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Inspiration and Motivation in Writing the Joe's Alamo Unsung

Authors and writers have tons of inspiration and motivation for why they pursue writing—personally, inspired by personal stories that have been ignored or viewed as unimportant. Yet, when other facts are added, it causes us to rethink such events. They become grayer and less black and white, more multiethnic and less all white. That's a good thing. The more we examine ourselves, the more we see that human behavior is shades of grey. When events are considered black and white, there is often more research needed.

In writing the book Joe's Alamo Unsung, my initial motivation was to show that minorities were at the Alamo. Upon my first visit there, I saw that John was listed as a black boy killed at the Alamo. That is an insulting description. I already knew that Joe, a slave for Travis, was a survivor along with Susanna and her daughter, Angelina. My motivation was to tell their story. After I learned that Joe said that every race and every religion was there, I wanted to tell their story too.

The information in Joe'sJoe's Alamo Unsung is based upon the actual history of Texas. So I was able to research Texas history in libraries. Yet, information on Joe and Susanna Dickinson are spotty because they were disregarded as women and a slave. Other claims for stipends as Texas heroes were paid and later found to be bogus. The fact that Emily, a black woman, was the Yellow Rose of Texas is evident in the song's original lyrics. As the years passed, the lyrics changed to make Emily'sEmily's race unclear. Sam Houston described her as a woman of color.

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