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History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > Southwest

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Fort Worth Characters Cover

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Fort Worth Characters

Richard F. Selcer

Fort Worth history is far more than the handful of familiar names that every true-blue Fort Worther hears growing up: leaders such as Amon Carter, B. B. Paddock, J. Frank Norris, and William McDonald. Their names are indexed in the history books for ready reference. But the drama that is Fort Worth history contains other, less famous characters who played important roles, like Judge James Swayne, Madam Mary Porter, and Marshal Sam Farmer: well known enough in their day but since forgotten. Others, like Al Hayne, lived their lives in the shadows until one, spectacular moment of heroism. Then there are the lawmen, Jim Courtright, Jeff Daggett, and Thomas Finch. They wore badges, but did not always represent the best of law and order. These seven plus five others are gathered together between the covers of this book. Each has a story that deserves to be told. If they did not all make history, they certainly lived in historic times. The jury is still out on whether they shaped their times or merely reflected those times. Either way, their stories add new perspectives to the familiar Fort Worth story, revealing how the law worked in the old days and what life was like for persons of color and for women living in a man’s world. As the old TV show used to say, “There are a million stories in the ‘Naked City.’” There may not be quite as many stories in Cowtown, but there are plenty waiting to be told—enough for future volumes of Fort Worth Characters. But this is a good starting point.

Four Square Leagues Cover

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Four Square Leagues

Pueblo Indian Land in New Mexico

Malcolm Ebright

This long-awaited book is the most detailed and up-to-date account of the complex history of Pueblo Indian land in New Mexico, beginning in the late seventeenth century and continuing to the present day. The authors have scoured documents and legal decisions to trace the rise of the mysterious Pueblo League between 1700 and 1821 as the basis of Pueblo land under Spanish rule. They have also provided a detailed analysis of Pueblo lands after 1821 to determine how the Pueblos and their non-Indian neighbors reacted to the change from Spanish to Mexican and then to U.S. sovereignty.

Characterized by success stories of protection of Pueblo land as well as by centuries of encroachment by non-American Indians on Pueblo lands and resources, this is a uniquely New Mexican history that also reflects issues of indigenous land tenure that vex contested territories all over the world.

Freedom Is Not Enough Cover

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Freedom Is Not Enough

The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Texas

By William S. Clayson

Led by the Office of Economic Opportunity, Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty reflected the president’s belief that, just as the civil rights movement and federal law tore down legalized segregation, progressive government and grassroots activism could eradicate poverty in the United States. Yet few have attempted to evaluate the relationship between the OEO and the freedom struggles of the 1960s. Focusing on the unique situation presented by Texas, Freedom Is Not Enough examines how the War on Poverty manifested itself in a state marked by racial division and diversity—and by endemic poverty. Though the War on Poverty did not eradicate destitution in the United States, the history of the effort provides a unique window to examine the politics of race and social justice in the 1960s. William S. Clayson traces the rise and fall of postwar liberalism in the Lone Star State against a backdrop of dissent among Chicano militants and black nationalists who rejected Johnson's brand of liberalism. The conservative backlash that followed is another result of the dramatic political shifts revealed in the history of the OEO, completing this study of a unique facet in Texas’s historical identity.

From Azaleas to Zydeco Cover

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From Azaleas to Zydeco

My 4,600-Mile Journey through the South

Mark W. Nichols

Inspired by a 1937 map and travelogue of a newspaperman’s tour, author Mark W. Nichols embarked on his own long journey into the unique cities of the South. En route he met beekeepers, cheese makers, crawfish “bawlers,” duck callers, and a licensed alligator hunter, as well as entrepreneurs and governors. His keen observations encompass the southern states from Virginia to Arkansas and points south, and he unpacks the unique qualities of every city he visits. “It’s easy to say that getting to meet so many interesting and wonderful people was the best part of the journey--because it’s true,” Nichols writes. “I know there are friendly people everywhere, but southern friendliness is different.” His story embraces a wealth of southern charm from local characters, folklore, and customs to food, music, and dancing. Besides being just plain fun to read, Nichols’s account of his journey gives readers a true taste of the flavor of the evolving modern South.

From Fort Marion to Fort Sill Cover

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From Fort Marion to Fort Sill

A Documentary History of the Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War, 1886-1913

Alicia Delgadillo

From 1886 to 1913, hundreds of Chiricahua Apache men, women, and children lived and died as prisoners of war in Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Their names, faces, and lives have long been forgotten by history, and for nearly one hundred years these individuals have been nothing more than statistics in the history of the United States’ tumultuous war against the Chiricahua Apache.

Based on extensive archival research, From Fort Marion to Fort Sill offers long-overdue documentation of the lives and fate of many of these people. This outstanding reference work provides individual biographies for hundreds of the Chiricahua Apache prisoners of war, including those originally classified as POWs in 1886, infants who lived only a few days, children removed from families and sent to Indian boarding schools, and second-generation POWs who lived well into the twenty-first century. Their biographies are often poignant and revealing, and more than sixty previously unpublished photographs give a further glimpse of their humanity.

This masterful documentary work, based on the unpublished research notes of former Fort Sill historian Gillett Griswold, at last brings to light the lives and experiences of hundreds of Chiricahua Apaches whose story has gone untold for too long.

From South Texas to the Nation Cover

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From South Texas to the Nation

The Exploitation of Mexican Labor in the Twentieth Century

John Weber

In the early years of the twentieth century, newcomer farmers and migrant Mexicans forged a new world in South Texas. In just a decade, this vast region, previously considered too isolated and desolate for large-scale agriculture, became one of the United States' most lucrative farming regions and one of its worst places to work. By encouraging mass migration from Mexico, paying low wages, selectively enforcing immigration restrictions, toppling older political arrangements, and periodically immobilizing the workforce, growers created a system of labor controls unique in its levels of exploitation.

Ethnic Mexican residents of South Texas fought back by organizing and by leaving, migrating to destinations around the United States where employers eagerly hired them--and continued to exploit them. In From South Texas to the Nation, John Weber reinterprets the United States' record on human and labor rights. This important book illuminates the way in which South Texas pioneered the low-wage, insecure, migration-dependent labor system on which so many industries continue to depend.

From the Republic of the Rio Grande Cover

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From the Republic of the Rio Grande

A Personal History of the Place and the People

By Beatriz de la Garza

Using family papers, local chronicles, and scholarly works, de la Garza tells the story of the Republic of the Rio Grande and its people from the perspective of individuals who lived in this region from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

Frontier Cavalry Trooper Cover

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Frontier Cavalry Trooper

The Letters of Private Eddie Matthews, 1869–1874

Douglas C. McChristian

During his five years in the army, Private Edward L. Matthews wrote a series of exceptionally detailed and engaging letters to his family back home in Maryland describing his life in the Arizona and New Mexico Territories. Eddie Matthews’s letters, published here for the first time, provide an unparalleled chronicle of one soldier’s experiences in garrison and in the field in the post–Civil War Southwest.

Eddie’s letters record a vivid chronicle of day-to-day life in the frontier regulars. Included are operational details in his company, candid observations of people and places, intimate views of frontier society, and personal opinions that probably would have been forgotten or moderated had he recorded his experiences later in life. More subtle are his valuable references to the state of transportation and communication in the Southwest during the early 1870s. Matthews probably did not realize until later years that he was not only a witness to the nation’s rapid westward expansion, but was himself a tiny cog in the machinery that made it possible.

Frontier Crossroads Cover

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Frontier Crossroads

Fort Davis and the West

By Robert Wooster

Galveston Cover

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A History and a Guide

David McComb

Indians! Pirates! Rebels! Blockade Runners! Smugglers! Murder! Beaches! Beauty Contests! Hurricanes!

These are all a part of the colorful history of an island city that once called itself “The Free State of Galveston.” Located at a natural harbor on the northeastern part of a thirty-mile-long sand barrier island, the city dates its beginning from the end of the Texas Revolution. Before then, the harbor had attracted Jean Lafitte, a pirate from Louisiana, and the revolutionary Texan government fleeing in front of the attack of Santa Anna’s Mexican Army.

After independence in 1836, Michel B. Menard, along with nine associates, bought the harbor property and founded the town. Galveston grew on the strength of the harbor—the best between New Orleans and Veracruz—and the city became a major entry point for immigrants to Texas. During the Civil War it was a haven for Confederate blockade runners and the site of one of the major battles of the war in Texas. Afterward it was a center for occupation forces and the point from which Major-General Gordon Granger announced emancipation for Texas slaves on June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth Day). The city later became a major cotton port for the Southwest and the location of the University of Texas Medical School.

In 1900 Galveston was struck by a hurricane and flood that killed approximately six thousand people: the greatest disaster in the history of the United States. Afterward, the citizens built a sea wall, raised the grade of the island, and constructed a causeway for future protection. The city led the way with a commission form of government, and in the first half of the twentieth century, became noted for its illegal drinking, gambling, and prostitution.

After the Texas Rangers cleaned it up, Galveston developed into a tourist town with its attractions of the beach, hotels, celebrations, and fishing. Historic preservation projects such as houses, buildings, museums, and the square-rigged ship Elissa completed its evolution.

This authoritative and well-written history of Galveston provides an overview of the city’s rich and colorful past and provides readers, researchers, and tourists with information about today’s historical points of interest. Galveston: A History and a Guide is a delightful read and a useful traveling companion.

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