Our Team

About the Project

In February 2014, a group of professors met at the National Association of Chicano Chicana Studies Tejas Foco in San Antonio, Texas to discuss strategies for commemorating the centennial of the period of widespread, state sanctioned anti-Mexican violence on the Texas-Mexico border (1910-20). In collaboration with Texas residents who have conducted research and maintained invaluable archives, Refusing to Forget is a multifaceted project that seeks to incite public conversations through efforts such as: museum and online exhibits, historical marker unveilings, lectures, and curricular materials for public school teachers. Our team has worked with state institutions like The Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Texas Historical Commission. We have been published in national news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC News, as well as local outlets like The San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman, and The Houston Chronicle.

Visit In the Press to read more about our project and see other publications where we have been quoted.


  • 2021 Friend of History Award recognizes an institution or organization, or an individual working primarily outside college or university settings, for outstanding support for historical research, the public presentation of American history, or the work of the OAH. (Organizations of American Historians)
  • Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions to public history. (American History Association, 2019)
  • Autry Public History Prize (Western History Association, 2017)
  • Leadership in History Award of Merit for “Life and Death on the Border, 1910-1920” (American Association for State and Local History, 2016)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Exhibit at Bullock Museum (2016)
  • Traveling Exhibit
  • Encyclopedia Entries for Handbook of Tejano History
  • Applications for Texas Historical Markers
  • Unveiling Ceremonies for Texas Historical Markers
  • Public Lectures
  • Media/Publicity

The Team

John Morán González


John Morán González is the J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a Ph.D. degree in English and American literature from Stanford University in 1998. He has published about American literature in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Western American Literature, and Nineteenth-Century Contexts, and Symbolism: An International Journal of Critical Aesthetics. He is the author of two books: Border Renaissance: The Texas Centennial and the Emergence of Mexican-American Literature (University of Texas Press, 2009), and The Troubled Union: Expansionist Imperatives in Post-Reconstruction American Novels (Ohio State University Press, 2010). He is co-editor (with Laura Lomas) of The Cambridge History of Latina/o American Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which was selected as a 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. He is currently Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin and on the Board of Directors for Humanities Texas.

Email: gonzalezjm@gmail.com

Twitter: JMGonzalezUT

Sonia Hernández


A native of the Rio Grande Valley, received a Ph.D in Latin American History from the University of Houston in 2006. Hernández specializes in the intersections of gender and labor in the U.S. – Mexican Borderlands, Chicana/o history, and Modern Mexico and currently works as an Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University. She has published in Spanish and English; her book, Working Women into the Borderlands (Texas A&M University Press, 2014) received the Sara A. Whaley Book Prize (NWSA), the Liz Carpenter Award (TSHA), and was a Weber-Clements prize finalist. A Spanish translation of this book was published as Mujeres, trabajo y región fronteriza (Tamaulipas: ITCA; Mexico City: INEHRM, 2017). Her latest book, For a Just and Better World: Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900-1938 (University of Illinois Press, 2021) examines a transnational network of labor activists in great part sustained by Caritina Piña in Tampico. She has published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History, among other places. Her work has been funded by the Texas Council for the Humanities, Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and most recently, the Fulbright Foundation. She is currently working on a book project, which reexamines the case of Gregorio Cortez from a transnational and gender perspective. She is an Arts & Humanities Fellow at Texas A&M (2020-2023) and co-founder of Refusing to Forget.

Faculty Page

Personal Website

Email: soniah@tamu.edu

Twitter: soniahistoria

Benjamin Johnson


Benjamin H. Johnson is Professor in the History Department and School of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago.  He is the author of numerous works on the U.S.-Mexico border and environmental history, including Revolution in Texas:  How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans (Yale, 2003); Bordertown:  The Odyssey of an American Place (Yale, 2008); and Escaping the Dark, Gray City:  Fear and Hope in Progressive Era Conservation (Yale 2017).  He has edited Bridging National Borders in North America:  Transnational and Comparative Histories (with Andrew Graybill, Duke, 2010), Major Problems in North American Borderlands History (with Pekka Hämäläinen, Cengage Learning, 2011), and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (with Robert Johnston, 2013-2018).  Johnson’s essays have appeared in The Journal of American HistoryEnvironmental History, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and numerous anthologies.His professional service includes stints on the Board of Governors of the Texas State Historical Association and the Society for the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the nominating committee of the Western History Association, and the program chair of the Western History Association’s annual conference.  The American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities have funded his individual research, and he has directed two summer seminars on border history for college and university faculty funded by the NEH.  A member of the Texas Institute of Letters, he currently edits the Weber Series in the New Borderlands History at the University of North Carolina Press. 

Email: bjohnson25@luc.edu

Twitter: BenjaminHJohns1

Christopher Carmona


Christopher Carmona is Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He serves as the Chair of the NACCS Tejas Foco Committee on Implementing MAS in PreK-12 Education in Texas. His short story collection, The Road to Llorona Park, is listed by NBC News as one of the 8 Great Latino Books published in 2016 and was the winner of the NACCS Tejas Award for Best Fiction Book of 2016. He has published three books of poetry, co-edited two anthologies, and co-authored a scholarly conversation book, called Nuev@s Voces Poeticas: A Conversation about new Chican@ Identities. Currently, he is working on a series of YA novellas of a Chicano superhero fighting Texas Rangers in the Rio Grande Valley from 1905-1920 entitled El Rinche: The Ghost Ranger of the Rio Grande. Book One was a 2019 Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book Finalist. Book Two will be out in 2021.

Email: ccarmonawriter@gmail.com

Twitter: ccarmonawriter

Monica Muñoz Martinez


Monica Muñoz Martinez is an award winning author, teacher, and public historian. She is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. She offers courses in Latinx and borderlands history, women and gender studies, histories of racial violence, public humanities, digital humanities, and restorative justice. Her first book, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas,(Harvard University Press Sept 2018) was awarded numerous prizes including the Lawrence Levine Award from the Organization of American Historians. She is the primary investigator for Mapping Violence: Racial Terror in Texas 1900-1930, a digital project that recovers histories of racial violence in Texas. The first multifaceted project that includes compiling a digital archive of histories of racial violence, researching documented cases, curating content (including digital tours and historical essays), and an interactive map. The digital archive is the first to include multiple forms of violence (at the hands of law enforcement, US soldiers, and vigilantes) that targeted multiple racial and ethnic groups. Martinez is also a leading public voice. She is a founding member of the Refusing to Forget and she has worked as a historical consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In 2017, Martinez was selected for the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program. The fellowship provides grants for the “country’s most creative thinkers” to support research on “challenges to democracy and international order.”

Personal Website

Email: monica.martinez1@austin.utexas.edu

Twitter: MonicaMnzMtz

Leah LaGrone


Leah LaGrone is an assistant professor of history and public history director at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. A native of Texas, she graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth with a PhD in history focused on the intersections of borderlands, labor, and gender studies in early 20th century. Her research examines state legislation and the discourse on minimum wages for women, specifically the connections of sex work with low wages. Her current book project, “Sex, Race, and Wages: How the Minimum Wage Movement for Women Influenced Modern America, 1913-1938,” demonstrates that the politics around race and the minimum wage for women drove conversations among labor, politicians, and progressive reformers about the future of white supremacy in Texas.

She has contributed an essay to the anthology “Impeached: The Removal of Texas Governor James E. Ferguson” as well as articles to The Washington Post and NursingClio. She has worked on several public history projects, including “The Civil War Documentary,” “Civil Rights in Black and Brown,” and the Texas State Historical Association’s “Handbook of Texas Women.

Email: leahlao08@gmail.com

Twitter: @LeahLochoa

Annette Rodriguez


Annette M. Rodríguez is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Rodríguez concentrates on perennial racist violences in the United States as communicating events that construct and reinforce ideologies and hierarchies of race, gender, citizenship, and national belonging. Her analysis of historical method emphasizes the use of visual culture and is demonstrated in her first book in progress Inventing the Mexican: The Visual Culture of Lynching at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. In addition, Rodríguez has initiated a data, mapping, and social history project on U.S. bounty land grants. This project tracks the over sixty million acres of land granted by both the U.S. federal government and individual states as incentive to serve in the military and as a reward for service. It is provisionally titled Intimate Acquisitions: A Relational History of U.S. Bounty Lands.

Email: annette.rodriguez@austin.utexas.edu

Twitter: @Alacranita

Faculty page

Juan Carmona


Juan P. Carmona is a Social Studies teacher at Donna High School and a dual enrollment History instructor through South Texas College. He graduated with honors from the American Military University with a master’s degree in American History and he was the Recipient of the 2018 James F. Veninga Outstanding Teaching Humanities Award by Humanities Texas. He is a member of the NACCS Tejas Foco Committee for Mexican American Studies K-12, and the Social Studies Coordinator for the Rio Grande Valley Coalition for Mexican American Studies. He is the co-author of a 1-year curriculum for a high school class in Mexican American Studies. He has been teaching Mexican American History for dual enrollment for the past 10 years at Donna High School. His primary field of research is the history of the South Texas borderlands. He is the author of the book The Alton Bus Crash, co-host of the podcast “Mi Valle MI Vida” and produced a podcast with his Mexican American History students called “The Alamo Train Crash of 1940”, which he is now developing into a book project.

Caroline Lauber

RTF Intern

Caroline Lauber is a second-year Public History MA student at Loyola University Chicago. She is interested in pursuing a career in history education or advocacy. In her academic work, Caroline is passionate about telling untold and underrepresented stories with emphasis on women’s history and the Civil Rights Movement. She is looking forward to the opportunity to work with Refusing to Forget to enhance her research and writing skills as well as learning how to tell underrepresented history to a public audience. Outside of school, she loves to read and watch Chicago sports.

Email: clauber@luc.edu