Page 31


San Antonio IWAS HAVING lunch with Maury Maverick, Jr., in December of 1983, celebrating the fact that the book I had been working on, D. B.: Reminiscences of D. B. Hardeman, was finally at the printers. Maury had introduced me to D. B. and had encouraged me to begin taping oral interviews with him for the purpose of preserving political history. During the course of the meal, I informed Maury that I had already decided to research another book on a figure who was, perhaps, more important than D. B. Maury replied, “That sounds great. Who’s this one going to be on?” “Some attorney a lot of San Antonians love to hate Maury Maverick, Jr.” I stressed that the emphasis would be on the ‘Junior’ as enough had been written about his father, the New Deal congressman and mayor of San Antonio. Maury sat silently for a few minutes and finally said, “Are you planning on interviewing me on tape?” “I sure am.” “Then hell no. I won’t let you!” I sat there trying to figure out if Maury were serious or just giving me a hard time. Finally, I asked if he would give me a reason. “Sure! You have a terrible reputation as an oral historian, just terrible.” With a straight face, he continued, “You did the oral interviews with my best friend D. B. and he died. I’m not ready to die. I know you academic types try to interview people when you think they’re on their last leg.” Suddenly a big grin appeared on his face as he said, “I’m half-serious, you know.” Then he added, “I can understand your doing a book on D. B.. Everybody who knew D. B. loved him. They’ll all buy copies of the D. B. book. Nobody is going to buy a book on me I’ve got too many enemies.” Larry Hufford, a professor of Political Science at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, is presently on a sabbatical, researching European attitudes on the arms race at the Institute for Peace Research, University of Uppsala, Sweden, and completing the manuscript on Maury Maverick, Jr. “Well, Maury, I’m counting on all those enemies buying copies to burn!” Maury roared with laughter. * * * IHAVE BEEN fortunate to have been a resident of San Antonio and an employee of Incarnate Word Col lege these past twelve years. The three individuals who have served as my mentors during this period are natives of the San Antonio area and all have had a connection to Incarnate Word College: Dr. Sterling Wheeler, the former military chaplain, who radiates a gentle humanism; Dr. Amy Freeman Lee, part of a famous ranching and rodeo family, who is a deeply intellectual spokesperson for humane ethics; and Maury Maverick, Jr., the old Marine, who has the greatest devotion to the Bill of Rights of anyone I have ever known. I wanted to write a book on Maverick because of his record, both as a state representative and as an attorney, as a defender of civil liberties. During the course of my interviews, Maverick told me his six years in the Texas legislature, during the McCarthy life.” “I began to take pills to go to sleep, pills to wake up. I was drinking too much and I broke out in hives. One by one, the lights were going out, and no one other than the Gashouse Gang was speaking out in the legislature. It was the only time in my life I’ve ever had an inkling of what it must have been like to have been a Jew in Nazi Germany.” According to Maverick, the real low point of this period was the day a bill passed and was sent to the state senate calling for the removal of all books from public libraries which “adversely” reflected on American and Texas history, the family, or religion. The low point occurred when the Texas State Teachers Association, in exchange for a pay raise, handed out a press release endorsing the censorship bill. Educators! “I voted against the bill,” Maverick said, “and then while walking to my apartment vomited until flecks of blood came up.” The first civil liberties case in which Maverick participated as an attorney Maury Maverick and friend. involved the fight by Gus Garcia and Carlos Cadena against the Texas law excluding Mexican Americans from jury duty. This was shortly after Maverick had been admitted to the bar in 1949. Maverick didn’t do any work on the case but was brought in because Garcia and Cadena wanted a well-known Anglo liberal name one the Supreme Court justices would recognize on the brief. Maverick described Garcia as a razzle-dazzle, flashy courtroom attorney and Cadena as one of the most scholarly attorneys he has known. At one point the opposing attorney tried to argue that the law should be maintained as “Mexicans were Asians because of their American Indian heritage.” Garcia, appearing before the Supreme Court, referred to Sam Houston as that “wetback from Tennessee!” The first civil liberties case Maverick handled personally was Sporty Harvey v Morgan. Sporty Harvey was a black boxer who had asked Maverick to file suit in 1954, claiming that the Texas law prohibiting boxing matches between blacks and whites was in violation of his constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment. The State of Texas replied that the law represented a reasonable exercise of its police powers particularly with reference to keeping down race riots “which might occur if a Negro and white should box.” Maverick’s response was to quote Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas in Terminello v. Chicago: “Disturbances of public order by an angry and turbulent crowd which the police is unable to prevent does not constitute grounds whereby a person may be denied his rights under the Federal Constitution.” Maury Maverick, Jr. Changing Anger to Action By Larry Hufford Pho to by Flo rence Kos t THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25