Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven times before his titles were stripped when it was revealed that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. A cancer survivor, he started the Livestrong Foundation and introduced the world to the yellow rubber bracelet.
The skinny, bespectacled singer-songwriter from Lubbock was one of the biggest pop icons of the fifties, contributing several Billboard-topping hits to the oldies-music canon, like "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue." After he died in a tragic plane crash in 1959, at the young age of 22, he became a larger-than-life icon of his generation.
Before she was a mononymous global superstar, Beyoncé Knowles was an adorable kid singing in Houston-area talent shows. Now a Grammy winner many times over, she has sold more than 75 million records.
The most famous site in Texas history, the Alamo has been interpreted and reinterpreted by every generation of Texans. We have a lot to say about it too.
A liberal democrat and our forty-fifth governor, Ann Richards is the woman behind one of the most famous quips in politics: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
Born in Paint Creek, Rick Perry is the forty-seventh governor of Texas and the longest-serving governor in state history. Prior to assuming the governorship in 2001, Perry served as a state representative, agriculture commissioner, and lieutenant governor. Despite getting walloped in an unsuccessful run for president in 2012, he is routinely discussed as a potential candidate in 2016.
The singer-songwriter from Abbott, born this day 80 years ago, has written more than 2,500 songs, released more than 300 albums, and smoked more joints than we care to imagine. He is one of the great natural resources of Texas.
Selena Quintanilla Perez, born April 16, 1971, was Tejano music's first superstar and was poised to be an international pop sensation when she was murdered in 1995. Since then she has been the subject of a glossy Hollywood biopic and a touring musical, and her memorial draws thousands each year.
The assassination of John F. Kennedy, in Dallas in 1963, is one of the defining moments of modern American history. It devastated the country and altered the course of the second half of the twentieth century. It also shaped the way that Dallas (and Texas) was perceived for years to come and produced a demented subculture of conspiracy theorists hell-bent on proving that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.
Texas barbecue, the classic version of which is distinguished by its use of beef brisket and its indirect smoking method, is superior to all other regional varieties of barbecue. There, we said it.
Texas has six state flowers, all of them species of the genus Lupinus, more commonly known as bluebonnets. (The name refers to the flowers’s petals, which resemble a pioneer woman’s bonnet.) They usually begin blooming in late March along roadsides, where families can be found throughout April setting up for the traditional bluebonnet photograph.
The King Ranch, probably the most famous ranch in America, spans 825,000 acres, an area roughly the size of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio combined.
The Texas Rangers are an elite division of the state police with a storied history—some of it flattering, some less so. Today, the Rangers rely as much on laptops and armored vehicles as guns and horses, though they still wear distinctive circle-on-star badges, cowboy hats, and white shirts.
One of the most polarizing figures in contemporary American politics, Bush was the forty-sixth governor of Texas before being elected president. His historic presidency was marked by the 9/11 attacks, two wars, and a global financial collapse. He currently lives in Dallas.
The franchise known as America's Team started in 1960, and in the years since then it has caused its partisans unfathomable heartache, joy, frustration, elation, pride, rage, happiness, fury, rapture . . .
Enron was an energy firm based in Houston that collapsed in a massive accounting scandal in 2001, resulting in convictions for chairman Kenneth Lay and president Jeff Skilling, among others. The crimes perpetrated by these greedy malefactors are now regarded as one of the most shocking examples of corporate fraud in U.S. history.
Born in a farmhouse on the Pedernales River, Lyndon Baines Johnson rose to become the thirty-sixth president of the United States. An outsize personality known for manhandling and manipulating other lawmakers (as well as his own staff, the media, and pretty much everyone), Johnson achieved landmark advances in civil rights and social programs. Bitter protests over the Vietnam War caused him not to seek a second term, and he died in 1973.
In 1993, on a ranch near Waco, federal agents raided a compound occupied by members of the Branch Davidians, a heavily armed religious cult led by a guru named David Koresh. A resulting fire killed 74 people, 23 of whom were children, and the tragedy has prompted virulent antigovernment sentiment for many years since.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has called Texas home since 1963, when the Manned Spacecraft Center opened in Houston. Millions of “Houston, we have a problem” jokes later, NASA is part of the state's iconography.
In 1966 UT student Charles Whitman killed 14 and wounded 32 from the observation deck of the university administration building. It was the first mass campus murder in American history.
Irving-based ExxonMobil is the country’s largest oil and gas corporation and most profitable company, which proves that in a state known for being the place where everything is bigger, our corporations are no exception.
George H. W. Bush, the forty-first president of the United States, moved to Texas as an adult to seek his fortune in the oil patch. He served as director of the CIA and was Ronald Reagan’s vice president. Bush is generally regarded as a pragmatic, business-minded conservative, though his legacy has been obscured by the two Republican presidents who preceded and followed him—his old boss and his eldest son.
The iconic Texas airline, founded in 1967, was instrumental in connecting the state's cities with its frequent discount flights staffed by flight attendants in hot pants. Though it is now one of the largest domestic airlines, it still retains much of its historic identity as a scrappy upstart.
Matthew McConaughey, a Uvalde native, is one of Texas’s most well-known actors. He’s famous for his roles as Wooderson in “Dazed and Confused” and Dallas, the male stripper in “Magic Mike,” among others. He’s also famous for being extremely handsome and for the time he was caught playing the bongos naked.
Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors and spices are a total mystery, but the soft drink’s popularity isn’t. Hatched in Dublin in 1861, five months before Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper is enjoyed by Texans at 10, 2, and 4.
Michael Morton was wrongfully convicted of the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine. After serving nearly 25 years in prison for the crime, he was exonerated in 2011. Executive editor Pamela Colloff has spent months chronicling this story, and she was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award for her pieces about the Morton saga. Read all of her reporting on the developments in Michael's case here.