Racial Violence Against Mexican Americans in the 1910-1920’s: A Resource Guide

Exploring Mexican American History

While putting together the resource guide on the Texas Rangers, I came across a number publications discussing the racial violence that Mexican Americans experienced along the Texas border. This path of research has opened my eyes to horrific events and treatment of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Texas during the years 1910 to 1920. The Mexican Revolution exacerbated the already existing racist sentiments of the white Anglo population towards Mexican Americans and caused raging conflict and violence along the Mexico and Texas border. Visit the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas to learn more about the Mexican Revolution in Texas history.

My research so far has been an attempt to gather different resources to learn more. I’m slowly making my way through them. I wanted to pull them all together in one place for readers to explore, jumpstart research, and have an opportunity to learn about a lesser known period in Texas history. Thankfully, there are several scholars and organizations that have been making strides on increasing awareness. My hope is to eventually continue researching this time period and understand more of its complexity.

Listen and Learn

The University of Texas at Austin Department of History produces and hosts 15 Minute History Podcast that covers a wide selection of topics in world, U.S. and Texas history. The podcasts lengths range between 15 to 30 minutes long and are perfect for a quick listen. The two following podcasts provide valuable insight into Border history.

Episode 73: The Borderlands War, 1915-20

Guest John Moran Gonzales from UT’s Department of English and Center for Mexican American Studies has curated an exhibition on the Borderlands War called “Life and Death on the Border, 1910-1920,” and tells us about this little known episode in Mexican-American history.

Episode 115: Violent Policing of the Texas Border

Guest Monica Martínez of Brown University joins us today to discuss what happened on the Texas border a hundred years ago. She also reveals the striking similarities of the period to the Trump administration’s November 2018 decision to send military troops to the border.

Museum Exhibits and Digital Primary Resources

Life and Death on the Border, 1910 – 1920, an exhibit curated by a team of scholars through their organization, Refusing to Forget, sheds light on the chaotic and atrocious events that occurred during the early 20th century. This exhibit was on display in 2016 at The Bullock Museum. While it’s no longer possible to view the exhibit, a short introductory video is still available.

Life & Death on the Border Exhibit Overview

View the notebook of school teacher Harry Warren, who recorded the names of the victims of the Porvenir Massacre along with the names of their widows and children. The Bullock Museum gives an overview of the tragic event with selected digital images of the notebook. Learn more about the Porvenir Massacre here.

Read the full 1919 Ranger Investigation transcript provided by The Texas State Library and Archives Commission. This investigation was launched by Texas state representative José T. Canales of Brownsville with intentions to bring to light the misconduct of the Texas Rangers. This investigation lead to the reform of procedures, standards and conduct of the Texas Rangers. Learn more about José T. Canales here.

The Portal to Texas History has combined primary source images from their digital collection with a historical exploration of the effects of the Mexican revolution on Texas border between 1910 to 1920.

Scholars and Historians

Click on the links below to view each scholar’s publications.

Arnoldo De León Monica Munoz Martinez 
Sonia HernandezGeorge T. Diaz 
Miguel Antonio LevarioThomas H. Kreneck 
Raúl A. RamosTatcho Mindiola
John Klingemann


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