Studies in Crap: ’30s Texas History Textbook on Lazy Indians, Idle Negroes, and Awesome White Folks!


Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

The Lone Star State: A School History

Author: C.R. Wharton
Date: 1932
Publisher: The Southern Publishing Company
Discovered at: Submitted by a Dallas Junior Crap Archivist

Representative Quote:
“Thousands of the flower of Texas’ manhood had been left on the battlefields while mothers, widows, and orphans mourned them throughout the desolate land. Freedom of the slaves meant the loss of one-fourth of the property owned by the people of Texas.” (page 224)

It turns out that all of American history is decided by Texas, the state that nobody’s supposed to mess with even though it used to get its ass stomped by Mexico. Last year the State Board of Education stunned America by suggesting that Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez be stripped from textbooks. Then, the governor got so mad about poor people maybe getting health insurance that he fantasized about secession, which sounds crazy only until you remember that in its first 15 years of statehood, Texas managed to quit both Mexico and the U.S., because that’s what patriots do.

Dentist Don McLeroy, of the Texas Board of Education, recently explained that his decision to edit brown folks out of textbooks has something to do with freedom: “We have an obligation to Texas to make sure [students] understand the original principles upon which America was founded.” The board votes this month on the changes.

To help them out, your Crap Archivist has boned up on how textbooks explained the principles upon which Texas was founded. Here’s how the The Lone Star State: A School History describes the early Texans’ conflicts with Mexico:

“It was impossible for two peoples of different racial origins, speaking different languages, and having different religious views and laws, to mix without trouble.”

And here is author C.R. Wharton on Native Americans:

  • “The Spaniards should have known from common sense that there was about as much possibility of civilizing the Indian as there was of taming lions and tigers.”
  • “The Indians were troublesome and stole everything they could.”
  • “The Indians did not like to work and often ran away or, in savage fashion, raided the missions and killed the priests… the Indians were lazy and neglected crops and herds.”

Wharton was wrong to write these things because today we know that Native Americans should not be mentioned at all.

Eventually, “people from the U.S. came and claimed the land after years of savagery.” Texas became a state, and then quit to be a Confederate state, and then became a regular state again. As the proposed schoolbook standards make clear, that meant only one thing: The federal government must be limited. For example, after the Civil War, Washington forced Texas’ Native Americans onto reservations, where they subsisted on meager government aid. Wharton made clear that this was unfair to everyone.

“Nor did this handling of the Indians suit the white people. They worked hard to make a living without the assistance of the government and they resented the government’s aid to the Indians.”

Damn that special treatment!

Wharton may complain about other races, but that doesn’t mean he’s interested in them. His first chapter concerns the earliest Spanish explorers and ends with this sentence:

“One hundred and forty-two years went by before a white man came again.”

The next chapter picks up exactly 142 years later. Some fifty pages after that, once he’s described the failure of Spanish missionaries to convert the natives, Wharton announces:

“We are now at the real beginning of Texas history. All that happened in the three hundred years after Pineda sailed our shores and Cabeza de Vaca tramped from Galveston Island to the Rio Grande was of little importance.”

The lesson is one the state board has taken to heart: The parts of history that bore you don’t matter.

That also applies to parts of the world your people haven’t made it to yet!

Anyway, the tyrannic federal government told Texans that the black people they could no longer own now had the right to vote. The results:

“The negroes had been given the right to vote and the ‘carpet baggers’ controlled them and their votes for selfish reasons.”


“When the ‘carpet baggers’ arrived, they deceived and pampered the negroes and soon had them loafing about the country in idleness, homeless and helpless. Southern farmers could not get them to stay at home and work.”

Why does this all sound so familiar?

Wharton believes things got worse.

“These ‘carpet baggers’ even gave the negroes uniforms and guns, thereby making the latter very impudent and causing whites much annoyance.”

The solution?

“Finally, a mysterious order of the southerners called the Ku Klux Klan came into existence to scare the negroes into behaving. They rode throughout the country at night clothed in white robes and high hats telling the negroes they were ‘haunts’ from the dead of the battlefields.”

The book’s one other Klan reference:

“The political situation was complicated by the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, a fraternal order organized in a system of secret clubs or lodges just after the World War. Hundreds of thousands of people had joined the order and it gave support to Judge Felix D. Robertson, of Dallas, for governor.”

Speaking of governors, the only explanation for these boys’ beards must be that the ZZ Top hot rod can travel through time.

Assorted Ironies:

  • Change “colonists” to “Texans,” and this statement could fit right in to tomorrow’s textbooks:

“The colonists hoped for a day when they would govern themselves and have their laws written in English.”

“The Mexican government was very liberal with the colonists, made them large grants of land, and did not require them to pay taxes. Commerce was unrestricted and special grants were made for gins, saw-mills and other special businesses.”

  • Tensions between Texan colonists and the Mexican government escalated when president Bustamante passed a cruel 1830 law “prohibiting further immigration from the United States.” Wharton gets so worked up about this he might as well work for La Raza:

    “Such an act would have kept relatives and friends of the settlers from joining them in their new homes.”