AUSTIN — The Bob Bullock Museum with the outspoken support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pulled the rug out from underneath authors of a retelling of the Alamo on Thursday with a same-day cancellation of an event to promote the book.
The move is viewed by many as a politicized effort against the book’s authors, who attempt to retell the story of the Alamo with a critical lens on the heroism of its defenders.
About 4 p.m. Thursday, the museum’s board of directors contacted the authors to inform them that the museum-sponsored promotional event for “Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth,” had been canceled. The authors were scheduled to speak with Becka Oliver, executive director of the Writers’ League of Texas, in a virtual event at 8 p.m. Thursday.
“A @BullockMuseum employee says they had to cancel following a social media campaign by rightwingers and an order from the board,” wrote Houston Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson, one of the book’s three authors, in a tweet Thursday evening.
The museum’s board of directors includes Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Speaker Dade Phelan, all Republicans.
“As a member of the Preservation Board, I told staff to cancel this event as soon as I found out about it,” Patrick tweeted Friday morning. “Like efforts to move the Cenotaph, which I also stopped, this fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place.”
That permit was denied by the Texas historical commission last year.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that creating the “1836 Project,” an “advisory committee to promote patriotic education and increase awareness of Texas values,” according to the bill analysis. The title is a reference to Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico, which was won in 1836.
But the book’s authors argue that the battles waged by the state’s forefathers were not as heroic as they’ve been depicted in state history.
“Slavery was the undeniable linchpin of all of this,” author Bryan Burrough said in an interview with National Public Radio about the true intention of the state’ fight for independence.