Once upon a time in Texas...there were liberal activists of various stripes who sought to make the state more tolerant and more tolerable. David Richards was one of them. In this fast-paced, often humorous memoir, he remembers the players, the strategy sessions, the legal and political battles, and the wins and losses that brought significant gains in civil rights, voter rights, labor law, and civil liberties to the people of Texas from the 1950s to the 1990s.
In his work as a lawyer, Richards was involved in cases covering voters' rights, school finance reform, and a myriad of civil liberties and free speech cases. In telling these stories, he vividly evokes the "glory days" of Austin liberalism, when a who's who of Texas activists plotted strategy at watering holes such as Scholz Garden and the Armadillo World Headquarters. Likewise, he offers vivid portraits of liberal politicians from Ralph Yarborough to Ann Richards (his former wife), progressive journalists such as Molly Ivins and the Texas Observer staff, and the hippies, hellraisers, and musicians who all challenged Texas's conservative status quo.
An attorney in private practice since 1957, David Richards has also served as head of litigation in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, as general counsel for the Texas AFL-CIO, and as a cooperating attorney for the Texas Civil Liberties Union.
[David Richards is] one of the best civil-rights lawyers and one of the best all-purpose battlers for justice this state has ever produced. . . . One man/one vote, school desegregation, freedom of speech, the list of cases with David Richards’s name on them as attorney for those getting shafted by unfair and unconstitutional laws goes on and on. So many of them seem self-evident by now. The shame of legal segregation is so clear to us at this point, we forget when it was worth a person’s life to work to change it.
1. Texas, Our Texas
2. Coming of Age in Waco and Austin—1950s Style
3. Off to Dallas to Practice Law
4. The 1960 Election: The New Frontier Beckons
5. Returning to Dallas Hat in Hand
6. Representing Labor Unions in Dallas, Texas
7. Dallas, 1966: The Federal Courts and the Winds of Change
8. The Radical Left Shows Up in Texas
9. A Gleeful Return to Austin
10. Changing the Face of the Texas House of Representatives
11. Life and Times with U.S. District Judge Jack Roberts
12. The Texas Department of Public Safety Gets Caught Snooping on "Radicals" at the Unitarian Church of Dallas
13. Frank Erwin and UT Take on the Rag
14. Law and the Counterculture
15. Austin Politics—Come the Revolution
16. Student Voting Comes of Age
17. Redistricting East Texas in the 1970s
18. Mad Dog Memories
19. Of Time on the River
20. A Decade or So of Voting Rights Wars in Texas
21. "The Times They Are A-Changing"
22. The 1982 Elections: Triumph of the Yarborough Democrats
23. The 1990s and the Last Guffaw
24. The Trail Doubles Back
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