DeWitty Family Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Dana Edwin DeWitty was born on November 28, 1962 in Travis County, Texas to Velma and Ural Edward DeWitty, Dr. Dana graduated from McCallum High School in 1982. He worked at the Austin State Hospital at the time of his death. Dana was shot in the head at the home of Elizabeth Richardson in Southeast Austin on May 12, 1985 by Elizabeth's father, Ben Richardson. Testimony at the trial indicated that Richardson, who was white, did not approve of his daughter's relationship with an African-American man, and that he mistook DeWitty for the boyfriend. Dana died on May 16th of the same year.
Benjamin Franklin Richardson was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in November 1985 after a jury rejected prosecutor's arguments that he should be convicted of murder in the killing of Dana. Three black organizations criticized the jury verdict, saying that racism played a role in the decision. The Black Citizens Task Force, the Black Students Alliance and the Steve Biko Committee charged that the verdict was evidence that the court system was preferential toward whites.
The Papers are a small collection of materials related to the DeWitty family found in an attic of a house by a new owner. Of significance are the materials related to the death of Dana DeWitty in 1985 which include the memorial tribute book and program from the funeral, letters written to the Travis County District Attorney Ronald Earle asking for justice in the killing of DeWitty and newspaper clippings about the shooting. Also included in the collection is a 1985 letter praising Dana's mother Velma DeWitty's job performance at the Austin State Hospital, usher board materials from the St. Stephen Baptist Church, and assorted funeral programs. In addition there are a number of unidentified photographs that are presumed to be of the DeWitty family.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Donated by a homeowner who found the materials in her attic.
DeWitty Family Papers (AR.2002.041). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2002/104
Donation Date: 2002
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2011.
Detailed Description of the Collection