New documentary revisits Porvenir Massacre

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PRESIDIO COUNTY, Tx. (KOSA) - It’s been more than 100 years since a group of Texas Rangers executed 15 unarmed Mexican men and boys.

A filmmaker who has spent the last three years shedding light on those murders.

It was 1918 when those Texas Rangers rode into the small town of Porvenir and burned it down.

A century later, those wounds still haven’t healed.

The documentary “Porvenir, Texas,” explores the massacre through accounts passed on by survivors over generations.

Producer Christina Shapter said this story might have been forgotten if not for a 12-year-old boy who escaped.

“These were people who were pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night or early morning and they were shot to the point of-you couldn’t recognize their faces,” Shapter said.

Shapter said there isn’t a definitive reason behind why rangers with the help of the U.S. Calvary killed these people.

She says locals say the villagers were suspected of helping poncho villa raid a nearby ranch in the midst of the Mexican Revolution.

But she said there was no evidence they were involved.

Shapter said descendants described serious trauma that followed survivors for years after they saw their family members die.

She said the residents of Porvenir aren’t the only ones who have suffered throughout history and tragedies like this should never be forgotten.

“Even though this didn’t happen to my family,” she said. “It’s so much the Mexican-American experience, especially in Texas.”

Shapter said it was especially important to finish the film after the director her husband Andrew Shapter died of cancer during production earlier this year.

She said she kept the work going for him, and hopes she won’t be the only one to rise to the challenge.

“My hope is that people will pick up the baton and keep going and start researching and telling their own stories,” she said.

To watch “Porvenir, Texas” you can check your PBS channel guide or visit PBS.org.