Friday, June 18, 2021

Paved A Way: Extermination as Government Policy


Who is the worst villain in history? Hitler, right? And what makes him the worst villain? Genocide, right? The word was even coined for him. Where does Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar rank on the list? Top ten? Top hundred? Or so far down the list that your first reaction is "Who is Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar?"

I'm reading "Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy and Racism in an American City" by Collin Yarbrough. The city is Dallas, Texas. I'm blogging as I go, using whatever parts of the book catch my attention. It fills us in on Mirabeau B. Lamar.

In 1838, the second President of the Republic of Texas, M. B. Lamar, ushered in an era professor Scott Langston says he “is comfortable calling genocide.” In fact, the word extermination was used by Texas officials under Lamar’s leadership so often that it became policy.
Paved A Way

So, the property your house is built on in Dallas, or Richardson, was probably cleared long ago of indigenous inhabitants, whether Caddo, or Comanche, or Wichita. Written property deeds don't go back that far (those were a White man's invention), but that's the original real estate history of where I live.

So, the next time you play the parlor game, "Who's the worst villain in history?" don't forget to retroactively apply the word coined for Hitler, genocide, to M.B. Lamar, first President of the Republic of Texas. He might still not match Hitler, but he deserves a higher villainy ranking than given him by the Texas schoolbooks of your childhood, which treats him as a Texas hero.

Being reminded Dallas is built on stolen land, with stolen people and stolen labor, pushes against the prevalent historical narratives that center colonial history around the city itself or perpetuate the myth that Dallas exists for no particular reason at all. I continue the argument that Dallas exists precisely because it is built on the foundational racist mindset of the Republic and state of Texas.
Paved A Way

All excerpts of "Paved A Way":
Paved A Way: "Dallas Doesn't Give a Damn About its History"
Paved A Way: Extermination as Government Policy
Paved A Way: The Battle of Village Creek
Paved A Way: Redlining
Paved A Way: Boulevards and Parks
Paved A Way: Freedman's Cemetery
Paved A Way: Deep Ellum
Paved A Way: Little Mexico
Paved A Way: Tenth Street
Paved A Way: Shingle Mountain
The End

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