I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about the generations that have come before us. There are few things more comforting during hard times than hearing stories about people who survived even harder times. The photo above was taken by famed Depression-era photojournalist Dorothea Lange in June 1938. Her description of the photo is sparse—“wife and child of Negro laborer of the Brazos riverbottoms.” While we don’t know the details of their lives, we know enough about the time period to know their day-to-day existence must have been arduous. And yet they are surviving, standing strong and proud amid the wildflowers.
Our aim with this issue is to highlight the resilience Texans have displayed during some of the most difficult moments in our state’s history. Our cover story, by Traces of Texas founder Jac Darsnek, shares powerful photos of Texans banding together and rebuilding after events like the 1930s Dust Bowl, the 1900 Galveston hurricane, and devastating floods. Elsewhere, writer-at-large Clayton Maxwell uncovers the stories of three tenacious Texas women who may not hold a prominent place in history books but whose impact on their communities reverberated across generations. And contributing writer Michael Hurd checks in with astronaut Bernard Harris Jr. 25 years after his barrier-smashing spacewalk, reminding us that Texans have often relied on inner determination to defy the odds.
What ties all of these stories together is the fortitude Texans have displayed no matter the obstacle and the way they prioritized taking care of their neighbors. I hope their stories provide comfort, strength, and inspiration to forge ahead.