History | Texas Public Radio

History

Maria Carstensen

If you're walking in front of the Lila Cockrell Theatre downtown, you'll see an enormous mosaic created by Mexican Artist Juan O'Gorman

Texas history is rich with drama, action and bigger than life characters. And there are many significant events that could have gone either way – and greatly changed the Texas  that we know today.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to let your imagination explore those pivotal moments? To wonder what really happened, what was said, who shot first, and how did justice prevail, or not?

In July 1931, Texans were wondering if their state was going to war with Oklahoma. The two neighboring states were in a showdown over a bridge over the Red River. While many saw this Red River Bridge War as a farcical episode it was also a watershed moment in history.

Historian Rusty Williams uses this incident to examine life in Texas and Oklahoma in this troubled time of economic collapse, agricultural disaster and tremendous transformation. Williams is the author of the book “The Red River Bridge War: A Texas Oklahoma Border Battle.”

Texas State Archive

When we are taught Texas history we generally focus on the heroes and leaders and politicians who did great things. People like Stephen F. Austin, General Sam Houston and Governor Jim Hogg. However, the text books skip right over the state leaders who were, at best, sub-par. But there’s a lot to learn from the stinkers. Should we be asking, where did the voters go wrong with electing leaders who failed them. For example how did Governor and U.S. Senator W. Lee O’Daniel continue to win elections?  And what should we learn from his rise – rule and eventual fall.

Texas State Archive

This is part two of a five-part series broadcasting on Texas Standard and Texas Public Radio. The series tells the strange story of W. Lee O'Daniel, who in 1938 went from being a flour salesman on the radio to Governor of Texas and then U.S. Senator.  O'Daniel is considered one of the most amazing politicians in Texas history who accomplished virtually nothing.

Robert Runyon Photograph Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Texas is a state proud of its history. But, like any history, the Lone Star State’s has largely been written by its victors.

One group of scholars is trying to change that. They say the mythology and heroism of the Texas Rangers isn’t the whole story.

Many Mexicans fled north of the border during the Mexican revolution, only to be met with discrimination and indiscriminate violence in the U.S. Rangers labeled Mexicans “bandits” and took to indiscriminately killing hundreds, if not thousands. They killed with impunity, and without fear of legal consequences.

Lorne Mataon / Marfa Public Radio

Numbers Up For Central American Minors Trying To Enter U.S.

In the summer of 2014, more than 100,000 Central American children and families were caught trying to enter the US illegally. Those numbers fell after the US asked Mexico to strengthen its southern border. But now there are concerns over the possibility of a renewed surge.

The Gold Group

While local leaders are deciding the fate of the historic grounds of the Alamo, one block away an upcoming attraction promises to bring the story of the Battle for Texas to life. 

The idea is to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Built in the old Joske’s building in the Rivercenter Mall, visitors will walk through a series of galleries and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the history of the Alamo.

From Texas Standard:

Big time Hollywood actors like Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Antonio Banderas, have immortalized some of the stories of the Mexican Revolution.

As the story's been told for generations, the Mexican people were impoverished by the extravagant lifestyle of president Porfirio Diaz (no relation to yours truly) whose dream was to pave Mexico City in marble. Out of that circumstance, came a need for a "Robin Hood."

 


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