Before W. W. Jones began building his ranching and business operations in the 1890s, the economy and communities of South Texas lagged far behind other areas of the state and nation. In the nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century, the owners of large ranches represented the dominant economic, political and social force in South Texas. Thanks to the vision of W.W. Jones and other leaders, the role of cities and a diversified economy slowly evolved in the region during the twentieth century. While W. W. Jones became known throughout the state and nation as an innovative rancher, banker and investor, he played an important role in the development of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a major port and financial center in the twentieth century. He also worked with the larger Tejano population to sustain the vital cultural contributions that are an integral part of the history of the borderlands region. In particular, the vaquero heritage remained an essential part of the culture of the Jones Family Ranches that continued after the death of W. W. Jones. As opposed to having an office, he operated from a chair in the center of the open lobby of the Nueces Hotel – the premier hotel of Corpus Christi owned by W. W. Jones. Reflecting his standing in the community, Jones became known as "the Anchor Post" in Corpus Christi. He served on many bank boards in Corpus Christi and other South Texas communities. He was a founding member and longtime director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Jones was a longtime director of the Nueces County Navigation District Commission. As one of the commissioners on the board, he worked with many community leaders and elected officials to fund and operate the Port of Corpus Christi. He and other community leaders worked together to rebuild their city after the destructive hurricane of 1919.
Patrick L. Cox is an historical consultant after having retired as Associate Director of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a B.A. from the University of Texas, an M.A. (1988) in History from Texas State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. His books include The First Texas News Barons, The House Will Come to Order, Writing the Story of Texas, and Ralph Yarbrough: The People’s Senator.
Dr. Preuss will deal with the history of the case Delgado V. Bastrop, heard in 1948. The case held that Mexican-American students could not be segregated in the public schools of Texas because they were legally considered white. This important decision has long been overlooked by historians of the state and very little has ever been written about it. Dr. Preuss’s work involves interviews with Minerva Lopez as an adult, the person who was the named party in this suit. She was a six-year-old child at a segregated elementary school in Bastrop, whose grandparents engaged LULAC attorney Gus Garcia to challenge de facto segregation of Mexican Americans in public schools. This paper will review that case and consider Delgado’s life after its landmark ruling. She graduated from Bastrop High School, and then continued her education under a scholarship at Howard Payne University. After she earned her degree and married, Minerva Delgado Lopez began a career as a public school teacher in San Antonio and Houston, specializing in bilingual education until she retired in 2010. It will address, through this case and the life of Minerva Lopez, the myth and memory of Hispanic-Texans, which is far more complex than is stereotypically seen in popular views.
Gene B. Preuss is associate Professor of History at the University of Houston—Downtown. He received his B.A. and M. A. (1993) from Texas State University, and a Ph.D. in History from Texas Tech University. His research interests center on the history of American Education, Texas History, Public History, and the American South. He is the author of the award-winning book "To Get a Better School System": One Hundred Years of School Reform in Texas, (Texas A&M University Press, 2009) and articles dealing with the history of education in Texas. These include “Public Education in West Texas,” in The Giant Side of Texas and “‘As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation’: A History of the History Culture Wars in the Lone Star State,” in Politics and the History Curriculum.