Houston News & Search
Published 10:14 am, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Houston in 1977 was a city booming with oil money, urban cowboys, and a burgeoning international community that was still getting its bearings on Planet Texas.
Important social discussions were happening in the streets and a new era was just around the corner. Over 20,000 women participated in the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, with special guests like First Lady Rosalynn Carter making appearances.
The aftershocks of another local story are still being felt, four decades later.
It was just 40 years this month that 23-year-old Vietnam War veteran Joe Campos Torres’ body was found washed up on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, a victim of police brutality.
Of the six officers accusers, initially only officers Terry Denson and Steven Orlando were charged with murder. An all-white jury found them guilty of negligent homicide—a misdemeanor—and sentenced the officers to a year’s probation and a $1 fine. The case would lead to riots on the streets of Houston.
OLD-SCHOOL COOL: We can thank the EPA for this glimpse of Texas life in the 1970s
Today, Campos Torres’ family is working to erect an official marker to commemorate his death and the riots.
There was some triumph in Houston, though, as the Houston Rockets made a push for the NBA championship title. They were defeated in the East Conference Finals by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Astros went 81-81 with a team made up of franchise favorites like Jose Cruz and J.R. Richard. The Oilers only went 8-6 in a division dominated by the dynastic Pittsburgh Steelers.
When the Rockets or Houston Aeros weren’t taking the court or ice at The Summit, acts like Queen, KISS, Neil Diamond, Waylon Jennings, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and Willie Nelson were taking the stage.
The Hofheinz Pavilion welcomed shows from Marvin Gaye, and the Grateful Dead. All the cool kids, though, were at Liberty Hall for two nights in July to see the Ramones bring properly bring punk to Houston.
Click through the slideshow above to see what Houston looked like four decades ago…
Houston News & Search