The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 142

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Professor Durden has made a genuine contribution to our understanding
of this complex, and fiercely debated, issue. In particular, he has given
President Davis more credit than have most previous historians by showing
that it was the Confederate President who pushed the issue to the center of
the stage and refused to give up his efforts to obtain black soldiers. The
Gray and the Black is a book that all Civil War historians will want to read
and study.
Lamar University RALPH A. WOOSTER
Growing Up in Texas. By Bertha McKee Dobie et al. (Austin: Encino
Press, 1972. Pp. 153. Illustrations. $7-95.)
Growing Up in Texas consists of thirteen personal essays by Texans of
diverse backgrounds and different generations. Five of the contributors are
women. One is black. None has the distinction of having been young much
before I9oo or much after 1950. Few hail from east of Dallas. Their stories
smell of mesquite, post oak, and caliche, not of piney woods.
Bertha Dobie's essay reminds me of those lithographs of well-dressed little
girls in McCall's Magazine, circa 1905: flowery, and sweet. Terrell Webb's
account of childhood in Groesbeck is saved from a similar fate by a sense
of humor and occasional flashes of satire. Lorece William's description of
growing up black in rural Texas, and of her indomitable grandmother (who
faced down a white man and lived to tell it) has plenty of punch but pulls,
one fears, some punches. Joe Frantz's chronicle of youth in once-rural
Weatherford contains plenty of interesting anecdotes but is rather casually
put together. A. C. Greene capably evokes Abilene in the 192os and 1930s,
and Arnold Rosenfeld effectively recounts the experiences of a young New
Yorker in the Houston Heights in the 1940s. The best essays in the collection
are John Graves's tough-minded yet nostalgic stories of a bygone Fort Worth
and Cuero; Francis Abernethy's vignettes of life in Palestine (Texas), where
white boys and black boys peered at local baseball games through separate
but equal knot holes; and Bill Porterfield's chronicle of a family's rootless
wandering from oilfield to oilfield:
I fancied that one day I would put me down in a place and never leave it.
I would build me a great house, solid as a pyramid, and there I would abide
until death. It was very romantic. My sons would live on the place until it
was time for their sons to take over, and then they would join me in the
family cemetery down on the far pasture. . . . I, who had lived in 17 towns
in my first I3 years, dreamed of deep roots and dynasties.
Hard as it may be to believe, considering the literary tradition, not everyone


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.