Plans under way to erect statues on campus of Barbara Jordan, Cesar Chavez

Oct. 14, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas—University officials Wednesday (Oct. 13) announced the sites of new campus statues of two nationally recognized champions of civil rights—the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. Congress, and the late Cesar Chavez, a civil rights and labor leader who became a force for social change.

The statues will be the first on campus honoring the contributions to society by a woman and by a Latino.

The Chavez statue will be placed at the south end of the West Mall, across from the Undergraduate Library. The Jordan statue will be near the Battle Oaks at 24th and Whitis streets.

Each statue will cost about $400,000. Artists interested in recreating the historical figures should submit their qualifications by Nov. 15. Finalists for each statue will be announced this spring.

The only other prominently displayed statue of an ethnic minority on campus is the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was unveiled on the East Mall in 1999.

For many years, members of the UT Austin community have discussed the need for ethnic and gender diversity represented by statues and other works of art prominently displayed on campus. The idea for the two statues came from students.

Chavez, who fought for the rights of farm laborers and minorities, was chosen by the We Are Texas Too program, also known as the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee.

The statue for Jordan, who spent her final 17 years teaching in the LBJ School of Public Affairs after retiring from political life, was conceptualized by the volunteer service organization Orange Jackets. The organization first lobbied for the statue as part of their yearly service project in fall 2002.

The issue was not taken forward until spring 2003 and was approved by the UT System Board of Regents that summer, said Sherri Sanders, associate dean of students.

During the 78th legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1537 supporting the fee. Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law on June 20, 2003.

Collection of the student fees began in the spring 2004 semester and will conclude with the summer session of 2007. Leftover money will go toward a scholarship fund.

Note: The deadline for artists to submit materials is Nov. 15, 2004.

Application information regarding the Cesar Chavez statue is available on the Life and Legacy of Cesar E. Chavez Web site. The site will describe qualifications. Inquiries can be directed to Dr. Margarita M. Arellano at 512-471-5017.

Information regarding the Barbara Jordan statue is available on the Barbara Jordan Statue Project Web site. The site will describe qualifications. Inquiries can be directed to Dr. Sherri L. Sanders at 512-471-5017.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.