Texas History | KERA News

Texas History

From Texas Standard:

If you were making a list of things Texans say that set them apart from non-Texans, friendliness would rank pretty high. Signs of friendliness – literal and otherwise – are ubiquitous here. Look no further than reminders along the interstate to "Drive Friendly, the Texas Way." "Friendship" is the state’s official motto.

A red neon Pegasus was placed on top of the Magnolia Oil building, now the Magnolia Hotel, in 1934. Photo date unknown.
City of Dallas Historic Preservation

When Mark Doty ran across a collection of 35mm slides that had been sitting in city of Dallas storage for decades, he had no idea if the scans would turn up anything interesting.

They most definitely did — including 1970s construction photos of City Hall, the iconic building designed by architect I.M. Pei, who died this past week.

The 1903 Confederate monument at the south entrance to the Capitol grounds claims that Confederate soldiers died for states' rights.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

After nearly four hours of testimony and an emotional show of opposition from some legislators of color in the Texas Senate, the upper chamber approved Tuesday a bill that would expand protections for historical monuments.

The remnants of the former Hot Wells resort that attracted the rich and famous of its day is now part of a new South Side park. Hot Wells at Bexar County Park opened on Tuesday.

A lynching that took place 97 years ago in Abilene, Texas, was publicly recognized for the first time Saturday. A college student's curiosity was the first spark that made it happen.

Researchers and students from Texas A&M University at San Antonio used ground-penetrating radar to examine a rediscovered African American cemetery. The site was linked to historic black settlements on the north side of the city.

As Nature Claims Shipwrecks, Historians Can Only Watch

Apr 17, 2019

From Texas Standard:

What remains of the ship La Belle sits in a place of honor in the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. It sits in a dark exhibit hall, constantly monitored, and protected by clear plastic barriers. According to Franck Cordes, one of the museum’s curators, there’s a good reason the ship is given such respect.

From Texas Standard:

It’s hard to miss the large colosseum-like structure off Ranch Road 1017 in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s the Santa Maria Bullring, and it’s where Fred and Lisa Renk have been running bloodless bullfights for the past 19 years.

How Austin Got Weird

Mar 15, 2019

Austin is a lot more than just the annual stampede of South By Southwest currently enveloping it, which the event has done with ever-increasing intensity since 1987. But how did this city, one that has such an ineffable but palpable personality and spirit, become what it is — for better and worse?

Dear Austin,

I have a confession to make: I have misled you. It’s not something any reporter wants to say, but here we are.

I did it in a story I wrote a few years ago, after a listener asked about Austin’s claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World.” 

The 129-year-old Cottonland Castle at 3300 Austin Ave. in Waco, Texas
Randy Lane / Flickr

Chip and Joanna Gaines' latest home project is quite the fixer-upper.

The Texas couple made famous by HGTV's "Fixer Upper" home improvement show closed last week on the historic but rundown Cottonland Castle in Waco.

During the years after the Civil War, communities of African Americans worked together throughout southeastern Texas to form what historians call freedom colonies. Research underway at Texas A&M University in Bryan-College Station aims to identify and preserve these historic black settlements.

On a clear spring day in 2013, two smoke stacks fell in El Paso. They had been a part of the landscape, and the El Paso economy for years. It took a mere 30 seconds for them to come down.

New York Public Library

From the Great Depression through the Civil Rights era, "The Green Book" travel guides were issued every year to help African-American drivers safely explore the country — and Texas.

A Kerrville man was reunited with a piece of WWII history Friday. His father’s wedding ring, recovered nearly 75 years after it vanished in a German prisoner of war camp, made its way home.


Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has denied a Confederate group's latest attempt to create a specialty license plate celebrating Confederate soldiers, a design that does not include the Confederate battle flag.

William Henry Ellis was born a slave in Victoria, Texas, in 1864 — a year before slavery was abolished in the state.

Ellis was able to take advantage of his proximity to the border — and his light complexion — to reinvent himself as Mexican businessman, Guillermo Enrique Eliseo.

A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Nov 21, 2018

"Well hello there Nabil!

"I welcome your letter.

...

"So in the little bit of information you shared with me, I am intrigued.

"I have worked for a number of years, 26 in fact, on my genealogy. It has been a passion and at times an obsession."

In her initial email to me, Karen surprised me with her excitement and candor — neither of which I was expecting from the woman whom I had gently accused of being the descendant of the man who owned my ancestors.

An advisory committee is expected to recommend today that the Texas State Board of Education remove the word "heroic" from social studies curriculum when referring to defenders of the Alamo.

Shutterstock

A University of North Texas professor planned to give the world’s longest history lecture Friday and Saturday with the goal of earning a Guinness World Record and raising money for an online Texas history archive.

EFK / AP

WEST COLUMBIA, Texas — Two people have been arrested for state jail felony theft after authorities say they tried to sell a piece of jewelry stolen from a Southeast Texas state historic site.

Federal Bureau of Investigation / Wikimedia Commons

Twenty-five years ago, David Koresh brought an end to more than seven weeks of standoff between his Christian extremist sect and federal agents surrounding the compound. He ordered his followers to pour fuel around buildings and set it ablaze.

Liz / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

History has molded Texas — literally — to form today's unmistakable shape with its sharp angles of the Panhandle, sweeping curves along Mexico and jagged edges near the Red River and the Gulf.

Now, nearly 170 years since the state's borders were defined, we eat Texas-shaped waffles, swim in Texas-shaped pools and sleep on Texas-shaped pillows.

Texas State Archives

Texas was a very different place two centuries ago. It was home to roaming tribes and just a few permanent settlements. Researcher Sam Haynes of UT Arlington says it was the most diverse place in North America.

National Air and Space Museum / Wikimedia

A native Texan, Bessie Coleman escaped poverty and discrimination to soar to new heights as the first female aviator of African American and Native American descent. That’s why today — her 125th birthday — she takes the illustrative honor as Google’s homepage doodle.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

William Madison McDonald is far from a household name these days, but he was a legend in his day. Born 150 years ago, McDonald is widely believed to have been the first black millionaire in Texas.

How Slavery Built Texas

Sep 22, 2016
Shutterstock

If you grew up in Texas, you were probably taught about how we fought for independence from Mexico – and later traded sovereignty for U.S. statehood. Why our Texas ancestors made those decisions, though, is sometimes glossed over. Today on Think, Krys Boyd talked with UNT history professor Andrew Torget about how slavery fueled the Texas Revolution.

Jimmy Emerson / flickr.com/photos/auvet/

Hitting the road anytime soon?

Across Texas, you’ll pass through scores of towns. Some are poetic – Glen Rose, Pecan Plantation, Enchanted Oaks.

Maybe you’ll drive through the trio of sisters in Collin County – Melissa, Anna and Josephine.

There’s Sunrise and Sunset. A place called Paradise. There’s even Elmo and Kermit!

But you’ll also pass through Texas towns with some strange names.

This summer there's been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past?

Eleventh-grade U.S. history teacher Samantha Manchac is concerned about the new materials and is already drawing up her lesson plans for the coming year. She teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a public school in Houston.

On a recent episode of KERA's "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know," a listener new to Texas asked for suggestions of books that would help him to learn about the Lone Star state. So we polled the smartest audience in radio, and here are the 12 books listeners recommended the most.