News / USA

Sam Houston Lives On - In Texas Museum

A concrete and fiberglass depiction of 'Big Sam' Sam Houston stands more than 20 meters tall on display in Huntsville, Texas. The statue is considered the largest statue of any American hero.
A concrete and fiberglass depiction of 'Big Sam' Sam Houston stands more than 20 meters tall on display in Huntsville, Texas. The statue is considered the largest statue of any American hero.

Multimedia

Sam Houston stands among the towering figures of American history. He governed two states, made his mark on the national stage and yet his name is forever tied to Texas, the state he helped to create. This year, historians are recalling his connection to two anniversaries: Texas's independence, 175 years ago, and the U.S. Civil War, which began in 186.

Big Sam still towers over the land he loved; more than 20 meters tall, a concrete and fiberglass depiction of Houston in Huntsville is considered the largest statue of any American hero.

'Big Sam'

A few kilometers away, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum holds many of his belongings and promotes his legacy.

Director Patrick Nolan says Houston's accomplishments were impressive.

“He is really the only man in our history who was president of an independent country, also governor of two states, the only man to have that distinction, Tennessee and Texas, United States senator from Texas, commanding general in a very successful war,” explains Nolan.

Houston had suffered personal and political setbacks by 1832 when he joined American settlers in what was then the northeast Mexican territory of Texas.

Nolan says this gave him a new start. 

“The idea of re-making yourself, of re-constituting your career if you will, was there and Texas was an opportunity to do that,” he notes.

Houston led Texas rebels to victory over a larger Mexican army at the battle of San Jacinto in April 1836.  

At a recent re-enactment of the battle, just east of the city that bears his name, Houston was again the hero of the day.

Forced to resign

Yet, in 1861, Houston was forced to leave the governor's mansion in Austin and retire to his farm in Huntsville.

The man who fought to bring Texas into the United States refused to sign an oath to the Confederacy of rebellious southern states, says Nolan.

“He would not take that oath to support the Confederacy. He would resign -- no he did not resign, he would be dismissed, he would be fired before he would do it,” states Nolan.

The Civil War was still raging when Houston died at his home in Huntsville in July 1863.

In the city of Conroe, down the road, Houston biographer James Haley visited a new park featuring 13 flags associated with Texas history.

Compassionate slave owner

Haley says Houston annoyed many southerners because, even though he and his wife owned slaves, he paid them for extra work and he opposed the expansion of slavery.

“Every year he had a speaking tour up the Ohio valley, through Pennsylvania, New York and up into New England. That was really the center of his political strength, because he was unpopular in the South because of his stance against slavery," Haley explains.

Houston saw the Civil War coming as early as 1854 and made accurate predictions.

“The South will go down, I think he said, in a sea of smoke and ruin and that will be the end of the South as we know it and then the North will think it has won this big victory, but he said the North will have its own price to pay. They will reap a harvest of assassination,” says Haley.

Source of inspiration

A week after the surrender of the main Confederate army, on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Haley says Houston freed all his slaves before he died and the money he gave them helped some become educated and establish successful businesses.  He also defended the rights of Hispanics and American Indians, with whom he lived for a time.

Sam Houston continues to inspire people and his legacy in Texas remains strong.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid