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"The Alamo, Public History and Controversy" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

"The Alamo of San Antonio is one of the most popular historical sites in all of Texas, yet for all its symbolic interpretation, the Alamo remains controversial. Three works by the anthropologist Richard Flores and the historian Edward Tabor Linenthal are used in this examination to gain a understanding of the Alamo controversy, and to examine how various ethnic groups have been presented in Alamo history and why. Equally important though, Flores and Linenthal's research shall be studied in order to understand why in the last eleven years the Alamo has remained still a site which is publically contested.

In Richard Flores The Alamo: Myth, Public History and the Politics of Inclusion, Flores traces the history of the Alamo including the significance of how it has been interpreted as a historical site under "the tutelage of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT)."[1] The controversy which surrounds the Alamo according to Flores first began when the DRT assumed custodianship of the Alamo beginning in 1905. According to Flores the DRT "has sole authority over the interpretation of this site…with little or no accountability to the state or local community."[2] The DRT's interpretation of the Alamo according to Flores has essentially glossed over the Alamo and its historical beginnings as a mission, and has instead focused on portraying to the public a historically inaccurate version of the battle of 1836, one in which Flores argues has resulted in"racializing this event as one between Texans and Mexicans"[3] To prove his point, Flores argues that one need look no further than the makeup of the 187 men who fought within the Alamo during the battle of 1836. Flores points out that of the 187 men who fought during the battle, "only thirteen were native-born Texans…"[4] (in actuality a Texan minority), with many more being Americans from throughout the United States (US) and some forty one being born in Europe. What makes the Alamo so controversial according to Flores is that the depiction of the battle of the Alamo as interpreted by the DRT "builds on a model of inclusion"[5], while neglecting to present a balanced presentation of events. In Edward Linenthal's Patriotic Faith at the Alamo, a quote from Mayor Henry Cisneros during the Texas Sesquicentennial best sums up the controversy when he stated "There were many Hispanics inside the Alamo. It wasn't a racial war. It was one against central government."…"
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emckinney20 May 2017 3:53 p.m. PST

Not to mention that the one mention of slavery is hidden away. Since the point of the whole thing was to allow the expansion of slavery into Texas, which the Mexican government pointedly did not allow.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 May 2017 1:14 p.m. PST

The battle of the Alamo continues…. and may never be fully resolved.

Something not touched on in this paper is that the DRT was removed from its guardianship several years ago by the Texas Legislature (for a long, long time the state was reluctant to take on this well-connected organization of establishment ladies) and the Alamo was handed over to the state General Land Office. The DRT and the GLO -- headed by the politically ambitious George P. Bush, yet another heir apparent -- are still locked in legal squabbles over who owns what among the special collections and libraries connected with the Shrine. And the City of San Antonio owns much of the surrounding property and streets that abut the current Shrine and cover much of the original site, complicating matters still further.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

Tou are right my friend….


zardoz1957 Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

I haven't kept up on the literature over the last couple decades. Is there still uncertainty as to whether Crockett was captured and executed?

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2017 10:49 p.m. PST

No controversy. He was captured and executed.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2017 10:56 p.m. PST

The DRT had not been doing a good job for years. Their interpretation of the battle is way out of date. New research in last 15 years has radically change the old depiction of the battle. Courts will have to decide who owns the collection. The thing is, those objects and documents were donated directly to the DRT.

I don't understand why the state did not turn over management of the historic property to the Parks and Wildlife Department? That's Texas politics for you.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2017 11:01 p.m. PST

You have to give credit to the DRT for saving what is left of the Alamo. The state just was not equip to restore it or manage it.

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