Texas slave passes as Mexican millionaire

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2016-06-12 01:25Z by Steven

Texas slave passes as Mexican millionaire

San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio, Texas

Joe O’Connell

Former slave passes as Mexican millionaire

Historian Karl Jacoby was driving near the Texas-Mexico border when he was stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol, the agency charged with keeping Mexicans out of the United States.

He explained, to their dismay, that he was writing a book about a Texan who had tried desperately to cross into Mexico.

In the completed book, “The Strange Career of William Ellis,” Jacoby has pieced together of the life a former slave who transformed himself into a wealthy Mexican.

Ellis was born to a mixed-race mother on a cotton plantation in Victoria one year before slavery ended, but found transformation in San Antonio, then the hub of commerce between the United States and Mexico.

“He was born ‘in between’ in multiple ways,” Jacoby said. “There was this fault line between slavery and freedom and what that might mean. There was also a fault line between the United States and Mexico.”

Both nations were courting immigrants as business boomed in the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States, Women on 2016-04-11 17:19Z by Steven

Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

The Houston Chronicle
Houston, Texas

Joe Holley, Native Texan

A statue of “Emily Morgan” by Veryl Goodnight stands amidst a garden of yellow roses in an office complex across the street from Memorial City Mall in Houston.
Photo: Joe Holley, Joe Holley/Houston Chronicle

So, what was happening in that red-and-white striped tent at about 4:30 on the afternoon of April 21, 1836? Santa Anna’s field tent at San Jacinto, that is.

Was the exhausted Mexican general in a deep daytime slumber, even as Gen. Sam Houston and his Texian army were massing for an attack just three-quarters of a mile away? That’s what Santa Anna said he was doing in a long report he presented to the Mexican government about that fateful spring day. (Actually, he said he was sleeping under a shade tree.)

Or, as Texas myth and the movies have it, was he entwined in the arms of a beautiful, young “mulatto” woman named Emily Morgan, the fabled “Yellow Rose of Texas,” and thus oblivious to the looming danger?

Of course, the latter is the spicy tale most of us would like to believe, although the intricate swirl of legend, lore and shrouded history makes it very difficult to tease out the truth. As Dallas attorney Jeff Dunn reminded me earlier this week, the Emily tale isn’t totally implausible, but with the evidence that’s been uncovered to date, there’s no way to prove it one way or the other. (Neither party took a selfie.)

Dunn, an amateur historian long interested in the Battle of San Jacinto, has researched the Emily story for 25 years. He’s as interested in how the story evolved and how it got entangled more than a century later with a popular minstrel song as he is in establishing the truth of the matter. He’ll be exploring both those issues at the annual San Jacinto Symposium next weekend here in Houston. The symposium topic is “African-Americans in Texas History from Spanish-Colonial Times to Annexation.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, Media Archive, Religion, Texas, United States on 2016-03-16 15:25Z by Steven

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

The Rivard Report: Urban. Independent. All About San Antonio.
San Antonio, Texas

Robert Rivard, Director

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, one of San Antonio’s most accomplished and beloved Catholic priests whose work brought him recognition in Latin America and Europe and an esteemed faculty position at the University of Notre Dame, died of a self-inflicted gunshot at his home Monday afternoon, according to sources in the Catholic community.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner ruled Elizondo’s death a suicide on Tuesday.

Friends spoke of being devastated and in disbelief as the news made its way through Elizondo’s large circle in the city. Elizondo, 80, a Westside native and the son of Mexican immigrants, became a beacon for Catholics and non-Catholics inspired by his deep appreciation of mestizo history, culture and spirituality. His own roots gave him a grounded understanding as a theologian of what the poor and oppressed throughout Latin America were experiencing under the rule and repression of military dictatorships in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. For Elizondo, liberation theology that swept the continent in those decades was one and the same with his mestizo-rooted theology…

…He served as rector of San Fernando Cathedral in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was credited with resurrecting the parish community there. His understanding of the power of media led him to do extensive work with the archdiocese’s television station, and his Spanish-language Mass at San Fernando was broadcast each Sunday to more than one million people throughout Latin America. He was a co-founder with then-Archbishop Patrick Flores of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and a strong advocate for the city and region’s working poor. He was fond of telling stories about his own happy childhood and close-knit family, poor in material goods, rich in spirit and faith.

Elizondo was named secondarily in a May 2015 lawsuit filed by a John Doe in Bexar County that accused Jesus Armando Dominguez, then a student at Assumption Seminary here, of sexually molesting him from 1980-83 while the boy lived at a local orphanage and was mentored by Dominguez. In the lawsuit, the John Doe claims he approached Elizondo to report the molestation, only to be kissed and fondled by him while the two were in a vehicle together. Elizondo vigorously denied the charges in a public statement and in conversations with friends, and said he was prepared to fight the allegation legally…

…Woodward, a Notre dame graduate, was a friend of Elizondo and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, who served as president of Notre Dame from 1952-1987. He said it was a world that welcomed Elizondo. Despite his own humble beginnings, Elizondo learned to speak multiple languages and lectured widely on three continents. He authored numerous books, including “The Future is Mestizo” in 1992; “Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation” in 1997; and “Galilean Journey: The Mexican American Promise” in 2000. His books remain in print, often assigned by theology professors at other major universities…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Unpublished Black Asian History

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2016-03-11 01:36Z by Steven

Unpublished Black Asian History

Grits and Sushi: my musings on okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness

Mitzi Uehara Carter

This photo captures a quiet story of a multicultural South, black philanthropy, transpacific militarism and its hauntings, the organizing strength of of Black women, and the power of Black journalism and photography. How does this one photo tell me about all these things?

First, I have to explain what inspired me to dig this picture out of an old album…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

When Louisiana Creoles Arrived in Texas, Were They Black or White?

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2015-12-21 02:05Z by Steven

When Louisiana Creoles Arrived in Texas, Were They Black or White?

Zócalo Public Square

Tyina Steptoe, Assistant Professor of History
University of Arizona

Tyina Steptoe’s book, Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, was published by the University of California Press in 2015.

Mixed-Race Migrants Came to Houston for Jobs and Ended Up Challenging Definitions of Race

Actor Taye Diggs recently raised eyebrows by declaring that he hopes his young son—who has a white mother of Portuguese descent—identifies as “mixed” instead of black. Diggs, who is African-American, also included President Barack Obama in his statement. “Everybody refers to him as the first black president. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just saying that it’s interesting. It would be great if it didn’t matter and that people could call him mixed. We’re still choosing to make that decision, and that’s when I think you get into some dangerous waters.”

So, who is “black” in America? To answer this question, I think it helps to look at the history of Houston, the city where I grew up and a place that has grappled with the black-white color line in a different way than we’ve conventionally come to understand race in America. A sizable population of people in Houston through the 20th century has identified as “Creole”—and many never really identified as black or white.

The Creoles who came to live in Houston were descendants of a free, mixed-race population that appeared in colonial Louisiana in the 18th century. The first generation typically had French or Spanish fathers and African mothers. Coerced sexual relationships, complex negotiations, and outright rape led to the creation of this population. Some white men freed their mixed-race offspring, who became known as gens de couleur libre (free people of color). Free people of color formed a separate racial group in colonial Louisiana. Since they were free, they were not lumped into the same category as black slaves. But they also did not have the same legal status as white people. Free people of color, then, were neither white nor black. Following the end of slavery in 1865, they called themselves Creoles of color, a name that future generations continued to use to identify themselves as a group…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Texas, United States on 2015-12-21 01:56Z by Steven

Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City

University of California Press
November 2015
320 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780520282575
Paperback ISBN: 9780520282582

Tyina Steptoe, Assistant Professor of History
University of Arizona

Beginning after World War I and continuing throughout the twentieth century, Houston was transformed from a black-and-white frontier town into one of the most ethnically and racially diverse urban areas in the United States. Houston Bound draws on social and cultural history to show how, despite Anglo attempts to fix racial categories through Jim Crow laws, converging migrations—particularly those of Mexicans and Creoles—complicated ideas of blackness and whiteness and introduced different understandings about race. This migration history is also a story about music and sound, tracing the emergence of Houston’s blues and jazz scenes in the 1920s as well as the hybrid forms of these genres—like zydeco and Tejano soul—that arose when migrants forged shared social space and carved out new communities and politics. Houston’s location on the Gulf Coast, poised between the American South and the West, yields a particularly rich examination of how the histories of colonization, slavery, and segregation produced divergent ways of thinking about race.

This interdisciplinary book provides both an innovative historiography about migration and immigration in the twentieth century and a critical examination of a city located in the former Confederacy.

Tags: , ,

B. Iden Payne Awards 2015 Winners and Nominees

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2015-10-27 19:40Z by Steven

B. Iden Payne Awards 2015 Winners and Nominees

B. Iden Payne Awards
Austin, Texas

Below are the nominees for the 2014-2015 theatrical season.

THEATER FOR YOUTH: 2014 – 2015  Season

Outstanding Production

Winner: Am I White / Salvage Vanguard Theater

Outstanding Direction

Winner: Jenny Larson / Am I White, Salvage Vanguard Theater

Outstanding Lead Actor

Winner: J. Ben Wolfe (Wesley Connor) / Am I White, Salvage Vanguard Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor

Winner: Michael Joplin (Ryan) / Am I White, Salvage Vanguard Theater

Outstanding Original Script

Winner: Adrienne Dawes / Am I White, Salvage Vanguard Theater

Read the entire Winners and Nominees list here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s what I did when racists complained about an interracial family in my magazine

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2015-07-28 02:32Z by Steven

Here’s what I did when racists complained about an interracial family in my magazine

The Washington Post

Scott Vogel, Editor-in-Chief
Houstonia, a city magazine based in Houston, Texas

Offended by this image? Houstonia magazine doesn’t want your business. (Photo by Chris Skiles/Houstonia)

Don’t compare me to business owners who refuse to serve LGBT customers

As editor in chief of a lifestyle magazine, my job has been to balance two competing concerns of the journalism business: publishing stories that make a difference and selling ads that make money. This month, I discovered a third, hitherto unknown concern: ads that make a difference.

The full-page ad on the first page of Houstonia magazine’s June issue seemed innocuous. It showed a family of five in cozy domesticity, enjoying the warmly capacious living room they ostensibly found through the upscale real estate agency that created the ad. Mom stood barefoot in the living room, an arm around her 5-year-old daughter. Dad sat on an overstuffed sofa, struggling to keep the couple’s squirmy 2-year-old from leaving his lap. And at their feet was an unbearably cute baby boy perched atop an embroidered pillow on the family’s rug. Carefully composed and brightly lit, the scene, it seemed, could be described with just one word: adorable. But as it turned out, there was another word for it: disgusting.

That’s how a suburban Houston doctor described the image in an email to Ashton Martini Group, the real estate company responsible for the ad. “I will not put this magazine in my reception area!” he wrote. The source of his disgust? The mother in the ad was white; the father, black; and the couple’s three children, biracial. A second complaint reached me a week later, from a subscriber who confessed that, although he liked our magazine, “I just can’t go for racial mixing.” And so, lest his children “get it into their heads that this is okay,” he had taken our June issue straight from the mailbox to the trashcan.

I followed the two men’s impulsive actions with one of my own…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

(Collective) Memory of Racial Violence and the Social Construction of the Hispanic Category among Houston Hispanics

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, Texas, United States on 2015-07-21 01:51Z by Steven

(Collective) Memory of Racial Violence and the Social Construction of the Hispanic Category among Houston Hispanics

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Volume 1, Number 3 (July 2015)
pages 424-438
DOI: 10.1177/2332649215576757

Elizabeth Korver-Glenn
Department of Sociology
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Prior U.S.-based research examining the collective remembrance of racially charged events has focused on the black-white binary, largely bypassing such remembrance among U.S. Hispanics. In this article, I ask how a group of Mexican-origin Hispanics in an historic Houston barrio remember two racially charged events as well as whether and how these events are publicly commemorated. Additionally, race and collective memory research has often highlighted the role of collective memory in shaping race relations. I argue that collective memory can also be an institution, structuring macro- and micro-level representations of race. Thus, I ask whether and how respondents’ memories shape the social construction of the Hispanic category. I find strong memory convergence with respect to one event—the case of Jose Campos Torres—and divergence in three directions with respect to the Moody Park riot. The former corresponds to a collective understanding of what Hispanic meant in the past while the latter corresponds to a fractured understanding of what Hispanic means in the present. I also explore how respondents’ racial self-perceptions coincide with their various interpretations of the riot. Overall, I theorize that a fractured collective memory of a racially charged event suggests a fractured collective identity and contributes to an ambiguous Hispanic category. I conclude by discussing suggestions for future research.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,

Texas woman discovers she’s white after 70 years

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Texas, United States, Videos on 2015-06-24 01:49Z by Steven

Texas woman discovers she’s white after 70 years

Houston, Texas

Marvin Hurst, Reporter
KENS 5 TV, San Antonio, Texas

Byrd with her adoptive family. (Photo: (Photo: Family Photograph))

The mere mention of Rachel Dolezal’s name sets Verda Byrd off like a stick of dynamite. “She lied about her race,” Byrd said. “I didn’t lie about my race because I didn’t know.”

Dolezal’s much publicized choice to identify herself as black has been under scrutiny. The former NAACP President in Spokane, Wash. is accused of deceiving the public by insisting she was not only of black descent but black herself.

Byrd considers herself African-American. Her preference in race comes through an incredible set of circumstances. She was born to Earl and Daisy Beagle in September 1942. They named her Jeanette. She describes her parents as white transients.

Earl walked out on his family. At the time, Daisy had five children to take care of. The struggling mother had to get a job to feed her kids and keep a roof over their heads. The woman fell 30 feet to the ground in a trolley accident. The state of Missouri took her children because she was in no shape to care for them…

Read the entire article here. Watch the story here.

Tags: , , , ,