Austin History Center

Austin Theater Stand-In Reunion Records

Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Davidson, F. Chandler
Title: Austin Theater Stand-in Reunion Records
Inclusive Dates: 1960-2010
Abstract: F. Chandler Davidson served as the president for Students for Direct Action (SDA); a group formed in the 1960s to desegregate the University of Texas theaters. In 2010, the SDA held a theater stand-in reunion for participants and supporters of the organization. This collection contains reunion logistics, reunion correspondence, printed material and biographical information relating to SDA participants and their efforts to desegregate UT theaters.
Identification: AR.2011.029
Quantity: .2 linear feet (1 box)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Chandler Davidson was born in 1936 in the Davis Mountains, Fort Davis, Texas. In 1954, he enrolled at the University of Texas Austin but dropped out in 1955 to join the Navy. In 1959, he re-enrolled at UT and became a columnist for the Daily Texan. His column, "Beware the of Jabberwock," was a combination of social commentary and satire. He wrote several columns attacking segregation and the mistreatment of blacks at UT.

In the fall of 1960 he was approached by the late Houston Wade who suggested that Davidson become the leader of a group Wade had conceived called Students for Direct Action (SDA). The goal of this group was to protest segregation of the movie theaters on the Drag (The Texas and Varsity theaters). Wade thought Davidson's name recognition as a columnist would help to get attention for the group and its ideas. Although Davidson first refused, he later agreed to become the leader of the group. SDA held its first demonstration in early December of 1960. The demonstrations continued through the summer of 1961 until the theaters agreed to desegregate.

Davidson's involvement in SDA had a profound impact on him. In his current position as a professor of sociology at Rice University, much of his scholarly work has focused on racial politics, specifically, on voting rights for minorities, primarily African Americans and Latinos. Additionally, he has participated as an expert witness in over forty voting rights cases during his academic career.

Source: F. Chandler Davidson

Scope and Contents

This small collection contains material related to the 2010 reunion held by the SDA, printed material showing an SDA advertisement (undated), research material on the Civil rights movement at the University of Texas (1960-2007), and biographical information on SDA participants (1948-2010).


The collection is arranged into 4 series.
I. Reunion Correspondence
II. Advertisements
III. Research Materials
IV. Biographical Material


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Goldstein, Ernest E.
Davidson, F. Chandler, 1954-.
Students for Direct Action.
Austin (Tex.)
African American college students--Texas--Biography.
African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.--Texas--History--20th century.
African Americans--Texas--Austin--Segregation.
Motion picture theaters--Texas--Austin.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 378.1982996 GO Goldstone, Dwonna Naomi. Integrating the 40 Acres : The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas. Athens, GA: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1968
  • A 344.7640798 LA Lavergne, Gary M. Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010
  • A 378.76431 BL Blount, Farris, Black Progress at the University of Texas at Austin. Austin, TX: student paper, 1979

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was donated by the creator.

Preferred Citation

Austin Theaters Stand-in Reunion Records (AR. 2011.029). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2011/043

Donation Date: 2011

Processing Information

Final Processing and Finding Aid by C. Evans/2011.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Reunion Logistics, 2010

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence from F. Chandler Davidson regarding the 2010 SDA reunion. 2010
2 List of potential reunion contacts, undated
3 List of expected reunion attendees, 2010
4 List of deceased stand-in supporters/participants, 2010

Printed Material, undated

Box Folder
1 5 SDA advertisement, undated

Research Material, 1960-2007

Box Folder
1 6 Civil rights history at the University of Texas, 1979-2007
7 Integration at University of Texas, 1960-1962

Biographical Material, 1948-2010

Box Folder
1 8 Carson, Sandra, undated; Embree, Alice, 2010; Bonner, Booker T. 2010
9 Goldstein, Ernest E., 1948-1989
10 Davidson, F. Chandler, undated