||In the late 19th and early 20th century, racial tensions near the United
States - Mexico border and the lower Rio Grande Valley erupted into violence.
The change from ranching to commercial agriculture and a shift in racial
hierarchies led to increased discrimination against Mexican Americans and
Mexicans in the region. In addition, economic problems and the Mexican
Revolution increased the immigrant population to Texas. This influx along with
the rise in Anglo immigration to South Texas increased racial tensions.
Law enforcement and vigilante groups used violence and intimidation to quell,
and at times respond to, a growing movement referred to as Revolucion De Texas.
Some Mexicans and Mexican Americans envisioned this movement as a fight against
discrimination, while some in law enforcement perceived it as a threat to new
Anglo migrations in the area. The section of highway between San Benito and
Brownsville was the site of countless killings of prisoners without due
process. One of the first victims was Rudolfo Muniz, who was lynched on this
road on July 29, 1915, while in the custody of local law enforcement. It is
estimated that hundreds, possibly thousands, of Mexican Americans and Mexicans
Out of fear, many families fled Brownsville to Matamoros. A contemporary
newspaper editorial referred to this period as the Matanza (Massacre) of 1915.
In 1919, the Texas Legislature conducted a formal investigation into state and
local law enforcement practices. The Texas Rangers were reorganized as a
result. Memories of the Matanza continue through scattered records and oral
tradition, reflecting difficulties in recounting this violent yet pivotal time
in Texas History. (2014)