Wednesday, September 05, 2018
State Sanctioned Terrorism and the Texas Rangers
Brown University Professor Maria Muñoz Martinez's new book The Injustice Never Leaves You (book review and description) provides a well documented look at the injustices committed by the Texas Rangers in the latter part of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. It might come as no surprise to many but for much of their existence, "Los Rinches" operated as nothing more than an intimidation squad to suppress Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans.
"Martinez’s research posits the height of Texas Ranger violence against Mexicans to have occurred from 1915 to 1919. Some 300 ethnic Mexicans were murdered between 1915 and 1916 alone. These dates coincided with the reign of not only the disgraced governor James “Pa” Ferguson but also, starting in 1917, the often-venerated William P. Hobby. Martinez is appropriately unsparing in her detailing of Hobby’s consistently anti-Hispanic, anti-NAACP agenda: In short, he used the Rangers as his own personal goon squad in instigating intimidation tactics against minorities. Hobby presided over an era that, according to Martinez, saw the “widespread practice of executing landowning [Hispanic] men to force the sale of land by their widows through threats of physical violence”— much of said violence aided and abetted (if not directly perpetrated) by the Rangers with official state consent. Powerful U.S. political elites like Hobby made sure that any serious investigation of Ranger crimes through official legal channels would be doomed to failure."
This important book reflects the long history of Mexican suppression in Texas and lays bear "a still-powerful contingent looking to quietly preserve the white-supremacist-fairytale version of Texas history."
While speaking to us from the past, the book reaches us in the present as increased militarization of the US Mexico border and child separation of families from parents reflect the latest expressions of state sponsored racism and oppression