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Aired February 2, 2004

Remember the Alamo

Film Description

Long before the Alamo made heroes of Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett and spawned the well-known battle cry, José Antonio Navarro and a group of Tejanos — Mexicans of Texas who had lived there for generations — started the battle for Texas.

The one-hour documentary Remember the Alamo explores the life of the famed Tejano leader and his efforts to protect the sovereignty of his homeland as it passed through the hands of multiple governments.

"After years of research in archives and libraries, and dozens of discussions with descendants and scholars, we have created a film that challenges popular notions of what happened at the Alamo in March of 1836, and in Texas," says producer Joseph Tovares, who is himself a descendant of Tejanos from San Antonio.

History books have traditionally painted the battle at the Alamo as a two-sided fight for Texas between the United States and Mexico. Yet inside the Alamo, an old mission in San Antonio, a third group — Tejanos — fought alongside Anglo settlers from the U.S. "The irony is that the Alamo is seen as a strictly Anglo-Texan versus Mexican dynamic, when in reality Tejanos initiated the independence movement and developed the principles of independence against the Mexican government," says historian Andres Tijerina.

More than two decades before the battle at the Alamo, Tejanos in San Antonio waged a brutal — and unsuccessful — rebellion against Spanish rule. At the time, Texas was part of Mexico, which was under Spanish control. Navarro's family helped lead the rebellion. When it was crushed, they and other Tejanos sought refuge in the United States.

By the time Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Navarro had returned to San Antonio. Poised to lead the Tejanos and Texas, he was quickly appointed mayor.

That same year, Stephen F. Austin left his home in Missouri and moved to San Antonio with an ambitious plan to lure United States families to Texas through rock-bottom land prices. Foreseeing prosperity for his homeland, Navarro backed Austin's efforts and the two started to work as partners.

Austin's plan succeeded thanks in part to Navarro's ushering a bill through the state legislature that circumvented Mexican anti-slavery laws. The bill's successful passage reassured Southern plantation owners that a move to Texas wouldn't jeopardize their ability to own slaves. But when the number of Anglo settlers in Texas reached 30,000, the Mexican government closed Texas to further immigration.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, Antonio López de Santa Anna had assumed the Mexican presidency. A Spanish loyalist who fought at San Antonio in 1813, Santa Anna held a grudge against Texas, Tejano rebels, and Navarro's family.

In 1834, Santa Anna concentrated power in Mexico City, dissolved all state legislatures and abolished the federal constitution. Tejanos saw Santa Anna's rise to power as a severe blow to Texas sovereignty. Newly arrived immigrants from the U.S. feared that Santa Anna would revoke their settlement contracts and confiscate their slaves. Texans and Tejanos organized and by the end of 1835 succeeded in driving all Mexican soldiers out of Texas. What started as a civil war became an overt movement to separate Texas from Mexico. In February of 1836, Navarro and other Texas leaders gathered at Washington on the Brazos, 150 miles east of San Antonio, to declare independence.

Santa Anna advanced into Texas with 4,000 men, headed for the Alamo, where almost 200 American and Tejano volunteers huddled, awaiting an attack. The now-infamous battle that occurred on March 6, 1836, resulted in a Mexican victory and the death of every last Alamo defender. Not left unscathed, the Mexicans lost 600 men.

Six weeks later, after a surprise attack on the Mexican forces near the San Jacinto river, Texan army commander Sam Houston rallied his troops with the cry, "Remember the Alamo!" Although the battle was won within minutes, the vengeful Texan army — including Tejanos -- continued fighting for hours, killing any Mexican soldier they found. Santa Anna was captured the following day, effectively ending the war.

For several years following Texas independence, Tejanos and Anglos shared power in San Antonio. But recent Anglo immigrants from the U.S. were unaware of the Tejanos' contribution to the territory's independence, and felt a common distrust and hatred for all people of Mexican descent. As the times grew worse for his community, Navarro became a champion of Tejano rights. His Apuntes Historicos — historical notes on the role of Tejanos in Texas independence — reminded Texans, both Anglo and Tejano, that the fight for Texas had begun generations before the conflict with Santa Anna. Navarro asked that his readers acknowledge the longstanding presence of Tejanos in Texas and to keep their fight for sovereignty in mind as they remembered the Alamo.

Remember the Alamo shows how Tejanos, far from being passive onlookers, actively changed the course of Texas history — on the battlefield and in the political arena. It recasts the war for Texas independence as a natural extension of the Tejano fight for self-determination and economic freedom.

"This is a tough story for all three parties involved, but especially for the Tejanos. The frontier was a very unforgiving place," says Tovares, "One can argue with many of the decisions of men like Navarro, but what's important to remember is that they were not bystanders in this fight."


Written and Produced by
Joseph Tovares

Directed by
Joseph Tovares

Narrated by
Hector Elizondo

Co Producer
Desirée J. García

Jon Neuberger

Michael Chin

Music by
Claudio Ragazzi

Production Assistant
Moses Shumow

Assistant Camera
Jill Tufts
Paul Marbury

Sound Record
Mack Melson

Charlie Seligman

Mark Markey
Danny Navarrette
Buzz Maloy

Dolly Grip
Greg Lomas

Aerial Photography
Vance Holmes

Assistant Director
George Ozuna

Additional Research
Diana Claitor

Sound Editing by 701 Sound
Jacob Ribicoff
Ira Spiegel
Chad Birmingham

Sound Mixer
Dominic Tavella

Jane Tolmachyov

Animation Effects
Frank Capria

Title Design
Alison Kennedy

Map Design
Bruce Walker

Artist -- Navarro Drawing
Steven Noble

On-Line Editor
Larry Schmidt

Production Design
Bruce Stewart

Kristin Nelson

Vicki Phillips

Art Assistants
Rocky Turner
Gary Gayler

Head Wrangler/Consultant
Ben Rodgers

Ron Allen, Special Effects by Ron

Rod Stahmann, Texas 1st Artillery

Production Assistants -- Texas
Cesario García
Jennifer Hersey
Hondo Aguilar
Rebecca M. Yauger

Steve Acevedo
Adam Garza
Salvador Martell
Briana C. Guzmán

San Antonio Living History Association
Bob Benavides
Bill Barnett
Sylvia Carrier
Phillip de la Peña
Adam Domínguez
Wm. Lyle Edwards
Paul García
Ray Gardner
Yolanda Gutiérrez
José Guerra
Madison Muñóz
Dan Phillips
Carlotta Ponce
Miguel Ponce Navarro
John Potter
David Rodríguez
Margarita Rodríquez
Roger Valdéz
Martin Vásquez

Zac Hearnsberger
Jason Herrera

Adán Benavides
Anastacio Bueno
Gregg Cantrell
Carolina Crimm
James E. Crisp
Jesús F. de la Teja
Richard Flores
Stephen F. Hardin
Timothy Matovina
David McDonald
Antonio Navarro
Andrés Tijerina
Harry Watson

Nicole Parent
Anabay Sullivan

Special Thanks
David McDonald, Casa Navarro, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Bob Benavides, Chairman, San Antonio Living History Association
Jeanne Albrecht, San Antonio Conservation Society
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Richard Arias, Special Projects Officer, National Park Service
City of San Antonio Department of Parks and Recreation
Tom Scaggs, Independence Hall, Washington on the Brazos State Park
Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Custodians of the Alamo
Park Rangers at the Alamo
Gloria Cadena
Leighton Chapman, San Antonio Film Commission
Brigitte and Kerry Hearnsberger, Twin Elm Guest Ranch, Bandera, TX
Carlos Ortíz, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, San Antonio, TX
Nora Ward, Spanish Governor's Palace
Fr. Herbert W. Jones, OFM and Mission San José Catholic Church
Tom Shelton, Institute of Texan Cultures

Photo Credits
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Austin History Center, Austin Public Library
Southwest Writers Collection and Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography
Witte Museum
R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana
Collection of the New York Historical Society
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Amon Carter Museum
Chicago Historical Society
Nebraska State Historical Society
Utah State Historical Society
Library of Congress
Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma
Casa Navarro, Texas Parks and Wildlife
The Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin
Benson Latin American History Collection, University of Texas, Austin
San Jacinto Museum of History Association
University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures
Evie Herrera Patton
Don Mabry
Historical Text Archive
Star of the Republic Museum
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
John N. McWilliams
Joseph Musso
Brazoria County Historical Museum
University of Texas, Arlington
Idaho State Historical Society
Seaver Center for Western History Research
Denver Public Library
The Image Bank by Getty Images
Rosenberg Library
Kansas State Historical Society
California State Library
Charles and Fanny Normann Collection of the Joe Fultz Estate, Navasota, Texas
Graham Pilecki
Agustín Viesca

American Experience

Post Production
James E. Dunford
Gregory Shea

Series Designer
Alison Kennedy

On-Line Editor
Mark Steele
Spencer Gentry

Sound Mix
John Jenkins

Series Theme
Mark Adler

Business Manager
John Van Hagen

Project Administration
Nancy Farrell
Vanessa Ruiz
Helen R. Russell
Rebekah Suggs

Jay Fialkov
Maureen Jordan

Director, New Media
Maria Daniels

Project Coordinator, New Media
Ravi Jain

Daphne B. Noyes
Johanna Baker
Leslie Sepuka

Coordinating Producer
Susan Mottau

Series Editor
Sharon Grimberg

Vice President,
National Programming
Margaret Drain

Executive Producer
Mark Samels

American Experience is a production of WGBH Boston, which is solely responsible for its content.

WGBH Educational Foundation
All rights reserved.


Narrator: In March of 1836, a Mexican army of four thousand men advanced on the old mission in San Antonio known as the Alamo. Inside, almost two hundred U.S. volunteers huddled, awaiting an attack. Most had come to help wrestle the territory of Texas from Mexico.

James E. Crisp, Historian: Texas had a lot of land, and a lot of riches, in terms of the future. And many of these people saw the possibility of establishing themselves anew in the West. They saw this as the West.

Narrator: One hundred and fifty miles from the Alamo, a group of prominent Texans was gathering to sign a Declaration of Independence. Among them, was an ambitious merchant and idealistic politician who had been pushing for Texas independence for much of his life. No one had more to gain, or to lose, from the fight for Texas than Jose Antonio Navarro.

Anastacio Bueno, Historian: So this is a prominent man. He is a law maker, legislator in the Mexican Federation and here he is turning on that nation by signing a Declaration of Independence to create a new country. That's a big risk.

Narrator: Navarro was the leader of the Tejanos, people who had settled the Mexican frontier of Texas. For generations, they had been fighting for independence. At the Alamo, Tejanos stood shoulder to shoulder with U.S. volunteers.

Andres Tijerina, Historian: The irony is that the Alamo is seen as a strictly Anglo-Texan versus Mexican dynamic, when in reality Tejanos initiated the independence movement, and developed the principles of independence against the Mexican government.

Narrator: The Alamo would be remembered for the valor of men like Travis, Crockett, and Bowie. Men with names like Losoya, Esparza, and Navarro, whose struggles had led to that fateful day, would be forgotten.


Narrator: 1813 -- twenty-three years before the Alamo -- the remote settlement of San Antonio, Texas. Eighteen-year-old Jose Antonio Navarro made his way to the highest spot in town and looked down on a bloody battle.

Texas was part of Mexico and all of Mexico was under Spanish control. For two years the Tejano community had taken part in a widespread rebellion against Spain; their struggle for independence was rooted in economics.

Andres Tijerina: The Spanish crown saw Texas only as a source of revenue for anything, any source of income that it might tap. And those were meager.

Narrator: Trading mustangs that roamed the Texas countryside was one of the few ways Tejanos could earn a living. The horses were taken to the U.S. territory of Louisiana and were sold or exchanged for supplies. When the Spanish government declared wild livestock to be property of the Crown, many Tejanos lost their means of survival and revolted. But Spain's powerful army crushed the Tejano rebellion.

Andres Tijerina: Those that were captured in San Antonio were imprisoned. They were packed into the priests' cloisters -- three hundred men -- so tightly, according to the reports, that around nineteen or twenty of them suffocated during the first night.

Narrator: Over the next few days the remaining prisoners were marched out and executed in front of their families. One woman begged that the men be allowed to confess. "They can confess to the devils in hell," said a soldier.

Andres Tijerina: About five hundred of the women, the wives, the children of the Tejanos who had fled were then rounded up and put in a stockade, called La Quinta, a compound right on the military plaza in modern-day San Antonio, and kept there for several months, by the Spanish army, which was very brutal with their female captives, and made them suffer rape, and other abuses.

Narrator: Navarro--whose family helped lead the rebellion -- managed to escape the bloodbath. He and hundreds of others Tejanos sought refuge in the United States. But the fight for Texas had just begun.

Jesus Francisco de la Teja, Historian: The core of San Antonio was a town which had been originally established for fifteen Canary Islander families. Right next to it was a presidio which had been established in 1718, so it predated the town. Also, right across the river was the former Mission San Antonio de Valero, what we now call the Alamo, which had originally been established to convert the local Indian population to Christianity.

Adan Benavides, Historian: It would have been a dusty town. Houses would have had dirt floors. Maybe well-to-do families might have had some sort of planking, or they would have put rugs down or hay or some sort of grass. But, you know, life was rough.

Narrator: Most of the town's two thousand people lived in jacales, one-room huts made of sticks and mud. In the early 1800's San Antonio day-to-day life was quiet.

Caroline Castillo Crimm, Historian: There would have been people going out to check on their cattle on the ranches. There would have been people shopping for goods if a mule train had come in overnight from the interior, from Saltillo in central Mexico. There wasn't a whole lot of money in San Antonio during this period, so it was mostly a barter economy.

Narrator: Jose Antonio Navarro's father arrived from Europe as an indentured servant. By 1800, Angel Navarro had married well, become a successful merchant, and was a leading member of the San Antonio community.

Jesus Francisco de la Teja: A man like Angel Navarro, although he was born in Corsica, was considered for local purposes a European Spaniard. He came from Europe in other words. So he was considered by his very birth a prominent individual. So he was able to very easily become involved in elite society in San Antonio, such as it existed.

Narrator: When a childhood accident left Jose Antonio physically handicapped, the young boy turned his attention to study.

David McDonald, Historian: His left leg was broken when he was nine years old, and he grew up in a time when boys of his age were progressively getting rowdy, riding, roping, jumping, shooting, hiking, and doing all kind of things that he couldn't do so well. And I think it gave him motivation to study extra hard.

Narrator: Navarro was one of the few San Antonians to receive formal schooling. His family had a stone house in an area of town reserved for people of European descent. They called themselves the vecinos, neighbors. The Navarros and other vecino families--the Ruizes, the Seguins, and the Veramendis--led the rebellion against Spain, and placed everything they owned at risk.

Narrator: Three years after Jose Antonio fled to the United States Spain declared a general amnesty that allowed him to return to Texas. Evidence of Spanish retribution was everywhere. The Navarro family home was in ruins.

Andres Tijerina: Navarro and his family were singled out for persecution by the Spanish royalists. The community was devastated. Many of the buildings were destroyed. Many of their homes were burned. So their trade, and their personal lives suffered greatly.

Narrator: To support his family, Jose Antonio turned to smuggling.

Jesus Francisco de la Teja: Some of the more prominent families were the ones who actually organized the smuggling. They bring goods into Texas and they take whatever they can -- mostly horses and mules -- to Louisiana for trade, and they bring back whatever goods they can, mostly for barter, but also for sale.

Timothy Matovina, Historian: So somehow over there he met people that became sort of business partners and opened his eyes to the fact that there was great economic possibilities in Louisiana and in the United States...

Narrator: In 1821, word reached San Antonio that after a decade of revolution Mexico was at last free from Spain. Jose Antonio Navarro -- educated, articulate and well-connected--was ready to lead the Tejanos and Texas. Within a year, the twenty-six-year-old was named mayor of San Antonio.

Narrator: The same year that Mexican independence was won, a young man who would help change the course of Texas history arrived in San Antonio. Stephen F. Austin had an ambitious plan to bring U.S. families to Texas.

Gregg Cantrell, Historian: Austin wants to place himself at the center of a large scale American colonization project and be its manager, be its impresario. And he really sees it as a sort of grand life-undertaking that will be his life's work, that will be his great achievement to pass on to posterity.

Narrator: The Austins of Missouri had been one of the richest families in the West. But by 1821 they were bankrupt. Stephen Austin saw Texas as the promised land, a place where he could redeem the family name.

Harry Watson, Historian: Stephen F. Austin sent a letter back to the United States and it was widely circulated in the press, describing Texas really as a land flowing with milk and honey, there was grass, there was water, there was timber, the land was cheap, you could grow anything you wanted, it was going to be great.

Narrator: Austin's message arrived as the U.S. was recovering from a depression. Hundreds of settlers signed-on, agreeing to convert to Catholicism, become Mexican citizens, and provide proof of upstanding character.

Gregg Cantrell: You've got all sorts of people desperate for land, can't buy it from the United States government at an affordable price on credit, and here is Stephen F. Austin saying, 'Come to Texas, get this princely domain of 4,428 acres of land, get it for minimal prices.' And in fact, many of the settlers never paid their land fees and essentially got their four thousand acres free.

Narrator: Navarro was quick to see the potential in Austin's colonization plan and worked with him to encourage U.S. immigration to Texas.

Gregg Cantrell: Navarro was part of a group of northern Mexican leaders who subscribed to many of the concepts of classic economic liberalism. They wanted to see Texas become integrated into the international market economy. They wanted to see Texas grow and prosper. And they saw Austin as sort of their trump card; so Austin and Mexicans like Navarro see in each other important means to the same end.

Narrator: The Missourian and the Tejano shared more than just an economic vision.

Gregg Cantrell: They were both raised in rather aristocratic families. They had a certain sense of themselves as gentlemen, a certain sense of noblesse oblige, as members of the upper class it is our responsibility to show public service to our people and exert leadership. And those were qualities that I believe Austin and Navarro would have been able to sense in one another almost from the beginning.

Anastacio Bueno:That relationship, if you look at the correspondence, for example, between Austin and Navarro, you see that those two are the meeting of the minds. I mean, they're like, you know, they're almost like blood brothers the way they correspond with each other, the dignity and the respect that they have for each other, the counsel that they seek and hope for.

Narrator [Austin quote]: "...I had formed an idea of some plans that I considered of interest for the advancement of Texas," Austin wrote to Navarro, "and I thought of troubling you for your opinion and advice as a true friend, and Texan."

Narrator [Navarro Quote]: " couldn't make me happier," Navarro replied, "than to engage me in some usefulness to you..."

Narrator: Austin's colonization plan was a success. Three years after he sent out his call for settlers, eighteen hundred people were living in his San Felipe colony. Austin's land holdings grew as his colony expanded. The partnership benefited Navarro as well. By 1830 he would own more than twenty-five thousand acres. Navarro and Austin had become two of the most influential men in Texas.

Narrator: After several years of progress and prosperity, troubling news arrived from Mexico City. The Mexican federal government decided to merge the sparsely populated territory of Texas with the more powerful state of Coahuila. Tejanos in San Antonio complained bitterly about a move they felt crushed their long-term hopes for Texas.

Andres Tijerina: Tejanos wanted their own independent state government under the Mexican republic, as other states were having. They wanted their own governor. They wanted their own legislature. And so when they were united then under Coahuila, it was a loss of all of that autonomy to Tejanos.

Jesus Francisco de la Teja: The one constant that one finds in Tejano politics, and the one constant that you see in a man like Jose Antonio Navarro, is this important idea of local rule. That only the people on the ground, in San Antonio know what's best, so rule has to be local.

Narrator: Despite Navarro's opposition to the merger, he accepted an appointment to the new legislature in Coahuila. In his new position, Navarro remained a relentless advocate of economic progress for Texas. He modeled his plans for development on the American South, and its most profitable crop.

Harry Watson: Cotton was a vital product of the early nineteenth century. It was the most valuable export that the United States sent to Europe. It was like our petroleum. It was the thing that we made that the rest of the industrialized world desperately wanted.

Gregg Cantrell: Creating a flourishing commercial cotton economy means that you'll have to have improved roads, eventually railroads, improved port facilities...and so what Austin and Navarro are seeing is Texas becoming another Louisiana, with Galveston perhaps as it's leading port, and Galveston someday becoming a city and seaport and financial center to rival New Orleans.

Narrator: Navarro knew that with cotton came slavery. Since the early days of Anglo settlement in Texas, slavery had been encouraged--settlers arriving with slaves were rewarded with larger parcels of land. For many Tejanos, slavery was an economic issue, not a moral one. Navarro's own father was a slave trader.

James E. Crisp: They sometimes looked upon slavery like Americans like Thomas Jefferson did, as a necessary evil. That it was simply impractical not to expect that slavery would be a part of the development of an area like Texas, which shared a physical geography with the antebellum South of the United States.

Narrator: Anti-slavery feelings, however, were taking hold in Mexico City. Determined to maintain the practice of slavery in Texas, Navarro slipped a bill through the state legislature that circumvented federal anti-slavery laws.

James E. Crisp: What changed with this loophole was that, rather than bringing slaves into Texas from the United States as that now a person from the United States would have a contract drawn up in the United States between himself and his slaves. Often the slave was not involved at all in this process. One of the documents that I've read says essentially this: "In order to learn the art and science of agriculture, I, the slave, agree to indenture myself for the next ninety-nine years to my master." This was simply a way to bring a slave in under a different name, and to make the continued holding of that slave legal.

Harry Watson: Well, the news that African American slaves could be turned into quote-unquote, "apprentices" or "indentured laborers," in Mexico, and still be held to lifelong service was entirely encouraging in the South. That was the missing piece that would have prevented a planter from Georgia or South Carolina from picking up and going across to the ends of the earth, into Texas. So, when Navarro enables slavery, he makes a crucial link between Texas and the southern United States.

Narrator: Following passage of Navarro's slavery bill, cotton planters flocked to Texas.

Harry Watson: Texas begins to be a place where people can carve out plantations, it's starting on a trajectory that moves in the direction of the plantation society with the big white houses and the big tall columns and all the rest of it.

Narrator: By 1830, there were thirty thousand settlers and slaves living in Texas. The Tejano population numbered just four thousand.

Narrator: As Navarro worked to make Texas more attractive to prospective settlers, there was growing pressure in the United States for expansion. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson offered to buy Texas for five million dollars. It was the second time the U.S. had tried to purchase the Mexican territory.

Harry Watson: One of the things that drove the idea of expansion was that you couldn't really have a society based on freedom and equality which wasn't prosperous for the great majority of white families. Well, as the population grows in the east, land gets scarcer and gets more expensive, so you can't sustain that republican society unless you find more land to put people.

Gregg Cantrell: ...And because of the numbers, and because of the growth of towns in Texas, and the diversification of the economy, more of those settlers are people who wouldn't have met Austin's good character tests in the early days. Austin can't screen them. So you get people like young William Barrett Travis, who's had a failed marriage and a bad law practice back in the United States, and arrives with dollar signs in his eyes, seeing a chance to make a lot of money as a lawyer, and also a chance to get involved in politics. And if a revolution should come along, by George, you'll have a chance for glory, as well.

Narrator: Concerned about the high number of U.S. immigrants in Texas, the Mexican government enacted legislation intended to seal the border.

Gregg Cantrell: If the law goes into full operation and all immigration from the United States is cut off, then Austin and Navarro's plans for the creation of a flourishing cotton economy, and all of the good things that that would bring, will be dashed because Mexico is not going to be able to bring Texas into the world market economy.

Narrator: Convinced a personal appeal would make a difference, Austin traveled to Mexico City. When his requests were turned down, the usually cautious Austin blundered. He sent a letter urging Tejano leaders to establish their own state, in violation of federal law. The note fell into the hands of Mexican authorities, who arrested Austin and locked him in a dungeon. News of his imprisonment reverberated across the Texas colonies. Anglo settlers feared their land would be confiscated...their slaves set free.

Narrator: As Austin sat in prison, an old enemy of Texas, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, assumed the Mexican presidency.

Stephen L. Hardin, Historian: ... He looked great in a uniform. He sat a horse well. He was an able politician, uh, he was an able orator. He always said the right thing. He was able to inspire the Mexican people. But ultimately, he was an empty uniform. He was hollow at the core. Because what motivated Santa Anna was nothing more significant than his own ambition.

Andres Tijerina: Santa Anna was with the Spanish loyalist army when it pillaged San Antonio in 1813. And it sought a bloody retribution against the loyal against the Tejano patriots and it punished Navarro's family, specifically and personally.

Narrator: Santa Anna was a young cadet at the time of the Spanish campaign against the Tejanos. While Jose Antonio Navarro was in exile in the U.S., Santa Anna was quartered in the Navarro home.

Anastacio Bueno: He, Santa Anna, heard these stories about this young eighteen-year-old named Jose Antonio Navarro, who was brilliant, he was articulate, he was, you know, very well placed, a good family, and Santa Anna was jealous of Navarro....

Anastacio Bueno: While he was there, it is said he committed an act of indiscretion with one of the female members of the family.

Narrator: Navarro said he would rather see Texas "reduced to ashes" than have it fall into the hands of the Mexican general.

Narrator: In 1834 Santa Anna concentrated power in Mexico City. He dissolved the state legislatures, limited the authority of state militias, and abolished the Federal Constitution. The response was immediate. In Texas, angry U.S, settlers skirmished with Mexican soldiers. Santa Anna remained in Mexico City, but dispatched six hundred troops to San Antonio.

Stephen L. Hardin: Santa Anna's motivation was to rid Texas of those people he called 'the perfidious foreigners.' He felt, with some justification, that the revolt in Texas was instigated by forces inside the United States.

Narrator: Panic gripped the Texas settler community. Mexican troops "are coming to compel you into obedience to the new form of give up your liberate your slaves," warned one settler. Soon after the Mexican troops sent by Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio, they were attacked by a Texas rebel army. Fighting with the Anglos was a company of Tejano volunteers.

Timothy Matovina: They joined forces with many of the Anglo-Americans in Texas to try to support their own grievances. They didn't want independence, they wanted the reinstitution of the Mexican Constitution of 1824, which would give them statehood and give them a lot more autonomy and support to develop their economic and other interests with greater kind of success in their own local area and region.

Narrator: Fighting dragged on for weeks. By December of 1835 most Mexican troops had retreated inside the Alamo. As winter set in, morale in both armies plummeted.

James E. Crisp: Just as the Texans were about to give up and break up the siege and move into winter quarters, a Mexican lieutenant rode into the Texan camp under a white flag, and said, essentially, 'Guys, if you'll simply attack--and I'll help you--you can take these people. They're weak, they're weaker than you are. Their horses are starving for lack of food.' And it's the defection of a Mexican lieutenant who's sympathetic to the federalist cause that leads to the defeat of the Mexican troops in 1835.

Narrator: On December 9, the leader of the Mexican forces at the Alamo surrendered. The troops returned to Mexico in disgrace. The defeat was humiliating for Santa Anna.

James E. Crisp: The Texans, by the end of 1835, have driven every Mexican soldier out of Texas, and many of the Texans wonder what's happening next. Things happen very quickly, and the tenor and tone and direction of the revolution change very quickly from a Mexican civil war, which is what is breaking out for all practical purposes and at least on the surface in 1835, to an overt movement to separate Texas from Mexico.

Narrator: In February of 1836, Jose Antonio Navarro left San Antonio and headed one hundred and fifty miles east to a place called Washington-on-the-Brazos. Texas leaders were gathering to declare independence. As Navarro made his way to the convention, an angry Santa Anna was advancing on San Antonio with more than four thousand men. The suspicious Mexican general thought the United States was behind the revolt and threatened to continue his march all the way to Washington, D.C. On February 22, advance troops of Santa Anna's army were seen approaching San Antonio. Tejanos who were loyal to Mexico welcomed the troops, but many others panicked.

Timothy Matovina: A lot of them were running out to the countryside to hide from the battle that was about to happen. Some were running and locking up their houses just trying to weather the storm and try to protect their possessions, their livelihood. And then some were running to flee and hide inside the Alamo seeking their security there.

Narrator: The command at the Alamo was split. Jim Bowie, a slave trader led a rag tag band of volunteers. William Travis, an ambitious lawyer, was in charge of the regular army. Among the men defending the Alamo was a small group of Tejanos. Soon after Santa Anna arrived, the Mexican forces raised the flag of no quarter, demanding unconditional surrender. "The Mexican army cannot come to terms under any conditions with rebellious foreigners to whom there is no other recourse left...if they wish to save their lives, [they are] to place themselves immediately at the disposal of the Supreme Government from whom alone they may expect clemency."

James E. Crisp: The initial contact between the Mexican army and the men inside the Alamo is a little bit ironic, in that you've got two responses coming from inside the Alamo. Bowie sends out a note essentially saying 'Let's talk,' and about the same time that that happens, you get a cannon shot coming from William Barrett Travis. Travis apparently, at that time at least, didn't want to talk to the Mexicans, but wanted to confront them, and spite them.

Narrator: At Washington-on-the-Brazos, Navarro prepared to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. He was a third generation Tejano, with vast land holdings and a hard won reputation. As he added his name to the declaration witnesses reported his hands were shaking.

At the Alamo, a desperate William Travis penned a letter to the Convention requesting men and supplies. "I hope your honorable body," wrote Travis, "will hasten on reinforcements, ammunition, and provisions to our aid as soon as possible." Time was running out for Travis and the defenders of the Alamo. In the early morning of March 6, 1836, an eight-year-old Tejano boy, Enrique Esparza, was sleeping in a store room inside the Alamo compound when his mother's desperate voice woke him. She was calling to her husband, alerting him of the Mexican assault. "We could hear the Mexican officers shouting to the men to jump over the wall," Esparza recalled.

"The families were huddled up in corners" ... "We could hear the men striking each other. They began shooting into the room" ... "it was a miracle none of us children were hit."

We could see shadows of men moving around inside the fort. The Mexicans went from room to room looking for Americans to kill.

At first light Enrique saw the bodies of hundreds of men. More than six hundred Mexicans had been killed. All the Alamo defenders -- including his father -- were dead. In the following weeks hundreds more Texan rebels would die at the hands of the Mexican Army.

James E. Crisp: Essentially, the Texans had lost every battle in the year 1836...this fragmented Texan army...they had been decimated. They had been defeated. They had been routed.

Narrator: Six weeks after the Alamo, vengeful Texan forces surprised Santa Anna near a river called the San Jacinto. Sam Houston, commander of the Army of Texas, urged his troops to "Remember the Alamo."

James E. Crisp: And so these men who were attacking were putting it all on the line. And they also were very angry, and they were so full of emotion that after the battle was over, in eighteen minutes, after the Mexican army was defeated and fleeing, they kept killing. And they killed, and killed, and killed for hours....

Narrator: Fighting alongside the Texans at San Jacinto were Tejano rebels, avenging their own losses at the Alamo. General Lopez de Santa Anna was captured by Texan forces the day after the battle. The war came to an abrupt end. Immortalized by the victory was the Texan battle cry, "Remember the Alamo."

Richard Flores, Historian: What is interesting about the phrase is that it's really not an effort to remember the events that happened just a few short weeks before, but to "Remember the Alamo"...emotions that are brought forth in that invocation is one where Anglos thought Mexicans were tyrannous. That they slaughtered innocent victims. And so it's used as a way of driving forward a message of recompense, of paying back the enemy for the wrongs that were done in war. And that's what the whole message was about.

Narrator: In December of 1836 a bitter chill swept across Texas and Stephen F. Austin fell ill. He had been released from prison in Mexico City the year before and had recently been appointed Texas Secretary of State. The Republic of Texas was less than a year old when Austin died of pneumonia. His was "one of the most gratifying friendships," wrote Jose Antonio Navarro. "I wish my children to know that I was a friend of him who was a friend of liberty."

Gregg Cantrell: Stephen F. Austin had consistently worked for harmonious relations between Anglo-Texans and Tejanos, and his death at age forty-three in December of 1836 was, I believe, a real blow to the future of those relations...and I believe with him died some of the best long-term hopes for fair treatment of Tejanos.

Narrator: For several years Tejanos and Anglos shared power in San Antonio. But the uneasy arrangement eventually fell apart as more and more newcomers arrived from the United States.

Anastacio Bueno: There's a story that all of the Anglos who came after 1836 and who did not know about the contribution of the Tejanos to the independence movement, that when they came to San Antonio that this was a there was a stereotype that every Mexican was Santa Anna. That's how they saw them.

Narrator: The anti-Mexican backlash hit Navarro personally when an Anglo settler shot and killed his younger brother, Eugenio, on suspicion of being loyal to Mexico. Across Texas, speculators seized vast tracts of land that Tejano families had owned for generations.

Caroline Castillo Crimm: Now certainly there were Anglos who wanted the land along the rivers and Mexican families were frequently dispossessed by force, by sometimes killings. There was a saying that if a man wouldn't sell his land, his widow would.

Narrator: When the Mexican army briefly reoccupied San Antonio in 1842, it was the Tejanos who suffered, as Anglo fighters descended on the town.

James E. Crisp: Hundreds and hundreds of new volunteer troops came into San Antonio, some from eastern Texas, some directly from the United States, and they were looking for Mexicans to fight. And since they weren't originally or immediately sent to Mexico to do that fighting, many of them started going after the Tejanos.

Narrator: As other Tejanos were being persecuted, Navarro--who served as a senator, an associate justice, and helped write the first constitution--was still seen by Anglos as a champion of the Texas revolution.

James E. Crisp: Can a Mexican be a Texan hero by 1845? At least some of the newspapers in Texas said no, and they pointed to his European ancestry, his father having been born in Corsica, and said, in the words of one of the Galveston newspapers, 'Of course, Jose Antonio Navarro is not of the abject Mexican race, but is of European blood. And in fact, his father was born under the same roof as Napoleon Bonaparte,' gilding the lily a bit, in that statement.

Narrator: Navarro refused to be set apart from his Tejano community. Although he had grown up in an elite neighborhood, Navarro moved to a modest house in what had become the "Mexican" side of town.

Andres Tijerina: Navarro had undergone a transformation; politically, philosophically. ... He had gone through all of the independence movement, independence from Spain, independence from Mexico. And he became, then, the defiant Tejano voice ... he encouraged Tejanos to resist the people that he called 'infamous aggressors,' who tried not only to usurp Tejano political rights, but also to usurp the Tejano heritage in Texas.

Narrator: In 1846 Texas was admitted to the United a slave state. It was not the Texas Navarro had hoped for. More than one million acres of land had been transferred from Tejano to Anglo hands. And in San Antonio, for the first time, Tejanos were a minority. In 1853, Navarro penned his Apuntes Historicos: 'Historical Notes' on the role of Tejanos in the shaping of Texas. His account reminded Texans -- both Tejano and Anglo -- that the fight for Texas began long before the words "Remember the Alamo" were ever spoken.

May Heaven use these historical apuntes to stir generous hearts to treat with more respect this race of men who, as the legitimate proprietor of this land, lost it together with their lives and their hopes....

Near the end of his life, Navarro encouraged Tejanos to embrace their status as American citizens. "We are covered by the American banner; let us cling to it, and if required, sacrifice our lives defending it."

Anglos and Tejanos alike mourned Navarro's death in 1871. The editor of a Texas newspaper wrote, "To none of her greatest statesman nor to her many eminent patriots is Texas more indebted for her existence than to Jose Antonio Navarro."