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Source:  Texas Monthly

Tensions along the border ran high in the final years of the Mexican Revolution.  Violence spilled across from northern Mexico into the Texas frontier, where recent Anglo settlers clashed with Mexican-Americans who had lived there for generations.  The complex dynamics between newcomers and longtime residents often led to retaliatory attacks—then everything came to a head.

On the morning of January 28, 1918, a band of Texas Rangers, U.S. cavalry soldiers, and a group of local ranchers entered the small farming community of Porvenir—a town in Presidio County with a population of roughly 140.

They forced several residents from their homes before leading away 15 unarmed men and boys to a nearby hill where they were executed.

The massacre went unreported for weeks, and didn’t come to light until Captain J. M. Fox, of the Texas Rangers, told command that they’d been ambushed by locals suspected of having ties to a raid at a nearby ranch a month earlier; he characterized them as “thieves, informers, spies, and murderers.”

For nearly a century, Fox’s account was widely accepted as fact.  But in recent years, researchers and descendents of the massacre began unraveling the truth of what transpired that day.

In “Porvenir, Texas,” late director Andrew Shapter examines the dynamics that led up to the tragedy, along with the scars it left behind, that reconsiders something that’s long been deemed historical truth.

“Porvenir, Texas” is streaming on PBS until October 19.

Read the story at Texas Monthly.


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