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PRESS RELEASE


DATE: 25 May 2010
CONTACT: Stephanie Turnham
PHONE: 254.933.5243

BELL COUNTY MUSEUM CREATES NEW TRAVELING TRUNK ON GOVERNORS FERGUSON

The Bell County Museum has scheduled created a new traveling trunk focusing on "Ma" and "Pa" Ferguson, two Bell County natives who became Texas governors.  The trunk is available at no charge to area schools, churches, and civic groups. 

Meet the Fergusons: Two Governors for the Price of One combines objects, CDs, a DVD, and much more to promote knowledge and understanding of Texas politics, the Progressive Era, the Fergusons, and state and national government.  Objects include presidential campaign buttons, photographs, cartoons, and the award-winning DVD, School House Rock Election Collection.  Also included is a sheet outlining the connections of the trunk to the Social Studies TEKS alignments.  A binder includes activities, games, song lyrics, and much more.

The Governors Ferguson are two of the most colorful and controversial figures in the history of Texas politics.  Miriam Amanda Wallace (1875-1961) and James Edward Ferguson (1871-1944) both served as governors of the Lone Star state.  Jim Ferguson, also known as "Pa" Ferguson and "Farmer Jim," served from 1915-1917, and is the only Texas governor to have been impeached.  Miriam Ferguson, or "Ma" Ferguson, served from 1925-1927 and from 1933-1935.  She was the first woman governor to be elected in Texas, and was the second female governor in the United States.

Jim was a powerful and charismatic speaker who appealed to the rural masses, and to the "little man."  Although he made improvements to the tenant and prison systems and created the Texas Highway Department, his administrations were marked by charges of irregularities so severe that the Court of Impeachment removed him from office.

Unable to hold any state office but still extremely popular, Jim nominated his wife for governor in 1924 with claims that Texans would get "two governors for the price of one."  Miriam, looking for vindication for her husband and the Ferguson name, agreed to run.  She won that election and was re-elected in 1932.

The Fergusons remained active for over 40 years and affected almost every aspect of Texas politics including prohibition, the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan, farm tenancy, women's suffrage, the state highway system, public education, and the state prison system.  At worst, the Fergusons are remembered for the scandals associated with their administrations including Jim's impeachment, their record of excessive pardons, and general rumors of corruption and bribery.  At best, they are remembered for their populist politics aimed at improving the lives of Texas farmers and the agricultural community.

Kristen Reichert, program coordinator for the museum and the creator of the trunk, said, "Teachers can use the hands-on materials for fourth and seventh grade units on Texas government and politics.  Included in the trunk are copies of items from the museum's collection, like The Ferguson Forum, a newspaper published by James Ferguson."

For more information about the traveling trunk, please call the museum at 254.933.5243.

 


 

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