Kerrville's Don Frazier appointed by the governor to Texas history commission

Frazier leads Schreiner University's Texas Center.

The executive director of Schreiner University's The Texas Center will serve as an advisor to Gov. Greg Abbott on a historical project to boost patriotism and Texas values.

Don Frazier, who heads the Texas Center, was appointed to join former Sam Houston State professor Carolina Castillo Crimm and Texas Public Policy Foundation CEO Kevin Roberts to serve a two-year term advising the state on the Texas 1836 Project.

"I am honored and pleased to have been selected by the governor for this important task," Frazier said via a Schreiner press release. "The history and culture of Texas is compelling, and in many ways, our state is the best expression of the American ideal. We don't always get it right in Texas, but we always try to get it right. That is an important tale to tell—honestly—especially as we face a future of unprecedented growth. Natives and newcomers alike need to find their place in this story."


Frazier is an expert on the Alamo and helped singer Phil Collins compile his book about his collection of Alamo-related artifacts. He came to Schreiner University about a year ago to head the Texas Center at the invitation of Schreiner President Charlie McCormick.

(Here's a video of Frazier discussing the Texas Center:)

Before coming to Schreiner, Frazier spent 25 years teaching at McMurry University in Abilene. He steps into a role that will be fraught with controversy.

The fight over how the state covers its history has been a massive issue in 2021 — if not for decades. However, when the New York Times published the controversial 1619 Project — an attempt to recast American history through a deeper context of slavery's role in founding the nation — it set off a conservative backlash that argued it was a false narrative.

Here in Texas, a recently published book called "Forget The Alamo" argued that Texas solely sought independence from Mexico to expand slavery. Frazier and Roberts have argued against this.

(Here's a video of Frazier discussing the book "Forget The Alamo":)

"To say that Texas is a big atrocity of white supremacy, it completely writes the Spanish, the Mexican and Indigenous experiences out of it too," Frazier argued during a recent episode of The Lead Live.

Frazier doesn't dismiss white supremacy's role in the state's history, but he said it's not the only story.

"To me, white supremacy is just a dog whistle to the far left," Frazier said. "What we try to do by making these blanket statements with a modern agenda is we remove the agency of all these people that have lived in the past."

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan each get three appointments for the board.

The project stemmed from legislation that Abbott signed in June. Authored by Rep. Tan Parker, the bill earned bipartisan support in the Texas House of Representatives but has also faced criticism by some historians as an attempt to gloss over the worst parts of the state's history, including segregation and violence against minorities.

During discussion and debate about the Bill, Parker assured fellow Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) that the bill would be inclusive. Collier questioned how the project would depict Black contributions to the state.

"One of my concerns is I want to make sure that you have all of the history of Texas," Collier said during a committee meeting with Parker. "Because you made the statement that this is talking about prosperity, but prosperity in Texas came on the backs of a lot of slaves that were introduced into Texas and that were brought to Texas. And so I want you to acknowledge that your bill will include all of the history, including the history of slavery in Texas."

Parker assured Collier that would include robust conversations about slavery.

"I said it before and I will say it again: Absolutely all of the history of Texas is what s going to be a part of the' 1836 Project," Parker said. "And in particular, with regard to slavery, you ll see that the bill' even references Juneteenth. So 100 percent, all of the history of all the people of Texas will be incorporated into the 1836 Project."

However, the battle over Texas' delicate history with race is far from over. The state banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools, removed language from legislative-backed standards that guided historical civil rights education and pulled the study of several Latino leaders, including farm labor organizer Cesar Chavez. Now, the state deferred those specific applications to the Texas Education Agency.

At the same time, the legislature was approving Parker's bill, HB 2497, that guided the commission on what the standards should be when it comes to teaching the state's history. Here's an excerpt from the law:

"Promote awareness among residents of this state of the following as they relate to the history of prosperity and democratic freedom in this state: Texas history, including the indigenous peoples of this state, the Spanish and Mexican heritage of this state, Tejanos, the African-American heritage of this state, the Texas War for Independence, Juneteenth, annexation of Texas by the United States, the Christian heritage of this state, and this state's heritage of keeping and bearing firearms in defense of life and liberty and for use in hunting."

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