Faces and Voices of History

The Texas Story Project.

Something extraordinary happened when the Bullock Texas State History Museum invited students at St. Mary's University to contribute to the Texas Story Project. One hundred students and two professors embarked on the adventure of discovering the history of Texas, one story at a time.

Texas sparkles like a diamond as its multiple facets are revealed in these stories. Family roots inspired many students. Mario Sosa traces his father's Texas story from his birth in a village in Michoacán Mexico to his career as a doctor in San Antonio. Grayson Ginder uncovered the Texas story of his grandfather’s service as a fighter pilot in World War II. Danielle Garza interviewed a member of Los Bejareños, a descendant of a “founding family” of San Antonio. Career role models also figure prominently. ROTC student Ruben Canales featured General Valenzuela, a St. Mary’s alumnus who was formerly the highest-ranking Hispanic in the U.S. military and who now serves on the National World War I Centennial Commission. Business major Chengsi Zeng interviewed a Chinese American entrepreneur whose family arrived in San Antonio from Mexico thanks to sponsorship by the Maverick family. The stories also placed thirty new pins on the Texas Story Project’s interactive map—from Kelsay Meek’s childhood in west Texas to Priscila Reyes’ childhood in McAllen.

One story even sparked a conversation between an 81-year old wounded veteran and an 18-year old college student. Nicole Johnson, freshman from Boerne, Texas, chose to feature Lt. Col. Adolf "Wes" Wesselhoeft. What began as an interview for the Texas Story Project has launched a "Year of Remembrance," during which Wes and Nicole appeal for public and official recognition of German American internment during World War II.

History has faces and voices. St. Mary's students were pleased to contribute new faces and voices to the Texas Story Project—including a Chinese American entrepreneur, a Hispanic American General, and a German American internee—to help showcase the multiple facets of Texas.

Our adventure led us far afield, and back home again.

Teresa Van Hoy, Ph.D. spearheaded the partnership between St. Mary's University and the Bullock Museum in 2018. She joined the History Department at St. Mary’s University in 2007 and continues to inspire generations of students to engage with public history.

Editor's note: This film was produced by the Bullock Museum for the Texas Story Project.

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