‘Where the West Begins’ debates Texas identity
Special to The News
Glen Sample Ely, a documentary scholar, has taken on a major task when challenging the concept of Texas’ identity. Is the state history bound to the South or to the popular belief that it is a western state? After all, Texas raises cotton and had its roots in slavery and segregation, everything makes Texas a southern state. But still others argue that natives and ranching make it a western state. Outside of Texas, people do not know what to make of the Lone Star state. Since not understanding Texas, most if not all scholars and history writers try to forget it. Ely takes the position of a detective or a research doctor by examining Texas’s DNA and discovering the dividing line between West and the East/South is the 100th meridian.
“Where the West Begins” is a book written by Glen Sample Ely and published by Texas Tech University. It will make the reader take several steps back to reconsider how Texas and its history has been thought. The author spent much time considering the racial prejudice of West and East Texas. He found that most whites considered Hispanics and African Americans as inferior. They were mistreated regardless of geographical location. In the West, since Hispanics, or Mexicans as they were commonly called, were limited to servant jobs or other poor occupations. White men coming to the West found a real shortage of marriage-eligible white women so they took in or married Hispanics females. In the East, Blacks were treated in much the same way, but few were married.
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