From the Annals of the Libraries – In 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was dedicated on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. LBJ was in attendance along with President Richard M. Nixon and many notable Texas politicians.
The LBJ Library is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The LBJL contains over 45 million pages of documents – including LBJ’s papers as well as those of his staff and many of his close associates. The Library building has been described as a ten-story unadorned travertine monolith. The architectural design was not critically acclaimed and described by some as a structure that would have pleased Mussolini. Red for one has always more or less liked the massive structure which is accompanied by an impressive fountain and a genteel garden as a tribute to Lady Bird. The Library archives are open to researchers and there are numerous exhibits for the general public.
From the Annals of the Freedom Loving Germans – In 1854, delegates from various local German political clubs met at the annual Staats-Saengerfest (State Singers’ Festival) in San Antonio. The meeting might otherwise have escaped notice, except that the delegates adopted a declaration against slavery declaring it to be evil. The declaration went on to state that abolition was to be the work of the various states who should seek help from the federal government (in the form of payment for freed slaves) to help end the moral abomination of chattel slavery. The Texas Germans were falling in line with other organizations such as the Freier Mann Verein (Freeman’s Association) from Northern States who had enacted similar declarations. As one might imagine, the declaration was not well received in the strongly pro-slavery (and virulently racist) Texas of the time. In conjunction with ongoing antislavery newspaper articles in the German language press, many Anglo-Texans grew more and more hostile to their German-Texan neighbors. This was clearly evidenced at the outset of the Southern Rebellion by the murder of many German Texans who were attempting to go north to fight for the Union.
From the Annals of the Chanteuses – In 1967, Austin celebrated “Damito Jo Day.” Damita Jo DeBlanc was born in Austin in 1930 but was raised mostly in Santa Barbara. In 1949, LA Deejay Joe Adams began to promote her career getting her gigs at Club Oasis and other LA clubs. Adams later signed her to Discovery Records but she found little success as a solo artist and spent much of the 1950’s with R&B group Steve Gibson & the Red Caps. She married Gibson but later divorced him as their marriage collapsed and the band’s fortunes waned. Her solo breakthrough came with the R&B smash hit “I’ll Save the Last Dance for You” in 1960 (an answer to “Save the Last Dance for Me” and 1961’s “I’ll Be There” (an answer to “Stand by Me”). DJ worked with a number of performers including Ray Charles, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton. In 1984, she retired from R&B and devoted the remainder of her career to modern Gospel music.
From the Annals of Old Mexico – In 1824, the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas was created when Mexico under the Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos de 1824. The state of Nuevo Leon was recognized at the same time. The constitution created a federal system of dual sovereignty between the EUM and the individual states. An initial claim made by the Tejanos against the Mexican government after the ascendancy of Santa Anna and the installation of a new centralist form of government was that they were fighting for the reinstitution of the 1824 Constitution. That quickly morphed into a call for complete independence from Mexico – fueled in large part by the desire to escape Mexico’s prohibition against slavery.
From the Annals of Shipping News – In 1956, the SS Ideal X left Port Newark, New Jersey bound for the Port of Houston. The Ideal X was the world’s first modern container cargo ship. The IX was a converted World War II T-2 oil tanker Potrero Hills. She was later purchased by the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company, modified to carry shipping containers and rechristened Ideal X. She carried 58 containers on her first voyage to Houston where she was met by 58 trucks who hauled away the containers launching a new paradigm for shipping.
From the Annals of Industrial Explosions – In 2013, the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas exploded. The explosion occurred after local firefighters arrived on the scene to battle a fire. The enormous blast killed 15 including 10 first responders and 2 civilians who volunteered to help fight the blaze. An additional 160 people were injured. A local school and apartment complex were almost completely destroyed and a nursing home facility was severely damaged.
The initial investigation was unable to determine the source of the fire, but on May 11, 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms announced that the fire that led to the explosion was intentionally set.
“The fire and explosion at West Fertilizer was preventable. It should never have occurred. It resulted from the failure of a company to take the necessary steps to avert a preventable fire and explosion and from the inability of federal, state and local regulatory agencies to identify a serious hazard and correct it.”
Some have disputed the conclusion that the fire was intentionally set. To date no one has been charged in connection with the horrific explosion.
From the Annals of the Missionaries – In 1709, an expedition led by Franciscan fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Isidro Félix de Espinosa reached the site of current day San Antonio. Olivares and Espinosa were escorted by Capt. Pedro de Aguirre and fourteen soldiers. The small expedition left San Juan Bautista on April 5 with the goal of contacting Tejas Indians living on the lower Colorado River. The Fathers encamped at site near the springs that they christened as San Pedro Springs. The expedition continued on and reached the Colorado near Bastrop on May 19. However, the Tejas were living further east and the Fathers did not have authorization to proceed farther than the Colorado. , They had also learned that the Tejas were likely hostile to the Spanish and the expedition returned to the Rio Grande.