He annulled the constitution and set up centralist control. And of course, this leads to one of the great myths, which is the bravery of the Alamo defenders, how they fought to their death and everything. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, people were kidnapped from the continent of Africa, forced into slavery in the American colonies and exploited to work in the . Joe took cover and continued fighting until the battle was over, when he presented himself and, as a slave, his life was spared. But then you have to understand: The Texas revolt, for 150 years, was largely ignored by academics, in part because it was considered dclass, it was considered provincial, and because the state government of Texas, much as they're doing now, has for 120, 130 years, made very clear to the University of Texas faculty and to the faculty of other state-funded universities that it only wants one type of Texas history taught and that if you get outside those boundaries, you're going to hear about it from the Legislature. Because of Joe, a slave, we can remember as much as we do about the Alamo. Owing to itscomplicated history, the Alamo has been controversial in the cityfor decades. The Tejanos, who were the Texians' key allies and a number of which fought and died at the Alamo, were entirely written out of generations of Texas history [as it was] written by Anglo writers. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. He was listed as a resident of Harrisburg in May 1833. Did Davy Crockett Die in Battle at the Alamo? The Battle of the Alamo: Unfolding Events, 8 Important People of the Texas Revolution, Biography of William Travis, Texas Revolution Hero. The story of the Alamo has been central to the "whole Texas creation myth," Burrough says. It still surprises me that slavery went unexamined for so long. Protests have become less common in the past few decades, as the city made an effort to include more of the contested histories in its educational material. Democratic elected officials in San Antonio want the Alamo story to be told from other perspectives. Enrique Esparza, son of Alamo defender Gregorio Esparza, told of how Mexican troops fired a hale of bullets into the room where he was hiding alongside his mother and three siblings. After the battle, Mexican troops searched the buildings within the Alamo and called for any Blacks to reveal themselves. Thats how we came to know of Joe just Joe, any other names he had are lost to history now. The main economic drivers in the states central valley region are agriculture and livestock breeding. On March 1, 32 brave men from the town of Gonzales made their way through enemy lines to reinforce the defenders at the Alamo. Some men reportedly deserted the Alamo and ran off in the days before the battle. William F. Gray reported that Joe impressed those present with the modesty, candor, and clarity of his account. Trevio, who represents much of central San Antonio, said his push to move the Cenotaph had been aimed at telling a more inclusive story. He also supported carving into the monument the names of enslaved people and Tejanos native Texans of Mexican descent who were present at the 1836 battle. The Barista Express grinds, foams milk, and produces the silkiest espresso at the perfect temperature. The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry. Miles places the number of enslaved people held by Cherokees at around 600 at the start of the 19 th century and around 1,500 at the time of westward removal in 1838-9. There were 41 Europeans, two African Americans, and the rest were Americans from states in the United States. Santa Anna sent them to Houstons camp in Gonzalez with a warning that a similar fate awaited the rest of the Texans if they continued their revolt. The UNESCO decision, which would also apply to four other 18th century Spanish missions in San Antonio, is expected to be released on Sunday from the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany. (2021, May 22). Part of the narrative of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo is that the defenders were there to liberate Texas from the tyranny of Mexico. And the surrounding plaza is a tourist circus, packed with novelty shops and a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. There was a problem with that, though. In early 1836, a small group of Texas volunteers at the Alamo held off the Mexican army for 13 days before being defeated (and executed). Sam, James Bowie's slave, was also reported to have survived the battle, but no further record of him is known to exist. There was no line in the sand drawn. ", On how Texas history often fails to address slavery. The victory ensured the success of Texan independence: Santa Anna, who had been taken prisoner, came to terms with Houston to end the war. Portrait of Jim Bowie, circa 1820. [The Alamo defenders have] maybe 200 guys at essentially an indefensible open-air Spanish mission. Joe was last reported in Austin in 1875. The Mexican government, for its part, encouraged the slave runaways, often with offers of land as well as freedom. Its one-room exhibit space can hold only a fraction of key artifacts. To an amazing degree, maybe because the Texas media [are] still dominated by Anglos as well as the Texas government, that viewpoint has just never really gotten into the mainstream. In point of fact, there's large disagreement about how many men Travis commanded at the fort, anywhere from 182-250. Joe traveled with one of the widows, Susanna Dickinson, and her young daughter, to the other Texian forces. In early 1836, a small group of Texas volunteers at the Alamoheld off the Mexican army for 13 days before being defeated (and executed). A $450 million plan to renovate the site has devolved into a five-year brawl over whether to focus narrowly on the 1836 . Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the web. There were four people enslaved at the Alamo where we know their names : Joe and Bettie (enslaved by William Travis); "Tom", who may have been Bowie's servant, and "Charlie", about whom nothing is known. A band of badly outnumbered Texans fought against oppression by the Mexican dictator Santa Anna, holding off the siege. But they remained, trusting their defenses and their skill with their lethal long rifles. This tense situation was resolved by three events: the advance of a common enemy (the Mexican army), the arrival of the charismatic and famous Davy Crockett (who proved very skilled at defusing the tension between Travis and Bowie), and Bowie's illness just before the battle. One of the more obnoxious perspectives, in the eyes of many Texans, is Col. Jose Enrique de la Pea's purported eye-witness account of the way Davey Crockett and other heroes of the Alamo met their deaths. Spanish settlers built the Mission San Antonio de Valero, named for St. Anthony of Padua, on the banks of the San Antonio River around 1718. Mexican dictator and general Antonio Lpez de Santa Anna won the Battle of the Alamo, taking back the city of San Antonio and putting the Texans on notice that the war would be one without quarter. Houston sent Jim Bowie to San Antonio: his orders were to destroy the Alamo and return with all of the men and artillery stationed there. 22, 2021, thoughtco.com/facts-about-the-battle-of-the-alamo-2136256. For the Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became a symbol of heroic resistance and a rallying cry in their struggle for independence. Meanwhile, the Alamo had been under siege for days, and it fell early on March 6, with the defenders never knowing that independence had been formally declared a few days before. What Happened To The Slaves At The Alamo. accessed March 04, 2023, Although Dickinson would eventually be sought out as an important witness, says Houston Public Media, Joe slipped away. He is a former head writer at VIVA Travel Guides. "The stunning discovery that Joethe slave of Alamo commander William Barret Traviswas the brother of the abolitionist William Wells Brown has opened an entirely new chapter in the history of Texas. 3" on the balcony of Ashton Villa: . Unlike Confederates, who explicitly said they were fighting for slavery(despite the bogus states rights argument dreamed up years after the end of the Civil War), the Texan revolutionaries were more interested in local autonomy, including the right to bear arms, English being a legal language, trials by jury, and free trade with other countries, Crisp said. That left at least $200 million to be raised through donations. There's also some evidence that at one point in his later years he returned to Texas and perhaps even visited the old fortress where he nearly died. Jill Torrance/Getty Images Show us with your support. In 1825, it finally became the permanent quarters for a garrison of men, under the direction of Anastacio Bustamante, the captain general of the Provincias Internas. Minster, Christopher. [Wayne] made the movie basically because he wholeheartedly believed that America was falling apart, that it was going to the dogs and that somebody needs to stand up for what are today called "patriotic values," "family values," "American values." It fits in nicely with a narrative that the United States has always been and continues to be dedicated to principles like individual responsibility and freedom. A little more than a year later, Joe claimed that when Gen. Antonio Lpez deSanta Anna's troops stormed the Alamo on March 6, 1836, he armed himself and followed Travis from his quarters into the battle, fired his gun, then retreated into a building from which he fired several more times. Every day during the siege, the defenders of the Alamo looked for Fannin and his men but they never arrived. In a remarkable feat of historical detective work, authors Ron J. Jackson, Jr., and Lee Spencer White have fully restored this pivotal yet elusive figure to his place in the American story. Afterward, they fortified the Alamo, a fortress-like former mission in the center of town. None of the defenders survived. Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | Spotify. One of these was Susannah Dickinson, the wife of Captain Almaron Dickinson (who was killed) and her infant daughter Angelina. Beginning in the early 1800s, Spanish military troops were stationed in the abandoned chapel of the former mission. Beyond where he lived, what did he do? A popular telling of the battle holds that in early 1836 a small group of brave Texans defended the mission-fort known as the Alamo against thousands of Mexican soldiers, knowing it meant certain death. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became an enduring symbol of their resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year. Its a common misconception that the Texans who rose up against Mexico were all settlers from the U.S. who decided on independence. "The Alamo is part of that.". Between 1795 and 1801, 385 payments were made to the owners of African American enslaved people. It perpetuates every hoary Alamo myth. Joe, After the battle, Santa Anna sent Susanna and Angelina to Sam Houstons camp in Gonzales, accompanied by one of his servants and carrying a letter of warning intended for Houston. . Santa Anna. There has always been this great mystery of why on earth [Lt. Col. William] Travis and [James] Bowie stay, and the best argument there is probably because they believe reinforcements would be forthcoming. Between 1836 and 1840, the slave population doubled; it doubled again by 1845; and it doubled still again by 1850 after annexation by the United States. As more slaves came into the Republic of Texas, more escaped to Mexico. Although nearly everyone at the Alamo was killed or captured, Texas achieved independence when Sam read more, Coahuila, one of Mexicos major steel producers, straddles the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains. In his book, Cook tells a different story from what is commonly told in textbooks, film, and TV shows. The only problem? But Texans are deeply divided over how, exactly, to remember the Alamo. Did anyone at the Alamo survive? "So if there's ever been a time for there to be a robust civic conversation about this, about the place of the Alamo in our history, about Texas history itself, we hope it was now. Enslaved people who attempted to resist going to their new masters were whipped and thrown in jail until they relented and promised not to run away during the new arrangement. They told us how glorious that battle was. His first book, called And the Alamo is more than just a battle of 13 daysit was a Spanish mission for more than 100 years before it became a fort. More information is available at http://escapefromtexas.com. A 2013 BexarCounty reportpredicted a $100 million benefit to the local economy and more than 1,000 new jobs if the sites receive heritage status. Although Texas declared itself an independent republic in 1836, the Mexican state did not recognize Texas until the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Joe was the slave of William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo during Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Annas siege of the Texian fort. The small (63 feet wide and 33 feet tall) adobe structure known as the Alamo was started in 1727 as a stone and mortar church for the Spanish Catholic Mission San Antonio de Valero. By 1835, there were 30,000 Anglo-Americans (called Texians) in Texas, and only 7,800 Texas-Mexicans (Tejanos). Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. "One of the reasons that it matters most is that Latinos are poised to become a majority in Texas, according to census data," he says. Houston's men were the first to shout. How much did 1776 have to do with race and . The early depictions of Texas history was good guys against bad guys, white guys against brown guys, democracy against tyranny, Crisp said. 'Born On A Mountaintop' Or Not, Davy Crockett's Legend Lives On. Private Visions, Public Culture: The Making of the Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral and the Alamo: Sacred Place, Public Ritual, and Construction of Meaning. By 1835, there were 30,000 Anglo-Americans (called Texians) in Texas, and only 7,800 Texas-Mexicans (Tejanos). I mean, the idea that Mexican soldiers would show up and kill them all just seems like a notion that he never really accepted, that somehow something would happen to spirit them all the way to safety. Dickinson and Joe were allowed to travel towards the Anglo settlements, escorted by Ben, a former slave from the United States who served as Mexican Colonel Juan Almonte's cook. [Mexican Gen. Antonio Lpez de] Santa Anna is coming north with 6,000 troops. The 1793 law enforced Article IV, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution in authorizing any federal district judge or circuit court judge, or any state magistrate . The Alamo remained a symbol of courage, and in the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, U.S. soldiers revived the "Remember the Alamo!" Historians estimate that one million slaves were taken in a . On February 23, a Mexican force comprising somewhere between 1,800 and 6,000 men (according to various estimates) and commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. 2023 A&E Television Networks, LLC. The siege of the Alamo was memorably depicted in a Walt Disney series and in a 1960 movie starring John Wayne. Ten years after Texas won its independence and shortly after it was annexed by the United States, U.S. soldiers revived the "Remember the Alamo!" Perhaps it goes without saying but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. "It means people can live free. Some 600 Mexican soldiers died in the battle, compared to roughly 200 rebellious Texans. The Underground Railroad. Bonham and the men from Gonzales all died during the battle. On March 20 Joe was brought before the Texas Cabinet at Groce's Retreat and questioned about events at the Alamo. Then, there was a counter-story switching good guys and bad guysthe Americans were all racist, taking the Mexicans land. The Pena Perspective. Today, more than 2.5 million people a year visit the Alamo. Meanwhile, issues of race and slavery at the Alamo remain unresolved. These men only listened to Jim Bowie, who disliked Travis and often refused to follow his orders. ThoughtCo. The Legacy of Slavery. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamos 200 defenderscommanded by James Bowie and William Travis and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockettheld out for 13 days before the Mexican forces finally overpowered them. In 1824, Mexico's leaders wrote a federalist constitution, not much different from that of the United States, and thousands of people from the U.S. moved into the region. Such is the case with the fabled Battle of the Alamo. But three writers, all Texans, say the common narrative of the Texas revolt. On April 21, 1837, one year after the battle, Joe escaped from John Rice Jones - the man who obtained ownership of Joe from Travis' estate. 10 Facts About the Independence of Texas From Mexico, The Texas Revolution and the Republic of Texas, The Battle of Concepcion of the Texas Revolution, The Life and Legend of David "Davy" Crockett, The Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution, No One Knows What Happened to Davy Crockett, Who Won the Battle of the Alamo? In Section 9 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, it is stated how the new republic would resolve their greatest problem under Mexican rule: All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have power to emancipate slaves.. This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: We are a community-supported, non-profit organization and we humbly ask for your support because the careful and accurate recording of our history has never been more important. San Antonio was captured by rebellious Texans in December1835. Rather, what is surprising is that some men snuck into the Alamo in the days before the fatal attack. We may earn a commission from links on this page. If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe. All that is known about Joe after the Alamo is that he was questioned by Santa Anna and then later questioned by the Texas Cabinet. The social, economic, and legal positions of enslaved people have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places. Joe was a stalwart defender alongside Travis and other Texians. Because of the wine production in the area, the city of Parras de la read more, San Luis Potos, which has some of the richest silver mines in Mexico, is also where Gonzales Bocanegra wrote the Mexican national anthem in 1854. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Minster, Christopher. Recognition willget more people to read the actual history of the Alamo instead of the awful Hollywood myths.. Families were often split up by the sale of one or more members, usually never to see or hear of each other again. "There is a definite, deliberate attempt in mainstream Texas history to start Texas history in 1836, with the arrival of the anglos," Joe Lopez, a columnist for the Rio Grande Guardian, told Fusion. According to Texas lore, it's the site in San Antonio where, in 1836, about 180 Texan rebels died defending the state during Texas' war for independence from Mexico. But as the smoke cleared after the bloody battle, around 15 survivors of the battle on the Texan side remained. During the Mexican War of Independence, it briefly (1818) housed Mexican forces under the command of Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez and William Agustus Magee. When you visit the site, Dotdash Meredith and its partners may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. A United Nations committee is expected to announce this weekend whether the Alamo will receive UNESCO World Heritage status, putting it in the same league as Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, and the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile, Alamo Plaza became a focus of San Antonios Black Lives Matter protests. The new colonists brought enslavement with them. Part of the problem with the historical record is that slaves weren't necessarily accounted for by name. 15 Facts About the Battle of the Alamo. The movie, most reviewers would tell you, is a mess. Military troopsfirst Spanish, then rebel and later Mexicanoccupied the Alamo during and after Mexicos war for independence from Spain in the early 1820s. Summary "Among the fifty or so Texan survivors of the siege of the Alamo was Joe, the personal slave of Lt. Col. William Barret Travis. Some controversy and debate has surrounded the exact number and their identity, but most were wives, children, servants and slaves whom the Alamos defenders had brought with them into the mission for safety after Santa Annas troops occupied San Antonio. Cook was waiting to go to medical school when he discovered Joes story and was compelled to write about the Alamo. Meanwhile,some conservatives balk at the idea of the UN getting involved in this icon of Texas pride. and the Mexican army defended it in the battle of December 1835, when it was further damaged. Mexican forces were victorious in . Dan Patrick (R), who has closely aligned himself with former president Donald Trump. The plan itself is much more than a single monument, Nirenberg said in an interview. The Mexican armies that entered the department to put down the rebellion had explicit orders to free any slaves that they encountered, and so they did. Texas authorities later returned Joe to the Travis estate, but he escaped to freedom barely a year later. Even without trying, people of color tended to fade into the obscurity of history. explicitly said they were fighting for slavery. As the defenders of the Alamo were about to sacrifice their lives, other Texans were making clear the goals of the sacrifice at a constitutional convention for the new republic they hoped to create. The fort was on 3 acres of land and contained several buildings with cannons along the walls and on roofs. There can be no doubt that the symbolism of the Alamo is at the center of the creation myth of Texas: that the state was forged out of a heroic struggle for freedom against a cruel Mexican dictator, Santa Ana. Most slaves came to Texas with their owners, and the vast . As the Texans were facing the whole Mexican army, desertions are not surprising. The migration of U.S. citizens to Texas increased over the next decades, sparking a revolutionary movement that would erupt into armed conflict by the mid-1830s. "Slavery was the undeniable linchpin of all of this," author Bryan Burrough says. But it was an exemption reluctantly given, mainly because the authorities wanted to avoid rebellion in Texas when they already had problems in Yucatn and Guatemala. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-the-battle-of-the-alamo-2136256. After his report to the Texas Cabinet, Joe was returned to Travis's estate near Columbia, where he remained until April 21, the first anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto. The attack on the Alamo in 1836 was not a 13-day siege and slaughter as often portrayed in film and television. It has been used just anecdotally for generations to put down Mexican Americans, a big beefy white guy going up to the little Mexican guy and punching him in the arm and saying, "Remember the Alamo," that type of thing. Visitors walk around the outside of the Alamo in San Antonio. hide caption. In 1832, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna took control of the Mexican government. There were many native TexansMexican nationals referred to as Tejanoswho joined the movement and fought every bit as bravely as their Anglo companions. By the time of annexation a decade later, there were 30,000; by 1860, the census found 182,566 slaves -- over 30% of the total population of the state. Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news. They ran out into the open where they were unceremoniously run down and killed by Mexican cavalry. But the truly perplexing thing is that in the two weeks leading up to the arrival of Santa Anna's forces in San Antonio, Travis and Bowie are getting almost daily warnings of the progress. Some historians believe slavery was the driving issue in the showdown at the Alamo, arguing that Mexicos attempts to end slavery contrasted with the hopes of many white settlers in Texas at the time who moved to the region to farm cotton. In 1829, the Mexican government outlawed the practice, specifically to discourage that influx since it was not an issue there. James W. Russell, University Professor of Sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University, is the author most recently of Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence. One of the points that often gets lost amid the flag-waving and coonskin caps is that by the time of the Texas Revolution, Mexico had abolished slavery, and Texas hadn't.