Speed Reads

Cancel Culture

Texas state history museum abruptly cancels speech by authors of new book on the Alamo

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin abruptly canceled an event scheduled for Thursday evening featuring the authors of a new book on the Alamo and its role in the mythology of Texas. Chris Tomlinson, a Houston Chronicle columnist and one of the authors of the book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, said a museum employee told him they had to cancel the event "following a social media campaign by right-wingers and an order from the board," made up of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R), two other GOP state lawmakers, and a citizen board member.

A spokeswoman for the museum told members in a note that the museum is not longer co-hosting the event with the Writers' League of Texas, adding, "We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your support."

"I think we're being censored, which is a shame because the mission of the Texas history museum is to promote examining our past," Tomlinson told the San Antonio Express-News. "We've done more than a dozen events, and this is the first time we've been shut down like this." 

Forget the Alamo, co-authored by Bryan Burrough and Jason Stanford, explores the Battle of the Alamo as more a fight to ensure the preservation of slavery, enshrined in the original Texas Constitution, than a heroic battle by 180 star-crossed rebels defending Texas from Mexican aggression. The Alamo has been central to the "whole Texas creation myth" and it's time to look beyond the "Heroic Anglo narrative," Burrough told NPR recently.

Tomlinson tweeted Thursday night that he presumes the event was canceled because "we don't regurgitate the propaganda that Abbott's Texas 1836 Project wants to promote," and instead "promote a more holistic and honest view of Texas's glorious history."

Abbott recently signed a bill creating "The 1836 Project" — a play on the Pulitzer-winning New York Times series "The 1619 Project" — to advocate for the "patriotic education" of Texas history. The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation compared Forget the Alamo to The 1619 Project in a post earlier this week, calling it "a radical reinterpretation of history" and "an effort to diminish the great figures of history and place slavery at the center of every story." TPPF chief executive Kevin Roberts applauded the Bullock's decision to cancel the talk Thursday night.