Saturday, January 17, 2009

Down South in Laredo

I shall never forget one of my experiences as a roving columnist. I was in Laredo where prominent citizens from both sides of the Rio Grande were being honored at the annual George Washington Birthday celebration. I was fortunate to be seated at head table with Gov. Allan Shivers of Texas and Gov. Horacio Teran of Mexico. Shortly before the program started a Texas trooper came to the table and told me I had a long distance call. I immediately went to the telephone but it was at the far end of the building and took a while. When I got there it was Travis Bryan, descendant of early Anglo settlers, head of the bank in Bryan, Texas, and self-appointed guardian of Texas A&M University. "John," he told me, "You have to come to Bryan immediately, and in the morning you and I will go before the board of regrets of A&M. These people have lost their mind. They want to integrate A&M." What Travis did not know was that public opinion was strongly against his position, and that A&M was falling behind other institutions of higher education, and that it was time to allow women into the school. I told Travis it was impossible for me to attend and he became extremetly angry at me. The next day the board did vote to integrate A&M and it has regained its position as a major school. Travis never changed his position.

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