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Debating American Identity

Southwestern Statehood and Mexican Immigration

Linda C. Noel

In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt, New Mexico governors Miguel Antonio Otero and Octaviano Larrazolo, and Arizona legislator Carl Hayden—along with the voices of less well-known American women and men—promoted very different views on what being an American meant. Their writings and speeches contributed to definitions of American national identity during a tumultuous and dynamic era. At stake in these heated debates was the very meaning of what constituted an American, the political boundaries for the United States, and the legitimacy of cultural diversity in modern America.
    In Debating American Identity, Linda C. Noel examines several nation-defining events—the proposed statehood of Arizona and New Mexico, the creation of a temporary worker program during the First World War, immigration restriction in the 1920s, and the repatriation of immigrants in the early 1930s. Noel uncovers the differing ways in which Americans argued about how newcomers could fit within the nation-state, in terms of assimilation, pluralism, or marginalization, and the significance of class status, race, and culture in determining American identity.
    Noel shows not only how the definition of American was contested, but also how the economic and political power of people of Mexican descent, their desire to incorporate as Americans or not, and the demand for their territory or labor by other Americans played an important part in shaping decisions about statehood and national immigration policies. Debating American Identity skillfully shows how early twentieth century debates over statehood influenced later ones concerning immigration; in doing so, it resonates with current discussions, resulting in a well-timed look at twentieth century citizenship.

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Deep Ellum

The Other Side of Dallas

Alan B. Govenar

Deep Ellum, on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas, retains its character as an alternative to the city’s staid image with loft apartments, art galleries, nightclubs, and tattoo shops. It first sprang up as a ramshackle business district with saloons and variety theatres and evolved, during the early decades of the twentieth century, into a place where the black and white worlds of Dallas converged.

This book strips away layers of myth to illuminate the cultural milieu that spawned such seminal blues and jazz musicians as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Buster Smith, and T-Bone Walker and that was also an incubator for the growth of western swing.

Expanding upon the original 1998 publication, this Texas A&M University Press edition offers new research on Deep Ellum’s vital cross-fertilization of white and black musical styles, many additional rare historical photographs, and an updated account of the area in the early years of the twenty-first century.

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Del Pueblo

A History of Houston's Hispanic Community

Thomas H. Kreneck

Though relatively small in number until the latter decades of the nineteenth century, Houston'sHispanic population possesses a rich and varied history that has previously not been readily associated in the popular imagination with Houston. However, in 1989, the first edition of Thomas H. Kreneck’s Del Pueblo vividly captured the depth and breadth of Houston’s Hispanic people, illustrating both the obstacles and the triumphs that characterized this vital community’s rise to prominence during the twentieth century. This new, revised edition of Del Pueblo: A History of Houston’s Hispanic Community updates that vibrant history, incorporating research on trends and changes through the beginning of the new millennium. Especially important in this new edition are Kreneck’s historical contextualization of the 1980s as the “Decade of the Hispanic” and his documentation of other significant developments taking place since the publication of the original edition. Illustrated with seventy-five photographs of significant people, places, and events, this new edition of Del Pueblo: A History of Houston’s Hispanic Community updates the unfolding story of one of the nation’s most influential and dynamic ethnic groups. Students and scholars of Mexican American and Hispanic issues and culture, as well as general readers interested in this important aspect of Houston and regional history, will not want to be without this important book.

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Democratic Renewal and the Mutual Aid Legacy of US Mexicans

Julie Leininger Pycior

The legacy of the historic mutual aid organizing by US Mexicans, with its emphasis on self-help and community solidarity, continues to inform Mexican American activism and subtly influence a number of major US social movements. In Democratic Renewal and the Mutual Aid Legacy of US Mexicans, Julie Leininger Pycior traces the early origins of organizing in the decades following the US-Mexican War, when Mexicans in the Southwest established mutualista associations for their protection. Further, she traces the ways in which these efforts have been invoked by contemporary Latino civil rights leaders.

Pycior notes that the Mexican immigrant associations instrumental in the landmark 2006 immigration reform marches echo mutualista societies at their peak in the 1920s. Then Mexican immigrants from San Diego to New York engaged in economic, medical, cultural, educational, and legal aid. This path-breaking study culminates with an examination of Southwest community organizing networks as crucial counterweights to the outsize role of large financial contributions in the democratic political process. It also finds ways in which this community organizing echoes the activity of mutualista groups in the very same neighborhoods a century ago.

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Desert Visions and the Making of Phoenix, 1860-2009

Philip VanderMeer

From the beginning, Phoenix sought to grow, and although growth has remained central to the city’s history, its importance, meaning, and value have changed substantially over the years. The initial vision of Phoenix as an American Eden gave way to the Cold War Era vision of a High Tech Suburbia, which in turn gave way to rising concerns in the late twentieth century about the environmental, social, and political costs of growth. To understand how such unusual growth occurred in such an improbable location, Philip VanderMeer explores five major themes: the natural environment, urban infrastructure, economic development, social and cultural values, and public leadership. Through investigating Phoenix’s struggle to become a major American metropolis, his study also offers a unique view of what it means to be a desert city.

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Devils River

Treacherous Twin to the Pecos: 1535-1900

Patrick Dearen

Devils River examines the history of this notorious river in southwestern Texas. Dearen describes the Spanish explorers and settlers from the Americas who encountered the river, their difficulties in traversing the region, and relates hardships, ranging from Indian attacks, impassable fords, unpredictable weather, and long routes with little water.  

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Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-1542

"They Were Not Familiar with His Majesty, nor Did They Wish to Be His Subjects"

Richard Flint

This volume is the first annotated, dual-language edition of thirty-four original documents from the Coronado expedition. Using the latest historical, archaeological, geographical, and linguistic research, historians and paleographers Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint make available accurate transcriptions and modern English translations of the documents, including seven never before published and seven others never before available in English. The volume includes a general introduction and explanatory notes at the beginning of each document.

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Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country

by Marsha Weisiger

This fresh interpretation of the history of Navajo (Diné) pastoralism recounts how a dramatic reduction of livestock on the Navajo Reservation in the 1930s, an ambitious attempt by the federal government to eliminate overgrazing on an arid landscape, resulted in a disastrous loss of livelihood for Navajos without significant improvement of the grazing lands.

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Echoes of Glory

Historic Military Sites across Texas

Thomas E. Alexander

In their previous book, Faded Glory: A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites, Then and Now, historians Thomas E. Alexander and Dan K. Utley chose to go beyond the familiar military sites of Texas—the Alamo or the San Jacinto battlefield, for example—to feature lesser known locations. The book successfully recovered these “forgotten” arenas to tourists and preservationists alike. Alexander and Utley now return with Echoes of Glory, and the result is another impressive catalogue that highlights the hidden gems of Texas history.
Echoes of Glory explores two dozen rarely discussed but equally significant military sites across Texas. From the establishment of a Spanish fortress at San Sabá during the mission era to a multimillion-dollar Cold War naval base, readers will find a range of sites and stories to enlighten and entertain. Rare illustrations will contrast each site with how it appeared in its glory days to how it appears today. 
Alexander and Utley underscore the need to preserve or fully interpret such places before they are lost forever.

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Education at the Edge of Empire

Negotiating Pueblo Identity in New Mexico's Indian Boarding Schools

by John R. Gram

For the vast majority of Native American students in federal Indian boarding schools at the turn of the twentieth century, the experience was nothing short of tragic. Dislocated from family and community, they were forced into an educational system that sought to erase their Indian identity as a means of acculturating them to white society. However, as historian John Gram reveals, some Indian communities on the edge of the American frontier had a much different experience—even influencing the type of education their children received. Shining a spotlight on Pueblo Indians’ interactions with school officials at the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Indian Schools, Gram examines two rare cases of off-reservation schools that were situated near the communities whose children they sought to assimilate. Far from the federal government’s reach and in competition with nearby Catholic schools for students, Indian boarding school officials were in no position to make demands and instead were forced to pick their cultural battles with nearby Pueblo parents, who visited the schools regularly. As a result, Pueblo Indians were able to exercise their agency, influencing everything from classroom curriculum to school functions. As Gram reveals, they often mitigated the schools’ assimilation efforts and assured the various pueblos’ cultural, social, and economic survival. Greatly expanding our understanding of the Indian boarding school experience, Education at the Edge of Empire is grounded in previously overlooked archival material and student oral histories. The result is a groundbreaking examination that contributes to Native American, Western, and education histories, as well as to borderland and Southwest studies. It will appeal to anyone interested in knowing how some Native Americans were able to use the typically oppressive boarding school experience to their advantage.

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