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Texas History Movies a Key to Texan Race Mindset

Texas History Movies was a comic strip that first ran in The Dallas Morning News for two years from 1926 to 1928. Then the newspaper canceled it. But the cartoons about Texas history didn’t die. The originals were reprinted again and again in books and distributed to hundreds of thousands of Texas public school students for the next 30 years. Unfortunately, they fostered the worst racial stereotypes.

The strips were riddled with inaccuracies and ignorance.They only told the story of the Lone Star State through a prism of the experience of white people. They were also racist and fostered the worst stereotypes of Black and brown people who played a significant role in the development of Texas.

A cartoon history of Texas sounds so benign. Let’s not be fooled.

History professor Gene B. Preuss of the University of Houston-Downtown, says: “Generations of Texas school children learned the history of their state from these comics, inaccuracies, prejudices, stereotypes and all.”

Amidst cartoon stories about French and Spanish rule and the battle of the Alamo, the stereotypes worked their way into the comics.

Blacks were called “darkies,” and shown with exaggerated lips, speaking poor English and eating watermelon.

Slavery was falsely portrayed to show that slaves could switch masters at will. According to the strips, slaves attended schools and were shown getting freed by their masters — a highly rare occurrence.

Mexicans were called greasers and tamale eaters. Native Americans were called savages and reds.

Moses Austin, father of state hero Stephen F. Austin, was shown as someone committed to “the dream of an Anglo-Saxon Texas.”

The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the comic strip history of Texas taught to generations
and how it relates to their perception of race relations and the critical race theory.

(edit: The Denton Record-Chronicle now carries the story with no paywall.)

 

 

See the Texas State Historical Association page for a publishing history.

For a decent sized sample of the book version scroll down this JD Bedwell Western Cartoon Page.

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