Texas Event for 'Forget the Alamo' Book Cancelled After Backlash from State GOP

Republican Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says that he helped cancel an event to promote the book Forget the Alamo at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin following a conservative pressure campaign.

GOP lawmakers and activists had expressed outrage that the museum would feature the book, which explores the role of racism and slavery in the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. Patrick celebrated the cancellation of the virtual event, which had been set to feature two of the book's three co-authors.

Patrick boasted of his previous effort to stop the relocation of the Alamo's Cenotaph, a memorial to the mission's defenders. The lieutenant governor serves in a prominent role alongside Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the Texas State Preservation Board—the group responsible for running the museum.

"As a member of the Preservation Board, I told staff to cancel this event as soon as I found out about it," Patrick tweeted on Friday. "Like efforts to move the Cenotaph, which I also stopped, this fact-free rewriting of TX history has no place @BullockMuseum."

In a statement issued after the event was cancelled on the previous day, the book's publisher Penguin Random House said that the museum had been "receiving increased pressure on social media about hosting the event, as well as to the museum's board of directors (Gov Abbott being one of them) and decided to pull out as a co-host all together."

Forget the Alamo Texas Republicans Book Cancel
A Texas Republican pressure campaign to cancel a book event for "Forget the Alamo" was successful on Thursday. The facade of the building is pictured in this photo taken in San Antonio, Texas on December 9, 2018. Robert Alexander/Getty

The book "provocatively explains the true story of the battle against the backdrop of Texas's struggle for independence," according to a description on the publisher's website. The description goes on say that as "uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness."

"Lt. Gov, Dan Patrick takes credit for oppressing free speech and policing thought in Texas," Forget the Alamo co-author Chris Tomlinson tweeted in response to Patrick's tweet. "@BullockMuseum proves it is a propaganda outlet. As for his fact-free comment, well, a dozen people professional historians disagree."

"Patrick... thinks he has the right to force his myths on others and can't handle the truth," Tomlinson added. "Historians have been teaching these facts for a decade."

The event, set to be moderated by Writers' League of Texas Executive Director Becka Oliver, was cancelled only hours before it was set to take place. The museum did not contact the authors to explain the cancellation, according to Tomlinson.

While Tomlinson said there was not enough time to move the event to a different platform, Bullock Texas State History Museum Director Margaret Koch insisted that the authors voluntarily opted to allow the cancellation.

"Although the Bullock withdrew from the event and notified the 198 pre-registered participants, the Writers' League of Texas was prepared to continue the event on their own platform and gave the book's authors the opportunity to do so," Koch told The San Antonio Express-News. "The authors declined to continue, and because they did so, the Writers' League of Texas canceled the event."

Newsweek reached out to the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the office of Abbott for comment.