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$1.75 million Tejano monument to grace Texas Capitol grounds

$1.75 million Tejano monument to grace Texas Capitol grounds

By Tony Cantú

La Prensa San Antonio.- Despite the indelible contribution to Texas independence among Tejanos - Texans of Hispanic descent including some who died alongside other Alamo defenders - not a single monument exists commemorating their contributions to the history of the state in the Austin capital.


But soon, this will change. A decade in the making, an effort to install a Tejano monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol building has gained considerable traction with all but about $100,000 left to be raised to make the effort a reality.

Area business leaders now expect the monument to be unveiled by March of next year. Also helping to organize the effort is former UTSA professor Andres Tijerina, a renowned authority on Tejano history.

"It's a huge omission," said Cayetano Barrera, a retied physician from McAllen who first came up with the idea for a monument. "All the Tejanos were considered Mexicans, but they were fighting for Texas independence 20 years before the Alamo in the Battle of Medina."

Fought some 20 miles south of what is now San Antonio, the Battle of Medina was waged on Aug. 18, 1813 - well before the better-known Battle of the Alamo in 1836 - as part ofthe Mexican War of Independence against Spanish rule in Mexico.

In the subsequent slaughterof some 189 Alamo defenders, only six were actually born in Texas: Juan Abamillo; Juan A.Badillo; Carlos Espalier; Gregorio Esparza; Antonio Fuentes; and Andrés Nava.

Barrera noted school history books often magnify the mythology of James Bowie, David

Crockett, William B. Travis and others, while all but relegating the names of Tejanos to footnote status. The massive sculpture planned at the entrance of the Capitol at 11th and Congress in Austin seeks to correct the record.

At some 550 square feet, the $1.75 million, seven-piece bronze monument's sheer scale will hint at the considerable Tejano contribution to the state's legacy, with a panorama depicting the origins of Hispanic presence - from a circa-1500s Spanish explorer to a vaquero leading a head of cattle of the Longhorn variety originally brought in from Mexico to a representation of family life atop a granite base.

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