Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tejanos through Time by Emilio Zamora & Andrés Tijerina (Eds.) Texas State Historical Association

Help yourself to this FREE eBook out of the Texas State Historical Association edited by Emilio Zamora and Andrés Tijerina titled, "Tejanos through Time," downloadable from this link once you sign on.  The eBook includes selected articles generated by the Handbook of Tejano History Project that will appear in the Handbook of Texas.  The Handbook of Texas is an electronic encyclopedia that gets 1 million visits a month and is the leading resource on Texas and as a consequence, Tejano history. 

Here is the volume's introduction:


Ditors’ Preface

Texas has a special place in history and in the minds of people throughout the world. Texas also has the distinction of having been a province of colonial Spain, a state in the Republic of Mexico, and an independent country before it became a part of the United States. Once the war between Mexico and the United States ended and Texas joined the American union, its history followed a distinct course of socio-economic incorporation, modernization, and identification with the American South and Southwest. Tejanos, descendants of the indigenous and colonial inhabitants of Texas, have been an integral part of Texas history as this eBook amply demonstrates.
No one would have imagined in 1952, the year that the Handbook of Texas was first published, that the Texas State Historical Association would expand its major reference source on the history of Texas with new entries on Tejanos. Nor would the founders of the Handbook have anticipated the extraordinary and relatively recent growth of Tejano history with notable and even award-winning works that contribute to the stature of the field and explain the growing number of entries that grace the pages of the Handbook. We would be remiss if we did not also credit the enlightened and path breaking spirit among the community-oriented, critically conscious, social justice Mexican American luminaries emerging in the late 1960s. This has given impetus and inspiration to what has become an enduring commitment to historical recovery and restoration projects of which the Handbook of Tejano History and this eBook are now a significant part. They meet up with the legacy agenda to extend voice, presence, and power for underrepresented, misrepresented and disjointed parts of our diverse communities’ histories and stories both within and outside the academy.
The Association recognized Tejano history as an emergent and promising field of study worthy of attention during the development of the six-volume New Handbook of Texas, which lasted from 1982 to 1996. In 1988 TSHA leadership secured funding from the Texas Committee for the Humanities to hire several staff researchers, including Cynthia Orozco, Teresa Palomo Acosta, María-Cristina García, and others. From 1988 to 1996, these writers worked with a number of advisory editors, including Arnoldo de León, Jesús F. de la Teja, Robert S. Weddle, Donald E. Chipman, and Paul D. Lack, to expand the Handbook’s content on Mexican American history. In doing so, the Handbook improved its claim of representativeness as it grew into the largest and most accessed encyclopedia on Texas history.
The Tejano Handbook Project, the Association’s more recent and concerted effort to add to the Mexican American presence in the Handbook, began in 2014 when Drs. Emilio Zamora and Andrés Tijerina proposed the idea and secured the necessary financial support from the Tejano Monument, Inc. and the sponsorship of the Association. The Tejano Handbook Project held two workshops, one at the Association’s 2014 annual meeting in San Antonio, and another in June 2014 at the Texas General Land Office in Austin, to encourage new submissions and to ensure that the contributions abide by a well-defined process of writing and production, and meet the highest standards of excellence for an encyclopedia entry. The process involved solicitations for entries, followed by submissions that Zamora and Tijerina, the co-directors of the project, reviewed and subsequently referred to the Handbook’s editorial staff for fact checking, copy editing, and online posting. Mike Campbell, the Association’s Chief Historian, made the final decision on the entries.
By all accounts, the Tejano Handbook Project has been a resounding success. Prominent authors and new researchers, as well as faculty who assigned topics to their undergraduate and graduate students, responded with high-quality entries on historical figures, events, and themes. The overwhelming response made it necessary to extend the project into a second year, to the point that contributors have now exceeded by a hundred percent the original goal of 100 new entries to more than 200.
We can also measure the success of the Tejano Handbook Project by noting the significance of the new entries to both Tejano and Texas history. Emma Tenayuca, a major labor organizer from San Antonio, for instance, reminds us that we cannot speak about Texas history without acknowledging the important Tejano contributions to intellectual, working class, women’s, and labor rights history. Nor can we deny the extraordinary record of military service and battlefield sacrifice by servicemen like José de la Luz Sáenz in World War I and Frank Tejeda in Vietnam. Moreover, new entries on Spanish Texas, elected officials, community leaders, ethnic conflict, education, and influential organizations reflect the vitality and continued development of Tejano history. The article on the Tejano Monument is especially emblematic of the importance of Tejanos in Texas history. The statuary, located prominently on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol, commemorates their history as a charter community in Texas and serves as a landmark statement on the lasting and indelible influence of embodied memory in the Tejano community. Taken as a whole, the new entries re-figure the constitution of the Handbook of Texas and in so doing, extend the value and fair use of Texas history in our times.
The attention given to the Tejano Monument is also appropriate because its board had the foresight to advance historical knowledge by funding the current effort to increase the presence of Tejanos in the Handbook of Texas and other initiatives like the Tejano History Curriculum Project, an Austin enterprise that is broadening the social studies curriculum in our public schools. In both cases, Tejanos are demonstrating that despite historic difficulties, they can find comfort in the recurring observation heard at the 2012 unveiling of the Tejano Monument, “We are still here.”
The Association, with the approval of its board of directors, decided to mark the achievement of the Tejano Handbook Project by sharing a representative sample of the new entries generated by the project along with some previously published articles as a tribute to Tejano history, but also as a demonstration of our commitment to its development and use by researchers, teachers, students and the general public.   
As co-editors of this eBook, Tejanos Through Time: Selections from the Handbook of Tejano History, we especially wish to thank our contributing authors, the staff and board of directors of the TSHA, and the many persons who have labored long and hard to make Tejano history the important field of study and lived experience that it is. It has been an honor and a privilege for us to play a role in the enriching of our collective, narrative past and in continuing to expand the scope of the Texas State Historical Association and the Handbook of Texas.
Emilio Zamora
Professor, Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin

Andrés Tijerina
Professor, Department of History
Austin Community College


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