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Empathy in Texas History: Truly Embracing Our Cultural Fabric

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The City of San Antonio is set to celebrate its 300 year anniversary of founding and in the midst of it all, many Texans are hoping the festivities are inclusive of everyone’s ancestors. Recognizing the development of a Spanish mission in San Antonio and the subsequent venture into statehood, Texans are also looking to recognize the multiplicity of their origins aside from the romanticized version of the state’s history. Understanding that many of today’s population in the area are descendants of the individuals that were being ostracized at that time takes some delicate grappling.

Like many growing up in the area, Vincent Huizar identifies with the other side of the Texas history coin. “Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and all those people weren’t part of me,” Huizar says. “I wasn’t descendants of them. I was a descendant of the other people they were coming in and killing and getting rid of.” Quoted in a recently published article, Huizar captured the crux of the situation in his own words. And, now, Texas historians are making efforts to broaden the ways in which the state commemorates and observes its history.

Empathy in Texas History: Truly Embracing Our Cultural Fabric
Photo: Pixabay

“It’s very difficult to understand how things are today without looking to the past and how we got here and the experience of our ancestors,” says managing editor for The Handbook of Texas, Brett Derbes. “No one wants to feel they’re not represented in that history.” Over the years, the idealized version of this state’s history has been recognized as a mixture of Crockett and Bowie at the Alamo, white male settlers moving in and taming the wilds, cowboys and cattle drives, and oil wells gushing black gold. This, in large part, left out many other ethnic groups as well as women in general, which isn’t unique to just Texas, but begs that the question of where we all come from gets a closer look as we start to commemorate our existence.

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