Austin, TX – The Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) today announced four new Literary Landmarks, to be unveiled across the state in special ceremonies this fall and winter:
- Theodis "Ted" Shine, Jr. Literary Landmark, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, Texas
- John Avery Lomax Literary Landmark, John A. Lomax Amphitheater, Meridian, Texas
- Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Landmark, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library, Edinburg, Texas
- Lonn Wood Taylor Literary Landmark, Jeff Davis County Library, Fort Davis, Texas
Literary Landmarks are special places located across the country that attract tourists, book lovers and history buffs to educate the public about important literary works and history. The four new Texas sites were approved this spring by United for Libraries, the national organization that administers the program, and all are made possible by funding from the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas. This special push for more Texas Literary Landmarks was organized by the TCFB and covers application fees, foundry-made Literary Landmark plaques and programming led by local institutions to create awareness of the sites’ importance to the state’s literary heritage.
“We are very excited to have this opportunity to pay homage to the rich literary history of Texas,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. “These Literary Landmarks speak to the great variety of writers who hail from the Lone Star State and celebrate the diversity of their voices, genres and areas of interest.”
Theodis "Ted" Shine, Jr. Literary Landmark, Dallas
Theodis "Ted" Shine, Jr., often called “the dean of Black Texas playwrights,” was also a renowned author. The creator of more than 100 plays, Shine also wrote on the contributions of African Americans to American theater. Shine was a student at Booker T. Washington High School years before it became the award-winning, integrated Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA).
"It is such an honor to be recognized with this Literary Landmark designation, honoring our amazing alumnus, Ted Shine. This award once again speaks to the amazing graduates of Booker T. Washington High School before it became ‘Arts Magnet’ in 1976. We would like to thank the Texas Center for the Book and the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas for supporting our school through this process,” said Scott M. Rudes, Ph.D., Principal.
John Avery Lomax Literary Landmark, Meridian
John A. Lomax grew up in Central Texas, just north of Meridian in rural Bosque County. Approximately two miles outside the city is a historical marker designating his former home site. He lived there until the age of 21, when he left to attend Granbury College. As a teen living in Meridian, he enjoyed the cowboy songs and frontier ballads sung by those working on the nearby Chisholm Trail. These early experiences sparked his life’s work of capturing the lyrics and music of American folklore.
"The Meridian Parks and Recreation Department is deeply honored and proud to be a part of recognizing the legacy of John A. Lomax,” said Brett Voss, Activities and Events Director. “As his childhood home, Meridian will be a fitting place for a literary landmark in his name, and the John A. Lomax Amphitheatre serves as an ideal setting to represent the folklore he worked so hard to preserve."
Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Landmark, Edinburg
Gloria Anzaldúa, born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, was the 1962 valedictorian of Edinburg High School and in 1968 graduated from Pan American College, one of the legacy institutions of the present-day University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where the landmark will reside in the Edinburg campus library. Anzaldúa wrote a number of books in her life but is best known for Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, published in 1987. The book was hailed at the time of publication, but has continued to grow in importance in the three decades since publication and is now widely considered a groundbreaking classic.
“We at the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa are more than pleased with this designation,” said Dr. Norma Cantú, Founder and Director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa and Murchison Professor in the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio. “Acknowledging Anzaldúa’s place in the literary world secures her legacy as a pathbreaking queer philosopher and thinker whose example and passion inspire us all.”
Lonn Wood Taylor Literary Landmark, Fort Davis
In addition to authoring ten books, including Texas, My Texas, Turning the Pages of Texas, and Marfa for the Perplexed, Lonn Wood Taylor was a columnist, literary and historical advocate and local West Texas celebrity. He served as an NPR radio and television personality, as well as past director of the Winedale Historical Complex and director of public programming at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“To recognize one of our local authors in this way helps fulfill our goal of promoting the people, culture and history of Jeff Davis County,” said Elaine Harmon, Secretary and Event Coordinator, Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library. “I'm so pleased that we'll be able to honor one of our local literary treasures with this recognition.”
More information about Texas Literary Landmarks can be found online at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/literarylandmark. Information about plaque unveiling ceremonies and programming for the four new sites will be posted there.
Established in 1987, the Texas Center for the Book seeks to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. The Center builds partnerships with library professionals, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers who provide support to our shared mission of promoting a love of literature throughout the Lone Star State. The Texas Center for the Book is under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic, and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit tsl.texas.gov.