As many of you who have followed Refusing to Forget know, our colleague Monica Muñoz Martínez started applying for a state historical marker to acknowledge the Porvenir massacre of 1918, a crime in which fifteen men and boys of Porvenir were executed en masse by the Texas Rangers and local residents in Presidio County.
The outcry provoked by this event resulted in the dismissal of Company B of the Rangers and was featured in the 1919 “Canales Hearings.” Descendants of the slain and of witnesses have kept memories alive for generations.
In 2014 Martínez applied for a historical marker to acknowledge the Porvenir tragedy. In 2015 the Texas Historical Commission (THC) approved the application and started to develop the marker. (http://www.thc.texas.gov/…/state-historic…/undertold-markers).
One hundred years after the massacre, on January 28, 2018, over four hundred people gathered to commemorate the Porvenir massacre in the State Capitol of Texas. The commemoration concluded with Arlinda Valencia, a descendant, announcing that the THC had confirmed that it would unveil a marker this year.
In coordination with the THC, an unveiling ceremony was scheduled to take place at the historic Magoffin House in El Paso on September 1st. The Refusing to Forget team donated funds to help support the historic event. Despite conducting the research required to submit an application to mark the Porvenir Massacre and following the process as stipulated by the THC, the efforts to mark this terrible moment in Texas history have suddenly been halted.
Member of the Presidio County Historical Commission demanded changes to the approved marker and questioned the integrity of the effort . “The militant Hispanics,” wrote one member, “have turned this marker request into a political rally and want reparations from the federal government for a 100-year-old plus tragic event …”
While the THC has proposed postponing the unveiling, we trust that our questions will be answered regarding the break in procedure. In the last several years, RTF members worked closely with THC staff and this collaboration has resulted in the approval and unveiling of overdue markers including La Matanza (Cameron County) and Jovita Idar (Webb County).
The marker for the Porvenir Massacre, is ready to be cast. The production of the marker should continue and the unveiling at the Magoffin Home on September 1, 2018 should go on as planned.
We do not know what Commission members will decide but as we wait for a response, we ask the public to stay tuned as we may ask for your support in the next couple of days. Thank you.
Monica Muñoz Martinez
John Morán González