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History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > Southwest
The generation that toiled through the Great Depression and won the Second World War has become known as “the greatest generation.” But not all of them qualified for that exaggerated epithet in the eyes of their own children. In this tender but unsparing memoir, Mary Cimarolli remembers a world in which the family home was lost to foreclosure, her father made his way by bootlegging, and school was a haven to hide from her brother’s teasing. Her stories are about struggle and survival, making do and overcoming, and, ultimately, reconciliation. From her perspective as a child, she describes the cotton stamps and other programs of the New Deal, the yellow-dog Democrat politics and racism of East Texas, and the religious revivals and Old Settlers reunions that gave a break from working in the cotton patch. The colorful colloquialisms of rural East Texas that dot the manuscript help express both the traditionalism of the region and its changes under the impact of modernization, electrification, and the coming of war. Along with these regional and national trends, Cimarolli skillfully interweaves the personal: conflict between her parents, the death of her brother a few days before his sixteenth birthday, and her own inner tensions.
The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant
The story she tells begins and ends with the efforts of the Rio Grande Nature Club to protect one of the last remaining stopovers for birds migrating north from Central and South America. In between, she reconstructs a hundred-year history of the original “two square leagues” of the Santa Ana land grant and of the Mexican and Tejano families who lived, worked, transformed, and ultimately helped save this forest on the river’s edge.
As border issues continue to present serious challenges for Texas and the nation, it is especially important to be reminded of the deep connection between the region’s human and natural history from the long perspective Morgan provides here.
A Scattering of Texas Folklore
Texas has a large population who has lived on both sides of the border and created a folkloric mix that makes Texas unique. Both Sides of the Border gets its name from its emphasis on recently researched Tex-Mex folklore. But we recognize that Texas has other borders besides the Rio Grande. We use that title with the folklorist’s knowledge that all of this state’s songs, tales, and traditions have lived and prospered on the other sides of Texas borders at one time or another before they crossed the rivers and became “ours.” Chapters are organized thematically, and include favorite storytellers like James Ward Lee, Thad Sitton, and Jerry Lincecum. Lee’s beloved “Hell is for He-Men” appears here, along with Sitton’s informative essay on Texas freedman’s settlements. Both Sides of the Border contains something to delight everyone interested in Texas folklore.
A Fort Worth History
Narrated by Royal’s daughter Jacque, Ben’s niece, this revealing biography not only tells the story of Ben’s and Royal’s remarkable careers but also sets the record straight on the shocking suicide of the boys’ father, on Ben’s strained relationship with his wife Valerie, on the car crash that nearly ended Ben’s career, and on scores of details that have been misconstrued in earlier accounts.
The rise of Colonial Country Club and its legendary course—forever nicknamed “Hogan’s Alley”—and the rise of modern Fort Worth are part of the narrative as the Hogan boys and their city grew up together. Major Fort Worth leaders such as Tex Moncrief, Amon Carter, and Marvin Leonard, the visionary who built both the Colonial and Shady Oaks courses, figure prominently in the book.
School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston
Strikes, boycotts, rallies, negotiations, and litigation marked the efforts of Mexican-origin community members to achieve educational opportunity and oppose discrimination in Houston schools in the early 1970s. These responses were sparked by the effort of the Houston Independent School District to circumvent a court order for desegregation by classifying Mexican American children as "white" and integrating them with African American children—leaving Anglos in segregated schools. Gaining legal recognition for Mexican Americans as a minority group became the only means for fighting this kind of discrimination. The struggle for legal recognition not only reflected an upsurge in organizing within the community but also generated a shift in consciousness and identity. In Brown, Not White Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., astutely traces the evolution of the community's political activism in education during the Chicano Movement era of the early 1970s. San Miguel also identifies the important implications of this struggle for Mexican Americans and for public education. First, he demonstrates, the political mobilization in Houston underscored the emergence of a new type of grassroots ethnic leadership committed to community empowerment and to inclusiveness of diverse ideological interests within the minority community. Second, it signaled a shift in the activist community's identity from the assimilationist "Mexican American Generation" to the rising Chicano Movement with its "nationalist" ideology. Finally, it introduced Mexican American interests into educational policy making in general and into the national desegregation struggles in particular. This important study will engage those interested in public school policy, as well as scholars of Mexican American history and the history of desegregation in America.
The Evolution of a Natural History Museum
From the days when meticulously and skillfully prepared dioramas were the hallmark of natural history museums to the era of blockbuster exhibits and interactive education, Walt Davis traces the changing expectations of and demands on museums, both public and private, through an engaging, personal look back at the creation and development of one exceptional institution, whose building and original exhibits are now protected as historical landmarks at Fair Park in Dallas.
The People of Corpus Christi and Their Seawall
The result of tireless research, Bulwark Against the Bay reveals that in the decades after the 1919 storm, eight different plans for a seawall along Corpus Christi Bay were put forth. O’Rear argues that each plan reflected the point of view of a particular engineer, politician, or artist while also reflecting the aspirations and anxieties of the time. The struggle to construct a seawall was not merely an engineering challenge; it was also bound up with the growing popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, local aversion to Roman Catholicism, the emergence of the League of United Latin American Citizens, new efforts on behalf of African American equality, the impact of the Great Depression, support for Franklin Roosevelt, and reactions to the New Deal.
A case study of a community wrestling with itself even as it races with the clock, Bulwark Against the Bay adds to our understanding of urban history, boardroom and backroom politics, and the sometimes harsh realities of geography and climate.
Political Leadership and the Transformation of Arizona
Considered perhaps the most influential person in Arizona’s political development, Burton Barr represented north central Phoenix in the Arizona House of Representatives for the twenty-two years from 1964 to 1986. As the Republican House Majority Leader for twenty of those years, he left his fingerprints on every major piece of legislation during those decades, covering such issues as air pollution, health care for indigents, school aid, the tax code, prison reform, child care, groundwater management, and freeway funding.
Burton Barr’s political life unfolded during the very time his state and region shifted from being outliers to trendsetters. His choices in policy making and his leadership style were both an outcome and a creator of his sociopolitical environment. Arizona politics in the 1960s and ’70s was a rich brew of key elements, a time when the economy was being transformed, the nature and distribution of populations shifted, partisan politics were in flux, and the very lifeblood of the West—water—was being contested under increasing pressures of usage and depletion.
How Barr successfully responded to those challenges is the story of Arizona’s development during those years. At the heart of it, Barr’s political life and personality are inextricably bound up with the life of the West.
A Vision for Wildlife Conservation in Texas
Caesar Kleberg went to work on the King Ranch in 1900. For almost thirty years he oversaw the operations of the sprawling Norias division, a vast acreage in South Texas where he came to appreciate the importance of rangeland not only for cattle but also for wildlife.
Creating a wildlife management and conservation initiative far ahead of its time, Kleberg established strict hunting rules and a program of enlightened habitat restoration. Because of his efforts and foresight, by his death in 1946 there were more white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, javelinas, and mourning dove on the King Ranch than in the rest of the state.
Kleberg’s legacy lives on at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville, where a research program he helped found has gained recognition far beyond the pastures of Norias.