“Texas Camelot: the Hightower Years at the Texas Department of Agriculture”
Jim Hightower was elected to two terms of office as Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991). In the eight years he ran the Texas Department of Agriculture, an amazing team of activists and policy analysts that he recruited and enabled built a legacy of agricultural achievements that are models for the rest of the country. That legacy has been mostly written out of history.
In 2020 PHIT began an oral history project to recover this history. PHIT interviewed more than 100 former TDA staff and supporters and collected archival video, photos and documents. Check out the short videos, blog posts, newsletter and more on this website and PHIT’s social media. More is coming!
About People’s History in Texas
Glenn Scott originated People’s History in Texas. In 1975 she invited four other women, including a writer, an elementary school teacher, a librarian, and a graduate student, to a brainstorming session about how to get more information about women’s history into Texas schools. PHIT’s first project was the 1976 Women in Texas History Calendar, published for the Bicentennial. It was one of the first compilations of Texas women’s history facts.
Their research uncovered stories of women workers and activists who organized labor unions in the 1930s and l940s. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Youth Grants Program and the Texas Committee for the Humanities, they collected oral histories of Texas women labor organizers and produced “Talkin’ Union” (1979, 58 mins., b/w film/video), about four women who led the pecan shellers and garment workers unions. In addition, PHIT published Women in the Texas Workforce: Yesterday and Today (1979), essays on women’s work for wages. In 2019, the New Journalism Press republished the book as Talkin’ Union.
After graduate school, Glenn went on to a career in labor organizing for unions that mostly represented women. She continued as the Chair of the PHIT Board for her entire life. She raised money, interviewed subjects, and offered ideas for projects. She passed away in September 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Glenn was a powerful voice for social change. She is missed.