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Seeking Inalienable Rights

Texans and Their Quests for Justice

Edited by Debra A. Reid

Publication Year: 2009

Seeking Inalienable Rights demonstrates that the history of Texans’ quests to secure inalienable rights and expand government-protected civil rights has been one of stops and starts, successes and failures, progress and retrenchment.   Inside This Book: "Early Organizing in the Search for Equality African American Conventions in Late Nineteenth-Century Texas"-Alwyn Barr, Texas Tech University    "Crucial Decade for Texas Labor: Railway Union Struggles, 1886–1896"-George N. Green, University of Texas at Arlington "Racism and Sexism in Rural Texas: The Contested Nature of Progressive Rural Reform, 1870s–1910s" -Debra A. Reid, Eastern Illinois University           "Fighting on the Home Front: The Rhetoric of Woman Suffrage in World War I"-James Seymour, Lone Star College, Cy Fair      "Contrasts in Neglect: Progressive Municipal Reform in Dallas and San Antonio"-Patricia E. Gower, University of the Incarnate Word "Religious Moderates and Race: The Texas Christian Life Commission and the Call for Racial Reconciliation, 1954–1968"-David K. Chrisman, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor   "Elusive Unity: African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Civil Rights in Houston"-Brian D. Behnken, Iowa State University          "Chicanismo and the Flexible Fourteenth Amendment: 1960s Agitation and Litigation by Mexican American Youth in Texas"-Steven Harmon Wilson, Tulsa Community College This insightful discussion will appeal to those interested in African American, Hispanic, labor, and gender history.      

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University


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pp. ix-xii

The contributors owe a tremendous debt to their dissertation advisor, mentor, former colleague, and friend, Robert A. “Bob” Calvert (1933–2000). He held strong opinions about the road to equal rights and justice, and his convictions proved inspirational. Through his teaching, writing, advising, and personal friendship, he helped steer contributors Patricia Gower, David Chrisman, ...

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pp. xiii-xxiii

When John Brooks Porter, a farmer and businessman in Terrell, Texas, died in 1917, his obituary described him as “liberal, broad minded, his leadership was always desired.” He earned such accolades for his service in the Confederate army, the fortune he amassed as a Texas farmer and businessman, his regular attendance at the Methodist church, and his financial investments as ...

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Chapter One. Early Organizing in the Search for Equality: African American Conventions in late Nineteenth-Century Texas

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pp. 1-16

African American leaders in Texas began to hold conventions during the Reconstruction period, thus joining a movement that originated in the North during the 1830s. These conventions continued every three or four years at the state and national levels until the 1890s. Before the Civil War, these meetings provided a place for black leaders to discuss the issues that concerned the ...

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Chapter Two. Crucial Decade for Texas Labor: Railway Union Struggles, 1886–96

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pp. 17-36

During one crucial decade for the workers of Texas, the Knights of Labor reached its peak, was defeated in a dramatic railroad strike in 1886, and was transformed into an agrarian and mechanics’ organization, cooperating with the Farmers’ Alliance. Out of the turmoil of the era, a general farm-labor movement eventually led by the Populists—stronger in turbulent Texas than ...

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Chapter Three. Racism and Sexism in Rural Texas: the contested nature of progressive rural reform, 1870s–1910s

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pp. 37-58

Robert Lloyd Smith, educator and founder of the all- black Farmers Improvement Society of Texas (FIS), and Seaman Knapp, educator and designer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cooperative demonstration work, shared progressive ideals. Both believed that much could be accomplished with education and government influence. Smith told FIS members in 1902 ...

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Chapter Four. Fighting on the Home Front: the rhetoric of woman suffrage in World War I

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pp. 59-76

Nineteenth-century suffragists, including those in Texas, contended that women deserved the right to vote because of fairness. Since women paid taxes and were subject to the law, this line of reasoning went, then they should have a direct say in how those laws were created. Drawing on the ideas of John Locke, these women emphasized a fairness doctrine towards achieving ...

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Chapter Five. Contrasts in Neglect: progressive municipal reform in Dallas and San Antonio

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pp. 77-96

After the Civil War, cities throughout Texas and the Southwest expanded rapidly. As populations grew, the demand for services rose dramatically. Municipal institutions often became overburdened and increasingly inadequate. Cities chose different ways to address the financial crises brought on by demand for services. Those involved in municipal government struggled to ...

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Chapter Six. Religious Moderates and Race: the Texas Christian Life Commission and the call for racial reconciliation, 1954–68

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pp. 97-122

The Baptist General Convention of Texas (hereafter BGCT) rose in numbers and strength in the twentieth century to become the state’s largest Protestant denomination. The BGCT matched the growth of its parent Southern Baptist Convention (hereafter SBC), and the cultural ...

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Chapter Seven. Elusive Unity: African Americans, Mexican Americans, and civil rights in Houston

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pp. 123-146

In March 1960, African Americans across Texas began sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters, restaurants, and other public facilities. In Houston, local college students engineered these protests. They followed the example of four youths from Greensboro, North Carolina, who began sit-ins in February of that year and sparked a national ...

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Chapter Eight. Chicanismo and the Flexible Fourteenth Amendment: 1960s agitation and litigation by Mexican American youth in Texas

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pp. 147-168

The experiences of Chicano high school students in Texas during the late 1960s serve as a microcosm to analyze the evolution—rather than the revolution—of the Mexican American civil rights struggle. It is useful in this case to remark that “immutable” is a synonym for inalienable, but also to remember that specific understandings of rights have changed over time. The history of ...


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pp. 169-172


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pp. 173-196

E-ISBN-13: 9781603443630
E-ISBN-10: 1603443630
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603441186
Print-ISBN-10: 1603441182

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 16 b&w photos. 1 fig.
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University
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OCLC Number: 680622461
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Seeking Inalienable Rights

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Subject Headings

  • Citizenship -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Minorities -- Civil rights -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
  • Texas -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Citizenship -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
  • Minorities -- Civil rights -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Texas -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century.
  • Civil rights -- Texas -- History -- 19th century.
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