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Observer Pledges New Excitement The Texas Observer has decided to give up all pretense at a consistent journalistic style, Observer staffers told a news conference attended by the Capitol press corps this week. Most newspapers, the staffers explained, have a consistent policy on how to treat numerals, titles, abbreviations, spellings, and punctuations. Henceforth for the Observer, however, all style rules will be thrown to the winds and, in the words of the editor, “the result will be a new era of exciting experimentation and free journalism.” The title “congressman,” for instance, will be used, to cite an example, as Cong. Alger, Congressman Alger, Rep. Alger, Representative Alger. Sometimes Alger will merely be called Alger, and sometimes Alger will be called other things. Profanity and sexual symbolism, in the Observer tradition, will continue to be purged from its pages, the Observer staffers said, except when the public interest and circulation increases are being served. Quotation marks will generally remain in use around direct statements, although not necessarily. Numbers over ten will be spelt out as well as presented in numeral form. Numbers under 10 will usually be spelt out, but not always. The Observer will continue, however, to place “i” before “e” except after “c” and when followed by “a” as in “neighbor” and “weigh.” Willie Morris September 21, 1962 are the death groans of a dying system,” he told an overflow crowd of 1,500. “Today I see a new Jerusalem descending from Heaven. There comes a time when people get sick of being dominated, exploited, segregated, and humiliated. Now is that time. A new world order is being born.” He said he saw the descent of the British Union Jack and the raising of the flag of independence of the former Gold Coast last year. “Black men and women, black boys and girls were crying ‘Freedom,’ and I knew a new earth was at hand,” he said. May 23, 1958 The Dynamics of the Poll Tax Election Austin, Dallas Why did the poll tax-paying voters of Texas refuse to repeal the poll tax this month by a 56% majority, contrary to the recommendations of almost all their leading politicians? The poll tax was kept because of odd, complex interactions of intense work for repeal, lip-service to it, and mostly covert opposition to it. The two main factors in the rejection of repeal were a reaction among whites against the civil rights movement and a late-mounted campaign against repeal by some corporate interests. Despite the leadership of the Texas League of Women Voters in the campaign against the tax, its repeal became, more or less, a liberal cause. Texas Republicans became increasingly skittish and noncommital. . . . In the 26 counties of central East Texas, from the Trinity River to a line just east of the Austin-Waco-Dallas axis, the vote was 20,310 against repeal to 11,767 for. In 1962, the vote here had been 45,079 against to 40,548 for. The fact appears in these figures that a civil rights reaction has materialized since spring of last year. This makes plausible the conjecture that the events of the summer of 1963, including the murder of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham bombings, taken in conjunction with the late President’s civil rights program and the Washington march, had activated segregationists considerably especially in an election in which they were faced with the racial issue in an unusually simplified form. . Ronnie Dugger November 29, 1963 Voters in Texas repealed the poll tax in November 1966 Ed. Three Million Alienated Texans . . . Mexican-Americans in Starr county and Negroes in Houston are expressing, every day in increasingly unmistakeable terms, their yearning for a more equal footing in our society; they are finding the institutions and leaders of that Texas society arrayed against them in apparent indifference. Texas has delayed much too long in adjusting to acknowledge the needs of the nearly three million Negroes and Mexican-Americans” whose state this also is. Houston and Starr county are simply the locales where the imperative nature of the required adjustment became apparent. For more is at stake than merely law and order, maintaining domestic tranquility, and retaining the current economic status quo. At issue is the nagging question of Texas’ soul, which is in jeopardy, and has been. If our state cannot meet the legitimate and too-long-put-off human needs of onethird of its population, then Texas will have no chance of becoming a fit place to live. The frontier is not yet civilized. . . . Greg Olds June 9, 19677 La Huelga, 1975 Rot na May’s wildcat melon strike in the Tajo Grande Valley was not ma king much First Editorial: “The One Great Rule” This is the first issue of The Texas Observer, an independent liberal weekly newspaper with statewide circulation ar id a proDemocratic disposition. We have about 75 stories on our futures hook. For years they have waited to be told. We will have a good time and we hope you do. We will twit the self-important and hon or the truly important. We will lay the bark to the dignity of any public man any time we see fit. Telling the whole truth is not an exercise to be limited to children before they reach the :age of reason. It is the indispensabl e requirement for an effective democracy. If the press and the poliizicians lie to the people, or hide th ose parts of the truth which trouble the conscience or offend a friend \(this, too, is based decisions be trusted? Here in the So ‘uthwest there is room for a great ti uth-telling newspaper, its editor f ree, its editorials cast in a liberal and reasonable frame of mind, its dedication Thoreau’s “The \( one great rule of composition is to speak the truth.’ We are not now th at newspaper, ar id we may never 131 a; all we have is the motto and t he will. Perh; aps others will join us , and we will h cave a better Southwe: stern world fe 4. it. We feel that tl its may be a great adventure, and we hope yo u are will convince yo Liecember 1. : 3, 1954 THE TEX AS OBSEP ,VER 51