July 8: Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

I am pleased to see that Pete Gallego, president of Sul Ross State University, is working hard to provide continuity to the university. He is planning sweeping changes to do this, as reported recently in The Big Bend Sentinel.

Pete utilized the Academic Planning Committee to report on the present status of the parts of the university and to recommend changes. This committee is not an external committee, it is composed of SRSU faculty members from all four campuses. This is the right way to address the challenges the university is facing and still keep it local.

I would hate to see SRSU become part of another university like TAMU or TTU. This would surely change the services SRSU provides to our students. I suspect SRSU would become more like a community college if this happened. SRSU would be a part of someone else’s community and not our local community.

Keep up the great work, Pete.

Elbert Bassham

Marfa

Retired from SRSU

Dear Editor,

Following the tragedy of the drowning of David Tompkins last week in Alamito Creek, surely the city will take measures to prevent this from happening again.

There is very poor signage at the three southside crossings and no streetlights. This makes it extremely difficult to know if there is water present or not. And at night –– really impossible.

After several drowning deaths, the city of Alpine took measures to protect their citizens, which I believe have been successful. We should look to them for guidance as well as professional street engineers for their expertise.

David Tompkins was a careful man and would never have taken a careless risk. His death is a great loss to many of us, not to mention the trauma for the young person who witnessed it and other Marfans who were dealing with the rescue aftermath.

We must not have another death through neglect, especially when we can do something about it.

Thank you,

Carolyn Pfeiffer

Marfa

Dear Editor,

I believe Abbie Perrault’s article about Blackwell school is patently false. I was born in Marfa and graduated from MHS. My parents came to Marfa in the late 1930s and remained until the early 1970s.

The use of the word “segregated” implies that Marfa was racist. It was not. Mr. Blackwell, for whom the MHS auditorium gets its name, was a fine Christian man and leader. He wanted children to learn English. He believed they needed English proficiency to succeed. Even before Blackwell was founded, many Mexican families knew no English. And many were undocumented individuals who came to Presidio and Marfa to seek a better life. Many walked across the Rio Grande, but that was decades before the surge of crime and illegal drugs.

Mr. Blackwell founded Blackwell School for children who came from homes where no English was spoken. The teachers at Blackwell were my mother’s friends, many attended First Baptist Church, where Mr. Blackwell was in charge of Sunday School. My mother’s friends often paid for teaching items out of their own pockets. Ms. Giles, the principal, for whom the Giles Building was named, lived a few houses away from my family. She was also a great lady who wanted Mexican children to learn English. The teachers taught in English and students who gained proficiency in spoken and written English were then transferred to Marfa Elementary, and transfer times depended on the individual student. All students had to attend Marfa High. Many Blackwell students were among my friends in Marfa High. But as Marfa lost population, Blackwell had to close, funds for Marfa decreased, and more Mexican families were proficient in English.

Ms. Perrault’s article also announces a coloring book that teaches about racism and seems to be another version of Critical Race Theory, itself a form of racism that teaches students to value themselves and others only for skin color. The coloring book will encourage racism and hate for others of different skin color. It divides people into the oppressors and the oppressed.

I know nothing about the “alliance,” but Ms. Aguilar seems to have been convinced (or indoctrinated) that Blackwell was racist. It was not, and I am angry that this lie has been perpetuated. The Big Bend Sentinel needs to publish my letter as an example of another point of view. Very few of us remain who know the true origin of Blackwell. Again, I knew Mr. Blackwell and many of the teachers who taught there. They loved the children. They were not oppressors, and the children were not oppressed.

Elizabeth deVolin Tebeaux

Marfa High, Class of 1962

College Station


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