have long neglected the role of womenwhether Native American,
Hispanic, Anglo, or African Americanin the Texas Revolution
of 1835-36. Originating as a roundtable discussion at the 2010 Texas
State Historical Association meeting, this pioneering and much welcome
anthology takes a tremendous step in correcting this omission.
Dr. Mary L. Scheer, professor and chair of the history department
at Lamar University in Beaumont,
has assembled an impressive team of contributors for this project.
The eight essays comprising this superb volume include "Continuity,
Change, and Removal: Native Women and the Texas Revolution" by Lindy
Eakin (Kansas State-Olathe); "Tejanas: Hispanic Women on the Losing
Side of the Texas Revolution" by Jean A. Stuntz (West Texas A&M);
" 'Joys and Sorrows of Those Dear Old Times': Anglo-American Women
During the Era of the Texas Revolution" by Scheer; "Traveling the
Wrong Way Down Freedom's Trail: Black Women and the Texas Revolution"
by Angela Boswell (Henderson State University); "Two Silver Pesos
and a Blanket: The Texas Revolution and the Non-Combatant Women
Who Survived the Battle of the Alamo" by Dora Elizondo Guerra (University
of Texas-San Antonio); " 'Up Buck! Up Ball! Do Your Duty!': Women
and the Runaway Scrape" by Light Townsend Cummins (Austin College);
" 'To the Devil with Your Glorious History!': Women and the Battle
of San Jacinto" by Jeffrey D. Dunn (San Jacinto Historical Advisory
Board and Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground Association);
and "Women and the Texas Revolution in History and Memory" by Laura
Lyons McLemore (LSU-Shreveport).
Dr. Scheer's book, which won the Texas State Historical Association
Liz Carpenter Award for Research in the History of Women in 2012,
is exceptional. Devotees of state history, especially those interested
in the Revolution or women's studies, will find it extremely valuable.
But it is, in the end, a disheartening account because of the oppression
faced by every woman in Texasno matter her race.
"Overall," Scheer asserts in the insightful introduction, "the Texas
Revolution had a profound effect on all Texas women. For native
and Hispanic women the conflict did not alter their fundamental
roles within their societies, but imposed a new political entity,
which would ultimately lead to their loss of land, power, status,
and even their lives. For black women the Texan victory guaranteed
that the institution of slavery would continue firmly in place,
ensuring future racial antagonisms. And for Anglo women, who were
in a position to benefit the most, the Texas Revolution maintained
the status quo in gender relations and failed to improve significantly
their legal or economic status. Nevertheless, Texas women were at
the center of the revolution and contributed, both directly and
indirectly, to the Texas victory in 1836 and the subsequent creation
of an independent nation. Despite the short term, immediate gains
of independence over autocratic rule, on balance the Texas Revolution
had long term negative consequences, socially, politically, and
economically, for women's lives. For the foreseeable future, the
revolutionary experience of Texas women would be far from 'revolutionary.'
" How sad, how true.
Review by Kirk Bane, Ph.D.
Blinn College (Bryan campus)
More Book Reviews by Dr. Kirk Bane