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Fronteras: Massacre In A West Texas Border Town

On Jan. 28, 1918, 15 men and boys, ages 15 to 72, living in the West Texas border town of Porvenir were taken to a nearby hill in the middle of the night and shot and killed. It was a massacre carried out by a company of Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers, and area ranchers.

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Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio
Monica Muñoz Martinez

We spoke with Arlinda Valencia, a descendant of Porvenir Massacre victim, Longino Flores, and Monica Muñoz Martinez, assistant professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

The Texas Rangers had a history of violence against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, but there was no indictment by a grand jury, and the only punishment was the dismissal of five Rangers and the disbanding of Company B, which was deemed responsible for the killings.

A historical marker was set to be unveiled earlier this month commemorating the Porvenir Massacre and its victims, but it’s been a process surrounded by controversy.

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Credit Texas Historical Commission
An example of an Undertold Stories historical marker

FRONTERAS EXTRA | Anti-Mexican Violence In West Texas

Trisha Runyan, chair for Historical Marker Development in Presidio County and a member of the Presidio County Historical Commission, told Fronteras via email that the dispute over the historical marker resulted mainly from two name misspellings that were discovered in the marker’s text. Corrections have since been made.

SUBSCRIBE | Fronteras is available on your favorite podcast app

The Texas Historical Commission sent the order for the Porvenir Massacre marker to the foundry on Tuesday, September 18. No date or location for the marker’s re-unveiling has yet been determined.

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1