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Words of Wisdom

"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
~William Penn

Friday, June 03, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 6/3/2011

Horse Marines splash into action
June 03, 1836
On this day in 1836, a mounted ranger company in the service of the Texas revolutionary army captured a Mexican ship. The rangers, under the command of Maj. Isaac Watts Burton, had been dispatched by Gen. Thomas J. Rusk to watch a stretch of the Gulf Coast south of San Antonio Bay. When they heard of a suspicious vessel in Copano Bay, the rangers hid on the shore and sent up distress signals. The ship responded first by hoisting American and Texan signals, which were ignored. Only when the ship raised Mexican signals did the rangers respond. Thus tricked into thinking the supposedly distressed soldiers were Mexican, the captain came ashore and was captured. With him as hostage, sixteen rangers rowed out, boarded the Watchman, and seized its cargo of provisions for the Mexican army. Burton and his men employed this decoying tactic twice more on June 17, when they captured the Mexican ships Comanche and Fanny Butler. For these unlikely captures at sea, the mounted rangers were dubbed "Horse Marines."

Bilingual instruction mandated in Texas schools
June 03, 1973
On this day in 1973, Governor Dolph Briscoe signed into law the Bilingual Education and Training Act. The bill required that all Texas elementary public schools enrolling twenty or more children of limited English ability must provide bilingual instruction. Previously, the Texas Department of Education had told Spanish-speaking parents that their children must learn the English language. After a court case, United States v. Texas (1981), found "pervasive, intentional discrimination" against Mexican Americans, the Texas legislature began permitting bilingual instruction when such instruction was educationally advantageous to pupils. The 1973 bill supplanted the permissive standard by a mandate.

Convention meets to discuss sectional crisis
June 03, 1850
On this day in 1850, delegates from the southern states collected in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss the sectional crisis resulting from the Mexican War. In 1849 a bipartisan convention met at Jackson, Mississippi, and called for a southern convention to meet at Nashville in June 1850 "to devise and adopt some mode of resistance to northern aggression."

Both Texas senators, Sam Houston and Thomas J. Rusk, opposed the convention. Nevertheless, the Texas legislature passed a joint resolution recommending that the people choose representatives to the convention on the same day they selected a permanent state capital. J. Pinckney Henderson was the sole Texas delegate to attend the convention. Like most Texans, he was primarily concerned about the boundary dispute with New Mexico. A total of 175 delegates from nine southern states met at the McKendree Methodist Church on June 3-12, 1850, passed a series of resolutions, and called for a second convention if Congress failed to meet their demands. The passage of the Compromise of 1850, by resolving the boundary issue with New Mexico to the satisfaction of most Texans, kept Texas away from the second Nashville conference in November 1850. However, the two conferences helped pave the way for the Confederacy, which would ultimately draw Texas from the Union.

posted by Jeff ~ 6.3.2011

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