Advocate editorial board opinion: Tejano monument honors fortitude of early Texans, history

By the Advocate Editorial Board
March 24, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2012 at 10:24 p.m.

Tejano history is Texas history.

This Thursday, a monument honoring the significant role Tejanos played in the development of Texas will be erected on the state's Capitol grounds. Tejano is the name given to Texans of Hispanic descent.

If you spend enough time in Texas, you'll notice Texans can be a proud bunch when it comes to their state's history.

Take a careful look around the Crossroads, and you'll find a wealth of it. Did you know the first shots fired at the Texas War for Independence occurred in Gonzales? The Battle of Gonzales took place on Oct. 2, 1835, and was the first military engagement of the revolution that led to Texas independence.

Tejano history dates to the 1500s, when Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda documented the first map of the Texas coastline. The first Republic of Texas was declared by a group of Tejano settlers led by Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara in 1813.

The Texas State Library refers to José Antonio Navarro as one of the most influential Tejanos of his generation. You might have heard of his longtime friend Stephen F. Austin and their leading role in the fight for Texas independence.

Along with Navarro, Lorenzo de Zavala and Jose Francisco Ruiz were among the 59 men to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Zavala went on to act as interim vice president of the Republic of Texas.

Ruiz and Navarro were the only Texas natives to sign the declaration.

And right here in Victoria, we have descendants of the city's founder, Martin de Leon.

We honor Blanche de Leon, who has worked toward making the Tejano Monument a reality for two years. However, she says most of the credit should go to the monument's proponents from Goliad, who have worked 12 years on the project.

One of the monument's statues will have the De Leon family's signature cattle brand, "Espiritu de Jesus" or "Spirit of Jesus."

Despite this rich Texas history, making this monument a reality required some persuading - about 12 years worth.

In 2009, the Legislature finally passed a measure to allow the assembly of the monument.

Benny Martinez of Goliad, and member of the Tejano Monument committee, rode his horse from Goliad to Austin over the course of five days to raise awareness and support for the building of the monument.

We want to commend Martinez and the people who took on the task of honoring the history of Texas and all of the important cultures that make up this great state.

We think this will give Texans another opportunity to learn more about the impressive history of Texas and its vast culture.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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