Welcome to my homepage! On this site you will find out a little about me, about my work as an author, about my professional activities as a historian, and about the courses and students I teach.
I was born in Sweetwater, Texas and raised in Cooper, Roswell (NM), and Abilene. I graduated from Abilene Cooper High School and majored in Management at Texas A&M, where I also earned an MBA. I later returned to A&M for a PhD in HIstory.
I am in my twelfth year at TCU. Prior to that I taught at the University of North Texas for three years, Hardin-Simmons University for two years, and Sam Houston State University for ten years. I'm a three-degree Texas Aggie, but these days I have divided loyalties between A&M and TCU. I'm just glad they don't play each other in football any more!
I was trained in the field of Southern History by my mentors Dale T. Knobel, Robert A. Calvert, and Walter L. Buenger. Most of my work has focused on the state of Texas, although I've wandered far and wide across that extensive landscape. My early work dealt with the intersection of race and politics in the South. I then took a detour of several years to go backward in time, and westward in space, to write a biography of Stephen F. Austin. A decade ago I returned to one of my early interests, Populism, and I am in the latter stages of writing a book-length history of the Texas Populist Party. In between, I have been coauthor of a college-level textbook, coedited an anthology on history and collective memory in Texas, and published a number of scholarly articles and essays.
I love my job at TCU, and I love the life of a historian. My only complaint is that there aren't enough hours in every day to do everything I want to do. I take particular pleasure in working with graduate students, and it is my great privilege to have several outstanding master's and PhD students working under my direction. You can learn more about them and their work elsewhere on this website.
I had the honor to serve as president of the Texas State Historical Association for the 2013-2014 year, and I've been a member of the TSHA board of directors for ten of the last eleven years. You will find links to the TSHA's website and other sites of interest on a separate page of this site.
For information on my books, articles, adn other publications, click on the tabs below.
Now in its fifth edition, The History of Texas, coauthored with Arnoldo De Leon and the late Robert A. Calvert, remains the leading college-level Texas History textbook. Click here to purchase a copy
Co-edited with Elizabeth Hays Turner, Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas (TAMU Press) pioneered the application of memory studies to Texas History. Winner of the T. R. Fehrenbach Award. Click here to purchase a copy
The first scholarly biography of the founder of Anglo-American Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Empresario of Texas
(Yale University Press) won ten awards, including the TSHA's Bates
Award, the Philosophical Society of Texas Book Award, and the Miss Ima
Hogg Historical Achievement Award. Click here to purchase a copy
My first book, a dual biography of North Carolina
Whig congressman Kenneth Rayner and his son by a slave woman, John B.
Rayner, explores the fate that awaited talented southern political
figures whose racial views were at odds with the region's orthodoxy. Click here to purchase a copy
This book is a stand-alone biography of John B. Rayner, the African American Populist leader and is adapted from the the book above. It is widely used in college classrooms in Texas and around the country.Click here to purchase a copy
Originally delivered as the presidential address at the 2014 Texas State Historical Association Annual Meeting at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, this article, "Lyndon's Granddaddy: Sam Ealy Johnson, Sr., Texas Populism, and the Improbable Roots of American Liberalism," appeared in the October 2014 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
This article, “Our Very Pronounced Theory of Equal Rights to All”: Race, Citizenship, and Populism in the South Texas Borderlands,” published in the Journal of American History (Dec. 2013) explores Populism in San Antonio and South Texas against the backdrop of the landmark immigration-law case, In re Rodriguez.
My chapter, "The Roots of Southern Progressism: Texas Populists and the Rise of Reform Coalition in Milam County," appears in this festschrift in honor of my friend and mentor Randolph B. "Mike" Camptell. The full essay can be found here.