"When people talk about this part of Texas-the Alamo, San Jacinto-they call it the ‘birthplace of Texas,'" Ramos said. "But Texas wasn't born then. It was around for more than 100 years. There was a rich history prior to then."
Ramos' book tells the story of Texas' identity, not from a romantic view of battles and heroes, but from a perspective of cooperative connections between settlers in San Antonio ("Bexareños"), indigenous groups and Anglos. Ramos, who teaches Chicano/a history, history of the American West and Texas history, divides his discussion into two sections: the mixing of indigenous, Mexican and the "American immigrant" peoples, followed by the emergence of the political and ethnic turbulence that forged Texas.
"Identities are complicated, not simple or black and white," Ramos said. "Everyone has a complicated family history and personal story. History needs to paint a story that makes room for that variety."
Ramos is one of two professors who received the honor. Professor Kyle Wilkison of Collins College was recognized for his book, "Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists: Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 1870-1914."
Past UH award recipients include Joseph Pratt, professor of history and business and director of the Houston History Project. Pratt won in 1992 for his book "Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston."
The book award is named after historian T.R. Fehrenbach, who has published 18 nonfiction books including "Lone Star," the most widely read history of Texas. He is a former commissioner and chair of the Texas Historical Commission, and currently serves as commissioner emeritus.
For more information about the UH department of history, visit http://www.class.uh.edu/hist/
For more information about "Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821- 1861," visit http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-8181.html
For more information about the T.R. Fehrenbach Award and Texas Historical Commission, visit http://www.thc.state.tx.us/.