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La Sociedad

Guardians of Hispanic Culture Along the Río Grande

José A. Rivera

Publication Year: 2010

Beginning with the social and economic conditions that gave rise to La Sociedad and culminating with its centennial anniversary in 2000, José Rivera examines the SPMDTU as a case study of collective action in the context of a pluralistic American society, rapid social change, and the dynamics of mobilization for cultural survival. Rivera’s study explores the core values that have bonded SPMDTU members across generations and have sustained the organization for more than a century and addresses the question of whether or not La Sociedad will survive in the twenty-first century.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

As a young boy growing up in Placitas, New Mexico, I remember attending burials of elders who had passed away in our community. I was very much impressed by the perfect respect exhibited by the members of La Sociedad de Protecci

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pp. xi-xvi

The first publication to document the origins and early history of La Sociedad was a book by Jos

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pp. xvii-xx

We express our most sincere gratitude to the members of La Sociedad who generously contributed oral histories, photographs, and other information for use in this book and who allowed us to interview them. Their personal stories, reflections, and memories gave an interpretive meaning to the project that is not possible ...

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pp. 1-18

La Sociedad Protección Mutua De Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU or La Sociedad, Society for the Mutual Protection of United Workers) was one of hundreds of Hispanic mutual aid societies that flourished in the American Southwest from 1880 to 1930, a period of rural industrialization coincident with significant changes in the region’s ...

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Chapter One: A Cultural and Economic History of the Upper R

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pp. 19-44

The majority of hispanic mutual aid societies were organized to perform charitable works and conduct burial services in the local community along the lines of the religious penitent brotherhoods. In addition, there were a few that organized in the defense of land and water rights when Anglo- American cattle companies and other ...

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Chapter Two: The Rise and Expansion of La Sociedad

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pp. 45-82

The SPMDTU was founded in 1900 at a time when the San Luis Valley of Colorado was in the throes of change, transforming from an agrarian culture to a capitalist industrial economy. In the decades prior to the turn of the century, this largely hispano valley had experienced land speculation, economic development, legal-political changes, ...

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Chapter Three: Challenges in the New Century

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pp. 83-98

La Sociedad no longer offers an internal program of life insurance, but the organization has not lost sight of its original mission as a mutual union ready to lend a hand in times of need. Informal and supportive services continue to be provided at the community level: home visitations during times of illness; cash donations ...

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Chapter Four: Conclusions and the Future

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pp. 99-110

La Sociedad plans to continue as a fraternal organization, conserving its past and maintaining its autonomy and system of democratic governance. As the executive body, the Superior Council convenes in regular and special sessions at the Sala Superior in Antonito to implement the resolutions and decisions reached by the membership ...

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Appendix One: Selected Oral Histories

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pp. 111-122

The documentary survey conducted for this book included digital video interviews of members in which they related personal memories and reflections of their participation in the SPMDTU. Selections from a few oral histories are included here for the unique information each one provides to readers. The members describe their connections ...

Appendix Two: Records and Documents

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pp. 123-148

Appendix Three: SPMDTU Superior Presidents

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pp. 149-150

Appendix Four: Geography of Local Councils

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pp. 151-152


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pp. 153-174


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pp. 175-180


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pp. 181-186


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pp. 187-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780826348968
E-ISBN-10: 0826348963
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826348944
Print-ISBN-10: 0826348947

Page Count: 212
Illustrations: 44 halftones, 2 maps
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 759158356
MUSE Marc Record: Download for La Sociedad

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hispanic Americans.
  • Fraternal organizations -- Southwestern States.
  • Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos.
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