Heritage, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1986 Page: 39
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Adina de Zavala, founder of the first
chapter of the Daughters of the Republic
of Texas in San Antonio and the granddaughter
of the patriot and second vicepresident
of the Republic, Lorenzo de
Zavala, represented the Tejanos element
to preserve the shrine. Clara Driscoll,
a "prominent and wealthy member of
South Texas's Anglo-American elite," was
de Zavala's opponent. De Zavala hoped to
emphasize the mission aspect of the site,
typical of the Tejanos' view of the battle
as one event among many in the long history
of the mission in their culture. The
Anglos were more concerned with the
battle and considered the church to be
the most important feature. Driscoll's
money rescued the monument, but also
dictated the manner in which the site was
to be interpreted.
Such tension between the Tejanos and
Anglo-American cultures was not new.
Bowie was well integrated into Mexican
culture, having married the daughter of
Juan Martin de Veramendi, the former
vice-governor of Coahuila and Texas.
Travis, however, mistrusted the local
Mexicans, and such racism was not uncommon.
The accounts of Tejanos who
survived the Alamo were not taken credibly.
That tension continues today. In
1982, the Ku Klux Klan "gathered to protect
the flag, the shrine, and 'the white
race' from anticipated Communist demonstrations."
For one group, the Alamo
heroes remained freedom fighters; for the
other, it remained a sign of defeat and racial
Alamo Images is well illustrated with
images that point to the many different
meanings the Alamo has taken. Early
renderings support Schoelwer's architectural
history of the buildings. The discussion
of paintings points out the conflicting
interpretations of the events of the
day. Movie stills and comic-book illustrations
document the popularization of the
As a symbol of the Catholic and Spanish
influence on Texas, the Alamo symbol
is at its nadir. As a symbol of the freedomloving,
independent, American spirit, its
time may be passing. "'If Americans must
remember the Alamo,' editorialized the
New York Times, 'let's remember that gallant
men died needlessly in that old mission
and that their sacrifice led eventually
to a war that reflects little credit on the
United States."' Schoelwer and Glaser
attempt to take no side in the interpretation,
giving readers the chance to enhance
their understanding of the shrine
rather than sacrificing a point of view. Alamo
Images helps reveal what a complex
and multifaceted symbol the shrine has
become, tracing the shrine's change over
time as the culture's need for a symbol
rose and fell. Alamo Images is an excellent
book that clearly and concisely documents
both the material and cultural history
of this important site.
Richard Pearce-Moses is Historic Photography
Project coordinator for the Texas Historical
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1986, periodical, 1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45440/m1/39/?rotate=90: accessed March 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.