Texas Tech University

Equal Opportunity Hero: T. J. Patterson’s Service to West Texas


photo of t.j. patterson with tears in his eyes on cover
by Phil Price; Foreword by T. J. Patterson

T.J Patterson grew up during a time of American social unrest, protest and upheaval. In this biography by Phil Price, long-time Lubbock advertising executive, Patterson recounts memorable instances of segregation and integration in West Texas. "Equal Opportunity Hero: T.J. Patterson's Service to West Texas," is published by Texas Tech University Press.

As a two-year-old, Patterson survived polio when African Americans were excluded from "whites only" hospitals. When he attempted to enroll at Texas Tech after graduating from all-black Bishop College, he was not allowed to enter the administration building-the president would speak with him only outside, and then only to say Patterson could not be enrolled. Two years later, his aunt would become the first African American to attend Texas Tech.

Patterson spent his adult life as a grassroots activist. As a Lubbock city councilman he understood how important it was to work in solid partnership with representatives from the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of the city. Over the years, Patterson took every opportunity to join African American and Hispanic forces, but with a few exceptions, the traditional geographic divide of the minority population limited his efforts-and yet Patterson never gave up.

His brave public marches to homes of known drug dealers brought attention to their activities. Patterson also supported city investment in Lubbock history and culture, plus new development activity, from annexation to paved roads to water mains to fire stations. During his long career he truly was an equal-opportunity hero for all of Lubbock's citizens.

For more information, or to purchase the book, see the Texas Tech University Press website.