KUT Staff

Ways to Connect

Hattie Mae White holds the distinction of being the first African-American elected to significant public office in Texas since the Reconstruction. A former school teacher, she won a place on the Houston school board in 1958, a time when the city’s schools remained segregated despite the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education.

 

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor educates, entertains and inspires with brief facts and poetry related to each day's date. It celebrates the birthdays and works of poets, writers, composers, philosophers and historical figures.  It is heard Monday through Friday evenings at 8:01 p.m. on KUT 90.5. On weekends you can find the Writer’s Almanac right here on KUT.org each morning at 8. Find more information and other shows at http://writersalmanac.org/

  

One of the most famous rock 'n' rollers to come out of Texas, Janis Joplin grew up unpopular and an outcast during high school in Port Arthur. She often sneaked across the Sabine River with friends to drink and listen to zydeco, blues and jazz in the many bars that lined the Louisiana border.

 

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor educates, entertains and inspires with brief facts and poetry related to each day's date. It celebrates the birthdays and works of poets, writers, composers, philosophers and historical figures.  It is heard Monday through Friday evenings at 8:01 p.m. on KUT 90.5. On weekends you can find the Writer’s Almanac right here on KUT.org each morning at 8. Find more information and other shows at http://writersalmanac.org/

  

The grandchild of slaves, Annie Mae Hunt was born in 1909 near Brenham. She picked cotton near Navasota for 50 cents a day in conditions she compared to slavery times. She received a fifth grade education and married at age 15. But she later left her husband and moved to Dallas with her three children, where she met and married Marvin Hunt. Without access to birth control, Hunt had 20 children. She lost seven of them.

Born in 1912 on the shores of Caddo Lake, Claudia Alta Taylor attained her childhood nickname — so the story goes — when her childhood nursemaid said she was “as pretty as a lady bird.” She earned degrees in history and journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1934 she met Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

Remembered as South Texas philanthropist and matriarch of a large family, Petra Kenedy was born to modest beginnings in Mier, Mexico, in 1823. She was one of 17 children and a descendent of the town’s settlers. She had eight children of her own with Mexican army officer Luis Vidal, who married someone else but in common practice maintained two families.

 

From Texas Standard:

In Los Angeles minimum wage doesn’t go very far. It’s hard to find an apartment for less than a thousand bucks – over half your monthly pay at that income level. Groceries, utilities, transportation and insurance eat up what’s left of your budget.

The struggle to keep their heads above the water has many Californians longing for someplace cheaper. As it turns out, Texas might be that place.

Mary Elizabeth Branch was born the child of former slaves in 1881 in Virginia. By 1930, she was the president of Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University), having served decades as an accomplished educator. The Tillotson campus was badly in need of improvement when Branch arrived.

 Over the next 14 years, Branch successfully transformed Tillotson from a women’s junior college to a four-year, coeducational undergraduate school with an A rating from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. At the time, Branch was the only African-American female president of such an institution.

Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art (UT Press, 2016)

Even before the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate was not equal, Tejanas, especially members of the American G.I. Forum Women’s Auxiliary, lobbied for equal civil rights. An early victory, the 1948 lawsuit Delgado v. Del Rio prohibited public schools from segregating Mexican-American students.

In the late 1940s, Tejanas organized a grassroots campaign to treat with dignity the remains of Felix Longoria, a World War II soldier whose hometown of Three Rivers refused to bury him. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.

 

Tejanas also worked to increase voting. In 1960, to elect a Democratic president, Manuela Contreras González and Dr. Clotilde García campaigned through Viva Kennedy clubs to get John F. Kennedy elected.

These clubs led to the formation of a group called PASSO, which fought to pay farm workers minimum wage. In 1963, the group voted out the Anglo political machine in Crystal City, winning all five council seats. This marked the beginning of the Chicano movement in Texas.

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.

Traroth / Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

Some of the world's largest energy producers, along with government officials from nations where significant amounts of fossil fuels reside are gathering this week in Houston for the annual CERAWeek conference.

Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Best known for her dedication to winning the right to vote, Jane Y. McCallum was a lifelong activist, a prolific writer and influential opinion-maker. Born in 1878 in La Vernia, Texas, McCallum became the president of the Austin Suffrage Association in 1915.

Born in Hidalgo County, Maria Elena Zamora O’Shea vindicated the Tejano presence of the state with her 1935 novela El Mesquite. Her efforts counteracted the Anglo-Texan Centennial celebration of Texas Independence, which largely ignored the Tejano presence in the state.

To tell her story, she drew from family records and her own research. Written from the point of view of a mesquite tree, the book includes details of cultural traditions and women’s work.

 

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Indian women led tribes, acted as intermediaries and more.

Spamily/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The United States Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection unit says it will begin soliciting proposals from companies interested in constructing President Donald Trump's proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico divide.

The federal government posted a pre-solicitation this week and has already garnered hundreds of responses – dozens from Texas alone – for what promises to be one of the biggest contracts of any infrastructure project planned by the Trump administration.

Hailed as “the mother of Texas women’s history,” Ruthe Winegarten is widely regarded for her strong social conscience and as a trailblazer in the field of Texas history. She earned a masters in social work and began a Ph.D. in history, but left academia to pursue her passion for telling the stories of powerless or  “forgotten” women.

It might be difficult to find a life as colorful as Mollie Bailey’s. Known as “the Circus Queen of the Southwest,” she worked as a nurse during the Civil War, but it’s rumored she may have also been a spy for the Confederacy. 

Some sources say she smuggled quinine across enemy lines by hiding it in her hair and dressed up like an old woman selling cookies to overhear Union army plans.

While Texas women petitioned for a suffrage amendment to the state constitution in 1868, racism prevented most of them from working with African-American suffragists. When women won the right to vote in 1918, prejudice in the form of poll taxes, white primary laws and the Ku Klux Klan still deprived black women of their right to vote.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Shortly after President Trump concludes his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will deliver the Democratic response.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time at the Capitol around 8 CT on Tuesday night. The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs.

Pages