Athletes compete at the NCAA Track and Field Championships West Preliminary at Mike A. Myers Stadium on May 26, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Track & Field

Black History Month at Texas: James Means

Posted February 24th, 2020


Throughout Black History Month, the American-Statesman will take a daily look at the black athletes who have had a lasting impact in Texas’ athletic department. Today, we are writing about track and field athlete James Means. 

Means participated alongside Oliver Patterson at a track and field meet in College Station on Feb. 29, 1964. On that day, Means and Patterson became the first black athletes to compete for Texas. A year later, Means became the first black letterwinner in the Southwest Conference.

Even though it was Means who integrated the Texas athletic department, his mother was also tied to his history. Means was an Austin native and the son of area activist and teacher Bertha Means. An opportunity to run for the Longhorns presented itself after Bertha Means pressured UT regent Frank Erwin for his inclusion.


Means graduated from UT in 1967. According to Texas, he lettered three times with the Longhorns.

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