Saturday, May 14, 2005

I'd heard about this Nickelodeon "My Backyard" Alamo thing on WOAI on the radio
And I thought it was lost untill I saw Grim talking about it in his blog.

In case you don't know the history of the Alamo, here's a quick thumbnail, the way I remember it ( it's not completely accurate, but I'm not a nationally syndicated kids show-with access to history experts)
  • Tejas was an unexplored, and pretty much ungovernable province of Mexico.
  • Mexico invited Anglos(Americans) in to help passify the province(some were slave owners).
  • Mexico changed governments (again) and Santa Anna decided to crack down on immigration (boy, things sure change in 170 years) and tossed out their Constitution.
  • Mexico repudiated it's agreements with most of its colonists.
  • These new laws grated on whites AND Hispanic colonists (who weren't peons)
  • There was agitation for independance from white AND brown
  • In the run-up to the big blowup the ummmm,,,'rebels'- lets call them 'Texians'were pushing back against the frontier troops.
  • One of these skirmishes was at a place called The mission at San Antonio de Vallero - the Alamo.
  • The Mexican scouts were pushed out and the Texians took control of the Alamo.
  • Col. Travis decided to stay untill Sam Houston could decide what to do.
  • Santa Anna wanted to crush the revolution in a show of force, and marched on San Antonio and Goliad.
  • The men of the Alamo were surrounded and determined to fight to the death. There were around 186 (no one's sure), more than 50% were hispanic, and I believe two were slaves.
  • Santa Annas' army of more than 2,000 men surrounded the Alamo, playing the "Dugello"(?) which ment 'no quarter'.
  • The Mexican army began the final assault before daybreak on March 6 1836.
  • When the sun came up, all the defenders of the Alamo were dead, and 600 dead plus wounded from the Mexican army. The survivers were one white woman-and kids and two spanish women-and kids and two black slaves (if I remember right).
  • Santa Anna then Marched on Goliad, but there's been enough slaughter on this blog tonight.
Contrast my recollections to Nickelodeons "My Backyard" Liberal cant:

The fifty second long piece on Nickelodeon, which is part of an ongoing series of features about the U.S. called 'My Back Yard," shows a San Antonio teenager telling the largely pre-teen audience that 'in the early 1800's, most of the people living in San Antonio were white farmers who brought their slaves with them.' It goes on to claim that conflict over slavery between slaveholding settlers and a Mexican government which had abolished slavery 'led up' to the Battle of the Alamo.

Ok, I forgot that part of the Mexican law- which was observed more in the written law than the occasional non-enforcement of it. There weren't *per capita* that many black slaves. Slavery wasn't the issue- Independence was.

WOAI has some of the background on this hit-peice:

E-mails obtained by WOAI radio show Alamo historian Dr. R. Bruce Winders, one of the country's leading experts on pre Civil War southwestern history, told Nickelodeon producers that the slavery claim was 'simplistic and inaccurate,' but the piece was aired anyway.

Mark Lyons, a senior producer for Nick News at Lucky Duck Productions in New York City, a contractor to Nickelodeon, which is a unit of Viacom, Inc. says the piece, called an 'interstitial,' was not meant to convey the full story of the Alamo.

"We recognize that there were several key issues in the Battle of the Alamo and one of them was slavery," Lyons said. "We want to tell our viewers something they may not have known, like the fact that at the time Texas was a part of Mexico."

Winders remains critical of the way the piece was presented.

"I think this is an extreme interpretation that was very one-sided as well as inaccurate," he said Monday. They replied that they wanted to get a Hispanic opinion of the battle. I pointed out that many people would not be able to tell that the piece was opinion and not fact, but they ran the story as it was."

Ok, if they wanted a Hispanic opinion, why bring up slavery? They weren't slaves, and generally didn't own them. For them the Texian cause was Independence from Mexico.

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