One hundred and seventy-five years ago, Texas, through tenacity, grit and sheer will, elevated itself to independence. And, as the Lone Star State observes the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo and the victory at San Jacinto, scholars urge a more inclusive historical narrative.
"I think what's missing is an understanding of the diversity of this vast state" said Monica Perales, assistant professor of history at the University of Houston. "There are heroic stories with which we grew up-important parts of the narrative-but there are a variety of people who experienced these major events. That doesn't erase that narrative, but it does make it more complex and more interesting, frankly."
Perales and colleague Raúl A. Ramos are editors of the book "Recovering the Hispanic History of Texas" (Arte Público Press, 2010), a collection of eight essays that examine the narrative of Texas history. The collection notes the historical voices that may not be included among the storied tales of William Barret Travis, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston.
"There is a long and historic population of Latinos, Native Americans and African Americans in Texas, and they understood the historical events happening around them, but from their own day-to-day experiences," she said. "Something important to think about is how we can enrich the story that we've grown up with to include these histories."
The book is divided into three sections: Creating Social Landscapes, Racialized Identities, and Unearthing Voices. The pieces cover issues as diverse as the Mexican-American Presbyterian community, the female voice in the history of the Texas borderlands, and Tejano roots on the Louisiana-Texas border in the 18th and 19th centuries. The stories are important in the discussion of the birth of the state, and take on extra significance as we observe the anniversaries of important historical events.
"To me that's the great thing about history," Perales said. "It is like a kaleidoscope, where you have all of these images and stories of the past that speak to the rich history we have in Texas."
About Monica Perales: http://www.uh.edu/class/history/faculty-and-staff/perales_m/index.php
About Raul A. Ramos: http://www.uh.edu/class/history/faculty-and-staff/ramos_r/index.php
About Arte Público Press: http://www.artepublicopress.com/arte-publico-press
For more information on Recovering the Hispanic History of Texas, contact Carmen Peña Abrego at Arte Público Press, 713-743-2999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.