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Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

Honor the Texas flag…

March 2, 2011 1 comment

I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.

I admit, I said that a couple of times in high school – But I never felt any personal devotion to the state, however I’m not the best source seeing as I’m not a native Texan. I thought that after 4 years of saying ya’ll, drinking Dr.Pepper, eating barbecue, and going to football games every Friday I had become Texan enough, but oh no I was wrong. Today was March 2nd, and as hundreds of Facebook statuses gushed – it was Texas Independence Day.

We’ve discussed Texas ideologies and what makes Texas different from the “deep south”, but today I couldn’t help be feel a cynical as so many celebrated the battle that took place 175 years ago. I was angered by the way history has been so warped into a single perspective of the white men who fought for “freedom”. It has been mentioned in class already that one of the main reasons for the revolt against the Mexican government that at the time owned Texas was their refusal to adhere to Mexican laws concerning the abolishment of slavery. This was more than 30 years before slavery was abolished in the U.S.

I wanted to understand what drove people to celebrate and cherish this day in Texas, and I came across an article on Rick Perry’s campaign website – this excerpt was particularly interesting.

“On this date in 1836, forty-four men (“Texians,” they were called back then) signed their names to a remarkable document that laid out the case for Texas independence.

Life, liberty, property, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms were all at stake. These were the principles those Texians spelled out in their Declaration. Ridding Texas of tyranny would mean nothing if another form of tyranny took its place– the Texas Revolution was guided by the same spirit that influenced the American Revolution just two generations before.”

Then I compared the excerpt above to that of a blog of a former professor and journalist I met at a conference this past weekend. He writes about the history of Texas from a Latino perspective rather than that of Rick Perry…

“But the facts remain, the Texans had lots of help from Tejanos that were later discriminated against then, to add insult to injury, were driven off the very same lands they fought for!

Enter our hero of the day, Col. Juan Seguin. This early leader was a former member of the Texas Senate and mayor of San Antonio. He recruited Tejanos to help boost the troops inside the Alamo but was sent to recruit additional volunteers prior to the Mexican Army overtaking the chapel and killing most of the men inside….

So how was he treated after the war? Well, certainly the Hispanic Honeymoon was over and Col. Seguin and all of the other Tejanos were labeled as “traitors” and most fled to Mexico (the country where many had not  even been born; they  knew  little of the language and  had no allegiance to that government). In fact the 1836 Texas Constitution institutionalized this caste system thereby denying citizenship and the right to own property to those who did not participate in the war against Mexico  … huh? For most of the Texans, this translated into freedom to mistreat all of those with a Spanish surname. Personas non gratas in the land they fiercely fought for alongside their anglo counterparts.

Soon, Texas became just another Southern state, complete with slaves and on the horizon, an army of mean hombres that would be called Texas Rangers”
I know this was a long post – but I just can’t grasp the need for celebration especially while taking this class.

Ex-Slave Stories

February 14, 2011 2 comments

Imagine being 8 again. Now imagine being 8 and your parents took you to the biggest candy store in the world and said, “I want you to tell me about the candy – how it tastes like, what it looks like, and how it’s made”. That’s sort of how I feel like, small and insignificant in the presence of so much of in our case, research. There are just so many things and places I can look into but like that 8 year old version of ourselves, we grab so much that in the end we don’t know what to do with it. So here’s a little sample of what I’ve been trying to get a handle on.

 

Below is  a picture of James “Jim” Kelly, a slave from Georgetown, Texas. There is a link to the page I found it on his picture in case you wanted to read in full, but there’s an interesting observation to this. A page that is supposed to be dedicated to explaining who he is has a brief paragraph explaining basic details of his life – then the rest is devoted to his owners. I thought this was an excellent example of my subquestion in our prospectus: Will there be, and if so how will  the built-in distortion of the white perspective affect African American historical narratives? I think that white bias led to a focus on the record keeping of white history resulting in this inability to find information on the African American perspective. This will be a huge impact on the influence of white perspective on the slave/freedman experience in Georgetown.