Winner of the Caughey Western History Prize
Winner of the Robert G. Athearn Award
Winner of the Lawrence W. Levine Award
Winner of the TCU Texas Book Award
Winner of the NACCS Tejas Foco Nonfiction Book Award
Winner of the María Elena Martínez Prize
Frederick Jackson Turner Award Finalist
“A page-turner…Haunting…Bravely and convincingly urges us to think differently about Texas’s past.”
Between 1910 and 1920, self-appointed protectors of the Texas–Mexico border—including members of the famed Texas Rangers—murdered hundreds of ethnic Mexicans living in Texas, many of whom were American citizens. Operating in remote rural areas, officers and vigilantes knew they could hang, shoot, burn, and beat victims to death without scrutiny. A culture of impunity prevailed. The abuses were so pervasive that in 1919 the Texas legislature investigated the charges and uncovered a clear pattern of state crime. Records of the proceedings were soon filed away as the Ranger myth flourished.
A groundbreaking work of historical reconstruction, The Injustice Never Leaves You has upended Texas’s sense of its own history. A timely reminder of the dark side of American justice, it is a riveting story of race, power, and prejudice on the border.
“It’s an apt moment for this book’s hard lessons…to go mainstream.”
“A reminder that government brutality on the border is nothing new.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
Serves as a reminder that government brutality on the border is nothing new. In fact, it was the heart of the Texas Rangers’ mission a century ago.
The Injustice Never Leaves You serves as a long-overdue reality check on the Texas Rangers’ legacy. Martinez traces the group’s history from its relatively humble beginnings in the 1830s—as a small band of armed men organized by Stephen F. Austin to protect settlers—to what it had become by the late 19th century: a state-sponsored terror squad directed to secure white racial hegemony along the Texas-Mexico border…As a renewed militarization of the border takes place, along with new state-sponsored crimes against migrants—see the Trump administration’s cruel family separation policies, for one—it’s an apt moment for this book’s hard lessons of non-textbook Texas history to go mainstream.
A page-turner…Haunting…Martinez has written a book that bravely and convincingly urges us to think differently about Texas’s past. But she has also written a book that tells us something about the future we are creating right now.
One of Martinez’s most important contributions is to remind us that violence against nonwhites was not simply a matter of private citizens going out of control for private reasons…She links the experiences of Mexican-Americans to those of African-Americans, understanding that enforcing white racial supremacy, through violence and other means—disfranchisement and Jim Crow—goes to the very heart of the story of Texas.
This is the book every Texan should read before casting their votes on border issues. It’s a sad, deeply disturbing account of the terrible atrocities and violence committed by Texas Rangers, law enforcement, and vigilantes against Tejanos and Mexicans in parts of rural Texas a little more than 100 years ago. This book should be standard curriculum in public schools and is a testament to the untold stories of so many who died and endured hardships and anti-Mexican violence at the hands of the government.
Absolutely amazing…A groundbreaking book that sheds light on the anti-Mexican violence along the Texas-Mexico border in the early part of the 20th century…No longer can the history of murder at the hands of the Texas Rangers and other law enforcement agencies be hidden. This book will prove to be the preeminent book that all others will consult when researching this period of history. Martinez’s scholarship is truly unparalleled. This one is an absolute must-read.
In 1915 and 1916, a time of revolutionary upheaval in Mexico, when refugees were streaming across the border, Texas Rangers and American soldiers declared open season on ethnic Mexicans in a time known as the ‘bandit wars.’ …Martinez explores a terrible history that reverberates today not only because of family memory and local curation…but also because so many of its particulars seem taken from current headlines as refugees continue to die in the desert… Timely and of considerable interest to students of borderlands history as well as of sociology.
A groundbreaking work that lays bare the horrific reign of terror inflicted on innocent Tejanos, mostly in the Valley, by the Texas Rangers and affiliated mobs during the 1910s.
With eloquence and corazón, Monica Muñoz Martinez has crafted a magisterial study of state-sanctioned vigilante violence in rural Texas. Drawing on institutional archives, oral histories, and family records, she has uncovered horrific events whose deep trauma has carried across generations. She is the first historian to document the anti-lynching campaigns mobilized by Mexican Americans, especially widows seeking justice for their murdered husbands. The Injustice Never Leaves You is a rare, field-defining book that reminds us of the power of historical memory.
In this important and haunting book, Martinez not only documents the painful reality of anti-Mexican violence in Texas, she reveals how, despite the best efforts of the perpetrators, this violence was prevented from fading into oblivion because of the grassroots historical traditions of Tejano communities. The Injustice Never Leaves You opens up significant new insights on everything from state-building along the U.S.–Mexico border to questions of collective memory and historical trauma.
The border has always been a place upon which the United States has projected its fears, often at great cost to the people who live here. Much like the time recounted by Martinez, we are in a period of change in every area of life. Politicians have seized upon fears of change to lie about the border, demonize immigrants, and win elections. The history recovered in this book, which sheds light on the consequences of such rhetoric, is an important contribution to the truth.
A masterful and sensitive work that reveals the ways in which ethnic Mexicans in Texas have dealt with the trauma of state-sanctioned police violence, mourned the loss of loved ones in their communities, and memorialized the victims by creating multigenerational records that counter state narratives.
This compelling book about survival and reckoning examines the efforts of communities in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands to wrestle with the meaning of painful episodes of violence. A graceful writer and talented storyteller, Martinez shows the families’ determination to recover these histories and heal wounds that have lasted for generations.
Through impeccable archival work and a rich trove of oral history and other testimony, Martinez excavates the record of anti-Mexican violence along the U.S.–Mexico border in Texas. The Injustice Never Leaves You is also an indispensable study of the subtler violence along the border of memory and forgetting. A brilliant, important book on the specificities of border history but also on the very nature of ‘history’ itself.
An immensely powerful, haunting, and heartfelt book. It is a genuine page-turner that unflinchingly documents the history of violence and terror on the Texas-Mexico border…State racial terror and vigilantism worked hand in hand to establish a blueprint for sanctioned abuse and impunity.
- 2019, Winner of the Lawrence W. Levine Award
- 2019, Winner of the Caughey Western History Association Prize
- 2019, Winner of the Robert G. Athearn Book Award
- 2019, Winner of the TCU Texas Book Award
- 2019, Winner of the NACCS Tejas Foco Book Award
- 2019, Winner of the The María Elena Martínez Prize
- 400 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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