Ramon Renteria: Prejudice recalled in West Texas

Full story: El Paso Times

Elizabeth Taylor's recent death brought back painful memories for some of us who grew up in far West Texas.
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El Paso, TX

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#23
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Nixon Aficionado wrote:
Dr. Lawrence Aaron Nixon, an African American physician and civil rights activist who lived in El Paso, Texas from 1910 until his death in 1966. Born in Marshall, Texas in 1883, Lawrence Nixon graduated from Wiley College in 1902 and Meharry Medical College in 1906. He then established a medical office in Cameron, Texas in 1907, but due to the racial climate and violence of central Texas he moved west to El Paso in hopes of a better life. Although several historians have mentioned Dr. Nixon in their works, they have tended to limit their analysis to his victories in two important Supreme Court cases, Nixon v. Herndon (1927) and Nixon v. Condon (1932), which successfully challenged Texas's all-white Democratic primary. Despite these legal successes, Texas continued to deny Blacks from voting in the Democratic party primary. However, Nixon's challenges would establish the legal precedence that ultimately would dismantle all-white primaries throughout the entire south in the famous Smith v. Allwright Supreme Court decision in 1944. Nixon's courage, independence from the white economy, and the backing of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) allowed him to contest the 1923 Texas Terrell Law which barred African Americans from participating in a Democratic primary election. This study is a fuller and more contextualized reading of Nixon's life which corrects a few mistakes, factual and interpretive, which are in the historiography about Nixon such as his specific profession, date of birth, and the inception of the NAACP's El Paso branch. By combining archival research, oral interviews, and secondary sources this dissertation biography reveals the many facets of Nixon's life not previously written about, including his futile effort to save Henry Lowry from being lynched in 1921, his failed attempt to get an all-Black pool built by the city of El Paso in the whites-only Washington Park, his unsuccessful endeavor to start an all-Black hospital in El Paso, his temporary involvement in Nixon v. McCann (1934), and his brief participation in the short-lived Southern Conference for Human Welfare--a liberal southern multiracial organization which existed in the South from 1938 to 1948. The interpretation and analysis of Nixon's life is also intended to contribute to the growing literature on Blacks in the Borderlands, the participation of the African American professional class in 'racial uplift' during the pre-Civil Rights Movement, and the history of Blacks in the United States West and Southwest.
Is this from a book written about Dr. Nixon? I'd like to read it and find out just how prejudice El Paso was in the past.
Hu Jintao

Whitney, TX

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#24
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Bubba De La O wrote:
As you can see in this forum there are still racist piglets that live in El Paso.
Get used to a Brown World. Its get even time.
You mean get used to a yellow world. You changos have served your purpose in bankrupting Amerika with your demands for welfare, and your job is finished. We own the banks and therefore the country. We only want good workers and no lazy beer-belly slobs. Leave the country or soon you go to one of our slave labor camps in the artic circle where your weenies freeze and you can no longer reproduce your weak, ignorant race.
Racist El Paso

El Paso, TX

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#25
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Remembering the trip in 1894 and believing El Paso would prove safer to live in and practice medicine, Nixon and his friend, Reverend Le Roy White, moved the doctor's family to this town.
Upon reaching El Paso, Nixon found that the schools were segregated, as they were all over Texas. Most restaurants and theaters denied him entrance, and he was not able to live in many parts of town. The El Paso County Medical Society rejected his application for membership year after year, not because he lacked medical qualifications, but because of his color.
In 1910 when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized, Dr. Nixon and Reverend White joined, giving El Paso one of the early chapters of the organization.
Despite racial restriction, his medical practice prospered. He located his first office at 101 South Campbell Street, later purchasing a building for his home and office at 2029 Myrtle Avenue. He also secured the site next door for building the Myrtle Avenue Methodist Church. However, he was powerless to save his wife who died in the flu epidemic that claimed thousands of Americans in 1918.
When the NAACP began looking for someone to test the 1923 Texas law which forbade blacks to vote in Democratic prime elections, they chose Nixon. He was an active Democrat, a regular voter and a charter member of the NAACP, He also could help pay the costs of the lawsuit, and, most importantly, he did not fear the future.
On May 7, 1924, Nixon voted in a bond election, knowing that he would not be permitted to vote on July 26 in the Democratic primary.
Conrey Bryson's book entitled Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon and the White Primary, recalls Nixon's encounter with election officials. Dr. Nixon said, "The judges were friends of mine. They inquired after my health, and when I presented my poll tax receipt, one of them said, "Dr. Nixon, you know we can't let you vote." "I know you can't," Dr. Nixon replied, "but I've got to try."
After this incident, El Paso attorney Fred C. Knollenberg filed a suit in Nixon's name in U. S. District Court. Although it was necessary to sue the election judges, Bryson writes that Knollenberg said, "I am not going to enforce collection of any sums of money against the defendants who are victims of a vicious law. The object of this suit is to get an adjudication in the Supreme Court."
In December 1924, the judge dismissed the case, arguing that a primary was not an election under the Constitution but merely a method whereby political parties agreed on candidates to run for election. Nixon's lawyers asked the Supreme Court to reverse the verdict, claiming the judge had erred in dismissing the case without trial. On March 7, 1927, the Supreme Court ruled in Nixon's favor with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes writing the court's majority opinion. On Feb. 1, 1928, a twelve-man jury returned a verdict in Nixon's favor, awarding him damages of one dollar. The first battle had been won.
In 1928, the Democratic State Executive Committee of Texas passed a resolution stating that "all white Democrats would be allowed to vote in the primary election in July of 1928." Nixon went to the polls in July as he always did and once more was turned away.
A second suit was filed, this time against the Democratic Executive Committee members. Again the judge dismissed the suit, arguing that the Democratic Party of Texas was a voluntary organization and thus could determine the qualifications of its members. Once more, Knollenberg took the case to the Supreme Court, where, in 1932, a majority found in Nixon's favor and reversed the case.
Nixon once again won damages of one dollar in the El Paso court against election judges. In the meantime, the Texas Democratic Convention had passed a resolution allowing only white Texans to become members of the Democratic party and to participate in its activities.
Orale

Rio Rancho, NM

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#26
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Yes, hispanics may be growing in numbers and they may have bigger opporunities to challenge the whites, but it isn't going to ever happen. It would have already happened a long time ago. All the young hispanics don't have the desire to go to college even if it's paid for. They'd rather be dressing like gang bangers and make easy money some other way. They think it's better than having to get an education. They also love the free handouts the government gives them. They always use excuses that they can't go to college and find a good job, because the white man has them down. That's their poor excuse to try to have people feel sorry for them. Yes growing population, but it'a more about quality rather than quantity.
old timer

El Paso, TX

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#27
Mar 27, 2011
 

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I do not always agree with Ramon or his style but this time he is right. I married a mexican american woman and can tell you i did not believe that things were all that racist. We went to alpine to visit her family and oh buddy! We got it from anglos and mexicans.

Thanks for your service to our country afgan and iraq vet. But i do care because my children are a product of both worlds. Oh by the way yu were beating the bush in the great asian vacation as what a drummer boy. how old are you?

Since: Mar 11

El Paso, TX

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#28
Mar 27, 2011
 

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See No Evil wrote:
<quoted text>
Wake up and smell thre prejudice. Are you blind vato?
No I'm not blind and the only racism i see now is when you don't speak this border dialect (you can't call it spanish) you get looked down upon. This is America after all.
eL pASO RaCiSM

El Paso, TX

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#29
Mar 27, 2011
 

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KKK in El Paso due to immigration issue
El Paso Times/March 27, 2008
By Daniel Borunda
The argument over illegal immigration is fueling the growth of groups such as a Ku Klux Klan chapter that popped up in El Paso last year but has since disappeared, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups.

A chapter of the Bayou Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is shown in El Paso in a map of hate groups recently published by the Intelligence Project.

"We know from their Web site that there was a Bayou Knights chapter created there (in El Paso) last year," said Intelligence Project director Mark Potok. He said the KKK branch might have been as small as one member.

The Bayou Knights listed a headquarters in Smackover, Ark., and 14 chapters, mostly in Texas and Louisiana.

"Somewhere toward the end of 2007, they (the Bayou Knights) joined a new group, the United White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, just another small Klan faction," Potok said in a telephone interview from the center offices in Montgomery, Ala.

The United White Knights do not show a chapter in El Paso, Potok said. "It very likely disappeared. It's perfectly possible it just went out of business. Maybe this guy moved away," he said.

Sgt. Reginald Moton of the El Paso police Gang Unit said there was no known Klan chapter in the city. A local FBI spokeswoman said law enforcement would monitor such groups only if they were suspected of criminal activity or civil-rights violations.

In the early 1920s, the KKK had about 3,500 members in El Paso, including prominent businessmen, school board members and a candidate for mayor defeated in one of the dirtiest elections in local history, El Paso Times archives showed.

At the time, the Klan was at the height of its national power, claiming 2 million members, including 14 U.S. senators.

There are now only about 6,000 to 7,000 Klan members in dozens of competing factions across the nation, Potok said. Klan membership has dropped in recent years even as the total number of hate groups across the country grew to 888 last year.

"The debate over immigration - in particular in the way it has become very ugly over the years - has fueled the growth of these groups," Potok said.

The largest growth has been in California, Arizona and Texas. California leads the nation in the number of active hate groups with 80, followed by Texas with 67, the Intelligence Project stated.

"Every two or three weeks there is a demonstration," Potok said. "They are almost always now over illegal immigration."
Racist El Pasoans

El Paso, TX

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#30
Mar 27, 2011
 

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El Paso became vulnerable to the Klan's efforts at creating conflict within the city. The impact of the Mexican Revolution and World War I were still strongly felt in El Paso during the 1920's. El Paso's experiences during the Mexican Revolution were different from those of any other city in the United States because it was the only large border city at the time. Frightened by the confusion and anti-American sentiment in Mexico, many Anglos became prejudiced against Mexicans, feeling that they had no place in an American city. After World War I, thousands of new Anglos arrived in El Paso.
In May 1921, Klan recruiter C. C. Kellogg set up office in the Sheldon Hotel. By late summer 1921, the KKK had established the Frontier Klan No. 100 in El Paso. Besides racial problems, issues concerning law and order and social morality provided the Klan the opportunity to recruit law-abiding and respectable citizens, including attorneys, physicians, bankers and businessmen.
The Klan also controlled members of the Herald Post's editorial staff, allowing for the society to print its beliefs in the newspaper. Members were able to publish one editorial on their goals in El Paso and how they would make El Paso flourish.
In public statements, the Klan claimed it had a purpose: "to make El Paso a better and cleaner city, a better place in which to live and rear our children." The Klan claimed to be against crime of all types. The social ills of El Paso, which included prostitution and gambling, were the first that the Klan promised to eliminate. Other crimes the Klan vowed to attack were home burglaries and car thefts. Juveniles drinking across the border and returning late at night were other targets. Klan members would record names or take pictures to show the parents of the young people.
Their concerns weren't limited to social ills. The Klan was also concerned with the political issues in the community. In order to arouse enthusiasm in one school board election, the Klan planned to parade through town dressed in sheets and hooded masks. They had to be threatened with jail before they would cancel their plans.
The Klan's main reason for the entry into the school board election was their belief that the Roman Catholic Church was trying to gain control of the public schools. Samuel J. Isaacks, a well-known attorney, clearly asserted his position on Catholics to his listeners. He said, "This is a country of religious tolerance, but not a country where any sect can come in and run our educational system.
In April, the ticket of Klan members consisting of Charles S. Ward, Hal Gambrell and Isaacks beat W. H. Burges, U. S. Stewart and J. B. Brady, gaining control of the school board. Many residents and other anti-Klan organizations were stunned to see the final results of the election. This election marked the high point of Klan power in El Paso politics and was the first indication that the Frontier Klan had the popular vote.
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Since they were free to make changes within the school system, Isaacks suggested changing the names of the schools to commemorate Texas heroes. Highland Park became Fanin, El Paso High became Sam Houston High School (later changed back due to strong protest), Manhattan Heights became Crockett, and Grandview became Rusk. The schools that were under construction were named Austin and Bowie and Burleson Elementary.
The school board held secret meetings to vote out two school principals and other staff members who were Catholic. Even a librarian, Edith Cony, was dismissed because she had protested the removal of a Catholic encyclopedia from the library. Many people started to grow concerned about the Klan taking over. Nevertheless, in March 1922, the Klan initiated 300 men near Kern Place. After the initiation, Klansmen drove up Scenic Drive on Mount Franklin, where they burned a wooden cross. About 3,500 El Pasoans joined the Klan in the few years of its existence here.
Pobre Gringo

El Paso, TX

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#31
Mar 27, 2011
 

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therealgrtwyt wrote:
<quoted text>No I'm not blind and the only racism i see now is when you don't speak this border dialect (you can't call it spanish) you get looked down upon. This is America after all.
its the New Juaritos ese.
Bobby

El Paso, TX

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#32
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Ramon Renteria- The racist PIG.
Ese

El Paso, TX

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#33
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Ah como chinga este pinchi Mamon.
Dan Wever

El Paso, TX

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#34
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Bubba De La O wrote:
As you can see in this forum there are still racist piglets that live in El Paso.
Get used to a Brown World. Its get even time.
If it is "get even time" and you support this type of thinking, then you are validating all the prejudice that has goon on before. You are saying if you can get away with it then it and you are the majority then it is OK.

It is people like you that keep it going.
Bobby Bag O Donuts

United States

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#35
Mar 27, 2011
 

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I see racism EVERY day in El Paso, and it's ugly.

The racism I see is bigoted Mexicans discriminating against Black and White Americans because they are the big majority here.

I'm mixed race myself, but I pass for Brown on first look, and Mexicans don't hide their ugly ways from me.

This racism exists where I work and I've seen it in public too. The waitress who looked at me after a Black couple left and says she knew she wouldn't get a good tip. The cashier who rolls his eyes at me after serving the White lady with three kids. You know it because you see it too.

Just once I'd like to see Ramon do a story on the bigoted jokes he and his cheap beer drinking vatos make about Whites and Blacks. Now that would make a good story.
Has Been

El Paso, TX

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#36
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Dan Wever wrote:
<quoted text>
If it is "get even time" and you support this type of thinking, then you are validating all the prejudice that has goon on before. You are saying if you can get away with it then it and you are the majority then it is OK.
It is people like you that keep it going.
Get used to it.
Publius

El Paso, TX

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#37
Mar 27, 2011
 

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BOO F'ING HOO - U RUN EL PASO and LOOK?

Sorry we were mean, now what?

vaya con dios means staus quo

help god help you or stfu re braceros and la raza and the rest ... look at blacks to see how the touchy feelgood 40 acres and a mule has crippled them. C'Mon Man?

Since: Mar 11

United States

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#38
Mar 27, 2011
 

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eL pASO RaCiSM wrote:
KKK in El Paso due to immigration issue
El Paso Times/March 27, 2008
By Daniel Borunda
The argument over illegal immigration is fueling the growth of groups such as a Ku Klux Klan chapter that popped up in El Paso last year but has since disappeared, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups.
A chapter of the Bayou Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is shown in El Paso in a map of hate groups recently published by the Intelligence Project.
"We know from their Web site that there was a Bayou Knights chapter created there (in El Paso) last year," said Intelligence Project director Mark Potok. He said the KKK branch might have been as small as one member.
The Bayou Knights listed a headquarters in Smackover, Ark., and 14 chapters, mostly in Texas and Louisiana.
"Somewhere toward the end of 2007, they (the Bayou Knights) joined a new group, the United White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, just another small Klan faction," Potok said in a telephone interview from the center offices in Montgomery, Ala.
The United White Knights do not show a chapter in El Paso, Potok said. "It very likely disappeared. It's perfectly possible it just went out of business. Maybe this guy moved away," he said.
Sgt. Reginald Moton of the El Paso police Gang Unit said there was no known Klan chapter in the city. A local FBI spokeswoman said law enforcement would monitor such groups only if they were suspected of criminal activity or civil-rights violations.
In the early 1920s, the KKK had about 3,500 members in El Paso, including prominent businessmen, school board members and a candidate for mayor defeated in one of the dirtiest elections in local history, El Paso Times archives showed.
At the time, the Klan was at the height of its national power, claiming 2 million members, including 14 U.S. senators.
There are now only about 6,000 to 7,000 Klan members in dozens of competing factions across the nation, Potok said. Klan membership has dropped in recent years even as the total number of hate groups across the country grew to 888 last year.
"The debate over immigration - in particular in the way it has become very ugly over the years - has fueled the growth of these groups," Potok said.
The largest growth has been in California, Arizona and Texas. California leads the nation in the number of active hate groups with 80, followed by Texas with 67, the Intelligence Project stated.
"Every two or three weeks there is a demonstration," Potok said. "They are almost always now over illegal immigration."
1922? Child please, Do you still want apologies from the pilgrims too?
james russell

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#39
Mar 27, 2011
 

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You who say you know this town since the 1960s and say there was no problem with Hispanic discrimination have always turned a blind eye to the situation. The was and sometimes even now discrimination against the Hispanics Americans in this town. I lived through it and saw it almost daily. Ramon is right about what was going on in West Texas. Even here at the time was a segregated population of black, hispanics and whites. Eastwood was built where is was not just because the area needed a high school but because all the "rich" hispanics and Whites lived around the area and no one wanted to continue going to Bel Air High school.
There were few hispanics living up there and those that did spoke exclusively English and "acted" white. IF they wanted to meet with cousins, aunts or uncles, they went to the old neighborhoods.

There were no blacks at Eastwood until after 1965 and then only a very few. The area was "kept" white by the real estate brokers and the builders who used cheap "Mexican" laborers. Yeah Ramon is right and may still be right. Remembering what it was like back then is something to hope it never happens again. Look at the number of times the Hispanic population in 3rd and 4th generations pick on those who are first generation hispanics from Mexico.
Dan Wever

El Paso, TX

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#40
Mar 27, 2011
 

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This thread reminds me of a trip I took with my tennis coach at Austin High, Eddie Wilkerson, in 1955 to Austin Texas for the State Tennis Tournament.

We had left rather late and had to go to a motel on the way.
We stopped someplace close to Pecos at a Motel with a big red "Vacancy" sign.
Eddie and my doubles partner and I all went into the motel to get the room.

Coach asked the guy at the desk if he had a room with 2 large beds and the guy said yes but we could not stay there.

Coach said how come, and the guy answered we donít allow no Meskins. We left and went to another Motel and coach went in by himself and left Turi and I in the car and we got a room.

As for the State tournament we lost in the first round when my doubles partner sprained his ankle and we had to forfeit.

I think prejudice is still alive and well even today. Ask the State Champ Baseball team from Socorro if anything happened to them on their run to the championship.

By the way Austin High School had the first Black student enrolled in regular schools in El Paso, his name was Curtis Jimmerson in about 1954.
Grouchy One

Clayton, NC

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#41
Mar 27, 2011
 

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Oh for crying out loud! Prejudice? Why is it that everything every done or said inspires some to think they are being discriminated against somehow? I really think if some people would give it a rest, there would be LESS prejudice. People don't like hearing someone whine all the time! This was a very poor article to put in the paper at all!
what

El Paso, TX

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#42
Mar 27, 2011
 
Afghan - Iraq Vet wrote:
I was beating bush in Vietnam during that time. Who gives a ****
The only thing that you were beating was your tiny pipi.STFU you pendejo

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