Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hidden History of Texas: 1954-1973--Part 17

Between 1950 and 1970, the number of people who lived in Texas increased from 7,711,194 to 11,196,730. Although the percentage of people living Texas who were African-Americans decreased from 13 to 12 percent between 1950 and 1970, the number of African-Americans who lived in Texas increased from 977,458 to about 1.4 million during the same period. And by 1970 the percentage of people living in Texas who were Latino was now 18 percent, as the number of Latino people who lived in Texas increased from about 1 million to about 2 million between 1950 and 1970. But the number of people of Jewish religious background who lived in Texas in the early 1970s was still only about 71,000.

By 1970, 80 percent of all people in Texas lived in urban cities or towns. Between 1950 and 1970, for example, the number of people living in Houston increased from 596,163 to 1,232,802 and the number of people living in Dallas increased from 434,462 to 844,401; while the number of people who lived in Austin by 1970 was now 250,000 and around 43,000 students now attended the University of Texas in Austin . Around 317,000 African-Americans lived in Houston by 1970; and by 1970, around 210,000 African-Americans now lived in Dallas . Of  Beaumont ’s residents in 1970, about 30 percent were also now African-American. In addition, over 3 million people who lived in Texas in 1970 had not been born in Texas . But only 1,092,596 of these 3 million “transplants” or migrants to Texas had not been born in the southern region of the United States .

Despite the increase in civil rights movement and New Left student and counter-cultural activism that developed in Texas between 1953 and the late 1960s, during the 1950s some of the ultra-right and/or ultra-rich folks in Texas (who had made big money from Texas’s oil industry in the 1930s and 1940s) apparently began using some of their surplus wealth to both begin building a “New Right” conservative right-wing movement in the United States and to exercise a special political influence over the Republican Eisenhower White House. As Bryan Burrough’s The Big Rich recalled:

“In 1955, with money raised from his father and friend, including a Houston oilman named Lloyd Smith, [William F.] Buckley would found The National Review, which became the crucible for conservative thoughts…The Old family friend confirmed rumors that [former Columbia University and U.S. President Dwight D.] Eisenhower invested with [Sid] Richardson beginning sometime during World War II… Texas oilmen smelled a winner in Eisenhower. By one estimate Richardson funneled about $1 million into the campaign, not including $200,000 to cover Eisenhower’s various stays at the Commodore Hotel in New York or his expenses during the Republican convention in Chicago …”

Coincidentally, in their 1968 book, The Case Against Congress, Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson noted that “the upkeep of the Eisenhower farm” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania “was paid for by three oilmen,” “during his 8 years in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower did more for the nation’s private oil and gas interests than any other President,” and “he encouraged and signed legislation overriding a Supreme Court decision giving offshore oil to the Federal Government.”

Also coincidentally, Texas Gov. John Connally, who had been employed by Texas oil billionaire Sid Richardson during the 1950s, helped plan JFK’s ill-fated visit to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 (and was, himself, hit by gunfire on that day). As even the Warren Commission Report noted:

“The basic decision on the November trip to Texas was made at a meeting of President Kennedy, Vice-President Johnson and Governor Connally on June 5, 1963 at the Cortez Hotel in El Paso, Texas…The three agreed that the President would come to Texas in late November 1963…When Governor Connally called at the White House on Oct. 4 to discuss the details of the visit, it was agreed that the planning of events in Texas would be left largely to the Governor…Shots fired from a rifle mortally wounded President Kennedy…Mrs. Connally heard a second shot fired and pulled her husband down into her lap…Governor Connally…cried out, `Oh, no, no, no. My God, THEY are going to kill us ALL.’”

And, a former college roommate of Texas Gov. Connally, Henry Wade, was, also coincidentally, Dallas ’s District Attorney on Nov. 22, 1963. Harrison Edward Livingstone even made the following allegation about the historical role of some influential folks from Texas on U.S. national politics in the 1960s in his High Treason 2: The Great Cover-Up:

The conspiracy that killed President Kennedy was at least to some extent hatched and operated out of Dallas/Fort Worth. The plotters controlled the police and the city government there. Numerous of their relatives and connections were in the military and in the CIA…Some of them, like General Charles Cabell of Dallas [whose brother Earle Cabell was the Mayor of Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963], had been fired by Kennedy. The Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, David Atlee Phillips, and numerous others from the CIA were from Dallas or Fort Worth .”

The Big Rich also indicated the long-range impact that H.L. Hunt’s right-wing LIFELINE radio network of the 1950s and early 1960s apparently had on the drift of U.S. domestic politics after the late 1970s:

“…LIFELINE was in many ways ahead of its time. Its wedding of fundamentalist Protestantism and right-wing politics, not to mention its crusade against `big government’ and Wall Street greed, came 20 years before the Christian Right’s emergence in the late 1970s…By the early 1960s its broadcasts could be heard on 354 stations in 47 states…”

By 1973, corporations like IBM, Texas Instruments, Tracor and Motorola were utilizing the labor of a lot of workers in Texas —and often some lucrative Defense Department war contracts—to make a lot of big money in Texas . Motorola, for example, employed 6,000 workers in Austin by 1973; and Texas Instruments “began business in Austin in 1966 with a Defense System engineering operation” and the first TI-owned building in Austin “was completed in 1968 at 2601 North Lamar and continued the expansion of Defense Systems engineering and drafting,” according to David Humphrey's Austin: An Illustrated History. Yet two years later student and non-student anti-war activists in Austin were still able to mobilize over 25,000 people to participate in the then-largest anti-war demonstration in Austin ’s history in May 1970. But as a result of LBJ’s decision to begin a bombing campaign in Southeast Asia and order hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to Vietnam in 1965, 3,415 people from Texas ended up being killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Coincidentally, during the 1970s Texas Instruments was also the third-largest non-unionized company in the USA . And according to the 1980 edition of Milton Moskowitz, Michael Katz and Robert Levering’s book Everybody’s Business: The Irreverent Guide To Corporate America, labor organizers who had “spent 25 years and $3 million trying to make inroads” said there was then no union at Texas Instruments because the company had “one of the most effective anti-union operations in the country;” and during the 1970s, “Texas Instruments employees were paid 25 percent less than comparable IBM workers across town,” “had to work mandatory overtime and 2 Saturdays a month,” and “were afraid to talk about a union.”

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