At the same time, I am happy that I will get to see some people who are important to me. Also, I will always be grateful to my former Texas institution for the job that I had.
Once I have completed my task in Texas, I will make the long drive with my car to Midwestern Funky Town. After that, I will fly back to Boston for my last time few weeks here.
In the meantime, here are some things that you might or might not know about the state ofTexas:
- * The Mexican federal government never recognized Texas as an independent nation. When Santa Anna return to Mexico, the Congress disregarded the agreement he made with the Texan forces. For Mexico, Texas was a territory in rebellion.
* Mexico emancipated all slaves in the republic in 1829. Texas refused to oblige. In 1835, Mexico once again banned slavery within its boundaries. Texas ignored this law.
* Under Spain and Mexico, Texas was a fraction of its current size. Its current boundary at the Rio Grande was a total Euro-American invention without historical basis. The original boundary of Texas ended at the Nueces River.
* Texas launched an invasion of New Mexico in 1841 with the intent of claiming it as part of their rebellion. Leaders in Texas believed that they would be greeted as liberators. When they arrived in New Mexico, they were promptly arrested and sent to Mexico City as prisoners. Their defeat was widely celebrated in New Mexico.
* A nineteenth-century-New-Mexico playwright created a dramatic interpretation of the 1841 Texan defeat. It has my favorite line of dialog ever: “You insolent Texans, how dare you profane the territory of Mexicans?”
* During the U.S. Civil War, Texas attempted to invade New Mexico again. They were defeated again by the predominantly Mexican Union Army stationed in New Mexico.
* Dr Pepper was invented in Texas.
* El Paso, Texas is geographically closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas, Texas.
* Texas had not officially claimed to be an independent nation at the time of the Battle of the Alamo.
* On January 6, 1915, a radical group of Mexicans issued the “Plan de San Diego.” in San Diego, Texas. Essentially, the plan called for Mexicans, African Americans, and Asians to unite against a common Euro American enemy. As a response to the numerous lynchings suffered by Mexicans and African Americans in Texas, they called for the murder of all Euro American men over the age of 16.
* Students at the University of Texas voted singer Janis Joplin the “Ugliest Man on Campus” when she was attending the school in the early 1960s.
* Texas is the nation’s top producer of wool.
* The song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” was written about an African American woman of mixed ancestry. The titular reference to “yellow” was commonly used in the nineteenth century to describe an African American who had a “lighter” complexion. The original lyrics read:
- She's the sweetest rose of color
This darky every (sic) knew
Her eyes are bright as diamonds
They sparkle like the dew
You may talk about dearest May
And sing of Rosa Lee
But the yellow rose of Texas
Beats the belles of Tennessee
In the twentieth century, all references to race were expunged. The new lyrics read:
- She's the sweetest little rosebud
This soldier ever knew
* When asked directly about the consequences a 2005 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage would have on real-life queer Texans, Governor Rick Perry responded, “Texans made a decision about marriage and if there's a state that has more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live.”
* Over 2 million children live in poverty in Texas.
* Has the highest percentage of children without health insurance in the nation at a shocking 20.3 percent.
* State and Federal environmental agencies have found that the Hayes-Sammons Chemical Co. left a significant amount of toxic waste in the predominately Latino community of South Mission. Efforts by residents to seek compensation for illnesses and deaths related to this contamination have been ignored since 1972. The Texas Supreme Court has refused to hear a case pending since 1999. This story is repeated countless times across the border area.
* In 2003, school children became required to recite a “Texas Pledge of Allegiance.”
* On June 15, 2007, the phrase “under God” was added to this Pledge.
* Texas murders more prisoners as part of state-sponsored executions than any other state in the nation.
* Texas Penal Code 2016 makes it a felony to sell sex toys in the state.
* It is also illegal for any individual to own more than five sex toys in Texas. Owning six sex toys is considered “intent to sell” under the Texas law.
* Texas has three of the largest cities in the U.S.: Houston (Fourth largest), San Antonio (Seventh Largest), and Dallas (Ninth Largest).
* Texas also has three of the fattest cities in the nation: Houston (The fattest in the nation), Dallas (sixth fattest in the nation), and San Antonio (Tenth fattest).
* Texas is a non-white majority state. The student body at the University of Texas, however, is less than 15 percent Hispanic and only 3.9 percent African American. At Texas A&M University, 11 percent of the students are Hispanic and around 3 percent identify as African American. The two flagship universities in the state, in other words, do not at all reflect the reality of the state’s population.
* According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 221 victims of Hate Crimes in Texas in 2005. In other words, in less than every two days, somebody in Texas is attacked based on their perceived race or sexual orientation. This number is also probably a serious undercount as the DOJ is notoriously conservative in considering what constitutes a “hate crime.”
* John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Moments before he was shot, the wife of the Texas governor, Nellie Conally, told him "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you."
* It was revealed in 2005 that a captain at Val Verde Correctional Facility and Jail in Del Rio, Texas displayed a picture of himself in a Ku Klux Klan hood on his desk.
* Houston is currently building an eighteen-lane highway. It’s a not so subtle “Fuck You” to the environment.
* George Bush, Sr. has his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
* Faculty at Southern Methodist University have protested a plan to build George Bush, Jr’s library at their university. The alma matter of Laura Bush, the SMU administration is strongly in favor of the idea and has ignored the faculty’s feelings on the matter.
* The administration of George Bush, Jr’s own alma matter, Yale University, has expressed no interest in placing the library on their campus.