The Beeville Riot was one of many incidents of inter-ethnic conflict in late-nineteenth-century Texas. Numerous Mexicans immigrated into central and eastern Texas in the 1880s and 1890s, became a source of cheap labor for farmers and businessmen, and began to compete with liberated African Americans and unskilled Whites. White employers increased the friction among the three groups, especially between Blacks and Mexican Americans, by hiring more of the latter at lower wages as Mexican immigrants increased in numbers in the Beeville area in the 1890s. The heightened antagonism came to a boil and ended with a raid on the Mexican section of the community in August 1894. Blacks, with the assistance of some "wild White boys," pelted the Mexicans and their homes with rocks, beat a few, and told them to leave the area or suffer greater punishment. At least three Mexicans were seriously injured. Most Whites sided with the Mexicans, who were viewed as more reliable, better workers, and less antagonistic. The Beeville Bee noted that the Mexicans were more tranquil, not as unruly, more industrious, and less expensive to hire. The incident is of unique interest, as it did not threaten White social and economic dominance. White interest in the riot, implied in the newspaper coverage, reflects a desire to keep wages low by fostering competition between the two minority groups involved.
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Beeville Bee, June 7, 1888, August 17, 1894. Arnoldo De León, They Called Them Greasers: Anglo Attitudes Toward Mexicans in Texas, 1821–1900 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Activism and Social Reform
Civil Rights, Segregation, and Slavery
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Juan O. Sanchez,
“Beeville Riot of 1894,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 30, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: