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Why Texas needs to remember its atrocities

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Did you get the feeling when you were taught Texas history in school that what the teacher told you and what was in the text book was incomplete? Did you have the sense that the story of Texas was so much more? And that part of the story has been buried and suppressed?

To say that official Texas history is incomplete is an understatement.

It’s more accurate to say official Texas history is cherry-picked, white-washed and sanitized for the protection of a population with very sensitive feelings. This is what the so called anti-“critical race theory” movement is all about.

But that other history, the dark uncomfortable account of what really happened in Texas isn’t going away. Atrocities committed in Texas that were performed for the benefit of the power structure shouldn’t be erased.

Fact-based stories like the suspected murder of Frank J. Robinson, the Slocum Massacre, the Ox Cart War of 1857, numerous lynchings and cover-ups are important to know about but won’t be shared in the mainstream.

ER Bill is an author and historian who specializes in finding these chapters of Texas history that some would like to see forgotten. He has been putting the conveniently lost history of Texas back on the map.

And his latest book “Tell-Tale Texa”s does just that.


E.R. Bills is an award-winning author and freelance journalist. His nonfiction works include Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional and Nefarious (2013); The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas (2014); Black Holocaust: The Paris Horror and a Legacy of Texas Terror (2015); Texas Far and Wide: The Tornado with Eyes, Gettysburg's Last Casualty, the Celestial Skipping Stone and Other Tales (The History Press 2017); The San Marcos 10: An Anti-War Protest in Texas (2019); Texas Oblivion: Mysterious Disappearances, Escapes and Cover-Ups (2021); Fear and Loathing in the Lone Star State (2021); and 100 Things to Do in Texas Before You Die .

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded on September 19, 2023.

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