August 28, 2018 – For Immediate Release
Descendants of the victims of a Texas massacre announced their intention to hold a commemoration despite a delay in approving a historical marker on the part of the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
The September 1 event, to be held at the Magoffin Home State Historical Site in El Paso, Texas, had been planned to coincide with the unveiling an official historical marker acknowledging the Porvenir Massacre of January 28, 1918, in which Texas Rangers and local residents executed fifteen men and boys en masse. The marker has been delayed by a decision of THC Commissioners that has been criticized by scholars across the country and has prompted a letter of concern from the American Historical Association.
“We won’t be stopped by the unfortunate delay. Descendants want the story of the Porvenir Massacre to be told and never forgotten,” said organizer Arlinda Valencia. The program will consist of presentations about the Porvenir community and the devastating impact of the massacre and updates about future events and an ongoing documentary. Speakers include descendants, scholars, a State Board of Education member, and a State Senator.
Scholars involved in the original 2015 petition for the marker welcomed the announcement. “This ceremony is a testament to the community of descendants and all those concerned with the furtherance of justice, whether in the past or now,” said Dr. John Morán González, Professor of English and Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT-Austin. “The memory of Porvenir will not be forgotten or buried again.”
Dr. Sonia Hernandez, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Latino/a and Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A & M University, called on the THC to end the delay. “We do our job teaching our students to become well-rounded citizens through scholarship based on facts,” she said. “The THC—the premier public history institution of the state – has the responsibility to do the same. The state, after all, is its classroom and the people of Texas deserve to know the truth.”
Date: September 1, 2018
Time: 10:00am MST
Location: Magoffin Home State Historic Site
1117 Magoffin Ave El Paso, Texas 79901
Descendant, organizer of unveiling ceremony
Dr. Monica Muñoz Martínez
Assistant Professor of American Studies, Brown University. Author of The Injustice Never Leaves you: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Harvard University Press, 2018), member of Refusing to Forget
Dr. Benjamin Johnson
Associate Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago. Author of Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans, member of Texas Institute of Letters and Refusing to Forget
Dr. Sonia Hernández
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Latino/a and Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A & M University, member of Refusing to Forget
Dr. John Morán González
Professor of English and Director of Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, member of Refusing to Forget.
Dr. Trinidad Gonzales
History Instructor, South Texas College, and member of Refusing to Forget
Refusing to Forget (RTF)
Educational non-profit devoted to memorializing the border violence of the 1910s.
refusingtoforget.org and “Refusing to Forget” on Facebook
RTF Historical Marker page for Porvenir massacre: https://refusingtoforget.org/historical-markers/porvenir-massacre/
Selected press coverage of Refusing to Forget Project
General Links: https://refusingtoforget.org/press/
Porvenir Centennial Celebration January 28, 2018: https://www.texasobserver.org/century-porvenir-massacre-remembering-one-texas-darkest-days/
Hidalgo County Historical Marker: https://riograndeguardian.com/state-historical-marker-for-1915-matanza-unveiled-today/
State History Museum Exhibition: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/22/texas-rangers-killings-us-history-life-and-death-on-the-border-mexico
Undertold Marker Program, THC.
This program seeks to “promote diversity of topics, and proactively document significant underrepresented subjects or untold stories.” The Porvenir marker was approved and finalized under the auspices of this program, which since 2006 has resulted in the installation of 100 markers.