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Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas

Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II

By Emilio Zamora; Foreword by Juan Gómez Quiñones

Publication Year: 2009

In Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, Emilio Zamora traces the experiences of Mexican workers on the American home front during World War II as they moved from rural to urban areas and sought better-paying jobs in rapidly expanding industries. Contending that discrimination undermined job opportunities, Zamora investigates the intervention by Mexico in the treatment of workers, the U.S. State Department's response, and Texas' emergence as a key site for negotiating the application of the Good Neighbor Policy. He examines the role of women workers, the evolving political struggle, the rise of the liberal-urban coalition, and the conservative tradition in Texas. Zamora also looks closely at civil and labor rights–related efforts, implemented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Fair Employment Practice Committee.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Rio Grande/Río Bravo Series: Borderlands Culture and Traditions


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Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas

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pp. i-iii


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pp. iv-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

"Multiple forms of agency by diverse persons, along with intended, unintended, and contradictory consequences in a complex sociopolitical environment, is the broad topic of this work by historian Emilio Zamora. The research that he generates is informational, interpretive, and innovative. There..."

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pp. xiii-xviii

"This history, like many other histories of Mexicans in the United States, is more than the worthwhile scholarly enterprise of recovering a still neglected past and explaining how one situates their experiences within the larger world of peoples, processes, and institutions in the United States and Mexico. It is..."

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-22

"This study examines employment discrimination, social inequality, the Mexican cause for equal rights in the United States, and the role that the government played in reinforcing and ameliorating the socially marginalized position that Mexicans filled in the urban and rural settings of..."

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Chapter 2: Wartime Recovery and Denied Opportunities

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pp. 23-62

"“If there’s anything I hate worse than a Nigger, it’s a damn Mexican,” proclaimed a World War II veteran from South Texas.1 Daniel Schorr opened his 1945 article in The New Republic with the veteran’s quote to explain how a resurgence of racial thinking in the postwar period threatened the “modest” occupational..."

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Chapter 3: Elevating the Mexican Cause to a Hemispheric Level

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pp. 63-96

"Mexico and the United States had never been on friendlier terms than in 1943 when President Manuel Avila Camacho hosted U.S. diplomats at his country’s Independence Day celebration. The war, according to historian Lorenzo Meyer, had compelled the neighboring countries to end..."

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Chapter 4: The Fight for Mexican Rights in Texas

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pp. 97-124

"In 1943, when the owner of the American Caf

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Chapter 5: The FEPC and Mexican Workers in Texas

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pp. 125-157

"After the United Nations meeting, Perales reminded a group of friends welcoming him back to San Antonio that the international assemblies in Mexico City and San Francisco called on nations throughout the world to enact the kind of civil rights statute that President Roosevelt had anticipated with his..."

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Chapter 6: The Slippery Slope of Equal Opportunity inthe Refineries of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast

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pp. 158-180

"The oil refi neries in the upper Texas Gulf Coast region bounded by Texas City, Houston, and Beaumont were not unlike other war industries in the state. They also denied Mexicans, as well as blacks, equal hiring, wage, and upgrading opportunities. The record in oil, however, was also different. The..."

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Chapter 7: Negotiating Mexican Workers’ Rights at Corpus Christi

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pp. 181-203

"Like the refineries in the upper Gulf Coast, the American Smelting and Refining Company and the Southern Alkali Corporation, two of the city’s largest war plants in the Gulf port city of Corpus Christi, denied Mexicans equal employment opportunities. The companies hired them at a lower..."

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Chapter 8: Conclusion

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pp. 204-222

"I began this study by following a research trail that included provocative and suggestive primary texts, and I proceeded according to the evidence and research questions that came into sight. Traveling back and forth between primary and secondary sources allowed me to verify tentative discoveries,..."

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Appendix 1: Demographic and Social Patterns among Mexicans in the United States, 1930–1945

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pp. 223-228

"Immigration from Mexico contributed significantly to changing demographic and social patterns in the Mexican community of the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Ernesto Galarza, noted author and activist in the Mexican community, acknowledged this on the eve of..."

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Appendix 2: Partial List of Mexican FEPC Complainants in Texas, 1943–1945

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pp. 229-240

"The following list of complainants is not exhaustive, although it does include all the names and addresses that appeared in the FEPC records examined for this project. Accents did not appear on all the personal names, but common..."


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pp. 241-294


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pp. 295-310


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pp. 311-318

E-ISBN-13: 9781603443340
E-ISBN-10: 1603443347
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603440660
Print-ISBN-10: 1603440666

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 18 b&w photos. 8 tables.
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Rio Grande/Río Bravo Series: Borderlands Culture and Traditions
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 715188632
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mexico -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States. -- Committee on Fair Employment Practice -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Texas -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Texas -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Discrimination in employment -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Mexico.
  • Foreign workers, Mexican -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Mexican Americans.
  • League of United Latin American Citizens -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Employment -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
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