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Texas Matters: Back To School With Covid And Texas Slavery History Told In Case Law

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Marie Twist, an instructional coach, checks the temperature of a student at the start of the school day at Gateway Elementary
David Wallace/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Co
Marie Twist, an instructional coach, checks the temperature of a student at the start of the school day at Gateway Elementary School in Phoenix on March 18, 2021. Other than a brief return to in-person school in the fall, this was the first day the sixth graders were back in-person at the school since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

We are in a global pandemic. COVID-19 is surging and spreading. Hospitalizations are again on the rise, despite the fact that we have a vaccine and we know how to slow the spread.

If you are a healthy adult and are refusing to get vaccinated, you are the problem.

Meanwhile, children will soon return to school for in-person instruction. Schools can be super spreaders of viruses but there will be no protective mask mandates coming.

Rather than following the science and common sense, Gov. Greg Abbott is bowing to political pressure from right wing extremists, and he will not protect vulnerable children and their families.

So what are parents to do? Dr. Teresa Ruiz, a pediatrician at University Health, has some advice. She explains why everyone in the school should wear masks. She says children should return to the classroom, be prepared to ride the bus and feel safe in eating school-prepared lunches.

Texas Slavery Case Law

The cruel history of slavery in Texas is murky — not because the facts are unknown but because the official protectors of the Texas myth don’t want the knowledge of what really happened to be known. That would tarnish the shiny, well constructed narrative which continues to be used to prop up the state’s image.

But there’s one place where the truth matters — that’s on the witness stand in a court of law. Even in the earliest days of Texas court cases were heard and documented concerning the owning of property, including enslaved human beings.

People who were enslaved were frequently the focus of court battles, and today that case law gives us a keyhole glimpse into life for those enslaved and those who, in the eyes of the law, "owned them."

The Texas Slave Cases was researched by Austin criminal defense attorney Keith S. Hampton. The document compiles information on all cases in Texas where enslaved people served as plaintiffs, victims, property, or criminal defendants.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi