Fronteras: Massacre In A West Texas Border Town

Sep 21, 2018
Arlinda Valencia: “This is the only picture of my great grandfather Longino Flores. He is on the right with my great grandmother Juana Bonilla right behind him. The man to the left is my grandfather Rosendo Mesa.” (undated photo)
Arlinda Valencia
Arlinda Valencia, descendant of Porvenir Massacre victim, Longino Flores.
courtesy of Arlinda Valencia

On Jan. 28, 1918, 15 men and boys, ages 15 to 72, living in the West Texas border town of Porvenir were taken to a nearby hill in the middle of the night and shot and killed. It was a massacre carried out by a company of Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers, and area ranchers.

Monica Muñoz Martinez
Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

We spoke with Arlinda Valencia, a descendant of Porvenir Massacre victim, Longino Flores, and Monica Muñoz Martinez, assistant professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

The Texas Rangers had a history of violence against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, but there was no indictment by a grand jury, and the only punishment was the dismissal of five Rangers and the disbanding of Company B, which was deemed responsible for the killings.

A historical marker was set to be unveiled earlier this month commemorating the Porvenir Massacre and its victims, but it’s been a process surrounded by controversy.

An example of an Undertold Stories historical marker
Credit Texas Historical Commission

FRONTERAS EXTRA | Anti-Mexican Violence In West Texas

Trisha Runyan, chair for Historical Marker Development in Presidio County and a member of the Presidio County Historical Commission, told Fronteras via email that the dispute over the historical marker resulted mainly from two name misspellings that were discovered in the marker’s text. Corrections have since been made.

The Texas Historical Commission sent the order for the Porvenir Massacre marker to the foundry on Tuesday, September 18. No date or location for the marker’s re-unveiling has yet been determined.

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at and on Twitter @NormDog1