Tejano Legacy, published in March 1998 by the University of New Mexico Press, is a pathbreaking study of the Lower Rio Grande Valley from its Spanish colonial roots to 1900. The first book to delineate, decade by decade, the interaction of Mexicans and Anglos in South Texas, it shows how Tejanos continued to play a leading role in the commercialization of ranching after the annexation of the region in 1848 and how they maintained a sense of community. Despite shifts in political jurisdiction, the tradition of Tejano land holding acted as a stabilizing element and formed an important part of Tejano history and identity. The earliest settlers arrived in the 1730s and established numerous ranchos and six towns along the river.
Alonzo is an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University in College Station. A native of Edinburg, he received his master of arts in history from UT Pan American in 1983 and his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 1991. He also holds a bachelor of arts from Notre Dame, which he received in 1972. He has also been a faculty member at Southwest Texas State University and UT San Antonio.
This spring, Alonzo received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Ford Foundation through the National Research Council in Washington, D.C., to undertake a new research project on the history of colonial settlement and adaptation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Tamaulipas in the period from the 17th century to the early 19th century.
During the fellowship year from September 1997 to May 1998, Alonzo is collecting data from archives in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Ciudad Victoria and Mexico City. As part of the fellowship program, he is affiliated with the Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin.
He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Texas State Historical Association and the Society for the Study of the Great Plains.
The University Bookstore is expected to have copies of Alonzo’s book available by the end of April. His book is also available in bookstores nationwide starting this month or direct from UNM Press by calling 1/800/249-7737.
Alonzo’s presentation and booksigning, which will include a reception, are sponsored by the Office of Center Operations and Community Services and the Center for International Studies. For more information, call 381-2742.