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Gary Bledsoe

Listen to curated clips of this oral history:
Clip 1: Advice to Young People
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Clip 2: Bill Clinton Coexisting
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Clip 3: Family Life
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Clip 4: Laws and Courts
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Clip 5: Segregation in Schools
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Listen to this full-length oral history while you read the unedited transcript:
First Interview:
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Unedited Transcript

Read Transcript:
Lightly Edited

Download Teacher Questions for this oral history in .pdf format

Biographical Notes
Gary L. Bledsoe was born in 1952, and attended public schools in Odessa, Texas. He moved to Austin to attend college, majored in Government, and in 1973 he graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1976, he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law where he was class president. Mr. Bledsoe has spent his professional career in law, first working as Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Jim Mattox from 1979 to 1994. After leaving the Attorney General's office he worked in private practice and as an instructor at St. Mary's University Law School in San Antonio. He has been president of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP Branches since 1991.

Gary Bledsoe shares some of the family stories that taught him about holding your head up high and being proud. He recalls growing up in a segregated society, the inferior facilities of African American schools, and the outstanding Black teachers he had.  Mr. Bledsoe discusses the fact that Austin did not desegregate even after desegregation. He sees our current society as “color conscious,” and explains how segregation and discrimination are still prevalent today.  He speaks of what he learned from role models such as Bill Clinton. Through examples of court cases that he has been involved with, Mr. Bledsoe shows how laws are currently being manipulated. He argues that fundamental human rights should be respected, and emphasizes the need for coexistence. Mr. Bledsoe reflects on the concept of making a difference, an ideal that he had when he aspired to become a lawyer. His advice to future generations is summed up in his words, “don’t give up your conviction.”

“Oral Narrative as History.” Students received class credit for this work, and were under the supervision of Dr. Martha Norkunas, director of “The Project in Interpreting the Texas Past.”

Every effort has been made to transcribe the audio recordings exactly. On occasion a word, or phrase, was difficult to hear and this is indicated by a question mark in brackets.

gary bledsoe

Gary L. Bledsoe

Naoko Kato

Date of Interview:
February 24, 2004

W24th Street, Austin, Texas

Recording Format:
Digital Voice Recorder, Olympus .dss format

Naoko Kato