Racial Geography and Waller Creek Tours

Dr. Gordon led the class on a tour of campus and gave a rundown of the university’s racial history and how racism is still immortalized through different statues and buildings on campus. One example of how racism is still prevalent in UT’s architecture includes Littlefield Mansion, which housed ex-Confederate slave-owning benefactor George W. Littlefield and his former slave. Along with that, Dr. Gordon indicated how some statues, such as a statue of George Washington, were meant to portray him as the ‘Father of the Confederacy’. This urged the class to think critically about how racism is built into UT’s history.

Then, Dr. Banner led the class on a tour along Waller Creek to explain and indicate certain effects of urbanization on Waller Creek’s water quality, quantity, streamflow, and channel morphology. The class received valuable information about the negative impact urbanization can have on ecosystem services such as flood mitigation, biodiversity, and even recreation. To further illustrate urbanization’s negative impact on water quality, the class measured pH and TDS values of the water at several different spots along the stream and discussed possible sources of contamination.