On this day in 1972, Texas voters passed the Texas Equal Rights and the Constitutional Revision amendments. The Texas Equal Rights Amendment, granting women and men equal legal rights, resulted from a fifteen-year campaign spearheaded by Hermine D. Tobolowsky and the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. A few months after its passage, women legislators employed the new amendment in preparing several laws to halt discriminatory practices. Successful bills included one prohibiting sex-based discrimination in processing loan and credit applications and another disallowing husbands from abandoning and selling homesteads without their wives' consent. The Constitutional Revision Amendment recognized the need for a new state constitution. As a result of the amendment, the Sixty-third Legislature convened as a constitutional convention on January 8, 1974. The convention carried out the first thorough attempt to draft a new constitution for Texas since the Constitutional Convention of 1875. After seven months, however, it ended, on July 30, 1974, having failed by three votes to produce a document to submit to the voters. In 1975 the legislature did approve a new constitution in the form of eight amendments approved by the normal amendment process. The Bill of Rights remained unchanged, but the eight amendments went before the voters on November 4, 1975, in a special election. They were all defeated.
On this day in 1902, William G. M. Samuel died in San Antonio. He came to Texas sometime in the 1830s and gained a reputation as a fearless Indian fighter with William A. (Bigfoot) Wallace. He also served in Gen. John W. Wool’s Army of Chihuahua in the Mexican War and later as an ordnance officer for the Confederacy. Samuel held various jobs in law enforcement, including the positions of city marshall in San Antonio in 1852 and deputy sheriff in the 1880s and 1890s, but perhaps his true legacy rests in the folk paintings he left behind. Samuel painted a number of portraits, including the likenesses of Bigfoot Wallace, José Antonio Menchaca, and Rip Ford. Two of his oil paintings were exhibited at the San Antonio International Fair in 1888, and his four views of the buildings, landmarks, and daily activities of San Antonio’s Main Plaza preserved a valuable record of the downtown during the mid-nineteenth century.
On this day in 1835, at San Felipe, the Consultation adopted the Declaration of November 7, 1835, a statement of causes for taking up arms against Mexico preliminary to the Texas Declaration of Independence. The document declared that the Texans had taken up arms in defense of their rights and liberties and the republican principles of the Mexican Constitution of 1824. Among other assertions, the declaration stated that Texas was no longer bound by the compact of union, that Texans would not cease to carry on war against the Centralist troops in Texas, that the Texans had the right to establish an independent government, and that Texas would reward with lands and citizenship those who volunteered their services to her in the struggle.