Descendants Press Ahead with Commemoration Despite Marker Delay

 

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.”

Ceremony logistics:

Date: September 1, 2018

Time: 10:00am MST

Location: Magoffin Home State Historic Site

1117 Magoffin Ave  El Paso, Texas 79901

 

Contacts:

Arlinda Valencia

Descendant, organizer of unveiling ceremony

915-203-0072; 915-778-8222

arlyn52@yahoo.com

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

401.863.2787

Monica_Martinez@brown.edu

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

773.508.3082

bjohnson25@luc.edu

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

979.845.7151

soniah@tamu.edu

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.

512.471.5351

jmgonzal@utexas.edu

Dr. Trinidad Gonzales

History Instructor, South Texas College, and member of Refusing to Forget

956.872.3513

tgonzale@southtexascollege.edu

Resources

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.

http://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/state-historical-markers/undertold-markers

 

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