On this day in 1927, a group of Mexican Americans and Mexicans met at the city auditorium in Harlingen, Texas, to discuss organizing against racial discrimination. The so-called Harlingen Convention was called by El Comité Provisional Organizador Pro-Raza, headed by Alonso S. Perales. Members of various existing groups--including the Order of Sons of America and the Order of Knights of America--attended. Though most came from South Texas, Fort Worth and Houston societies also sent delegates. Conference speakers included Eduardo Idar, Clemente Idar, and J. T. Canales. The convention was divided, however, over the question of whether Mexican citizens should be involved in a Texas political organization. So serious was the disagreement that perhaps 90 percent of the delegates bolted from the meeting. Moreover, some remaining conferees opposed forming a new organization. Nevertheless, a new group came into being. Perales provisionally called it the League of Latin American Citizens. In 1929 its chapters morphed into the League of United Latin American Citizens.
The Nacogdoches Texas Republican, believed to be the earliest newspaper published in Texas, was first printed on August 14, 1819. Eli Harris printed the paper for the James Long expedition. No copy of the paper is known to have survived, but the St. Louis Enquirer noted that the content was "principally occupied with the military and political operations going on in that quarter." The paper, a weekly, appeared twice in August and possibly a few times in September and then ceased publication.
On this day in 1957, Jane McCallum, suffragist leader and Texas secretary of state, died in Austin. McCallum was born in La Vernia, Texas, in 1877. She married Arthur Newell McCallum Sr. in 1896 and first entered politics by campaigning for prohibition and woman suffrage. The Austin Women's Suffrage Association elected her president in 1915. She also teamed with Minnie Fisher Cunningham in leading statewide campaigns for suffrage. After suffrage was won she concentrated on political reforms. From 1923 to 1925 she served as executive secretary of the Women's Joint Legislative Council, a coalition of six statewide women's organizations that lobbied for education bills, prison reform, stronger prohibition controls, maternal and child health funds, and eradication of illiteracy and child labor. Known as the "Petticoat Lobby," the coalition became an important lobbying group of the era. In 1926 she led the Petticoat Lobbyists in campaigning for Dan Moody's gubernatorial bid against Ma Ferguson. Moody appointed her secretary of state in 1927, and she retained the position under Governor Ross Sterling from 1931 to 1933; she was thus the only person in Texas to hold the position under two governors and for more than two terms. She remained active in civic affairs throughout her life.