04 February 2011

Texas History: Myths, Facts, and a new TSLAC Digital Display

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has a new digital display celebrating the 175th anniversary of Texas independence from Mexico. Having grown up in Texas I never knew other states celebrate the date of admission to the United States. The TSLAC Web page indicates "instead Texas celebrates March 2, 1836, the date that a band of American and Mexican rebels declared independence from the autocratic rule of a distant government." I grew up learning all of those great Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto heroism stories. (And it was always pronounced san juh-sin-toe with a definite "j" sound. It wasn't until I went to Arizona that I heard san huh-sin-toe.)

TSLAC displays images of "A Dozen Documents that Made a Difference" along with transcripts and explanations of the story surrounding the document. Sometimes the true story knocks down a great Texas myth. Read the story of the "Yellow Rose of Texas" in the link displaying the passport of Emily West.

The Texas history I am learning as an adult does not exactly match what I learned as a student in Texas history classes in the 1960s and 1970s. Texans sometimes have a hard time giving up the myths. The stories are compelling. But knowing our true history, warts and all, is better than believing an untruth. If you want to read about three Texas heroes with the good and the bad traits discussed check out Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis by William C. Davis (New York: HarperPerennial, 1998). Don't miss the 160 pages of endnotes and the 26 page bibliography. There are more derivative sources than an advanced genealogist would use, but there are lots of references to newspapers, diaries, manuscript collections, and deed books, too.

© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Those with an interest in Texas history may want to attend the March 2 Texas State Library and Archive Commission's TSLAC Speaker Series event. In honor of Texas Independence Day, author and historian H.W. Brands will be talking about Texas independence and his book, "Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence." It's at 11:30 a.m. and is free. Please let us know if you'd like to attend by calling 512-463-5514.