cover of book

Reverberations of Racial Violence: Critical Reflections on the History of the Border
edited by Sonia Hernández and John Morán González
University of Texas Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-4773-2269-7 | eISBN: 978-1-4773-2271-0 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-2268-0
Library of Congress Classification F395.M5R48 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 363.209764


Between 1910 and 1920, thousands of Mexican Americans and Mexican nationals were killed along the Texas border. The killers included strangers and neighbors, vigilantes and law enforcement officers—in particular, Texas Rangers. Despite a 1919 investigation of the state-sanctioned violence, no one in authority was ever held responsible.

Reverberations of Racial Violence gathers fourteen essays on this dark chapter in American history. Contributors explore the impact of civil rights advocates, such as José Tomás Canales, the sole Mexican-American representative in the Texas State Legislature between 1905 and 1921. The investigation he spearheaded emerges as a historical touchstone, one in which witnesses testified in detail to the extrajudicial killings carried out by state agents. Other chapters situate anti-Mexican racism in the context of the era's rampant and more fully documented violence against African Americans. Contributors also address the roles of women in responding to the violence, as well as the many ways in which the killings have continued to weigh on communities of color in Texas. Taken together, the essays provide an opportunity to move beyond the more standard Black-white paradigm in reflecting on the broad history of American nation-making, the nation’s rampant racial violence, and civil rights activism.

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