In 2016, the University of Texas at Austin celebrated two important milestones: the thirtieth anniversary of the Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights and the sixtieth anniversary of the first black undergraduate students to enter the university. These historic moments aren’t just special; they are relevant to current conversations and experiences on college campuses across the country. The story of integration at UT against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South is complex and momentous—a story that necessitates understanding and sharing. Likewise, this narrative is inextricably linked to current conversations about students’ negotiations of identity and place in higher education.
Gregory J. Vincent is the sixteenth president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He served as the University of Texas at Austin Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement from 2006–2017. He was also a professor of law at UT and held the W. K. Kellogg Professorship in Community College Leadership.
Virginia A. Cumberbatch began As We Saw It as a graduate research assistant for the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement in 2014, while she was a student at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy; she now serves as director of the Community Engagement Center.
Leslie A. Blair has championed the As We Saw It project since 2010 and serves as executive director of communications for the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, where she has worked since 2008.