The Texas Left. Some would say the phrase is an oxymoron.
For most of the twentieth century, the popular perception of Texas politics has been that of dominant conservatism, punctuated by images of cowboys, oil barons, and party bosses intent on preserving a decidedly capitalist status quo.
In fact, poor farmers and laborers who were disenfranchised, segregated, and, depending on their ethnicity and gender, confronted with varying levels of hostility and discrimination, have long composed the "other" political heritage of Texas. In The Texas Left, fourteen scholars examine this heritage.
Though largely ignored by historians of previous decades who focused instead on telling the stories of the Alamo, the Civil War, the cattle drives, and the oilfield wildcatters, this parallel narrative of those who sought to resist repression reveals themes important to the unfolding history of Texas and the Southwest.
Volume editors David O'Donald Cullen and Kyle G. Wilkison have assembled a collection of pioneering studies that provide the broad outlines for future research on liberal and radical social and political causes in the state and region.
Among the topics explored in this book are early efforts of women, blacks, Tejanos, labor organizers, and political activists to claim rights of citizenship, livelihood, and recognition, from the Reconstruction era until recent times.
David O’Donald Cullen is a professor of history at Collin College in Plano. He teaches Texas history and is the author of a number of articles and essays on American political and social history. His PhD is from the University of North Texas. Kyle G. Wilkison is also a professor of history at Collin College. Wilkison’s Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists: Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 1870–1914, was published by Texas A&M University Press and received the Texas Historical Commission’s T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award in 2008.
What Readers Are Saying:
"This important volume provides the most extensive consideration of Texas groups on the political left, which in turn adds valuable balance to discussions of Lone Star politics."--Alwyn Barr, professor of history, Texas Tech University; and author, The African Texans (Texas A&M University Press, 2004)
"The Texas Left addresses an often overlooked but critical component of the state’s history, namely the strategies adopted by marginalized Texans in their pursuit of a more just, equal, and humane society. Minority groups that challenged established capitalists, industrialists or racists on pragmatic grounds frequently triumphed. But left-leaning Texans did not always win, and these essays indicate the prices that they, and Texans generally, paid for inadequate economic, social, and political reform."-Debra Reid, author, Seeking Inalienable Rights: Texans and Their Quests for Justice