Texas then and now

This week in the Hill Country

Austin Opera’s 2015-16 season will kick off with a special Season Opening Gala Concert on September 26




Yesterday’s news

1881        Jennie Belle (Ladybelle) Murphy Covington, African-American civic leader, was born in Clinton. Alas, I can’t find any pictures of her online! She was an active and important woman. She was a cofounder and first head of the Houston Commission on Interracial Cooperation and served for more than a decade as chairman of the Texas Commission on Interracial Cooperation. She was a member of the executive board of the Texas Commission on Race Relations in the mid-1950s, a member of the first board of the Negro Child Center, and a member and first chairman of the Houston Settlement Association. Mrs. Covington also served with the Women in Yellow and with the Ladies in Gray, groups that assisted Jefferson Davis Hospital and the Houston Negro Hospital (later Riverside General Hospital), respectively. Jennie Covington was among the first group of women honored by the YWCA with an Award of Distinction “for outstanding community leadership and service.” She earned it!

1595        Juan de Oñate, explorer, was awarded a contract by King Philip II of Spain to settle New Mexico. He forded the Rio Grande at the famous crossing point of El Paso del Norte, which he discovered in May 1598 (probably by asking some Indians), . By late May he had made contact with the first of the many pueblos of the northern Rio Grande valley (including Taos!) In July 1598 he established the headquarters of the New Mexico colony at San Juan pueblo, thus effectively extending the Camino Real by more than 600 miles. (Turns out there’s a Camino Real in Texas, New Mexico, and California. This map shows the one leading from Mexico City to Santa Fe. A long way on a horse! Image courtesy of the City of Las Cruces.)


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