On August 1, 1966, possibly the most important event in Austin history took place. A twenty-five-year-old University of Texas student went up to the observation deck of the UT tower armed with guns, ammunition, and canned food and for the next 96 minutes held the campus in a state of terror. He killed 14 people that day and wounded more than 30. The shooting was broadcast on the radio and on television and it became a major news story both nationally and internationally.
There were thousands of eyewitnesses and dozens of survivors as well as a large local archive of police reports; a Governor’s Commission; medical, military, and university records; and dozens of interviews with survivors. Nonetheless, until fairly recently, the only analysis and storytelling about the event came from journalists and novelists, most notably in pieces in Texas Monthly and books by Gary Lavergne and Elizabeth Crook.
University of Texas history Professor Joan Neuberger noticed the lack of work by historians on the tower shooting and taught a graduate history seminar in spring 2016, introducing students to the main practices of public history. In this course, students organized a multi-media online exhibit on the history and legacy of the UT Austin Tower Shooting of 1966.
Here, Dr. Neuberger talks about some of the long-term outcomes of the shooting and its aftermath.
Learn more about the cultural context, details, and effects of the shooting at Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting