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University of Houston Series in Mexican American Studies, Sponsored by the Center for Mexican American Studies

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University of Houston Series in Mexican American Studies, Sponsored by the Center for Mexican American Studies

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Brown, Not White

School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston

By Guadalupe San Miguel Jr.

Strikes, boycotts, rallies, negotiations, and litigation marked the efforts of Mexican-origin community members to achieve educational opportunity and oppose discrimination in Houston schools in the early 1970s. These responses were sparked by the effort of the Houston Independent School District to circumvent a court order for desegregation by classifying Mexican American children as "white" and integrating them with African American children—leaving Anglos in segregated schools. Gaining legal recognition for Mexican Americans as a minority group became the only means for fighting this kind of discrimination. The struggle for legal recognition not only reflected an upsurge in organizing within the community but also generated a shift in consciousness and identity. In Brown, Not White Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., astutely traces the evolution of the community's political activism in education during the Chicano Movement era of the early 1970s. San Miguel also identifies the important implications of this struggle for Mexican Americans and for public education. First, he demonstrates, the political mobilization in Houston underscored the emergence of a new type of grassroots ethnic leadership committed to community empowerment and to inclusiveness of diverse ideological interests within the minority community. Second, it signaled a shift in the activist community's identity from the assimilationist "Mexican American Generation" to the rising Chicano Movement with its "nationalist" ideology. Finally, it introduced Mexican American interests into educational policy making in general and into the national desegregation struggles in particular. This important study will engage those interested in public school policy, as well as scholars of Mexican American history and the history of desegregation in America.

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Cemeteries of Ambivalent Desire

Unearthing Deep South Narratives from a Texas Graveyard

By Marie Theresa Hernández

Growing up as the daughter of a funeral director in Fort Bend County, Texas, Marie Theresa Hernández was a frequent visitor to the San Isidro Cemetery, a burial place for Latino workers at the Imperial Sugar Company, based in nearby Sugar Land. During these years she acquired from her father and mother a sense of what it was like to live as an ethnic minority in Jim Crow Texas. Therefore, returning to the cemetery as an ethnographer offered Hernández a welcome opportunity to begin piecing together a narrative of the lives and struggles of the Mexican American community that formed her heritage. However, Hernández soon realized that San Isidro contained hidden depths. The cemetery was built on the former grounds of an old slave-owning plantation. Her story quickly burgeoned from one of immigrant laborers working the land of the giant sugar company to one of the slave laborers who had worked the sugar plantations decades before, but whose history had been largely wiped out of the narrative of the affluent, white-majority county. Much like an archeologist, Hernández began carefully brushing away layers of time to reveal the fragile, entombed remnants of a complex, unknown past. A professional photographer as well as a scholar, Hernández provides visual images to spur the reader’s imagination and anchor the narrative in historical reality. She mines interviews, newspaper accounts, and other primary sources—interpreted through her own rich sense of place and time—to reconstruct the identity of a community where the Old South, the wealthy New South, and the culture from south of the border all comingle to form an almost iconic symbol for today’s America. In this complex and nuanced, self-reflexive ethnography, Hernández interweaves personal memory and group history, ethnic experience and class . . . even death and life.

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Chicana/o Struggles for Education

Activism in the Community

Guadalupe San Miguel

Much of the history of Mexican American educational reform efforts has focused on campaigns to eliminate discrimination in public schools. However, as historian Guadalupe San Miguel demonstrates in Chicana/o Struggles for Education: Activisim in the Community, the story is much broader and more varied than that.

While activists certainly challenged discrimination, they also worked for specific public school reforms and sought private schooling opportunities, utilizing new patterns of contestation and advocacy. In documenting and reviewing these additional strategies, San Miguel’s nuanced overview and analysis offers enhanced insight into the quest for equal educational opportunity to new generations of students.

San Miguel addresses questions such as what factors led to change in the 1960s and in later years; who the individuals and organizations were that led the movements in this period and what motivated them to get involved; and what strategies were pursued, how they were chosen, and how successful they were. He argues that while Chicana/o activists continued to challenge school segregation in the 1960s as earlier generations had, they broadened their efforts to address new concerns such as school funding, testing, English-only curricula, the exclusion of undocumented immigrants, and school closings. They also advocated cultural pride and memory, inclusion of the Mexican American community in school governance, and opportunities to seek educational excellence in private religious, nationalist, and secular schools.

The profusion of strategies has not erased patterns of de facto segregation and unequal academic achievement, San Miguel concludes, but it has played a key role in expanding educational opportunities. The actions he describes have expanded, extended, and diversified the historic struggle for Mexican American education.

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War along the Border

The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities

Edited by Arnoldo De León

In 1910 Francisco Madero, in exile in San Antonio, Texas, launched a revolution that changed the face of Mexico. The conflict also unleashed violence and instigated political actions that kept that nation unsettled for more than a decade. As in other major uprisings around the world, the revolution’s effects were not contained within the borders of the embattled country. Indeed, the Mexican Revolution touched communities on the Texas side of the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso. Fleeing refugees swelled the populations of South Texas towns and villages and introduced nationalist activity as exiles and refugees sought to extend moral, financial, and even military aid to those they supported in Mexico. Raiders from Mexico clashed with Texas ranchers over livestock and property, and bystanders as well as partisans died in the conflict. One hundred years later, Mexico celebrated the memory of the revolution, and scholars in Mexico and the United States sought to understand the effects of the violence on their own communities. War along the Border, edited by noted Tejano scholar Arnoldo De León, is the result of an important conference hosted by the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies. Scholars contributing to this volume consider topics ranging from the effects of the Mexican Revolution on Tejano and African American communities to its impact on Texas’ economy and agriculture. Other essays consider the ways that Mexican Americans north of the border affected the course of the revolution itself. The work collected in this important book not only recaps the scholarship done to date but also suggests fruitful lines for future inquiry. War along the Border suggests new ways of looking at a watershed moment in Mexican American history and reaffirms the trans-national scope of Texas history.

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War along the Border

The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities

Arnoldo De León

 

Table of Contents:
Foreword, Tatcho Mindiola
Introduction, Arnoldo De León
Beyond Borders: Causes and Consequences of the Mexican Revolution, Paul Hart
The Mexican Revolution’s Impact on Tejano Communities: The Historiographic Record, Arnoldo De León
La Rinchada: Revolution, Revenge, and the Rangers, 1910–1920, Richard Ribb
The Mexican Revolution, Revolución de Texas, and Matanza de1915, Trinidad Gonzales
The El Paso Race Riot of 1916, Miguel A. Levario
The Mexican Revolution and the Women of El México de Afuera, the Pan American Round Table, and the Cruz AzulMexicana, Juanita Luna Lawhn
Women’s Labor and Activism in the Greater Mexican Borderlands, 1910–1930, Sonia Hernández
Salt of the Earth: The Immigrant Experience of Gerónimo Treviño, Roberto R. Treviño
Sleuthing Immigrant Origins: Felix Tijerina and His Mexican Revolution Roots, Thomas H. Kreneck
“The Population Is Overwhelmingly Mexican; Most of It Is in Sympathy with the Revolution . . . .”: Mexico’s Revolution of 1910 and the Tejano Community in the Big Bend, John Eusebio Klingemann
Smuggling in Dangerous Times: Revolution and Communities in the Tejano Borderlands, George T. Díaz
Eureka! The Mexican Revolution in African American Context, 1910–1920, Gerald Horne and Margaret Stevens
Understanding Greater Revolutionary Mexico: The Case for a Transnational Border History, Raúl A. Ramos
Selected Bibliography
About the Contributors
Index
 

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