A survivor of the massacre in Porvenir. Juan was a twelve-year-old boy when his father, brother, grandfather and uncles were murdered in front of him. He was originally sent along with the other victims to be executed, but when one of the Rangers realized he was only twelve years old, he pulled Juan from the group and declared, “I’m not killing a kid”. Juan kept that tragic night a secret for most of his life until historian, Glenn Justice, encouraged him to come forward with his story. Juan died in 2003, but his harrowing account lives on and will be a central feature of the documentary.
In 1974, the veteran Texas historian stumbled upon documents related to 1929 testimony of Texas’ first Hispanic State Representative Jose Canales that called all of the Texas Rangers who were present at the massacre to recount that fateful night. All the testimonies confirming the Rangers’ involvement had been sealed from the public since 1918. Glenn’s research of those documents led him to Juan Flores, one of the last surviving witnesses of the massacre. Glenn conducted a video interview of Juan Flores in 2002 that will be used in our documentary, among other evidence.
An attorney and professor at the University of Texas at Arlington in the United States. He was a founding member of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in San Antonio in 1967, and a founding member and past president of the Raza Unida Party, a Mexican-American third party movement that supported candidates for elective office in Texas, California, and other areas of the Southwestern and Midwestern United States.
In 1918, State Rep. José T. Canales called for hearings to investigate the recent conduct of the Texas Rangers in 19 cases of wrongful dispossession, assault and murder. Canales wrote a bill that would require Rangers to post bond before serving (to guarantee their good conduct) and to be otherwise more tightly regulated by the state. The fact that Canales, the only state legislator of Mexican descent, managed to raise these questions in an official forum is remarkable. However, reading the transcripts of the 1919 hearings (which were kept sealed until the 1970s) is an exercise in frustration. Witness after witness stonewalls the legislator, evincing respect for the Rangers, defense of their conduct, and disbelief at any allegations Canales advances.
A professor of American and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, also offering courses in Latino History, Public Humanities, and feminist research methods. Her research has been funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, and the Texas State Historical Association. A large part of her upcoming book, Inherited Loss, is a reckoning with Anti-Mexican Violence since 1910, including an in-depth look at the tragedy surrounding Porvenir.
The man who ordered the killings at Porvenir. Luke Brite, who was one of the founders of Marfa, Texas, is a well-known historical figure known as the “meanest son of a bitch to ever set foot in West Texas”. Brite is also known as one of Marfa’s most successful cattle ranchers after developing a ranch of 125,000 acres in Presidio County. A surviving witness of the Porvenir massacre, Juan Flores, claims that “Old man Brite”, who his family worked for as a laborer, was at the site of the Porvenir raid, ordering the men to round up and kill all the adult males. We want to give the current day Brite family a chance to respond to the accusation.
An assistant professor in History at Loyola University Chicago. His primary areas of research and teaching include environmental history, North American borders, and Latino history. His first book, Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans Into Americans, examined the violence of the 1910s, offering a new interpretation of the origins of the Mexican-American civil rights movement. He continued his interest in Mexican American history in Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place, a collaboration with photographer Jeffrey Gusky, about the ties between Mexican-American politics and post-revolutionary Texas.
A professor in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of The Troubled Union: Expansionist Imperatives in Post-Reconstruction American Novels. He serves on the advisory board for the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, and has served upon the executive committee for the Division for Chicano Literature of the Modern Language Association.
A history instructor at South Texas College. His articles have appeared in the books War Along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities, and Hybrid Identities. His current project is Imperial Ethnicities: Mexicanos, México Texanos, México Americanos, and the Politics of Rights and Citizenship. It examines the processes of United States colonization of Mexicans in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
A feature writer at Slate.Com and author of the feature article “America’s Lost History of Border Violence”.
Patterson graduated from Texas A&M with a B.A. in history. He is a retired Marine Vietnam veteran, a former Texas legislator, and former Texas Land Commissioner. In 2007 he was named “Texan of the Year” by the nonprofit organization “Celebrate Texas” for his efforts to present Texas Independence day as a day of celebration for all Texans. Jerry served as Texas Land Commissioner for 16 years before retiring to dedicate his life to uncovering untold stories of Texas history. Jerry funded and oversaw the excavation of the Porvenir Massacre site and discovered that there is “more to the story”, specifically that the US Calvary was involved and may have ordered the killings. His story conflicts with the account of Juan Flores.
The archeologist who uncovered all the shell casings that may have passed through the victims of Porvenir.
The Descendants of Juan Flores (Porvenir witness)
The Descendants of Roman Nieves (Porvenir victim)
The Descendants of Ambrosio Hernandez (Porvenir victim)
The Descendants of Captain Fox (leader of the Texas Rangers raid of Porvenir)