One day in the fall of 1959, as a fifth grader at
The booklet, through pen and ink cartoons with dialog and captions, told the history of the
I pored over “Texas History Movies,” which began as a cartoon series in the Dallas Morning News in the late 1920s, with every bit as much relish as I would have shown for the annual 25 cent Donald Duck summer vacation special issue. And like hundreds of thousands of
Nearly a half century later, I now know that I was among the last group of
In explaining its decision to drop the book, the giant company cited economics, and the fact that the booklet no longer fit its world-wide business plan. The real reason, of course, was the criticism Mobil already had begun to receive about the book’s politically incorrect language and themes. The term “politically correct” had not even been coined yet, but with a text unchanged since the 1930s, the book was Anglo-centric to say the least.
That lack of diversity – harshly demonstrated in places – was a product of its times. I doubt seriously if it inflamed any more racism on the part of its young readers than may already have existed, courtesy of their parents and grandparents. The main effect it had was to get school kids caught up in what has always been a pretty compelling story. In fact, I feel safe in betting that “Texas History Movies” fostered more historians than it did racists.
Now, thanks to the late Jack Jackson (who also read the book as a youngster) and the Texas State Historical Association, a modern cartoon history of
The 48-page softcover is available for $9.95. (To read more about the book or to order copies, go to the TSHA Web site at www.tsha.utexas.edu)
In addition to his drawings,
Sadly, this was
Hopefully this book will influence new generations of