2013-03-07 / General Stories

Celebrate Texas Independence Throughout March

AUSTIN, Texas––The spirit of Texas is alive and well in March as the Lone Star State pays homage to its vibrant past throughout the month. Celebrating the month of Texas’ Independence, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) encourages people to explore the state’s historic landscape with a trip through the Texas Independence Trail Region. This heritage travel region is part of the THC’s nationally award-winning heritage tourism initiative, and provides a historic journey through battlefields and significant sites where Texas struggled for freedom.

Visit Gonzalez, the site of the Texas Revolution’s first skirmish, and experience your own victory in the Texas Independence Day Relay March 23-24. The course ends at the San Jacinto Monument near Houston, where Texas’ independence was won.

See San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, home of Stephen F. Austin and his colony’s first capital. The site is where the most famous letter in Texas history, Victory or Death, written in 1836 by William Travis, was printed with handset type and distributed throughout the city upon arriving from the Alamo, where Texian soldiers held out for 13 days against Mexican Army soldiers led by General Santa Anna. The letter was printed in the local newspaper on March 5, the day before the Alamo fell. The original letter is on display for the first time at the Alamo in San Antonio through March 7.

Not far from San Felipe, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site features interactive exhibits and a replica of Independence Hall, which was the site of the declaration signing.

In Goliad, visit the National Historic Landmark La Bahia, where Col. James Fannin and more than 300 of his troops were massacred on March 27, 1836.

These are just a sampling of the sites and skirmishes to be explored in the THC’s Texas Independence Trail Region brochure.Visit www.texastimetravel.com to download a copy of the brochure. Explore The Fascinating History Of Enemy Alien Internment In Texas

AUSTIN, Texas––Shocked by the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the United States into World War II, thousands of Japanese, German, and Italian citizens in the U.S. were classified as Enemy Aliens and detained by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) through its Alien Enemy Control Unit.

Texas hosted three of these confinement sites, administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and in association with the Department of State, at Crystal City, Kenedy, and Seagoville. In addition, two U.S. Army temporary detention stations were located at Dodd Field in Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio) and Fort Bliss (El Paso).

Thanks to a grant from the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program in November 2011, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) released a full-color print brochure detailing the Crystal City Family Internment Camp, which was met with great enthusiasm. Due in large part to keen interest in this brochure and its contents, the THC, with the support of JACS, will release a companion piece to its Crystal City brochure this month that covers the four remaining internment camps in Texas during World War II. The 12-page full-color edition provides the public with a deeper understanding of the five Texas confinement sites, and how the DOJ camps differ from War Relocation Authority camps, where thousands of Japanese Americans from the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii were incarcerated in Texas and across the country.

For more information, or to request a copy, contact the THC’s Military Sites Program Coordinator William McWhorter at 512.463.5833 or william.mcwhorter@thc.state.tx.us.

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