SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A Tejano historian says he has been asked to give a lecture series at a South Texas university as a direct result of the fight against a widely-condemned student textbook about Mexican Americans.
Author and historian Dan Arellano has been asked to give three lectures at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, the largest Catholic University in Texas.
With other Tejano historians, Arellano railed against Mexican-American Heritage, a textbook published by Momentum Instruction, an educational curriculum supplier headed by former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar. Many media outlets condemned the textbook as racist.
Early versions of the textbook described Mexicans as lazy, alleged that the Mexican culture doesn’t value hard work and that Mexican immigrants only bring crime and drugs into the United States. The Rio Grande Valley’s representative on the State Board of Education, Ruben Cortez said of Mexican-American Heritage: “This textbook is a complete disaster and should not even be considered a “textbook” but rather as a political manifesto aimed at distorting the perceptions of our most valuable resource – our children.”
Arellano said of his new lecture series: “My speaking at St Mary’s is as a direct result of the struggle we have had with Cynthia Dunbar, a former member of the Texas State Board of Education and her racist book full of hate directed towards Americans of Mexican descent, of which have I been very vocal.”
The subjects covered by Arellano at St. Mary’s will be: lecture series will comprise:
• The First Texas Republic and the Battle of Medina; on Friday February 10th, 2017, 9 A.M. 10 A.M.
• The French Connection to the Alamo; on Wednesday February 15th, 9 A.M. 10 A.M.
• ‘Cinco de Mayo’ and the real reason we celebrate; on Thursday February 16th. 9A.M. 10 A.M.
Another reason Arellano has been asked to give his lectures, he believes, is because of his book Tejano Roots, A Family Legend. The ten-year-old book is now in its 4th printing.
“I first started speaking to local book clubs and now I am at universities and colleges throughout the state. Our mission has always been to protect, promote and preserve the history of our ancestors and the contributions and sacrifices they have made in building this great nation of ours,” Arellano told the Rio Grande Guardian.
He said his first lectures were quite small and concentrated mainly in giving attention to the founding of the First Texas Republic and the Battle of Medina.
“Now I speak on a much broader scale which includes the history of the Hapsburgs and Bourbons from Spain to Cortes in 1519, to Los Indios Tlaxcaltecas, to the Texas Invasions of 1836 and 1846,” Arellano said.
“All of these topics I will be covering, time permitting. Beginning February 10th 15th and 16th there will be three lectures an hour each with Q & A after each one. Hopefully this will lead to a positive response from St Mary’s and will result in further lectures.”
Arellano is president of the Battle of Medina Historical Society, and president of the Battle of Medina and San Antonio Missions Historical Tours.
“The recent struggle with the State Board of Education will continue so we must always remain vigilant. This is, in a small way our response to ensure that our Tejano history is never forgotten.”