News Column

Symposium on US-Mexican War

May 25, 2012

Two historians with extensive knowledge of the U.S.-Mexico War will speak at a symposium Saturday about what really happened in the war that made the Alamo famous and paved the way to Texas statehood.

The symposium is titled "Straight Talk: What Really Happened in the U.S.-Mexican War." It aims to set the record straight on common misconceptions and myths about the time period.

"For generations, students in Texas have been taught 'facts' that are really myths and over-simplified explanations of complex events. This gathering of experts looks to cut through the legends and misrepresentations and to give an entertaining but complete view of history," said Karen Weaver of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Brownsville Independent School District.

A morning and an afternoon session are scheduled in the auditorium of the BISD Central Administrative Building at 708 Palm Blvd. The sessions are free to the public, including teachers and students. Teachers can earn CPE and GT credit by also attending GT sessions scheduled at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

--At 9:30 a.m.: "Who Really Fought the War?"

Bruce Winders, a historian and curator of the Alamo, will discuss the organization and culture of the U.S. and Mexican armies. Winders has researched the soldiers of both the U.S. and Mexican army and is the author of the book "Mr. Polk's Army: The American Military Experience in the Mexican War," which uses diaries and journals to present the social and political perspectives of both the regular and volunteer soldiers.

--At 1:30 p.m.: "Soldiers and Officers: Views of Texas and Northern Mexico"

Armando Alonzo, a history professor at Texas A&M University-College Station, will introduce techniques to incorporate primary sources in the social studies curriculum. Alonzo wrote "Tejano Legacy: Rancheros and Settlers in South Texas, 1734-1900," which analyzes the relations and roles of Tejanos during a time of explosive change. He has long been active in encouraging the teaching of history using primary sources.

Source: (c) 2012 The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas)

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