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Plática II “Pero No Somos Princesas ni Príncipes” (But We’re Neither Princesses nor Princes) With Dr. Antonia and Dr. Tomás Ybarra Frausto We heard the tale of Washington—that there was lots of money, that they paid real well, and we thought about coming to Washington. We didn’t have a car to travel in and this man, Eduardo Salinas used to contract people and we came with him. We didn’t have much money we paid him $25 for us and $15 for each of the children. This was the first time we had traveled. This man said that he had housing and everything for the people, but it wasn’t true.1 Irene Castañeda, “Crónica Personal de Cristal”2 188 Three Decades of Engendering History Figure 3. Antonia Castañeda in Puebla, Mexico, 2011. Courtesy of Luz María Gordillo The interview between Drs. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and Antonia Castañeda took place in the home of Dr. Ybarra-Frausto and his partner Dudley Brooks. Inside their downtown loft, white walls displayed a collection of Mexican masks and large bookcases with works on Chicana/ o and Latin American art and literature surrounded the welcoming living room where we conducted the interview. Dr. Ybarra-Frausto is another founder of the inter-disciplinary academic field of Chicana/o Studies; he along with Dr. Joseph Summers, and Antonia Castañeda co-edited and published Literatura Chicana: Texto y Contexto/Chicano Literature: Text and Context (1972), a pivotal book in which they placed Chicano literature within historical antecedents in the Americas, and within a hemispheric context. The singular plurality of this text included among others: Mayan poetry, early literature by Latin American writers, an installment by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and a letter by Irene R. Castañeda to her daugher, Antonia Castañeda. Family and community formation was at the core of “Pero No Somos Princesas ni Príncipes” 189 Chicana/o communities in the Pacific Northwest and other areas of the United States where Chicanas/os, while demanding their social space, nurtured a political identity that propelled a historiography of Chicana/ o resistance in the US. Drs. Ybarra-Frausto and Castañeda began to reminisce in the cozy living room where we all sat surrounded by Chicana/o creative work. While conversing and laughing, they narrated their story along with the story of thousands of Tejanos who were forced to migrate West in hope of not only better economic futures for their families, but perhaps most importantly of building legacies of resistance, hope, and dignity. TY: When I was in San Antonio, my best buddy, who lived across the street, once every year… it was very strange… I would wake up to see the family start nailing their windows shut. And then their door shut. And the lady had a little garden and she wouldn’t come to water it because they were packing to leave. And then a great big truck would come and he would go away—every year. And I would ask my mom, “a dónde se va?” He was my favorite buddy. “Al Norte” and I always wondered where the Norte was. And so, when I came to the Northwest, I realized this is the Norte. This is where a lot of migrants from Texas used to come to work in the hops and the apples and so on in Washington State. So it was very strange that I finally got to the place I wanted to go—but you were there. AC: We were part of those families, Tomás. We migrated from Eagle Pass. I was born in Crystal City but when I was two we moved to Eagle Pass and then we migrated, when I was four, from Eagle Pass. But there were a lot of families from San Antonio in the labor camps in eastern Washington. In the labor camp where I lived there were mainly people from the lower valley, that is McAllen, Donna, Mercedes, Edinburg. But it was all part of that larger migration. And some families, beginning in the 1920s, went to the Midwest—to Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and then especially after the Second World War, the migrations began from Texas, South Texas and San Antonio, to the Pacific Northwest. 190 Three Decades of Engendering History We were in eastern Washington since 1946 and were among those families who settled out early and stayed precisely for the...


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