Melissa Hield

“I co-founded People’s History in Texas in 1976 to bring to life stories of ordinary people and significant social and political movements.“ Melissa Hield is PHIT’s executive director. A founding member of PHIT, she also serves on the board. In 2019 she retired as an executive at a Texas state agency where she specialized in strategic, business, and project planning. […]

Richard Croxdale

“(N)othing much happened in Texas until Jim Hightower was elected in 1983. He roared into office with a goal of improving family farmer’s opportunities to make a living. Farmers Market was seen as a tool to provide more of the value of the produce to the farmers and less to the dreaded middleman. It also provided healthier, tastier, and more […]

PHIT and Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, People’s History in Texas highlights our work that showcases Black history in Texas.In 1960, a group of civil rights activists in Austin staged a “stand-in” at the Varsity movie theater on Guadalupe St. to protest segregation. This is their history. The Stand-Ins This short video highlights the Texas Department of Agriculture during the Jim Hightower […]

Women In Texas History Calendar

Women In Texas History Calendar

In 1976, People’s History in Texas, Inc. created a calendar of Texas women’s history. It was the first of its kind and was rudimentary as the research had to be done using card catalogues and sweeps through old and crinkly newspapers. It was a first and rudimentary effort. But PHIT has digitized the calendar and it is now available on […]

Jim Hightower & Texas Populism

You may know of Jim Hightower for his larger than life personality and quick wit, but his tenure with the Texas Department of Agriculture is no laughing matter. In his eight years in office, he ushered in a wave of populist reforms that have largely been written out of history. View our Blog Posts     View our Video Essays […]

Talkin’ Union (1979)

“Talkin’ Union” is a four-part oral history of four women who organized labor unions in Texas in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The women are Alberta Snid, participant in the 1938 Pecan Shellers Strike in San Antonio, the largest strike in the Southwest during this period; Charlotte Graham, leader of the 1935 Dallas garment worker strike and member of the […]

Archives 1976-1993

“Faulk for Congress” (1983, 20 mins., video) and “Where the Lucky Kids Stay” (1983, 15 mins., video), for public access television.   “Peace in the Garden” (1990, 20 mins., video), documentary on Isamu Taniguchi, master gardener and creator of the Zilker Oriental Garden, funded by Austin Parks and Recreation  Additional Projects Please Contact Us if you would like access to […]

About Us

“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 […]

Building Hope: The New Deal and Texas Farms (2007)

Building Hope: The New Deal and Texas Farms (2007)

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the U.S. Government created many programs to help unemployed Americans. The Building Hope video documentary tells the story of three different communities that were built in Texas through support from President Roosevelt’s administration to address widespread poverty among tenant farmers and sharecroppers. In “Ropesville”, original settlers tell the story of building a farm […]