UT-Austin historical past professor Alberto Martínez launched an article on Medium on Wednesday with contradicting proof towards UT’s “The Eyes of Texas” History Committee report. Martínez stated Civil Conflict Gen. Robert E. Lee impressed the phrase “The eyes of Texas are upon you,” and the music was written for a minstrel present.
The committee’s report, launched on March 9, stated the music was “written in a racist setting” however was not “overtly racist.” UT President Jay Hartzell fashioned the committee to review the music’s origins after scholar athletes and organizations referred to as for its removing over the summer time. Hartzell has repeatedly stated the music will stay since July 13.
“For many years there have been college students and Texans who really feel uncomfortable with this music,” Martínez stated within the report. “They simply knew that it was first sung at a blackface present and was primarily based on a music that mocked Black individuals — in order that was sufficient to make some individuals not sing it. The uncared for historic proof confirms their misgivings. But there was no vote at UT, no democratic course of in any respect. As a substitute UT’s President introduced that the music will stay.”
Martínez additionally stated the music copied phrases, phrases and rhymes of the “racist Levee Track,” higher generally known as “I’ve Been Engaged on the Railroad,” not simply the melody because the report initially stated. He additionally discovered the music was written the day of UT-Austin’s first minstrel present on Could 12, 1903, not when minstrel exhibits had been fading because the report claimed.
“In gentle of such details, UT directors ought to perceive why this music, opposite to the intentions of many, doesn’t generate unity,” Martínez stated. “I do consider that individuals can sing any music they need. Nevertheless, I like to recommend that this music not be the official music of our College.”
Martínez stated the report “implies” the music wasn’t created for a minstrel present, however his proof exhibits in any other case. He stated the music copied many points of the “Levee Track” and was initially supposed to be a parody.
5 phrases from the unique “Levee Track” had been copied nearly utterly in “The Eyes of Texas,” Martinez stated, together with: “I as soon as did know a,” “all de live-long day,” “so uh-ly in de mawn,” “Di-nah, blow yo’ hawn,” and “sing a music o’ the ci-ty.”
The committee’s report stated there wasn’t proof the music’s lyrics “supposed to point out nostalgia for slavery,” and that the origins of the tune had been “unclear.”
The committee’s report stated the music was written close to the tip of the minstrel period, however Martínez stated this isn’t true and the music debuted on the first minstrel present put collectively by UT college students — a reality not talked about within the committee’s report. He stated the music was created for the minstrel present, not because the College’s official music.
“Opposite to UT’s Report, the uncared for historic proof exhibits that the title of “The Eyes of Texas” was impressed by phrases about Gen. Robert E. Lee within the Civil Conflict, and that the music was created for UT’s first full-fledged minstrel present, on the day of the present, to make enjoyable of UT’s President, whereas total mocking Black individuals,” Martínez stated. “That isn’t what the music presently is, and that’s not how most singers intend it. However these are its origins.”
Martínez stated former UT President William Prather first stated the phrase at a speech to UT medical college students in 1900 and quoted a narrative about Lee telling Accomplice Gen. John Gregg to cost the enemy in the course of the “battle of the wilderness.” Gregg then informed his troopers, “Consideration, Texas brigade! Ahead! The eyes of Basic Lee are upon you!”
The historical past committee’s report did embrace this anecdote and stated, “no major supply has been discovered connecting the phrase as one thing that Lee used.” The committee’s report stated the claims of Lee being the inspiration traced again to a 1938 memoir by retired engineering dean T.U. Taylor.
Martínez stated Taylor informed the story of Lee being the inspiration three different instances to The Day by day Texan in 1920, 1923 and 1924. Prather’s son stated the road was paraphrased from Lee in 1936, and Jim Cannon, one of many unique minstrel performers, stated it originated from Lee, Martinez stated.
“Clearly, past any shadow of a doubt, UT’s phrase: ‘The eyes of Texas are upon you,’ originated from the phrases ‘the eyes of Basic Lee are upon you,’” Martínez stated.
UT spokesperson J.B. Chook stated the College stands by the “integrity” of the report launched by the historical past committee, which included historians, educational researchers, historic archivists and students.
“The committee looked for the reality in all its work — understanding that others would evaluation their work and arrive at their very own conclusions, which is the character of scholarship,” Chook stated.
UT spokesperson J.B. Chook, historical past committee chair Richard Reddick and Martínez didn’t instantly reply for remark.
Lauren Girgis and Brooke Ontiveros contributed to this report.