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Bloody Bill Longley

The Mythology of a Gunfighter, Second Edition

Rick Miller

William Preston “Bill” Longley (1851-1878), though born into a strong Christian family, turned bad during Reconstruction in Texas, much like other young boys of that time, including the deadly John Wesley Hardin. He went on a murderous rampage over the last few years of his life, shotgunning Wilson Anderson in retribution for Anderson’s killing of a relative; killing George Thomas in McLennan County; and shooting William “Lou” Shroyer in a running gunfight. Longley even killed the Reverend William R. Lay while Lay was milking a cow. Once he was arrested in 1877, and subsequently sentenced to hang, his name became known statewide as an outlaw and a murderer. Through a series of “autobiographical” letters written from jail while awaiting the hangman, Longley created and reveled in his self-centered image as a fearsome, deadly gunfighter—the equal, if not the superior, of the vaunted Hardin. Declaring himself the “worst outlaw” in Texas, the story that he created became the basis for his historical legacy, unfortunately relied on and repeated over and over by previous biographers, but all wrong. In truth, Bill Longley was not the daring figure that he attempted to paint. Rick Miller’s thorough research shows that he was, instead, a braggart who exaggerated greatly his feats as a gunman. The murders that could be credited to him were generally nothing more than cowardly assassinations. Bloody Bill Longley was first published in a limited edition in 1996. Miller separates fact from fancy, attempting to prove or disprove Longley’s many claims of bloodshed. Since the time of the first edition, diligent research has located and identified the outlaw’s body, the absence of which was a longstanding myth in itself. This revised edition includes that part of the Longley story, as well as several new items of information that have since come to light.

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Blue Texas

The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era

Max Krochmal

This book is about the other Texas, not the state known for its cowboy conservatism, but a mid-twentieth-century hotbed of community organizing, liberal politics, and civil rights activism. Beginning in the 1930s, Max Krochmal tells the story of the decades-long struggle for democracy in Texas, when African American, Mexican American, and white labor and community activists gradually came together to empower the state's marginalized minorities. At the ballot box and in the streets, these diverse activists demanded not only integration but economic justice, labor rights, and real political power for all. Their efforts gave rise to the Democratic Coalition of the 1960s, a militant, multiracial alliance that would take on and eventually overthrow both Jim Crow and Juan Crow.

Using rare archival sources and original oral history interviews, Krochmal reveals the often-overlooked democratic foundations and liberal tradition of one of our nation's most conservative states. Blue Texas remembers the many forgotten activists who, by crossing racial lines and building coalitions, democratized their cities and state to a degree that would have been unimaginable just a decade earlier--and it shows why their story still matters today.

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Bootlegger's Other Daughter

By Mary Cimarolli

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.

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Border Sanctuary

The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant

Morgan Jane Morgan

The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge lies on the northern bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, about seventy miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. How 2,000 acres of rare subtropical riparian forest came to be preserved in a region otherwise dramatically altered by human habitation is the story M.J. Morgan has uncovered.
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.

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The Borderlands of Race

Mexican Segregation in a South Texas Town

By Jennifer Najera

Using oral histories and local archives, this historical ethnography analyzes how and why Mexican American individuals unevenly experienced racial dominance and segregation in South Texas.

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Both Sides of the Border

A Scattering of Texas Folklore

Edited by Francis Edward Abernethy and Kenneth L. Untiedt

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.

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The Brothers Hogan

A Fort Worth History

Jacqueline Hogan Towery

The Brothers Hogan: A Fort Worth History is a unique family portrait of one of golf’s greatest legends. Lavishly illustrated with never-before-seen family photos, The Brothers Hogan follows the lives of Ben Hogan, winner of sixty-eight tournaments and nine major championships, and his brother Royal, who climbed the ranks of top amateur golfers even as his brother Ben became one of golf’s most successful pros.

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.

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Brown, Not White

School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston

By Guadalupe San Miguel Jr.

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.

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Building an Ark for Texas

The Evolution of a Natural History Museum

Walt Davis

Recounted through the eyes of a major participant, this book tells the story of the Dallas Museum of Natural History from its beginning in 1922 as a collection of specimens celebrating the plants and animals of Texas to its metamorphosis in 2012 as the gleaming Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The life of this museum was indelibly influenced by a colorful staff of scientists, administrators, and teachers, including a German taxidermist, a South American explorer, and a Milwaukee artist, each with a compelling personal investment in this museum and its mission.

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.

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Bulwark Against the Bay

The People of Corpus Christi and Their Seawall

Mary Jo O'Rear

After a devastating hurricane in 1919, the people of Corpus Christi faced the stark reality of their vulnerability. It was clear that something had to be done to protect the community against future storms, but the mere will to take precautionary measures did not necessarily lead the way. Instead, two decades would pass before an effective solution was in place. Mary Jo O’Rear, author of Storm over the Bay, returns to tell the story of a city’s long and often frustrating path to protecting itself.

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.

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