Plan to honor 'Anglo' lawyers at Alamo refused

June 3, 2010 9:18:41 AM PDT
Remember the Anglo lawyers! The State Bar of Texas had hoped do to so with a plaque on Alamo Plaza, but the city's historic commission has refused to approve the plan, citing concerns about singling out a profession or ethnicity for honor near the famed landmark. The proposed 27-by-42-inch marker to honor the contributions of early "Anglo American lawyers" to Texas' independence was approved by the state and county historical commissions, but members of the San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday voted down the plan.

Commission Chairman Xavier Gonzalez said the lawyers' plaque might create a precedent for future markers honoring cobblers, ranchers and others who contributed to Texas' independence from Mexico. The commission agreed to further investigate the existing markers on the popular city-owned plaza in front of the Alamo.

Austin lawyer Rob Jones wrote the sample text for the marker, and it mentions lawyers including William H. Jack, William H. Wharton and Sam Houston, who exercised the right of assembly and petition under Mexican rule.

The text, which likely would be edited by the state historic commission, credits the Anglo lawyers in Texas with understanding the importance of constitutional government and pays tribute to the lawyers who "led opposition to tyranny in ways other than fighting." It also notes that six lawyers, including commander William B. Travis, died in the battle at the Alamo.

Jones said the state bar has honored Hispanic and black lawyers in history but wants to acknowledge the contributions of white lawyers, too.

"We certainly try to be inclusive," Jones said.

Austin author Andres Tijerina, an expert on early Texans of Mexican descent, told the San Antonio Express-News that the proposed text is a "great distortion" of the state's history. It disregards Tejano statesmen who established the concept of constitutional law in Texas, he said.

"Tejanos are the ones who transitioned Texas government to the common law system, at great personal risk," Tijerina said.


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