The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas

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9780674244825: The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas
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Winner of the Lawrence W. Levine Award
Winner of the NACCS–Tejas Foco Nonfiction Book Award
Winner of the TCU Texas Book Award
Frederick Jackson Turner Award Finalist

“Haunting...Martinez has written a book that bravely and convincingly urges us to think differently about Texas’s past. But she has also written a book that tells us something about the future we are creating right now.”
Texas Monthly

“A long-overdue reality check on the Texas Rangers’ legacy...It’s an apt moment for this book’s hard lessons...to go mainstream.”
Texas Observer

Between 1910 and 1920, self-appointed protectors of the Texas–Mexican border―including members of the famed Texas Rangers―murdered hundreds of ethnic Mexicans living in Texas, many of whom were American citizens. Operating in remote rural areas, officers and vigilantes knew they could hang, shoot, burn, and beat victims to death without scrutiny. A culture of impunity prevailed. The abuses were so pervasive that in 1919 the Texas legislature investigated the charges and uncovered a clear pattern of state crime. Records of the proceedings were soon filed away as the Ranger myth flourished.

A groundbreaking work of historical reconstruction, The Injustice Never Leaves You has upended Texas’s sense of its own history. A timely reminder of the dark side of American justice, it is a riveting story of race, power, and prejudice on the border.

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About the Author:

Monica Muņoz Martinez is Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. She is cofounder of the nonprofit organization Refusing to Forget, which calls for a public reckoning with racial violence in Texas. Martinez helped develop an award-winning exhibit on racial terror in the early twentieth century for the Bullock Texas State History Museum and worked to secure four state historical markers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Review:

“Serves as a reminder that government brutality on the border is nothing new. In fact, it was the heart of the Texas Rangers’ mission a century ago.”Lily Meyer, Los Angeles Review of Books

The Injustice Never Leaves You serves as a long-overdue reality check on the Texas Rangers’ legacy. Martinez traces the group’s history from its relatively humble beginnings in the 1830s―as a small band of armed men organized by Stephen F. Austin to protect settlers―to what it had become by the late 19th century: a state-sponsored terror squad directed to secure white racial hegemony along the Texas-Mexico border...As a renewed militarization of the border takes place, along with new state-sponsored crimes against migrants―see the Trump administration’s cruel family separation policies, for one―it’s an apt moment for this book’s hard lessons of non-textbook Texas history to go mainstream.”Michael Sandlin, Texas Observer

“A page-turner...Haunting...Martinez has written a book that bravely and convincingly urges us to think differently about Texas’s past. But she has also written a book that tells us something about the future we are creating right now.”Texas Monthly

“One of Martinez’s most important contributions is to remind us that violence against nonwhites was not simply a matter of private citizens going out of control for private reasons...She links the experiences of Mexican-Americans to those of African-Americans, understanding that enforcing white racial supremacy, through violence and other means―disfranchisement and Jim Crow―goes to the very heart of the story of Texas.”Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Review of Books

“In 1915 and 1916, a time of revolutionary upheaval in Mexico, when refugees were streaming across the border, Texas Rangers and American soldiers declared open season on ethnic Mexicans in a time known as the ‘bandit wars.’ ...Martinez explores a terrible history that reverberates today not only because of family memory and local curation...but also because so many of its particulars seem taken from current headlines as refugees continue to die in the desert... Timely and of considerable interest to students of borderlands history as well as of sociology.”Kirkus Reviews

“With eloquence and corazón, Monica Muñoz Martinez has crafted a magisterial study of state-sanctioned vigilante violence in rural Texas. Drawing on institutional archives, oral histories, and family records, she has uncovered horrific events whose deep trauma has carried across generations. She is the first historian to document the anti-lynching campaigns mobilized by Mexican Americans, especially widows seeking justice for their murdered husbands. The Injustice Never Leaves You is a rare, field-defining book that reminds us of the power of historical memory.”Vicki L. Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America

“In this important and haunting book, Martinez not only documents the painful reality of anti-Mexican violence in Texas, she reveals how, despite the best efforts of the perpetrators, this violence was prevented from fading into oblivion because of the grassroots historical traditions of Tejano communities. The Injustice Never Leaves You opens up significant new insights on everything from state-building along the U.S.–Mexico border to questions of collective memory and historical trauma.”Karl Jacoby, author of Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History

“The border has always been a place upon which the United States has projected its fears, often at great cost to the people who live here. Much like the time recounted by Martinez, we are in a period of change in every area of life. Politicians have seized upon fears of change to lie about the border, demonize immigrants, and win elections. The history recovered in this book, which sheds light on the consequences of such rhetoric, is an important contribution to the truth.”José Rodríguez, Texas State Senator

“A masterful and sensitive work that reveals the ways in which ethnic Mexicans in Texas have dealt with the trauma of state-sanctioned police violence, mourned the loss of loved ones in their communities, and memorialized the victims by creating multigenerational records that counter state narratives.”Neil Foley, author of Mexicans in the Making of America

“This compelling book about survival and reckoning examines the efforts of communities in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands to wrestle with the meaning of painful episodes of violence. A graceful writer and talented storyteller, Martinez shows the families’ determination to recover these histories and heal wounds that have lasted for generations.”Geraldo Cadava, author of Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland

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