Mike Cox “Texana” for April 2007
This is a slightly revised version of my April 2007 “Texana” column in the Austin American-Statesman.
For Texans immersed in their state’s colorful history, March and April are the High Holy Days.
Scores if not hundreds of books have been published on
OK, it will be difficult to say more about this book until getting “collective memory” defined. In his foreword, historian W. Fitzhugh Brundage puts it this way:
“Scholars have adopted the conceit of ‘historical memory’ [AKA collective memory] to describe the amorphous and varied activities that groups have employed to recall the past. Recently, older notions of memory as a passive process of storing and retrieving objective recollections of lived experiences have given way to an understanding of memory as an active, on-going process of ordering the past.”
Got that? In other words, no one has yet disputed the fact that a large Mexican army overwhelmed the
Further, to get back to Brundage, collective memory is not merely the recollection of a somewhat-mutually-agreed-upon past, but “rather the product of intentional recreation. Collective remembering forges identity, justifies privileges, and sustains cultural norms.”
That history can be used to achieve things both worthy and unworthy is what makes this an important, if Ivory Tower-ish topic of study. Indeed, again in Brundage’s words, “the confluence of history, memory, power, and identity…vexes our postmodern age.”
Clearly, “Lone Star Pasts” is not light reading for anyone interested in learning more about
“Lone Star Pasts” needs to be read by anyone who may feel compelled to wade in the next time there’s a fight about the modern propriety of an old monument to a Civil War figure once considered a hero but by some seen as a defender of slavery or whether a state five generations removed from the Civil War should be apologizing for slavery, an institution no living person has anything but a collective, constructed “memory” of.
Hopefully, the last great military battle has long since been fought on
Particularly interesting is Cantrell’s essay, “The Bones of Stephen F. Austin: History and Memory in Progressive-Era Texas.” The largest wave of nostalgia for
As some hundred politicians, reporters and
“The great brain cavity of the illustrious colonizer and diplomat was filled with the soil for which he suffered and endured and pleaded and it seemed appropriate that the clear and prophetic brain which once planned, organized, nurtured, directed and preserved this state should in the process of time be supplanted by some of its rich, warm earth.”
Gov. O.B. Colquit played a big part in getting
Colquitt also battled the Daughters of the Texas Revolution over how the
As Ricky Floyd Dobbs shows in his essay, “Lyndon, We Hardly Remember Ye: LBJ in the Memory of Modern Texas,” with the passage of time (he has been dead since 1973, out of the White House since early in 1969) Johnson is losing name recognition in his home state. As Dobbs put it, “Lyndon Johnson doesn’t fit
If that is really the case, no telling how our collective memory will be transformed by the time the next big occasion to reinvent ourselves comes along – the 2036 bicentennial of Texas.