it to their babies as they rock them to sleep. “(‘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. He won the quarter. If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. Sing me a song of Texas, and Texas’ myriad eyes. It’s unclear if any decision will be reached this time, either. “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. news Education. “The University of Texas, at least originally, had very clear minstrel connections,” Gordon said. Highlights San Antonio: America's Mission City . Scribbled on the paper, he had written a poem: They watch above you all the day, the bright blue eyes of Texas. 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. 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 Eyes of Texas” is nearly as old as the University of Texas itself. Sound | Color | English. 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. Sing me a song of Texas, and Texas’ myriad eyes. 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 … Countless as the bright stars, that fill the midnight skies. A student started singing the words, and soon, hundreds of others at Clark Field were joining in. San Antonio Public Library. Their performance was a hit, and the crowd demanded that they play the song again and again. of the UT campus that highlight the school’s forgotten racist history. ESPN commentator Greg McElroy discusses the Big 12 and the challenges teams have faced during this pandemic. The university took trademark ownership of the phrase “The Eyes of Texas are upon you” in 1936, according to school records. The eyes of Texas are upon you. Serbin's church on the hill . "The Eyes of Texas," the official song of the University of Texas at Austin, considered by some as an unofficial state song, was first sung at a minstrel show to benefit the university track team at the Hancock Opera House in Austin on May 12, 1903. They watch above you all the day, the bright blue eyes of Texas. Sing me a song of Prexy, Of days long since gone by. “The Eyes of Texas” was played at Prather’s funeral in 1905. No formal action has been taken by university administrators. And on Tuesday morning, a group of former Longhorn athletes, including Cat Osterman and Quan Cosby, tweeted a statement in solidarity with current athletes. Performed by a quartet of blackface students, accompanied by Sinclair on the banjo, it … On message boards and comment sections, detractors say that the song’s meaning has changed over the years. “Bet you a quarter he says ‘eyes of Texas’ before he gets through,” one student said to another. “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 … Get our weekly newsletter, filled with good reads, news analysis—and updates on special events. These minstrel shows, which went on until the sixties, were fund-raisers organized by students and featured white performers singing and dancing in blackface. If you are looking for ways to donate your time or money to Black Lives Matter and other antiracist organizations, we have created a list of resources to get you started. “Bet you a quarter he says ‘eyes of Texas’ before he gets through,” one student said to another. Statistically-speaking, was Charli Collier’s 44-point game the best in Texas history. Categories: 1970s. 25 Texas 84, Louisiana Tech 57: Longhorns roll but team’s effort leads to a postgame rebuke, No. Leave them blank to get signed up. One subject of Gordon’s tour is George Washington Littlefield. American History Reviews: The Eyes of Texas Are Upon This Book. : A look at the names on buildings that Texas athletes want changed, Danny Davis 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 … Details on “The Eyes of Texas History Committee” Thread starter HllCountryHorn; Start date Nov 8, 2020; Status Not open for further replies. He won the quarter. “Railroad” was believed to have first been known as “Levee Song,” published in 1894 by Princeton students. It Was a Massacre. They’re with you all the way. I Live in the Middle of Nowhere. But the song’s origins, lyrical tune and meaning has been a sore subject with minorities for years. The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day. Other people—including alumni—are resistant to the change, citing tradition. Johnson suggested that they set the lyrics to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and they eyed an annual campus minstrel show on May 12, 1903, as the right time to debut it, since there would be a large audience, including President Prather. The song was first performed at the Hancock Opera House in Austin and became a hit. His players took that message to heart. They watch you through the peaceful night. Again I seem to great him And hear his kind reply. Religion. (“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”).  Hookem.com staff. In a post on social media, players also called for “lifting the requirement of athletes to sing the song” after games. “Lee, as president used to say to his assembled faculty and students, ‘The eyes of the South are upon you,’” Gordon said. Why in the World Are Texas Universities Playing Football in Front of Fans? At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, a twenty-piece band played the tune to introduce Lyndon B. Johnson onstage. Future UT President William Lambdin Prather, who was born in Tennessee but grew up near a plantation in Waco, was a law student at Washington and Lee University. For many Longhorns—myself included—the athletes’ letter marked the first time they had learned of the song’s problematic origins. By 1899, he was named president of the university and delivered an address to students on the first day of school. Countless as the bright stars, that fill the midnight skies. 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. Silver Member. John Burt, a receiver who graduated in 2019, told 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.”. “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. 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. Throughout the years, several different groups has pushed the university to drop the song, all to no avail. 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. His daughter recalled one instance when students were waiting to hear the president speak. UT president forms committee to address history of ‘The Eyes of Texas’ Students, alumni and fans remain divided over the racist history of the school’s alma mater. 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). Embracing the song’s meaning today should not stop us from seeing its complicated past, and acknowledging the many ways that people see the song. Over time, though the roots of the song were forgotten, "The Eyes of Texas" remained, with it being played at all UT occasions, including at the beginning and end of football games. Ivory black and crimson lac, and eyes of every hue. 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 Texas Athletics Hall of Fame, which opened last year and features statues of running backs Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. Subscribe or link your existing subscription. He’d had a flash of inspiration, he said. Don't have an account? 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. (A history of the song is here.) Student government and the university’s Black Student Alliance voiced their support of the statement.  American-Statesman Staff, Brian Davis Sorry, we’re unable to find an account with that username and password. Texans You Should Know: How a Black Cowboy’s Discovery Changed the Field of Archaeology, Olympic Protester Tommie Smith Reclaims His Legacy in a New Documentary, In ‘The Infinite Race,’ Indigenous Athletes Tell Their Own Stories, The Best Things in Texas, 2021: Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Greenlights’, Margin Walker, Texas’s Largest Independent Concert Promoter, Is Shutting Down, Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $#!+. Neither movement got much attention at the time—but now that monuments to The United States’ racist history are toppling around the country, this call to action has been reinvigorated. His daughter recalled one instance when students were waiting to hear the president speak. Texans' leader Sam Houston, hand extended, accepts Mexican general Santa Anna's surrender at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836. Then head coach Tom Herman addressed his players: “You’re a minority football player at one of the biggest brands in the country. At midnight they’re with you all the way, the sleepless eyes of Texas. The Eyes of Texas are upon you, You can not get away. Late in his life, Littlefield poured money into making UT more Southern-centric and commissioned Italian sculptor Pompeo Coppini to design statues of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, as well as his namesake fountain. “They’re asking for institutional changes that they think can have an impact on the racism that they see.”. 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. 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. The question at hand was whether it is possible to distinguish between the song’s racist … According to a 1926. 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. 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. They watch you in the early dawn, w. hen from the eastern skies the high light, tells that the night is gone. The backlash surrounding ‘Eyes’ has grown considerably in the five days since the student athletes’ letter was published. Student government and the university’s Black Student Alliance voiced their support of the statement. Fight! Next Last. They watch you in the early dawn, when from the eastern skies the high light, tells that the night is gone. 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. The backlash surrounding ‘Eyes’ has grown considerably in the five days since the student athletes’ letter was published. With the OU side empty, fans of all races shout “All the live long day!” in unison. The Eyes of Texas are upon you, You can not get away. 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. At midnight they’re with you all the way, the sleepless eyes of Texas. 17 Texas 69, No. The “Varsity quartet,” with Johnson on tuba and Sinclair on banjo, performed after the school choir, in the middle of the show. The Eyes of Texas - Religious History. John Sinclair wrote the Texas-specific song lyrics in 1903 to the tune of the original folk song, "I've Been Working on the Railroad," that was published nine years earlier in 1894. In 1902, a UT student named Lewis Johnson made it his personal mission to create a school song.  American-Statesman Staff, Cedric Golden [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 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. By 1899, he was named president of the university and delivered an address to students on the first day of school. Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Update, June 16, 2020: As "The Eyes of Texas" has been sung for 120 years, it’s worth considering both its present-day and historical contexts. “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. Go. “It’s right there in front of us, but we just don’t know.”. 13 Iowa State 23, No. Brian Davis At some point, the song’s origins were forgotten and “The Eyes of Texas” became the school song. He Hoped Sheltering in Place Would Save His Marriage. 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. UT fans love to stay for “The Eyes” after beating their chief rival at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Fight! Sing me a song of Prexy, Of days long since gone by. On message boards and comment sections, detractors say that the song’s meaning has changed over the years. Yea Texas! 1; 2; 3; Next. San … 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. 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. One subject of Gordon’s tour is George Washington Littlefield. The song the Longhorn band usually plays, Eyes OF Texas, has racist roots that are fracturing the campus. "The Eyes of Texas" debuted May 12, 1903, at the Hancock Opera House on West Sixth Street. No. American-Statesman Staff. The University of Texas band plans to boycott today's football game against Baylor. You have a voice. 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. You Don’t Have to Move to Austin. “The Eyes of Texas” is not your typical school song. Acho continued on the controversial, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ song: ‘Most black players hated singing that song. The Best Things in Texas, 2021: H-E-B’s Charles Butt. Prather, though, had the last laugh. 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. 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. Update 06/17: This article has been amended to reflect that “The Eyes of Texas” is UT’s alma mater and an unofficial fight song. That fall, during UT’s annual bout with Texas A&M, the Aggies were driving late in the fourth quarter when they took a timeout. “Those are the words of the song, and they put it to the tune of a well-known song, which was ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.’”. A tradition was born, and “The Eyes of Texas” eventually became ingrained into Longhorn student life. Vandyke brown, vermillion, sepia, Prussian blue, Ivory black and crimson lac, and eyes of every hue. Reactions: TilGabriel, vandyhank and daflonghorn. He played tuba in the band, directed the school choir, and began something called Promenade Concerts, where the marching band would move through campus playing overtures and marches by John Philip Sousa. On Friday, UT football players formally asked for “the replacement of ‘The Eyes of Texas’ with a new song without racist undertones.”. “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, . “So its origins are either as a black work song or as a minstrel song, in other words folks in black face impersonating black folks,” Gordon said. Since around 2001, Gordon has been leading. November 2020. S.A. farmer made history by writing University of Texas’ “The Eyes of Texas” By Omar Sanchez, Staff Writer July 30, 2017 Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn Reddit Pinterest The two students decided to tweak the lyrics to more explicitly pay homage to Prather’s catchphrase. The eyes of Texas are upon you. German Catholic settlers flock to Muenster and Lindsay . The song disparaged black laborers who worked in railroad and levee camps. The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day. It’s something closer to a prayer. Listen to it – as well as the first recording of “Texas Fight” – here .) 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