All posts by alfredo@mcmbooks.com

Plan of San Diego felt as far away as Central Texas

In September 1915, Ben Felton, an African American porter at the Austin American newspaper was approached by several Mexicans who asked him to join an effort to take Texas from the United States. George Washington, Nelson Sneed, J. “Luck” Prosser, “General” Marion Jackson, and African Americans living in the small community of Creedmoor in southern Travis County, had similar experiences.

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Personal journals are crucial in historical and genealogical research

One of the greatest disappointments in researching South Texas history has been the lack of original personal sources from Mexican Americans. It is rare that you come across letters or journals on their personal lives and family stories. While editing my father’s upcoming book La Voz de Amor I came across a journal from my grandmother who died when my father was 10 and another personal record from my mother about when my father was in the service.

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Holiday reading list proved enlightening

The Christmas holidays offered me an opportunity to do some reading, a luxury I don’t find time for during my regular days. I had the opportunity to read two books on Tejano history, one with direct ties to South Texas and the subject of my book Balo’s War.

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Motivos de Navidad: Spanish Christmas poem from upcoming book

Motivos de Navidad

por Servando Cardenas

Sabed vosotros, los que en Nochebuena
tenéis tranquilidad y dicha plena
y en vuestra mesa deliciosa cena
y lumbre en vuestro hogar:
Que ya las noches de tristeza y luto
de mi alma huyeron, y también disfruto,
como vosotros ese gran tributo
divino de gozar.

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Book of poems scheduled for release in Spring 2016

During his lifetime my father, Servando Cardenas, wrote hundreds if not thousands of poems. Unfortunately, over time, many of them were lost either in moves, in floods or perhaps discarded. Those that remain will appear in our next book entitled “La Voz de Amor” scheduled for release in the Spring of 2016.

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The Republic of Rio Grande was organized in South Texas

Bandera de la República del Río Grande por Daniel Rodríguez
Bandera de la República del Río Grande por Daniel Rodríguez

In my previous blog I referenced the flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande as the graphic for our new Web page. It was selected because the Republic of the Rio Grande got its start in the brush country of South Texas.

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New Web site, new look, new books in the works

Welcome to our new Web site. It’s been a year since we launched MCM Books. How time flies when you’re having fun.

In the last year we launched our first book, Balo’s War, A Novel About the Plan of San Diego, and have been on a whirlwind tour of South Texas holding book signings. We started in San Diego for the centennial celebration of the Plan of San Diego and went from there. We have been in Laredo, Hebbronville, San Antonio, Corpus Christi (twice), Mission, McAllen, Pharr, and Alice.

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Museum of South Texas in Edinburg houses important Plan of San Diego papers, Basilio Ramos’ jail cell

On June 11, Genie and I had the
pleasure of visiting the Museum of South Texas and I have to say I
was pleasantly surprised. I did not expect to find a first class
museum in the small town of Edinburg, population 77,100. Well maybe
its not the small town I remembered from years ago but it certainly
is no metropolis.
Met with Shan Rankin, Executive Director of the Museum
of South Texas and René Ballesteros, Archival Assistant .
We walked around the exhibits and were
genuinely impressed. Not only are they very informative and relevant
they included genuine artifacts in very professionally done exhibit
surroundings. Forgive me if I do not use the correct terminology but
needless to say it was all very enlightening and entertaining.
Halfway through our tour, we were met
by Shan Rankin, Executive Director of the museum. Shan and I have a
mutual friend and we both worked for Senator John Tower circa 1975;
she was in the Dallas office and I in the Austin district office. We
had a good time reminiscing about those days and the people we both
knew back then.
Shan took us on a complete tour of the
museum and told us about their recent acquisition of the Agustin
Garza collection. In case the name is not familiar, he was the
military commander and one of the signers of the Plan of San Diego. I
did not get to see the collection because it was being digitized at
the time.
I did get a first hand look at the jail
where Basilio Ramos was taken after he was arrested with the
Jail where Basilio Ramos was first held.

Plan of
San Diego. The jail is part of the Museum of South Texas complex. It
is currently under restoration but I was able to see it. The museum’s
archives has many other collections including an extensive photograph
collection of homes in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Museum of South Texas regularly has
special exhibits and shows, including on weekends. It is well worth a
visit if you are in the area; it is also worth a special trip if you
do not live in the area. There is a lot to see in the Rio Grande
Valley.
For hours of operation and its location
follow this
link to their Web site
.