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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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Doing What the Day Brought

An Oral History of Arizona Women

"I've seen many changes during the years," says Irene Bishop, "from horse and buggy to automobiles and planes, from palm leaf fans to refrigeration. . . . They talk about the good old days but I do not want to go back. I'd like to go back about twenty years, but not beyond that. Life was too hard." Drawing on interviews with twenty-nine individuals, Doing What the Day Brought examines the everyday lives of women from the late nineteenth century to the present day and demonstrates the role they have played in shaping the modern Arizona community. Focusing on "ordinary" women, the book crosses race, ethnic, religious, economic, and marital lines to include Arizona women from diverse backgrounds. Rather than simply editing each woman's words, Rothschild and Hronek have analyzed these oral histories for common themes and differences and have woven portions into a narrative that gives context to the individual lives. The resulting life-course format moves naturally from childhood to home life, community service, and participation in the work force, and concludes with reflections on changes witnessed in the lifetimes of these women. For the women whose lives are presented here, it may have been common to gather dead saguaro cactus ribs to make outdoor fires to boil laundry water, or to give birth on a dirt floor. Their stories capture not only changes in a state where history has overlooked the role of women, but the changing roles of American women over the course of this century.

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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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East Texas Lumber Workers

An Economic and Social Picture, 1870-1950

By Ruth A. Allen

The aim of this study is to show how these people whose economic life has been dominated by a single industry have fared for eighty years in comparison with their fellow Texans and with lumber workers in the Pacific Northwest and the Lakes states.

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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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El Paso's Muckraker

The Life of Owen Payne White

Garna L. Christian

A muckraking newspaperman who was once nationally known as a historian of the West, Owen Payne White (1879–1946) brought local history to center stage, intrigued readers nationally with tales of the Old West, and spotlighted corruption in high and low places. This long-overdue biography restores this overlooked writer to the forefront of western history and journalism.

White spent his early writing career as a newspaper columnist until his history of El Paso, Out of the Desert: The Historical Romance of El Paso, catapulted him into the major leagues of journalism when the publisher brought it to the attention of the New York Times and the American Mercury. White moved to New York and went on to publish eight books on the Old West, an autobiography, and dozens of articles as a staff editor at Collier’s. He uncovered hypocrisy, heroism, and crime, earning national recognition as well as death threats and a million-dollar lawsuit. His knowledge of Mexico also allowed him to follow leads south of the border, where he covered the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution. Through it all, White never lost his sardonic wit, his scrupulous directness, or his intellectual and political independence.

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