Texas, one of the great cities of America, has an amazing reputation for producing great heroines. Texas Women that have made great contributions as writers, activists, politicians, and actresses both inside and outside Texas are often given less credit than they deserve. This article is aimed at giving a summary of the activities of these great women and the impact these women had on the history of Texas.
• JANE LONG (1798-1880)
Jane Long is often referred to as the mother of Texas. She is also said to be one of the first English-speaking women to give birth to a child in Texas. She migrated into the state at the beginning of the 19th century when she came with her husband James Long and settled at Bolivar Point. During the fight for independence from Spain, Jane and her daughter Ann were left behind by James who joined in the war. While others were evacuating the area during the war, Jane bravely and loyally stayed behind and waited for her husband in the hope that he would return. Years later, Jane learned that her husband had been killed in the war in Mexico City. She then moved her family to Brazoria where she opened a boarding house that was often used by important members of the Texan society. Long’s boarding house was used for strategic meetings during the war and it is even rumoured that Stephen F. Austen delivered an impassioned speech where he called Texans to war in that same building.
• SUSANA DICKSON (1814-1883)
Susana Dickson is one of the prominent heroines of the battle of the Alamo. Often referred to as “The lady of the Alamo”, Dickson is said to be the only survivor of the battle of the Alamo. She experienced and survived every hour of the two-week-long alongside the defenders of the fortress. She offered support and moral encouragement to the Texans at the most difficult times of the war.
• SELENA (1971-1995)
Selena is one of the most successful artists in Texas’ history. Specializing in both Pop and Tejano music, Selena became one of the most popular Texan musicians at that time. Born in Lake Jackson Texas, Selena started her musical career at a very young age and by 1981 she had already formed and joined a band called Selena y Los Dinos two years later, this band released their first record. Selena later went on to receive a double-platinum award and also a Grammy award for Selena live, she also received a quadruple-platinum award for Amor Prohibido. At the height of her career, Selena was murdered by her assistant on March 31st, 1995.
A bronze statue of the late great singer has been made to immortalize her and it still stands near the waterfront of the Corpus Christi, Texas.
• BABE DIDRIKSON ZAHARIAS (1911-1956)
One of the most remarkable women not just in Texas history but in the world’s sports history. “The Belting Babe” as she was fondly called was a unique and highly talented athlete that made the headlines in every career she pursued. She was very good at golf, basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, baseball, and many other sports. Her career started with sandlot baseball in the neighbourhood and streets of Beaumont, Texas. She was so good in this sport that the local kids begin to call her “Babe” after the great baseball legend Babe Ruth. After high school, she was recruited by a company in Dallas to play basketball on its team and by 1932, she had already been named the AAU All-American player three times in a row! She also achieved legendary status in the Olympics when she won two golds and a silver one in the 1932 Olympics.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias won a couple of other medals in other sports as well. In 1935, she won the finals of the Texas amateur women’s championship. She also won the Texas women’s open in 1945 and was named the AP Female Athlete of the year for the seventh time. She is considered one of the greatest athletes that have ever lived.
• EMMA TENAYUCA (1916-1999)
During the depression years of Texan history, pan shelling was one of the major and largest industries that existed. During this time the working conditions and pay of the workers that worked in these industries were very bad. The payment was so bad that each worker was paid approximately six cents per pound of pecans. In addition to this, working conditions were bad as the dust from the workplace created a large number of tuberculosis cases among the workers that worked in these industries. In 1938, about 12,000 workers decided to go on strike to protest the poor working conditions of these industries, and it was Emma Tenayuca that led the strike as the was the strike representative. She was actively involved in fighting for better working conditions for labour workers. She was a member of the communist party, and she lived in San Antonio until she was blacklisted. She then moved to San Francisco where she obtained her teaching certificate in 1952. She later returned to San Francisco in the1960s and taught in the Harlandale school district.
A lot of other women have contributed significantly to Texas’ history, the contribution of all of them cannot be mentioned in the article above. Some other significant women in the history of Texas include Edna Gladney, Caro Brown, Liz Carpenter, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Lady Bird Johnson and many more.