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Monday, March 26, 2012

Moments in Texas History ~ 3.26.2012

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Battleship Texas continues outstanding service
March 26, 1945
On this day in 1945, the battleship Texas supported the landings for the battle of Okinawa, the final great amphibious assault of World War II. The keel of the Texas, the second battleship to bear this name, was laid at Newport News, Virginia, on April 17, 1911. After serving in the Atlantic Fleet in the First World War, she supported the World War II landings in North Africa, Omaha Beach, southern France, and Iwo Jima. After more than thirty-four years of naval service she was retired and given to the state of Texas to be used as a memorial. She is permanently moored at the San Jacinto Monument off the Houston Ship Channel.

Mexican raiders attack Nuecestown
March 26, 1875
On this day in 1875, a party of Mexican raiders attacked Nuecestown. The raid can best be explained as part of a cycle of violence among Mexican citizens, Hispanic Texans, and Anglo Texans. By 1875 raids and murder were common on the part of both ethnic groups. In late March a number of men left Mexico in small groups and met about twenty miles from where the raid began. The Mexican raiders concentrated their efforts on Nuecestown and the surrounding area, but also hit other areas between Nuecestown and the Rio Grande.The raiders attacked homes, ranches, and stores, stealing horses and valuables, taking hostages, and killing several men. They attacked Thomas Noakes's store at Nuecestown on March 26 and Roma, in Starr County, on April 2. Soon thereafter the band crossed back into Mexico. Anglo residents of South Texas retaliated with a vengeance. Bands of volunteers organized "minute companies" and proceeded to hunt down Mexican outlaws, peaceful rancheros, and merchants; the avengers looted property and burned homes. Violence along the border would continue for years to come.

Veterans found G.I. Forum
March 26, 1948
On this day in 1948, 700 Mexican-American veterans, led by Hector P. Garcia, met in Corpus Christi and organized the American G.I. Forum, a civil-rights organization devoted to securing equal rights for Hispanic Americans. The first issue the forum dealt with was the failure of the Veterans Administration to deliver benefits earned through the 1944 G.I. Bill of Rights. After securing those benefits, the forum addressed other veterans' concerns, such as hospital care and Mexican-American representation on draft boards. In 1949 the group's involvement in the Felix Longoria Affair established the forum as an effective civil-rights advocate for Hispanics and expanded the scope and nature of its activities. The forum worked with the League of United Latin American Citizens on educational reform and voting rights issues. In 1958 the forum became a national organization, and its members led Mexican Americans into national politics. The American G.I. Forum continued its work through the 1970s with such efforts as the first application of the due-process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to de facto Mexican-American school segregation in Corpus Christi.

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