Despite winning numerous championships in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, players were never formally recognized for their accomplishments, nor given championship rings.
AUSTIN, Texas — It was a recognition almost a century overdue.
On Tuesday, it was finally given. The Travis County Commissioners Court issued a formal proclamation recognizing the Original L.C. Anderson High School for its football state championships in 1942, 1956 and 1961.
Today, L.C. Anderson High School is located in northwest Austin. But for 82 years, the Original L.C. Anderson High School was located on the East side, and served as the only school in Austin for black students during segregation
Their state championships had never been formally recognized, as players were never given rings or trophies. That changed on Tuesday when the seven surviving players were given their state title rings.
“We call on all the residents of Travis county to celebrate their many victories on the field,” Precinct One Commissioner Jeff Travilion said. “We’re working with a community that believes that when we know our history it makes us strong. It does not diminish us in any way. This is a black history tribute to you.”
Travilion worked with Leroy Bookman III, an alumnus of the original L.C. Anderson High School, to draft the proclamation.
“This alumni group has sacrificed, loved and challenged those of us in the Austin area to be better and to do better because of their exampled,” Travilion said.
After the motion passed unanimously, Bookman hand delivered the rings to each of the players.
“A couple of them that I handed rings to got very emotional because they knew that this was something that they had done that nobody knew about except the people in the East Austin community,” Bookman said. “Today means a whole lot. You’ve got the old saying, ‘Give me my flowers while I live.’ This is my flower. This is my flower.”
Bookman said this is only phase one of his plan. His next step is to get rings to the families of players who have passed away.
“First of all, it’s part of Austin history, the fact that Anderson won four state championships and played in seven and won 13 district championships. And it’s a part of Black history because we played in the PVIL, which was an all-black league because of segregation.”
For decades, the Anderson High School Yellow Jackets played football in the Texas Interscholastic League of Colored Schools (TILCS), later renamed the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL).
From 1955 to 1961, the Original L.C. Anderson football teams were 65-7-5 in 77 games. They shut out opponents 30 times during that stretch and went undefeated at home.
“The Original L.C. Anderson High School was the glue that held East Austin together, and we cannot and should not ever forget the fruits of its labor,” the proclamation states in part. “The school not only produced exceptional athletes and sports teams, but it also produced phenomenal teachers, counselors, attorneys, principals, school administrators, professors, police captains, opera singers, business owners, musicians, a Secretary of the Treasury, and so many others who made a way out of no way and taught us how to make a way.”
This is the second recent instance of recognition for alumni of the Original L.C. Anderson High School.
Earlier this month, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the baseball field at the current Anderson High School. It is now called Willie Wells Field. Wells, a graduate of the Original L.C. Anderson High School, was a legendary baseball player in the 1920s and 1930s.
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