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Waggoner Carr at McMurry University Commencement (1966)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1966

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  •  Attorney General Waggoner Carr delivers his “Un-Civil” Disobedience speech 
  •  Tonight I have become forever linked with McMurray Colllins. 
  •  I have joined you the students and graduates of this outstanding college in binding my ties with the spirit and the tradition and the excellence of McMurray. 
  •  We now share a common bond, a belief in God and the greatest of America. 
  •  At this moment within America, men will forsake our goodness, they will defy the society in which you step, perhaps they will steal from a neighbor, rob a stranger, or murder, or rape.  Still others will join as a mob to riot and to loot and ultimately attack the policemen who protest the lawlessness. 
  •  The words rights and riots are phonetically sympathetic to the ear.  Some consider the two words indistinguishable in sound and unequivocable in context.  They are not!  For the distant drummer, the words become inseparably one, but they are not! 
  •  It is no ones right to riot for any reason, for any reason.  Man has no permit to murder.  God certainly issued no mandate, no lawlessness when he made us in his image.  He gave us both the fury and the compassion.  In God's eyes these two words are the same. 
  •  We have our fury, let us use it to produce a front against poverty, not the impoverished, hunger, not the hungry, ignorance, not the ignorant.  Sins and crimes of man, not the color of his skin or the shape of his cross. 
  •  The moment any citizen of America decides he has the right to break any law he disagrees with, that citizen has contributed to the ultimate destruction of our nation.  His example leads to anarchy. 
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This series of film clips document Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr attending a meeting at the Texas Capital followed by the 1966 commencement ceremony at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where he is awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law and delivers the graduation address. Carr uses his speech to denounce the violent riots occurring in the past years, perhaps in relation to the Civil Rights movement.
Born in 1918 in Hunt County just East of Dallas, Waggoner Carr graduated from Lubbock High School and Texas Tech University. After service as a pilot for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Carr completed a law degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1950, Carr went on to serve two terms as the Speaker of the House in 1957 and 1959. After losing a 1960 bid for state Attorney General to incumbent Will Wilson, Carr later ran successfully for the 1962 and 1964 terms. In 1966, he unsuccessfully challenged Republican John Tower for his seat in the U.S. Senate at the price of his seat as Attorney General. In 1968, he attempted a run for Texas governor, then retired from politics. He spent his later years serving on the Texas Tech University board of regents, as state commander of the American Legion, and on citizens’ commissions in Austin and on the state level. At the time of his death in 2004, Carr was writing books about Jesse James and the past attorney generals of Texas. 
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
A particularly notable moment is his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.