About the Site

In 2016, Michael Tigar donated a digital collection of his papers to the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, both at the University of Texas at Austin. Made available on this site, this digital archive includes material not only from his legal career, but from his political activism, journalism, and scholarship. It also contains many personal mementos. On this site you will find images, correspondence, newsletters and reports, legal briefs, newspaper clippings, radio and play scripts, and audio files. You will also have access to excerpts from an oral history interview conducted by the Rapoport Center over two days in August 2016.

This unique archive came to us as an annotated collection, with Tigar’s own classification system as well as notes accompanying many items. The initial collection we received was classified by Tigar as follows:

Each item on this site that was part of the 2016 accession notes his original classification, and includes notes Tigar provided with it under the heading “Michael Tigar’s Notes.” In some cases, we have made small changes to Tigar’s item titles and descriptions for clarity. See the description of contents and letter that accompanied the donation of the collection materials for more information.

To assist researchers and visitors to the site, we expanded upon Tigar’s original classification scheme so that most items, in addition to a decade, are also assigned a primary issue (e.g. racial justice) and type (e.g. lecture). Some items are also identified as related to a person or place (e.g. Angela Davis or Chile). Through the search page, users can find and sort items by applying multiple filters (e.g. “racial justice” AND “1970s” AND “newspaper article”). A site-wide search tool, located in the top right-hand corner of the site, allows users to search by keyword.

We have also added a variety of items that are easily available online (such as some of Tigar’s scholarship), as well as items that Tigar has donated since the original accession. Please note that, while this site contains hundreds of archival items, it in no way encompasses all of Tigar’s work.

Over two days in August 2016, the Rapoport Center conducted an oral history interview with Tigar, largely around the issue areas identified in the archive. The interviews were conducted by University of Texas School of Law professors Karen Engle (also co-director of the Rapoport Center) and Jordan Steiker; Cornell Law School professor Gerald Torres (formerly a colleague of Tigar’s at the University of Texas School of Law); and Julia Dehm, who was the post-graduate fellow at the Rapoport Center. Scott Squires, who was a Master’s student in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas and a Rapoport Center Graduate Student Fellow, filmed and edited the oral history, and helped conduct the interviews.

Many clips from that interview can be found on this site, and are organized under the same categories used for Tigar’s documents.



by Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law and Founder and Co-director of the Rapoport Center.

This website has truly been a group project. In addition to those listed above who participated in the oral history, numerous people are responsible for different aspects of the site. Over the past two and a half years, many law, graduate and undergraduate students affiliated with the Rapoport Center participated in the drafting and editing of the text and organization of the materials. Special thanks go to Patrick Aana, Annie Bares, Sofie Bonilla, Scott Squires, and Ben Weiss. Others who played important roles along the way are Lauren Beccue, Aaron Burroughs, Emily Cantwell, Natalie Croslen, Mihret Getabicha, Kyla Harrison, Mehdia Mrabet, Margaret Siu, Rachel Zein, and Karina Zemel.

I am grateful as well to William Chandler who, as assistant director of the Rapoport Center, headed up the administrative supervision of the project from the beginning until this past July. When he left the Center after seven years, Annie Bares, who was a fellow at the Center, did a tremendous job of taking over the supervision of the project for the final three, very crucial, months. My co-director, Professor Daniel Brinks, has been remarkably supportive of the use of our time and resources on the project.

There would be no website if it were not for Law Technology Services. Many thanks to Adam Norwood, who is responsible for the architecture of the site, and Melanie Lindahl, who helped us to ensure its functionality. Thanks to both of them for their creativity, flexibility, and patience.

I also am of course grateful to Don Carleton and his team at the Briscoe Center, who have worked with us to ensure preservation of the archive, and to think creatively about the best way to present it, given that it is mostly digital. Brenda Gunn, who was the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Archivist, was particularly helpful in the early days, and Stephanie Malmros assisted us to see it to its conclusion.

The final, but most important, thanks go to Michael Tigar – for his generosity not only in gifting the archive and access to so many parts of his life, but for presenting it to us in such an organized and thoughtful way and for being a tremendous partner in this endeavor.

September 19, 2018