A careful choice of words

“1924, July 26: Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon, a black physician, is turned away from the East El Paso Fire Station when he tries to vote. This sets in place a chain of legal challenges that do not end until they reach the United States Supreme Court.

“1927, March 7: The rights of Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon, a black physician, are vindicated at the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote the decision, concentrated on ‘equal rights’ and not ‘voting rights.’ So voting rights for blacks were flouted in Texas for a few more years.”

— Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

The cooler head prevailed

“1882, May 27: El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire meets with the city council to discuss his dismissal. The big marshal walks into the conference room twirling his six shooter and saying, ‘I can straddle every goddamned alderman here.’ The meeting was adjourned.

“May 29: Stoudenmire sobers up and resigns.”

– Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

The two-party system

“1871, August 7: The Mesilla riot occurs. As the liquor flowed, Democrats and Republicans paraded in opposite directions around the Mesilla, New Mexico, plaza. A collision took place, and that sparked the fighting. When it ended, nine men lay dead and between 40 and 50 were wounded. No charges were brought.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

Salt to die for

“1870, December 7: The Salt War explodes as politicians begin killing each other on the streets of El Paso. Attorney Ben Williams is drinking and ranting in Ben Dowell’s saloon when Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain walks in. Fountain is shot twice, his life saved by a pocket watch stopping one of the bullets. Fountain alerts District Judge Gaylord Clarke and State Police Captain Albert French who pursue Williams into his residence. The door is broken down, and the confrontation moved to the street where Williams kills Judge Clarke with a shotgun. Williams was then slain by Captain French who shot him twice.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles