Though the Alamo story is beloved, I've heard it a thousand times if I've ever heard it at all. There was a time I probably could have quoted you most of Travis' letter. But even though I grew up not far from Marshall in Tyler, I'd never heard the story of 100 Rangers and assorted other cops descending on Marshall in 1969 to squelch protests at an historically black college. (I'd have been two years old at the time.) Nor was I aware that, according to the TSHA, "In 1962, Wiley and Bishop College students held sit-ins at the local Woolworth store. Their activities and the local reaction made national headlines."
When I searched for more on that earlier episode, I found this account that placed the Woolworth sit ins in 1960, not 1962, in the weeks following the famous sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Wiley College on March 17, 1960, and the Marshall sit-ins began eleven days later. "Police arrested 20 students at three different lunch counters for interfering with businesses." Then,
In response students gathered in front of the courthouse and sang. A crowd of white people gathered, and in a few hours grew restless. In an effort to clear the group, the city fire department unleashed hoses of high pressure water at the demonstrators and several bystanders. Police arrested 37 more students in the process.Eventually, school administrators called for an end to the demonstrations and that summer, the "Wiley College president fired the entire teaching staff except for those who supported the administration during the sit-ins."
On 31 March, a crowd of 350 students met at the bell tower of Wiley College for prayer and songs in support of those still in jail. Later that day, the student leaders announced a boycott of white merchants.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Price Daniel ordered an investigation of [one of the organizers] Dr. Wilkerson after discovering his former ties to the Communist Party. Within a week the Bishop College president fired Wilkerson.
Fascinating. I'd never heard those stories before, which lamentably has been a recurring theme for me recently.