The library at The University of Texas-Pan American has a new addition to its Special Collection on the early history of Texas.
The collection, "The Dr. Lino Garcia, Jr. Colonial Spanish Texas Archives," is now available to students, faculty, scholars and staff.
"I want for students and other individuals to learn from this collection, that Texas is made up of many cultures, all of which have made significant contributions to the development of this state, and to never minimize any of them, rather to learn and enjoy the diversity that is our strength as Texans," said Dr. Lino Garcia, Professor Emeritus of Spanish Literature.
"We can only do it when all are included in the history of Texas," he added.
The Colonial Spanish Texas Archives Collection consists of laminated articles that Garcia wrote, which were published in several newspapers, including The (McAllen) Monitor, The Brownsville Herald, The Hebbronville Enterprise, The San Antonio Express-News and The Rio Grande Guardian on-line newspaper.
In addition, the archives are about pre-1836 Texas, from Nov. 6, 1528 when the first Hispanics arrived on Texas soil to 1821, when Texas gained its independence and later became part of the United States in 1845.
"There are five centuries of Hispanic presence on Texas soil. Hispanics are not recent arrivals and they did not all cross the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) to come into Texas. The Rio Grande River crossed them," said Garcia.
He states that these early years translate themselves into great and illustrious contributions of Hispanics to the making of Texas.
"This includes banking, commerce, cattle drives, towns, religion, Christian Missions, weddings, schools and all activities that make up a civilized society," said Garcia. "My thrust is to bring this history to the top of the agenda and only then, can we truly tell the eminent history of Texas."
Garcia decided to donate this archival collection to the University because he considers UTPA to be the proper place for his work and collection.
"I have always believed research of any kind, that has a contribution to make, should be made available to all interested parties," said Garcia. "Research that is hidden someplace doesn't benefit anyone."
He also compiled work on Colonial Spanish Texas (1528-1821) into a book made available as part of the archives.
"The book and collection is available to interested individuals who wish to know more about the early settlers of Texas and their huge contributions. I will occasionally be adding more archives, books, and other information to this collection," he said.
Aside from collecting historical information on the early days of Texas, Garcia is also the coordinator for the Spanish Texas Studies Project. He has also served UTPA for well over 45 years.
"This project was conceived by me a few years ago when I had on campus the first ever 'Spanish Texas Seminar of Speakers' to a full house of students, faculty and community individuals," said Garcia. "I saw then the thirst our students, mostly Hispanics, had in desiring to know about their ancestors' illustrious contributions to the early development of Texas, huge contributions often ignored in regular textbooks of Texas history."
Garcia feels great that his work of many years will continue to serve UTPA students and other scholars, and believes this information will make a difference in the life of the community.
"My work on Colonial Spanish Texas will continue to live and be made available to individuals long after I am gone. I want this to be one of my legacies at UTPA, a culmination of more than 45 years at this fine institution."
For more information, contact Garcia at (956) 665-3441.