Virtual Lecture

Race and the Houston Police Department with Dr. Dwight Watson

In correlation with the exhibit Withstand: Latinx Art During Times of Conflict, author and historian Dr. Dwight Watson will discuss his book, Race and the Houston Police Department 1930-1990.

In Houston, as in the rest of the American South up until the 1950s, the police force reflected and enforced the segregation of the larger society. When the nation began to change in the 1950s and 1960s, this guardian of the status quo had to change, too. It was not designed to do so easily. Watson’s study demonstrates vividly how race complicated the internal impulses for change and gave way through time to external pressures—including the Civil Rights Movement, modernization, annexations, and court-ordered redistricting—for institutional changes within the department.

He will highlight his extensive research on Joe Campos Torres, a chapter from his book covering the case under the title “The Storm Clouds of Change: The Death of José Campos Torres and the Emergence of Triracial Politics in Houston.”

Special guest Janie Torres will discuss her family’s search for justice and the annual Torres memorial walk.

Dwight W. Watson is an assistant professor of history at Texas State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He has previously worked as a correctional counselor, a prison grievance officer, a county probation officer, and state parole officer.

This talk will be moderated by Texas Southern University professor, Dr. Jesus Esparza.

Admission is free and open to the public. Guests will receive a private Zoom link so advance registration is required.

May 6, 2021
6:00 — 7:30 pm
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