Tuesday, April 7, 2015


By Lucia Benavides
Reporting Texas
Austin American Statesman
Apr 5, 2015
On a late September day in 1915, Texas Rangers shot and killed Jesus Bazan and his son-in-law, Antonio Longoria, as they rode their horses along a dirt road not far from their ranch near Edinburg.
The men had committed no crimes, but the Rangers suspected they sympathized with Mexican bandits who had been raiding local ranches. 
Without warning, the Rangers shot the men and left the the bodies where they fell.
Two days later, neighbors found the corpses and buried them.

The story survives because a witneess, Roland Warnock, recorded an oral history of the killing. His grandson, Kirby Warnock, made a 2004 documentary, "Border Bandits," about this violent but largely untold chapter in South Texas history.
Now, six scholars, including four from Texas, have built a website, www.RefusingtoForget.com, to make sure this history is fully told and accessible to the public. One of them is UT Austin English professor Juan Moran Gonzalez, pictured here.
From 1915 to 1919, the scholars say, the Rangers or vigilantes killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of Mexicans and Tejanos in South Texas. Some victims were bandits or Mexican revolutionaries trying to stir up trouble. But many were like Eazan and Longoria - people caught in the crossfire.
"This part of history matters because the state has never taken responsibility," said Monica Martinez, an assistant professor of American and ethnic studies at Brown University, who is part of the group. "People continue to be impacted by these histories, every time a mother shares her family's story with her young child.'
The scholars' efforts are paying off. Thanks to their lobbying, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum will open an exhibit in January about the era, including the killings.
"We cover all of the stories of Texas, and this is one of them," said Margaret Koch, the museum's director of exhibits. "lt's important to tell this story." In addition, the scholars persuaded the Texas Historical Commission to erect markers commemorating the bloody conflict pitting Texans against Tejanos.
One will be in Laredo, to mark the 191 1 Primer Congreso Mexicanista, the state's first Mexican-American civil rights conference. lt was prompted by the lynching of Antonio Rodriguez, who had been arrested on charges of killing an Anglo woman in Rocksprings. A vigilante mob seized him and burned him alive. A second Laredo marker will honor Jovita ldar, a journalist and civil-rights activist who crusaded against such killings.

The third marker, near Los Indios in Cameron County, will commemorate La Matanza, or The Massacre, the term used to describe the surge of anti-Mexican mob violence in South Texas.


Anonymous said...

The Texas Rangers were actually Thugs hired by the Governor to keep the Meskins in line . My grandad had to flee to Cerralvo . The Rangers had come to town to lynch him. It happened that my Grandfather was faster than the ranger who attempted to kill him.

Anonymous said...

Read the "El Plan de San Diego" to put a little light on the issue.


Anonymous said...

The Rangers were sent here to keep a bloody take over from happening. Whether or not such a thing was under foot is an open question. Some say it was, and some say it was not.

The net result was there was no bloody take over and there were a bunch of dead Mexicans.

I have no idea what the ultimate true was because I was not here at the time. However my gut tells me that many of the Mexicans didn't need killing and some did. It is a shame that innocents got killed and some of the guilty did not.