Seeking Inalienable Rights
Texans and Their Quests for Justice
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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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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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 ...
Chapter One. Early Organizing in the Search for Equality: African American Conventions in late Nineteenth-Century Texas
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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 ...
Chapter Two. Crucial Decade for Texas Labor: Railway Union Struggles, 1886–96
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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 ...
Chapter Three. Racism and Sexism in Rural Texas: the contested nature of progressive rural reform, 1870s–1910s
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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 ...
Chapter Four. Fighting on the Home Front: the rhetoric of woman suffrage in World War I
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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 ...
Chapter Five. Contrasts in Neglect: progressive municipal reform in Dallas and San Antonio
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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 ...
Chapter Six. Religious Moderates and Race: the Texas Christian Life Commission and the call for racial reconciliation, 1954–68
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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 ...
Chapter Seven. Elusive Unity: African Americans, Mexican Americans, and civil rights in Houston
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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 ...
Chapter Eight. Chicanismo and the Flexible Fourteenth Amendment: 1960s agitation and litigation by Mexican American youth in Texas
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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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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