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Independent Democrats oppose KKK
September 16, 1922

On this day in 1922, a mass meeting of "Independent Democrats" in Dallas selected Houston lawyer George Peddy to run for the United States senate. The splinter group reflected opposition to the remarkable resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. After the nomination of KKK candidate Earle Bradford Mayfield for senator in the 1922 Democratic primary and after the state Democratic convention in San Antonio, where it appeared to many that the Ku Klux Klan had gained control of the party, anti-Klan Democrats sought out Peddy to oppose Mayfield. Peddy had campaigned for James E. Ferguson as the anti-Klan candidate in the primaries. Mayfield and regular Democratic forces succeeded in keeping Peddy's name off the ballot; however, the Independent Democrats failed to have Mayfield removed from the ballot on the grounds that his endorsement by and presumed membership in the KKK disqualified him as a Democrat and precluded his honoring the senatorial oath. Republican endorsement of Peddy also failed to win him a place on the ballot. Depending entirely on write-in votes, Peddy ran a surprisingly strong race, polling one-third (130,744 to 264,260) of the vote. Peddy challenged Mayfield's election, and the subsequent Senate investigation delayed Mayfield's seating until December 1923.

Mexico releases remaining Texas captives from Perote Prison
September 16, 1844

On this day in 1844, Mexican officials released 105 Texans from Perote Prison. The freed men were the last of the captives taken in the Dawson Massacre, the Mier expedition, and the Texan Santa Fe expedition--all episodes in the ongoing strife between the Republic of Texas and a Mexican government that did not acknowledge the legitimacy of that republic. Perote Prison was the jail chosen for Texan survivors of the republic's battles with Mexico. The stronghold, in the Mexican state of Vera Cruz, was originally a moated castle built to hold treasure bound for Spain and to protect a trade route. It was constructed in the 1770s. The Texans who were held there had surrendered as prisoners of war, but were held simply as prisoners. Nevertheless, they were evidently humanely treated. The Mexican government released the last of them partly as a result of continued pressure from the United States and British governments.

Diez y Seis de Septiembre
September 16, 1810

On this day in 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's grito de Dolores ("cry of Dolores") at the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato, called for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico. On September 16, 1825, the Republic of Mexico officially declared September 16 its national Independence Day. In Texas, Diez y Seis de Septiembre has been celebrated in San Antonio for more than 167 years and in Goliad for 160 years. Along with Cinco de Mayo, the holiday is one of the Fiestas Patrias celebrated by Mexican Americans throughout the Southwest.