Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Teachers & Mexicans—So Often Treated Like Dirt

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been reading a new biography of Lyndon Johnson. It’s called LBJ: Architect of American Ambition. It is written by Randall Woods. The following are two brief excerpts showing how little some things have changed over the years.  

LBJ’s father, Sam, was a teacher for a brief time in the 1890’s. Here is how that is described— 

“Like most teachers in Texas, he was forced to live with a family in the community. It was a life of isolation, poverty and hard work.” 

Teachers in Texas today have had to fight hard for decent pay and health benefits. Teacher turnover in Houston schools is high. Schools are not well funded. It’s the same old story. 

Another familiar story is the treatment of Mexican immigrants here in the former Mexico— 

“In the 1920’s nativists in the KKK pressed for legislation banning further immigration, but Mexicans were too valuable a labor source for ranchers and farmers, and the movement foundered.” 

In many ways life is much better in Texas, and in the United States, than it was in the 1890’s and 1920’s. Some of that improvement can be traced back to programs, initiatives and Civil Rights legislation proposed and backed by Lyndon Johnson. 

Yet it also clear that much work needs to be done and that we are often very slow to learn from the mistakes of the past.     

August 22, 2006 - Posted by | Books, Immigration, Texas

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