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September 14, 2006

Press Contacts: Jodi Bart, UT Law, (512) 232-1408.

Alumnus James DeAnda, ’50, Featured in Tarlton Law Library Oral History Series

Photo of James DeAnda
The Honorable James DeAnda
Photo Credit: Rocky Kneten

AUSTIN, Texas—The Tarlton Law Library at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law will publish “James DeAnda: An Oral History Interview” in October, 2006. The interview is based on a speech given by DeAnda at the Hispanic Legal Archive Series held at The University of Texas School of Law on April 7, 2000.

“James DeAnda’s oral history captures both his rich life experiences, his wisdom and the integrity that he brought to his life’s work,” said Professor Roy M. Mersky, director of the Tarlton Law Library. “The Law Library is committed to honoring Law School alumni such as DeAnda who have made such important contributions to Texas law and the judiciary.”

In the oral history, DeAnda discusses his legal education, early legal career, involvement in school segregation suits, Sweatt v. Painter, and minorities in the legal profession.

This newest volume in the oral history series joins those already published with Robert W. Calvert, Tom C. Clark, Joe R. Greenhill, Sr., Helen Hargrave, Gus Hodges, Joseph D. Jamail, Corwin Johnson, Page Keeton, Harry M. Reasoner and Jack Pope.

DeAnda was involved in landmark cases dealing with discrimination in the public education system in Texas in the 1950s. He was a member of a legal team of four Hispanic attorneys in Hernandez v. State of Texas, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that all Hispanics were a separate group deserving the same constitutional protections as other minorities. DeAnda was co-founder, in 1968, of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and created Texas Rural Legal Aid in 1970 (now called Texas RioGrande Legal Aid).

In 1979, President Carter appointed DeAnda to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, making him the second Mexican American federal judge in U.S. history. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service from The University of Texas School of Law Alumni Association in 2004.

The Law Library conceived the Tarlton Oral History Series as part of its mission to preserve and make accessible its collection of oral history interviews. Eight other interviews are forthcoming, including interviews with Robert Dawson, Hans Baade, Russell Weintraub, Leon Lebowitz, Pat Hazel, Oscar Mauzy, and James W. McCartney.

To purchase a copy of an oral history interview, contact Abigail Schultz at or 512.232.3815. Each published oral history may be purchased for $20.00.

Related Links:
In Memoriam: The Honorable James DeAnda, 1925-2006:
Symposium Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Hernández v. State of Texas, April 1:
2004 Law Alumni Association Awards and Honorary Order of the Coif:
Tarlton Law Library Oral History Collection:
Alumnus Harry M. Reasoner, ’62, Featured in Tarlton Law Library Oral History Series: