CSAW Welcomes the Community to "Forgotten Frontera" Discussion

August 20, 2019

CONTACT: Dr. Alex Hunt, 806-651-5238, ahunt@wtamu.edu


CSAW Welcomes the Community to "Forgotten Frontera" Discussion

CANYON, Texas--West Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the American West (CSAW) will hold the latest installment in its “Forgotten Frontera” series.

The event titled “Los Ferrocarrileros del Panhandle de Tejas/The Railroad Workers of the Texas Panhandle” will be a community discussion starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 at the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center. Dessert and coffee will be served.

“The purpose of the ‘Forgotten Frontera’ series is to bring together scholars and community members to recognize and document the history of Mexican American and Tejano history in the Southern Great Plains region, where these people made a significant contribution not adequately recognized in the region’s written histories,” CSAW Director Alex Hunt said.

The 2019 theme of “ferrocarrileros” includes “traqueros” (track workers), who came to the Southern Plains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but these Hispanic railroad workers also had many other positions—including porters, conductors and engineers—over the generations and on to the present day.

The event will feature a gallery of ferrocarrilero photographs taken in Canadian, Texas, in the early 1900s, and to guide this discussion, a panel will provide brief opening remarks before hearing comments and questions from the audience.

Panelists include Tim Bowman, WT’s borderlands historian; Alberto Rodriguez, historian from Texas A&M Kingsville; Maria Guerrero, member of Amarillo of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education; and Hugo Medina, also of Amarillo. Joel Zapata, historian of University of Texas at El Paso, will serve as moderator.

“[The photographs] are just the ideal illustration of what we mean by a forgotten history, a forgotten people. These photos speak volumes about these people’s lives, but they do not carry names or dates,” Bowman said.

The primary goal of CSAW’s “Forgotten Frontera” is to document history, which includes collecting community members’ stories in the form of oral histories. Another interest of CSAW is preserving or cataloging documents and other items related to ferrocarrilero history on the Southern Plains.

“We are interested in recording people’s stories because otherwise they will be lost,” Hunt said. “We would also like to photograph or scan people’s pictures, documents, and artifacts related to railroad work—things that would provide historians valuable information.”

Visit here for more information about CSAW. If you’d like to tell your story or become involved with CSAW, contact Hunt at 806-651-2457.