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Nineteenth-century facts that were news to me…

In researching for Those Bones at Goliad, and How Far Tomorrow earlier, I kept coming across facts about people and events–from the century before last–that I had never known…or had forgotten. (Some of my history teachers along the way would protest that they tried to get my attention as I stared out the window!) Anyway, I’m going to run one historical thumbnail every month or so for a while. Let me know if I’ve misinterpreted information. I will be the first to admit that I am a slow learner of history and that all my certified credentials lie elsewhere:

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Juan Seguin whose family long served as elected officials in San Antonio–and who was a loyal revolutionary—took great risk by standing with Texans at the Alamo and San Jacinto. Days before the Alamo siege, William Travis selected this native Texan to seek help from Houston’s army. Not long after the revolution was won, Seguin and other Tejanos were often treated badly by unenlightened Texas citizens and newcomers. Disheartened, he departed to Mexico, though he eventually returned.

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Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield was blessed with an exceptional voice, but as a slave would never have been invited to perform in the early 1800’s in her hometown Natchez, Mississippi. Freed and resituated in Philadelphia with her Quaker guardian, she began to have concert opportunities as early as 1840. She is among the first African American singing artists to achieve international acclaim. Known as “The Black Swan,” Greenfield sang by request before Queen Victoria.

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