A showman by nature (he made his reputation wrestling alligators and bears) and a slave dealer by trade, James Bowie is not a fit hero for Texas schoolchildren, argue Latino and black groups protesting the naming of a new Austin high school after the Alamo commander. "The plain and simple truth, according to some of the most noted Texas historians . . . is that Jim Bowie smuggled slaves into North America, sold them at vastly inflated prices . . . sold fictitious land grants for Texas land, fraudulently sold land owned by his in-laws and committed many other heinous and nefarious acts," said Gary Bledsoe, president of the NAACP's Austin chapter. A Kentucky native, Bowie moved to Texas in 1828 and shared command with William B. Travis at the Alamo, where Bowie died on March 6, 1836, when Mexican soldiers captured the mission.
--On the other hand, Denmark's prime minister has only good words for another historical figure--Karl Marx, who, the Scandinavian leader proclaims, would not be a Marxist if he were living today. "Socialist ideas are becoming more and more outdated, and if Karl Marx had lived today he would probably not have been a Marxist. He was far too clever for that," Poul Schlueter said. "I think he would have been a modern conservative, just like me." Schlueter, leader of the Danish Conservative Party, is campaigning for an election on May 10.
--It took 26 years, but the check is finally in the mail for Pat Purvis, who got the government to pay up for construction work he did at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. With Purvis looking over his shoulder, President Reagan signed a bill that will compensate the former Spokane, Wash., contractor $700,000 for money he spent to complete the U.S. Science Pavilion at the fair. A federal claims court in 1978 had awarded Purvis the $600,000 he originally spent, but gave him no interest.