Violent chapter in Texas history known as “La Matanza” or “The Massacre" remembered

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tags: Texas, La Matanza, The Massacre



Related Link Refusing to Forget

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 bodies where they fell. Two days later, neighbors found the corpses and buried them.

The story survives because a witness, 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, RefusingtoForget.com, to make sure this history is fully told and accessible to the public.

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 Bazan 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. “It’s important to tell this story.” ...




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