Witte Museum Spotlights 300 Years of San Antonio History

One of the key events in San Antonio's 300th birthday is underway all weekend, as scholars and historians from around the world have gathered at the Witte Museum for 'A Conference on the Tricentennial," News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

President Marise McDermott says there is a lot that can be learned from one of the the oldest cities in the United States.

"Our environment, our history, our early history, our pre history actually, and why people are here in the first place," she said.The event runs from 'The Land of Water,' which, of course, if what brought first the Native Americans and then the Spanish to this place to begin with, progressing to European and Latin American settlement, into the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries.

McDermott says one thing that stands out about San Antonio's history is the continuous multi cultural influence.

"The fact that this city is so strong because of the dissonance is something that we take for granted," she said.  "We are really focusing on that, that our differences are our strength."

That is a 'bumper sticker' today, but back in 1718, having truly multi cultural communities was largely unheard of.  Most people in the early 18th Century, no matter where they lived, considered people from other cultures to be strangers, potentially evil and dangerous, and with the 'wrong' religion.  So to have a community that early in the human story which embraced cultural diversity, right down to Stephen F. Austin encouraging the production of tamales in Austin's Colony, is truly exceptional.  

Tomorrow the keynote address on the city's 300th birthday will be delivered by Texas House Speaker Joe Struas.

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