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A Tejano Legislator Testifies Against the Texas Rangers
Digital History ID 3696


Date:1919

Annotation: Jose T. Canales, a founder of the League of United Latin American Citizens, describes abuses committed by the Texas Rangers in the wake of the disturbances in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.


Document: …the Rangers had said, “If you surrender your arms, we can protect you.” Yet after they surrendered their arms, the Rangers would go into their homes afterward and shoot them at night. Ten men were killed right near San Benito, right near the house of the father of Miss Janes, my stenographer….

But the Rangers had established a precedent—that is, whenever a suspect was arrested they would unceremoniously execute him on the road to Brownsville or to the jail, without giving him any opportunity. Frequently we would find dead bodies, and the ranches burned. Relatives were intimidated to the extent that they would not even bury their own relatives. That condition existed until it was nauseating, nauseating.

In 1920, the Mexican consul in El Paso reported examples of the mistreatment of Mexican immigrants. Two examples follow.

“Listas de algunas que fueron muertas en los Estudos Unidos de Norte America durante los anos de 1911-1919,” August 6, 1919, Arhivos Historicos de la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, November 19, 1924.

Anotonio Gomez, July 19, 1911: A fourteen-year-old man was imprisoned by authorities in Thorndale, Texas, for the homicide of an American citizen who had insulted him. A group of Thorndale citizens took matters into their own hands because they did not believe that Gomez was tried by appropriate authorities, and in a heartless manner lynched him. No investigation was conducted to find the persons responsible for the lynching.

Six unknown Mexicans. September, 1915: These individuals were killedearly September, 1915, while looking for work near Benito, Texas. They left a farm where they were unable to negotiate their salary with its American owner. As a result, the American sought out the nearest Texas Rangers and accused them of sedition, thus leading to their mass murder. No investigation was conducted.

Source: Proceedings of the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force (Austin, 1919), 856-74

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