Houston Informer, July 2, 1946. Used with permission of the Houston Informer

University at Austin Sought By Negroes

By LORRAINE BARNES  The Austin Statesman Capitol Staff

AUSTIN.—Dr. Everett H. Givens, Negro dentist of Austin, sought action in the State Supreme Court Tuesday to compel the University of Texas Board of Regents to establish in Austin the branch university for Negroes, provided for in Art. 7, Sec. 14 of the Texas Constitution.

Givens’ motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of mandamus against Dudley K. Woodward of Dallas, chairman, and the eight other regents was filed in the court by his attorney, Kenneth R. Lamkin of Austin.

The action was instituted two days before a newly appointed biracial committee is to meet in Austin to formulate a recommendation on Negro education to the Texas Legislature. The committee was appointed by Governor Coke Stevenson on petition by the regents of the University and the directors of Texas A&M college, who last Saturday recommended that a Negro university be established, preferably at Houston.

If the Supreme Court should grant the writ sought by Dr. Givens, the Negro university would have to be established in Austin in compliance with a popular vote of 1882 and the institution would share in the University Permanent Fund.

In the petition he asks the court to accept, Dr. Givens says he is acting individually and as the representative of Negro citizens in Texas. The petition asserted that the branch university for colored youths, which the Constitution of 1876 says the Legislature shall establish "when practicable," has not been established "even though there has been and is a demand and urgent need for such an institution."

The petition alleged that the Board of Regents "for more than 60 years has failed an neglected" to establish the branch and that "to this day said Board of Regents persists in such failure and neglect."

Dr. Givens called attention to the legislative processes under which the popular vote was taken in 1882, designating Austin as the location for the "Branch university for the instruction of the colored youths of the State of Texas," as the institution is described in the Constitution. The vote was provided for in a joint resolution passed by the first called session of the 17th Legislature, and the election was fixed by a proclamation by the then governor, the petition pointed out.

Dr. Givens’ petition recited the Constitutional provisions for establishing the University of Texas, Texas A&M college and the branch university for Negroes and asserted there was "specifically granted and set apart to said institutions, in addition to lands heretofore granted to the University of Teas, one million acres of land for their endowment, maintenance and support."

It is clearly the duty and responsibility of the Board of Regents, under the laws and the vote of the people of Texas, to establish the branch university in the city of Austin, the petition said.