What motivated Gabaldon
For more information,
United States. . 4
Anti-Spanish Legends. . 26
Military Heroes and Research . . 32
Spanish Sons of the American Revolution. . 36
Surname. . 46
Cuentos. . 49
Orange County, CA. . 65
Los Angeles, CA. . 72
California. . 75
Northwestern United States. . 100
Southwestern United States. . 100
Black . . 112
Indigenous. . 122
Sephardic. . 131|
Texas . 138
East of the Mississippi . . 157
East Coast . . 162
Mexico . . 165
Caribbean/Cuba . . 171
Spain . . 182
International. . 183
Family History . . 187
Archaeology. . 193
Meetings, SHHAR Quarterly, March 11th
END. . 196
Letters to the Editor :
Hello Mimi. My name is Juan Vilaubí Monllaó and I'm writing you from Spain. Yesterday I found out by chance that a man called Juan Vilaubí Gisbert was born in California in 1895. He was the first Vilaubí registered in a US
census, and having those surnames I'm 100 per cent sure his parents were from Tortosa, the place were I was born also. Vilaubí is not a very common surname over here. That's why I was greatly surprised to see that we have such a big family branch in America - afterwards I looked for more American relatives and I found 66 parientes. In case you know any of them: Una abraçada, cosins, i que tot vaigue molt bé!
Esto último está escrito en catalán tortosí, la lengua materna de los Vilaubís, y quiere decir: "un abrazo, primos, y que todo vaya muy bien"). Muchas gracias,
Juan Vilaubí Monllaó, email@example.com,
Dear Ms. Lozano,
I love your publication and would like to continue to receive it my E-mail address has changed. Will you please send this months newsletter and future newsletters to my new address. Hallaran2@msn.com thank you.
Please delete firstname.lastname@example.org and new e-mail address is email@example.com. The latest email copy of Somos Primos was Dec 05. My wife and I enjoy the articles published. A real awaking of our Texas/Hispanic history the schools don't teach. Keep up the good work . Thanks
I continue to be amazed at your work on "Somos Primos". You are doing an absolute great work! Best, Carlos
[Carlos Vega, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish, Iona College
New Rochelle, New York is the Author of The Truth Must be Told ]
Thank for sending Somos Primos. I enjoying receiving and reading all the different articles. Finding ones Roots is so important, and your website sure helps.
Gerri . . California researcher, firstname.lastname@example.org
I cannot even imagine how to be as comprehensive as your are doing with Somos Primos. It was for me an eye opener. It gives me insight of our movimineto en la NETA. The kind I had been missing and at the same time being unhappy thinking how our gente are missing the boat. How were you able to keep you FOCO so bright. fs email@example.com
WHAT YOU HAVE STARTED with SOMOS PRIMOS is priceless for its POTENTIAL.
WHICH you are proving with the help of your troopers. Frank Kiko Sifuentes
Thank you. This is really great information on are Hispanic Heritage. I found more new family members through your column concerning my genealogy on Somos Primos.
West Sacramento California
My new email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for the opportunity to join Somos Primos. I have heard only good things about your organization and look forward to working together in tracing the Pacheco lineage. I'm hopeful other members might assist me in the brick walls I have run up against in researching my Grandfather Fernando Pacheco-born 1885 in Reventadero,Veracruz,Mexico to Domingo Pacheco and Fransisca(maiden name?) and my grandmother Maria Demetria Garcia-born 1896 in Silos,San Luis Potosi,Mexico to Juan Garcia and Balbina Plumarejo.
I have been told by family members that a family member headed "west" when Fernando came to Texas. Not sure who that relative was. Fernando's siblings were Isac,Damian,Juan and Julia Pacheco. It is believed this relative settled in New Mexico. I have searched the New Mexico GenWeb with no luck so far, although there are a TON of Pacheco's with similar names(Domingo,Damian,Fernando etc.) I have even come across another Isaac James Pacheco. (note the extra "a" in Isac)
I really appreciate any help I may receive. Thanks again, Mimi.
Isac James Pacheco Jr. @ email@example.com
I read this month's Somos Primos from cover to cover. IT WAS GREAT. Also, thanks for printing our press release. The guys in Texas were thrilled. Again, muchas gracias.
Later, Willie, firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw the Feb. issue of Somos Primos. Thanks for putting my story in there. I appreciate it.
Richard Sanchez email@example.com
Somos Primos Staff:
Mimi Lozano, Editor
Luke Holtzman, Assistant
Johanna De Soto
Ángel C. Rebollo
John P. Schmal
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Gloria L. Cordova, Ph.D.
Johanna De Soto
Mauricio J. González
Lila Guzman, Ph.D.
Granville Hough, Ph.D.
JV Martinez, Ph.D.
Helen Mejia Z.-Savala
Juan Vilaubí Monllaó
Paul Newfield III
Isac James Pacheco Jr.
Juan Ramos, Ph.D.
Eduardo Ramos Garcia
Angel Custodio Rebollo
Pedro A. Romero
Gilbert Sandate, Ph.D.
Carmen Moreno Sifuentes Shepard
Frank "Kiko" Sifuentes
Ivonne Urveta Thompson
Carlos G. Velez-Ibanez
Carlos Vega, Ph.D.
Francisco Zamarripa, Ph.D
|SHHAR Board: Laura Arechabala Shane, Bea Armenta Dever, Steven
Hernandez, Mimi Lozano Holtzman, Pat Lozano, Henry Marquez, Yolanda
Ochoa Hussey, Michael Perez, Crispin Rendon, Viola Rodriguez Sadler, John
Focus on Veteran Rights For increasing Hispanic federal employment!
Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS) Program
Focus on Conversion of qualified Hispanic interns to federal employment!
Developing Internal Policies for placing Interns in Federal Employment
Library of Congress Jr Fellows Summer Intern Program, Deadline Mar 15
USDA International Internship > Seeks INTERNS, Deadline MAR 15, 2006
Smithsonian Internships > Spring Internship Fair, 26 April 2006
2/8 Notes: NHLA-Federal Government Under-representation of Hispanics
Focus on Veteran Rights For increasing Hispanic federal employment!
by Willis Papillion firstname.lastname@example.org
1-Start a federal resume preparedness program, at their local churches-using the federal resume from OPM/Human Resource Dept.
2-Obtain copies of the federal civilian/military Helper and Apprenticeship test-from the federal book stores. And teach the youth how to pass these exams!
3-Also, get copies of the Postal exams.
4-Contact the VA and local military bases that are building ships and planes-to put you in touch with the Hispanics that are being discharge-to take advantage of their Veterans priority Vets. Preference, for the federal vacancies on their base! Match up the vacancies-with the recent dischargees, and college Vets.
5-Advise the Hispanic wife's of active duty military men-to enforce the Vets. Preference to the existing base federal vacancies!
During my 36 year federal career-I learn that the surest way to increase the hiring of people of Color in the federal Gov. was through strict and continuing enforcement of Veterans preference in federal employment! Even with my Masters'-I still needed my veteran preference-to get my first federal job-in the seventies!
During the seventies-we Blacks federal employees of the Office of Education, Region X, SF-along with our Hispanic brethren, gave federal job application training-on Saturdays-at the local Parks. And we provided them with all the news vacancies of: HUD, Dept. of Labor and Dept. of Education. What needs to be done is to contact their Regional Human Resource Office and that of all their local federal agencies-and start an outreach Community Hispanic Federal hiring program. And have these federal agencies provide them with the updated federal vacancies!
Also, it should be noted: majority of the military bases-have a continuing free educational program and advancement. Most importantly, the military-especially the Navy and Air Force, has always operated a revolving door policy for it's military people-to federal civilian positions and DOD contracts and hiring-not necessarily Equal Opportunity hiring!
Additionally, there are three major Naval Bases, in our Kitsap County: Bangor Subase, Keyport and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, And the Naval Commanders-are constituency telling me at the Navy League meetings-that they're extremely low in representation of Hispanic and Black-Engineers and Electronic Techs. We need the National Hispanic Engineers Society-to talk to their students-to re-locate out here! The Navy active duty and federal civilians-will always remain a: Old Boy White Man's Country Club. Until we aggressively break it up!
And last but not lease-is the Navy League magazine and American Legion magazine, which I've been receiving for the last ten years. Never an article on Hispanic military fighting men and/or heroes-public sentiment is everything! Also, contact ANSO, an active duty Hispanic Officer organization-which help me very much in recruiting Hispanic officers-when I was in charge of Naval Educational programs, in Northern Calif. All of these recommendations will not become a reality -with out commands from the top, and continuing media pressure-especial during an election year. Willis Papillion
| Naval Academy Summer Seminar
Sent by Willis Papillion: email@example.com
On February 1, 2006, the United States Naval Academy will open online for current juniors (current high school class of 2007) to apply for the Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS) Program.
A series of 6-day immersion programs, running the first three weeks of June in three sessions
(Sessions I - 6/3 to 6/8, II 6/10 to 6/15, III - 6/17 to 6/22). Participating in each session will be 600 of the nations top rising seniors. Online application: http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/nass.htm
|Focus on Interns:
of Hispanic interns to federal employment
October 17, 2005
Excerpt from a MEMORANDUM by Dario Prieto, DPrieto@hrsa.gov
Hispanic Employment Manager, Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights,
Health Resources and Services Administration
TO: National Hispanic Employment Initiative Work Group
SUBJECT: Hispanic Employment in DHHS
A number of documents generated from the DHHS Office of the Secretary, Presidential Executive Orders, OPM, and news paper articles have all surfaced in the last few years, as a result and recognition that Hispanic Americans remain the only underrepresented group within the DHHS.
With the exception of National Hispanic Employment Initiative initiated by Secretary Leavitt, (because it is too early to tell), none of these initiatives have resulted in any significant increase in the number of Hispanics among the DHHS employees. For many of these initiatives, the focus of hiring has been on diversity rather than on Hispanics alone thus allowing managers and supervisors to increase hiring of diverse and ethnic minority groups while Hispanics remain the only underrepresented group.
As Hispanic Employment manager, over the years, I have submitted resumes of outstanding Hispanic candidates (M.D. Ph.D. R.N., M.P.H. and J.D. types, etc.) for various positions but due to the limitations of hiring authorities and lack of commitment to hire Hispanics by managers and supervisors, almost none were hired. Each year over the last 8 years, I have worked with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to recruit HACU interns (mostly graduates from schools of public health) to work for the summer and although many of them have indicated an interest in staying to work permanently for our agency, only a couple have been able to remain, primarily because they joined the Commission Corp. Again, there are no hiring authorities that would allow the conversion of qualified Hispanic interns to regular employment. By contrast, there are federal programs such as the Presidential Management Internship (which recruits very few Hispanics) that allows the conversion of interns to regular employment upon completion of the internship. I have also been aware of agency agreements with some universities where they take interns and convert them to regular employment once the internship is completed (unfortunately, these programs have lacked adequate Hispanic representation) and most of the hiring is done by individual managers and supervisors who are unaware of Hispanic underrepresentation. Even programs such as the DHHS Emerging Leaders which is partially designed to hire talented college graduates to replace an aging DHHS workforce in the near future has not recruited Hispanics aggressively and therefore Hispanics are very underrepresented among those that have been recruited.
HACU has a data base of literally thousands of Hispanic college graduates and undergraduates from over 160 institutions of higher learning with outstanding qualifications. Hundreds of them have worked as summer interns for federal agencies in metropolitan Washington and other federal agencies such as CDC in Atlanta and Texas. This program is an ideal vehicle for the recruitment of Hispanics into DHHS if only a hiring authority would be developed to convert these highly qualified interns into full-time employees. Some agencies have taken steps to move in this direction. USDA for example, has hosted 439 HACU interns since 2001. Of these interns, 21% (92 interns) were converted or hired as permanent employees by USDA.
With this information as background, as a Hispanic Employment Manager, I submit the following recommendations for your consideration as you deliberate ways to improve the under representation of Hispanic Americans within the DHHS workforce. My recommendations focus on the three areas of: Recruitment, Retention, and Management Accountability.
[[ The full 6 page report by Dario Prieto has been sent to LULAC, La Raza, and the Puerto Rican Coalition. ]]
Internal Policies for placing Interns in Federal Employment
Please be advised that some agencies, including the Library of Congress, have taken the initiative of developing their own internal appointment policies whereby HACU interns can be hired non-competitively upon successful completion of their internships. These internal policies, tailored to meet the agencies' unique needs, must be vetted and approved by OPM before they can be implemented.
The Library's HACU-Cooperative Education Program allows for the non-competitive conversion of HACU interns who have successfully completed a minimum of 640 hours of career-related work at the Library. HACU-COOP interns may be appointed to permanent-conditional positions for which they qualify within one year of completing their academic degree requirements.
Sinceramente, Gilbert Sandate
Director, Office of Workforce Diversity, Library of Congress
of Congress Jr
Fellows Summer Intern Program, Deadline
The Library of Congress' Junior Fellows' Summer Intern program offers undergraduate and graduate students insights into the environment and culture of the world's largest and most comprehensive repository of human knowledge. Working with the staff, curators, and the incomparable collections of the Library of Congress, interns will be exposed to a broad spectrum of library work: preservation, reference, access standards, information management, and the U. S. copyright system.
No previous experience is necessary, but internships are competitive
and special relevant skills are desirable. Selection will be based on
academic achievement, letters of recommendation, and in most cases an
interview with a selection official. Please
act quickly: http://www.loc.gov/hr/jrfellows/
|USDA International Internship Program
PLEASE Circulate!! |
The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's International Internship Program is a PAID internship program and is in need of applicants! Deadline March 15.
Sent by Juan Ramos firstname.lastname@example.org
Spend a summer working in a U.S. Embassy in one of 90 locations throughout the world!
As of this week, the program has only received 3 applications nationwide! Due to this low number of applications the deadline has been extended to March 15.
The Foreign Agricultural Service's International Internship Program provides college students the opportunity to live and work in a paid internship at an American Embassy overseas. Through work assignments participants learn various aspects of international trade, trade policy, international relations, diplomacy, regional and cultural considerations, etc. Positions are available in Western Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The internship is offered every semester and summer for graduate students and upperclassmen (juniors and seniors).
Requirements: Be a currently enrolled graduate or undergraduate student (must be a junior or a senior), a U.S. citizen and in good academic standing.
Graduate level students in business, international relations, regional studies (i.e. Latin American Studies, Asian Studies, etc), public policy, foreign languages, etc., as well as high-achieving junior and senior undergraduates in similar majors are particularly encouraged to apply, though the program is open to all majors.
Please see the application at the website below.
This internship program is a great way to get international experience and expose yourself to career fields you may never have considered.
Please do not let any part of the application intimidate you! If you need help, that's my job to help you. It is completely doable! Also, the application states that you must pay for your own transportation to your job site. If that is a financial problem, still apply and we'll see how we can find you financial assistance.
at the Smithsonian
NHLA-Federal Government Under-representation of Hispanics
Notes of meeting held on – Feb 8, 2006, sent by Gilbert Sandate, email@example.com
Meeting convened by LULAC, NPRC, and ASPIRA to address in a more concerted manner the issue of under-representation of Hispanics in the federal government. The NHLA Chair, Ronald Blackburn Moreno, made a commitment to work on this issue and to begin addressing it on a more consistent basis, making it a major initiative over the next few years.
Over 40 attendees,
representing Federal agencies as well as Hispanic advocacy organizations,
discussed ideas for addressing the problem of Hispanic
under-representation in the Federal workforce. The discussion focused on
setting a strategic plan of action under the NHLA banner that all could
endorse, support and implement. The goal is to have a strategic plan that
all organizations and Federal employees can support and help implement.
Key points include the following:
Research and Assessments
2.Prepare Media Strategy and Press Conference on GAO – Manny Mirabal
3.Meet with Agencies & Conduct Letter Writing Campaign - Ron Blackburn Moreno
4.Create Legislative Strategy: Senate/House Government Reform Committee Hearings – Brent Wilkes, Emma Moreno, and Gabriela D. Lemus
5.Define Accountability Issues for Legislation
- Organize structure at the White House and Agencies
- Tie accountability to SES Bonus System
- Tie accountability to budget
6.Create Commission/Review Board of Federal Experts
- Conduct education/outreach effort
- Hold seminars on importance of diversity in workplace
- Hold seminars on Federal HR processes
- Hold Federal career events for young Hispanics
- Hold seminars on the Federal application and hiring process
- Develop database of Federal experts – Harry Salinas
7.Report Card: Federal Service – NHLA
8.Gather Intelligence - NAHFE
- Identify barriers specific to agencies, i.e., OGC, etc.
& Bernardo de Galvez
Cesar Chavez's birthday on March 31st. is being honored by Fred Blanco in a new production, Cesar Chavez y Bernardo de Galvez: Sons and Souls of California.
Fred Blanco and Bruce Buonauro, both being educational performers, produced shows individually, predominately for educational venues, such as schools and libraries. They both had an interest in telling Chavez and Galvez' stories. They decided to widen their audience and create versions that contained enough depth to engage older audiences . The production explores the humanity of these two men revealing to the audience, two people, as opposed to just two historical figures. Click for more information.
Successful marriages are conferring a remarkable academic benefit on children Source: firstname.lastname@example.org 1/30/2006
A new study published in the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage clearly shows that parents who make their marriage successful are conferring a remarkable academic benefit on their children - especially their daughters.
Hispanic advocates sue Texas over ESL and bilingual programs, AP, 2-9-06
Sent by JD Villarreal email@example.com
Latino advocates filed a federal lawsuit Thursday asking that Texas improve supervision over English as a Second Language and bilingual education programs to ensure students who are learning English don't lag behind others.
The lawsuit contends Texas has failed for years to appropriately oversee the programs at public schools, leaving thousands of children with limited English skills to fail exit tests, drop out or be held back.
Filed by Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Multicultural Training, Education and Advocacy, Inc., the lawsuit requests that the Texas Education Agency be ordered to establish a system to monitor students who are learning English. It asks for the agency to monitor bilingual and ESL programs on-site, ensure access for students and make sure the instruction offered is appropriate.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American GI Forum, also wants intervention for schools where the achievement gap, retention rate and drop out figures of students learning English is significant.
Following a previous lawsuit, the district court in 1981 found inadequacies in the state's bilingual program that were made worse by the state's failure to monitor and enforce local compliance. An appeals court later said the program was unsound, largely unimplemented and yielded unproductive results.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said Thursday night that officials were in a board meeting and she didn't know if anyone had seen the lawsuit.
Yahoo discussion Groups
Puerto Rican teacher Manuel Hernandez created a Yahoo group for the discussion of literature and education. HispanicVista highly recommends this effort and urges its readers to join and participate.
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit and join at:
WALKOUT Screening in Austin - March 1, 2006
Sent by email@example.com
NALIP-Austin with Cine las Americas present a free, sneak-peek of the HBO film, Walkout Wednesday, March 1 at 8:00 pm at Ruta Maya Coffee House, 3601 South Congress Avenue.
By special arrangement with Maya Pictures Directed by Edward James Olmos (American Me) Produced by Moctesuma Esparza (Selena, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge)
Silent auction benefiting NALIP-Austin precedes the screening featuring movie posters, DVD sets and other film-fan goodies. Silent Auction: 6:30 to 8:00pm. Screening of WALKOUT: 8-10 pm.
Based on actual events, the HBO film tells the story of a Chicano student uprising in 1968 when 12 students organized a peaceful demonstration (a walkout) to call attention to the substandard conditions of their East Los Angeles High school, and ultimately, the systemic discrimination that supported those inadequacies. Students from all five Eastside high schools participated in the peaceful demonstration — many, against their concerned parents wishes. But when the second day of the peaceful protest turned violent, the parents joined their children in what becomes a defining moment in Chicano civil rights history. Directed by Edward James Olmos, Walkout stars Michael Peña (Crash), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Bodie Olmos and Yancey Arias (Mi Familia). In addition to directing, Olmos has a supporting role.
Austin audiences can see the film movie prior to it’s March 18 HBO premiere. A silent auction benefiting NALIP-Austin occurs prior to the screening at 6:30pm.
NALIP-Austin is an approved chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, a non-profit organization. For more information call (512) 589-7076 or go to www.nalip-austin.org.
WALKOUT is based on real events that occurred in 1968. Michael Peña (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) stars as Sal Castro, a dedicated teacher at Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles. Driven and determined that his mostly Mexican American students learn their cultural history — non-existent in their textbooks — he takes a group of his students to the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference. There, his and hundreds of students from across the state, learn about their collective history and what it means to claim their heritage.
Castro’s brightest students — Paula Crisostomo (Alexa Vega), Yoli (Veronica Diaz) and Bobby Verdugo (Efren Ramirez) — return from the conference inspired and no longer willing to ignore the inequitable and often draconian conditions of their school — no bathroom breaks during lunch, forbidding Spanish from on school grounds. Although parents and even Peña himself begins to worry about the students’ newfound activism, in the end, all come to realize the simplicity and gravity of their demand: that their education be equitable, that their history be taught, and that self-respect is not a luxury.
“I think this film will help inspire kids,” Director Edward James Olmos says in press materials. “I think they’re going to learn from the experience that these students were trying to understand: self respect, self-esteem and self worth is the single most important aspect of living. It’s what makes you and gives you the ability to say to yourself, ‘I want to move forward to be the best (I) can be.’”
Executive Producer Moctesuma Esparza was a key participant in the real-life drama (as portrayed by Bodie Olmos, son of Edward James Olmos). In addition to Esparza’s Maya Pictures producing Walkout, he is a board member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. NALIP-Austin became an approved chapter in 2005.
About NALIP and NALIP-Austin:
The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) is a national membership organization that addresses the professional needs of Latino/Latina independent producers. Founding in 1999, NALIP has since held five national Conferences, developed local chapters, and hosted many regional workshops and networking events that develop the professional skills of film, television, documentary and new media makers. In 2003, three new National Initiatives were launched: a Latino Writer's Lab, a Latino Producers Academy and a Latino Media Resource Guide published in print and online.
NALIP's mission is to promote the advancement, development and funding of Latino/Latina film and media arts in all genres. NALIP is the only national organization committed to supporting both grassroots and community-based producers/media makers along with publicly funded and industry-based producers. As an approved chapter, NALIP-Austin follows the mission of the parent organization on a local level. For more info about NALIP, visit www.nalip.org . For more information on NALIP-Austin visit www.nalip-austin.org.
About Cine las Americas:
Now entering its 9th year, the Cine las Americas International Film Festival provides Central Texas with a diversity of Latino and indigenous film and media entertainment from across the Americas. Cine las A ericas’ education programs enables young filmmakers and musicians who might not otherwise have the opportunity to explore their artistic talents in a constructive atmosphere. The 9th Annual Cine las Americas Film Festival takes place April 19 – 23, 2006. For more information about the festival and other Cine las Americas programs visit www.cinelasamericas.org.
For more within this issue of Somos Primos article on Sal
Castro . . . Click
Gomez, 71; Cameraman
Cover Latino Civil Rights Movement
By VALBBIBJ. NELSON-
Times Staff Writer
Octavio Gomez, a cameraman, whose work put him at the center of the region's Mexican American civil rights movement and placed him by Ruben Salazar's side when the journalist was killed while covering a riot in 1970, has died. He was 71.
Gomez, one of the first Latinos to work locally as a television camera-man, died of a heart attack Dec. 30 at a friend's home in Los Angeles. "He was a true pioneer of Hispanic media here in Los Angeles," said Frank Cruz, a former television news anchor and a founder of the Spanish-language network Telemundo. "And he was a gutsy cameraman."
Felix Gutierrez, a USC Journalism professor, Called Gomez a "break-through journalist" because he suc-ceeded in the print and broadcasting media, "which very few have done."
Shortly after arriving in Los An-geles in 1969, Gomez became a cameraman at the Spanish- language statlon KMEX. Later, he spent several years as a photographer at the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion and freelanced for many broadcast out-lets.
"He would stop at no end to get a story, including flying off to Central America with KMEX-TV camera equipment without getting his bosses' permission," Gutterrez re-called.
In 1985, Gomez was awarded $195,000 in damages in a press freedom case that accused immigration authorities of interfering with his ability to take photographs for La Opinion. The lawsuit centered on two events a week apart — a protest against refugee deportations and a roundup of Illegal aliens — in which INS agents confiscated Gomez's camera and press credentials and reportedly made veiled threats about his immigration status.
At the time, Gomez was a Mexican national who had been in the country legally since 1968. He became a naturalized citizen in 1994. "It wasn’t that trouble followed him, It's that he was fearless," said his elder son, Michael, who witnessed the second Incident as a 12-year-old riding along with his father in 1981. "Being an immigrant, he was pretty sympathetic to the cause."
from: OC Register Dec 2, 2005|
Latino TV characters seen as the
hot gift By Cindy Kirscher Goodman
Clearly, retailers want to tap into the increasingly strong Hispanic buying power. Hispanics spend twice the amount of money on kids products as other Americans do.
"Hispanics are a strong target market," said Jonathan Breiter, senior vice president of Toy Play, which holds licenses for 25 "Dora the Explorer" products. Hispanics tend to outspend the rest of the nation in some categories such as children's clothing, said economist Jeffrey Humphreys. Moreover, a large percentage of the His-panic population is young.
But. there is more: With Dora leading the way, these popular characters are reaching beyond their original niche audiences. Surprising even the show's creator, Dora ranks as the most recognizable 7-year-old in the world, with estimated reran sales of tier merchandise at a staggering $3 billion.
"Maya & Miguel," an animated series created by Scholastic for PBS, is gaining ground. The show about the adventures of 10-year-old twins, their abuela or grandmother, bilingual parrot and diverse neighborhood, launched its second season this fall. Already, it attracts more than 4 million kids a week and ranks in the top 10 programs for children age 6 to 8.
In February, PBS kicked off the third season of its popular "Dragon Tales" with a new Hispanic character, Enrique. Even Disney is getting in on the act. In 2006, Disney Channel will launch its new animated series "Handy Manny" about a Latino hero and his talking tools.
|Finding Words to Talk About Race
By Maria Luisa Tucker, AlterNet. Posted January 16, 2006.
Sent by Howard Shorr firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant mother and a father from a Southern white ranching family. I was born in East Texas, in a town where people frequently called my mom "wetback" and "taco-bender" to her face. In an attempt to protect her children from this verbal brutality, my mother did not teach us to speak Spanish. She wanted us to quietly blend in, to be as unnoticeable as possible.
When I was 2, we moved to a more quietly intolerant college town in the central part of the state, where black, white and brown were equally fractioned. My brother and I were assumed by most to either be plain ol' white or part Chicano. In middle school, a fellow classmate spit the word "Mexican" at me as if it were an insult, and so I took it as one. In high school, I had one ear listening to Selena, the other tuned to Kurt Cobain.
I had no language to talk about these divides of difference. "Race" meant white or black. "Ethnicity" meant ... well, most people weren't exactly sure what it meant, but ethnic food was anything spicy, and ethnic clothes were folksy costumes. To actually discuss prejudice or discrimination, its causes and consequences and daily realities — that was as distasteful as talking about sex at the dinner table. Even when James Byrd, Jr., was murdered in Jasper, Texas -- he was chained by his ankles and dragged behind a pickup truck -- and the murderers were tried and convicted in my hometown, people didn't talk about it.
And there, right in the center of middle class, middle America, is the root of this nation's difficulty in talking about race and ethnicity. My mother's generation was bullied into fitting in. In a post-civil rights world, my generation grew up obeying a polite colorblindness, a denial of difference. For decades, we quietly ignored race, which meant we ignored discrimination, and we shrank from talking about racial or ethnic tensions. Today, primarily because of Hurricane Katrina, Americans have finally acknowledged that, actually, we do have to talk about race. We're just having trouble finding the right words.
What's needed are a million personal conversations between ordinary Americans. The complexities and nuances of color and culture, the disparities of wealth and education are best understood by learning the stories of each others' lives. Ordinary people are the true experts in cross-racial, cross-ethnic dialogue, if only we would start talking.
Whenever I begin to be lulled into the tranquil idea that maybe, just maybe, race and ethnicity don't matter, something happens to remind me of the power of these things to be either connecters or dividers.
A couple years ago, I was working on an article about the families of murder victims and had been invited to attend a support group for grieving parents. At the end of the meeting, I sat quietly reading some of the group's materials.
An old Mexican man came up to me and asked, "Your name is Maria Luisa? Are you Hispanic?"
This man's son had recently been murdered. He looked into my eyes -- he, the subject, me, the reporter -- and tried to decide whether to trust me with his story of grief.
"Yes, but my father is white," I answered. "Well," he said, pausing to touch my pale hand. "Make sure to tell people your name is Maria." Then, he began his story.
He didn't want to know my credentials as a journalist, only my ethnicity. He told me about the agony of watching his crack-addicted son go down a dangerous path. He told me about the miserable end to a three-day search, when his son's lifeless body was found in a dumpster. He spilled family secrets because he assumed that since we were both Latino, we shared the same values.
It is significant that a name, skin tone or accent has so much emotional hold over us. Had my name been Amanda or Tiffany, the old man may never have greeted me. Actually, my name is different, and is pronounced differently, depending on who I'm talking to.
Friends and family call me Luisa. When asked why I use only one half of my first name, I explain that most women in my extended family are named Maria something-or-other, so we Marias go by nicknames or shortened versions of our full names. I'm not sure if this is entirely true, but most of the
non-Latino people I meet demand an explanation, so I made one up for them.
When I introduce myself to Latino folks, I am Maria Luisa, the namesake of my maternal great-grandmother and the most obvious symbol of my Hispanic heritage. Like reminiscing about biscuits and gravy with fellow Southerners, most of the time I consider this variation on my introduction as a way to connect with Latinos. But sometimes, I feel like I'm pimping out my pseudo-Hispanic identity, like wearing a low-cut blouse in an attempt to get a special discount. Am I a cultural con artist, a disingenuous fake? What does it really mean to be Hispanic, if my skin is white and my language is English?
Throughout my teens, I wondered about this. I hesitated to identify myself as a minority. I didn't feel like a "minority," nor did I know what that was supposed to feel like. But when I filled out forms for financial aid and college scholarships, being a minority took on a positive connotation. "Different" morphed into "diverse." The mother who had refused to teach us Spanish as children encouraged us to make sure we checked the "Hispanic" designation as college students. In college, I dabbled in trying to feel like a minority. I went to a Hispanic sorority party. I briefly joined an organization promoting racial equality. I attended a church group that promoted interracial marriage and ending racism as a spiritual goal.
Openly talking about race puts us at risk of being sucked into a quicksand of accusations and defensive anger. We fear the reactions to our words, cringe at the thought of being labeled. Depending on which side of the color line we stand on, we are afraid to offend, or we're afraid to be singled out. We don't want to be forced to act as a representative for all people of color or be questioned about the authenticity of belonging to a certain tribe.
And what words should we use when we do talk about race? Blacks may be unsure whether they should say "Latino" or "Hispanic." Whites may not know if it's PC to talk about Ebonics. A Christian once advised me not to call Jewish people "Jews" because, he said, the word was an epithet. And so conversations are stopped before they even begin. The discomfort that goes hand in hand with discussions about race has halted conversations within my own bi-ethnic family.
My parents divorced long ago. My father remarried, to a woman who was both white and blonde. They wanted more children, but were unable to conceive. Finally, two years ago, they adopted three Mexican-American siblings who had been in foster care. My left-leaning, hippie-esque father and I have never once had a conversation about race or ethnicity; the adoption of three little brown children didn't change that sad fact.
Secretly, I was thrilled at the addition of more Latin blood into the family. I daydreamed of bonding over our shared ethnicity. I would watch Dora the Explorer with them and show them how to dance the meringue. Like the old Mexican man, I assumed we would share similar values and interests because we shared a Latin American heritage.
My fantasies were halted when my father announced that, at the adoption ceremony, their names would be changed. Their "Mexican-sounding" names would be simplified into shorter, "white" names. Ostensibly, this was a protective measure to prevent the children from being teased. I wanted to scream at my dad; I felt this was a mistake worse than my mom abandoning Spanish. It was denying more than language -- it was denying their very identities. These three sweet-natured brown-eyed, brown-skinned children were being raised in a state that was about one-third Hispanic, yet their new parents' first lesson was that being Latino was strange and should be hidden. I couldn't understand why my father would do this. Two months ago, I got my answer.
After years of poor health, my dad's mother passed away. After the funeral, I caught up with my paternal relatives, who I hadn't seen in years. My mother had kept her distance from them during my childhood, and I had been repeatedly warned to stay away from one particular uncle. (Later I learned he was one of the individuals who referred to my mom as a "wetback.") It was this uncle who approached me.
"You know, your dad's problems started with those kids," he said. I was silent. "Those Mexican kids, you know. I told him he needed to change their names. It's just a fact of life that old white guys like me will mess with them."
He was apparently oblivious that he was talking to his niece, Maria Luisa. He might as well have said my father's problems started with my mother, or with me. What he did say was, "The world is full of old white guys like me." It took a minute for the meaning of his words to sink in. By the time I found my tongue again, he was gone.
My uncle is right. There are a lot of old white guys like him. The world is full of people who unthinkingly buy into racism and prejudice. And the world is full of people who are afraid of those white guys and afraid of talking about the jumbled mess of race and racism. Because talking about our prejudices, our color, our deeply felt experiences, means exposing ourselves and our families. Conversations about race and ethnicity are conversations about sex, hate, love, ignorance, history, guilt, shame and anger. It's embarrassing, uncomfortable and emotionally draining.
Given the choice, we'd rather not talk about it. But given the state of things, we should try.
| Sibling Writing Team Surprises Again|
Susan & Denise Abraham
The sister act of Susan and Denise Gonzales Abraham made a big impression with their debut novel in 2004, Cecilia’s Year. In a strong year for YA fiction, their novel beat out the competition for the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for that category. Surprising Cecilia, the second in a planned series about the title character Cecilia, keeps the momentum from their first novel rolling. Surprising Cecilia is an engaging, tender-hearted story of a girl becoming a young woman. The best part of it all is that the story comes from a Latino cultural background that until the last few years has been under-represented in the pantheon of young adult literature. Bravo sisters! Click here to buy books:
Cecilia’s Year (Winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Best YA Book)—an historical novel set in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico just after the Great Depression. The novel’s title character struggles to balance the demands of life on her family’s farm with her ambitions of education and a life in the big cities she reads about in magazines and novels. Deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of the American Southwest, Cecilia’s Year is also strongly reminiscent of YA classics like Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. Click here to buy books:
Susan and Denise Gonzales Abraham are the daughters of Cecilia Gonzales Abraham, the title character of Cecilia’s Year and Surprising Cecilia. The sisters were born and raised in El Paso, Texas, but spent holidays and every summer on their grandparents’ farm in Derry, New Mexico. They both graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a B.S. in Education.
The authors are currently working on the third novel in the Cecilia Series. They enjoy presenting their books at schools and readings. Click here to view teacher's guide:
Cinco Puntos Press,
701 Texas Ave., El Paso, Texas 79901
Phone: (915) 838-1625 Fax: (915) 838-1635 www.cincopuntos.com
"La Tragedia de Macario."
Excerpt: Prestigious festival accepts San Antonio filmmaker's maiden effort
Elda Silva, email@example.com San Antonio Express-News
Sent by JV Martinez
"La Tragedia de Macario," film by Pablo Véliz, a communications major at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was selected to have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Shot in San Antonio over eight days with a budget of $7,000, "La Tragedia de Macario" tells a story close to Véliz's heart - that of a young Mexican immigrant who attempts to cross the border illegally into the United States. In search of a better life, the title character contracts with a coyote who promises safe passage in a railroad boxcar. He finds misfortune instead. The movie, in Spanish with English subtitles, is based on the true story of 19 illegal immigrants who died inside a locked tractor-trailer in Victoria in May 2003. The story is set in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
"Los Tigres del Norte are a huge inspiration in my filmmaking," Véliz says. "They're my No. 1 inspiration, above filmmakers, because they tell the inspiring stories. In songs they tell them in about three minutes. I tell them in about 90 minutes."
Nuestra Familia Unida podcast project
The Nuestra Familia Unida podcast* project needs your help. [*podcasting is putting audio files on the internet]. This effort is an attempt to archive as much audio related to our history as possible. Have a look at the website - http://NuestraFamiliaUnida.com and have a listen to audio on these
Mujer (coming soon)
Coyote (coming soon)
DNA (coming soon)
Please join the planning committee for the Nuestra Familia Unida podcast project at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/podhi and help us organize as we attempt to find more information about our history and genealogy.|
Also to be notified when there is new content on the site join the very low traffic notification list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NuestraFamiliaUnida
We need your help in finding audio related to our history and genealogy. If there is a Seminar, Lecture, Discussion, Info Session, or Organization Meeting that presents information related to our History or Genealogy please encourage having this information archived at the Nuestra Familia Unida podcast. If you know of a Historian, Genealogist, Professor, Story Teller, or Knowledgeable Individual that has a message that needs to be heard please contact us through the planning committee or through the contact information provided. Your help is much needed please consider lending us your support in this project.
Joseph Puentes 206-339-4134 (messageonly)
> > > > Dialog of the Dead . . . Readers-Actors Needed for Play < < < <
Needed: Actors, Readers, Interested Individuals.
Author Historian Rubén Sálaz Márquez has given me permission to produce his play Dialog of the Dead. I'm been given limited permission to produce the play only for the Nuestra Familia Unida podcast. I'm looking for volunteers to read each part. If you have a good voice and can read well I would encourage you to read over the part you are interested in and lets start recording.
Parts available: Narrator (female), Chicano, Above-It-All, María (female), Latino,
Immigrant (female), Hispano, Heckler, Policeman, Immigration Officer (female)
Joseph Puentes, http://NuestraFamiliaUnida.com
ps: Podcasting is just a little over one year old. There is much room for a wide variety of podcasts on many subjects related to our people. If you have a message that would benefit the community please contact me and we can work through the technology to get you up and running. The time is ripe. Never has there been an easier and low cost way to get your message out to the community. If you have something to say let's work together in saying it.
|Excerpt: Adding Color to Red, White and Blue|
For '06 Winter Games, United States Fields Its Most Diverse Team
By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, February 9, 2006; A01
Sent by Howard Shorr
Additional information added from Hispanic Link Weekly report, Vol.
24.8, Feb 20, 2006.
Excerpt: The inexorable rise of Latino USA
By Ros Davidson in Los Angeles, 22 January 2006 http://www.sundayherald.com/53697
Sent by Juan Ramos firstname.lastname@example.org
Hasta la vista, older white America. Young Hispanics are the cutting edge.
This coming October, America’s population will reach 300 million. The symbolic 300 millionth will probably be a Mexican-American baby in Los Angeles with bilingual siblings and parents who speak Spanish at home. The prediction of a landmark “Chicano” birth may not be exact, given the law of probability, but it’s the new American idiom – Latino, urban and multi-cultural – says Bill Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institute, a think tank in Washington DC. “The new baby is symbolic of America’s 21st century,” he says.
It’s the America of President George W Bush courting Hispanic votes; of singer-actor Jennifer Lopez and “reggaetón” music, a mix of Latin hip-hop, dancehall reggae and salsa that originated in Panama and Puerto Rico and swept the US last year. Los Angeles, the second largest city in the US and the template for its future, is half Latino.
Last year LA elected a Latino leader, the first since 1872, not that long after California broke away from Mexico. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, popular, young and a rising political star, is being courted by Democratic bigwigs from Hillary Clinton to Howard Dean.
Nationally, Latinos number only about 45 million, a population centered in California, New York and in Miami , where many street signs are in Spanish. But Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group and, since 2003, outnumber the black community. By about mid-century, for the first time in almost 300 years of American independence, whites will technically be a minority.
For businesses and politicians, Hispanics are the new El Dorado. They may lack political and economic clout, but as a market they’re young and worth an estimated $363 billion.
Next month, Toyota breaks new ground by airing a Spanish-English television advert during the Super Bowl coverage. The $1 million half-minute advert depicts a Latino father and son talking about a hybrid, forward-looking car – and about being a bilingual family.
And in March, Reebok will launch a Daddy Yankee trainer, named for the
Puerto Rican reggaetón star whose hit single Gasolina spearheaded the
breakthrough last year. Major chain stores such as Circuit City, JC
Sears and Target recently added bilingual staff and Latin- oriented
Note this marketing item: El Valiente pictured in a lotteria card carrying a box of Huggies in one hand and a baby in need of a diaper change in the other.
New Latina Voz on the Web
By Rosalba Ruiz, The Orange County Register
Sent by Sonya.Herrera-Wilson@xeroxlabs.com
At a glance, Online news magazine targeted at U.S. Latinas that covers social, cultural and economic issues in English and Spanish. Subscriptions are free and readers can receive weekly summaries of news relevant to Latinas by e-mail.
History on Publisher, Lorraine Quintanar: She and her five brothers were raised by their single mother. She credits the women in her family for her success. Studied political science in college and went on to work in the advertising industry for several years before taking a year off to travel through the United States, Canada and Europe. She also worked as a headhunter. Lorraine Quintanar's grandmothers used to tell her that she should give back to her community whenever possible. When she noticed a lack of coverage on issues affecting Latinas in the '04 election, she wanted to make a difference.
In December, Quintanar launched the online magazine theLatinaVoz.com, a bilingual site featuring articles about social, cultural and economic issues targeting U.S. Latinas ages 25 to 45.
"I believe we are the only bilingual online news magazine for Latinas," says Quintanar, 41, of Laguna Niguel. "Women are very busy, and the Internet is a quick way for them to stay informed."
After conducting research that included women's focus groups and surveys, she opted to use the Internet as a vehicle for her publication. She found out that 59 percent of U.S. Hispanics used the Internet every month, compared to 68percent of non-Hispanics. She decided to target all Latinas, no matter their income or educational level, because "the idea behind LatinaVoz is to provide the information and resources to them so that they can improve the quality of their lives."
Excerpt: For Hispanics, Farming is a Growth Industry Jenalia Moreno
http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=27651 January 21, 2006
At a time when many other farmers are giving up, Humberto Moctezuma dreams of increasing production on his cactus farm. "If the market demands it, I can grow with the market," Moctezuma, 48, said on a recent morning as he examined his crop, fertilized by chicken manure. He sells the cactus pads, nopales in Spanish, to mostly Hispanic customers who cook the vegetable, eating it with eggs, salads or meat.
Moctezuma is one of a growing number of Hispanic farmers in the nation. Between 1997 and 2002, the number of Hispanic-run farms grew 51 percent. At the same time, the number of farms run by African-Americans and Anglos declined, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Like Moctezuma, many Hispanic farmers are immigrants who picked up the skill in their home countries. Moctezuma's father and brother work a 130-acre cactus farm called Rancho El Periocolo in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, where Moctezuma was raised.
For many Hispanic immigrants, owning land is a symbol of prestige, said Mario Delgado, a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development specialist in Georgia, where he is helping to organize a March conference on Hispanic farm operators.
"A lot of Latinos have their roots in the land," said Delgado, who added that Hispanic farmers rarely seek government subsidies and other assistance because they don't know about such programs or don't want to deal with more paperwork. "They really go for it with gusto."
Some Anglo farmers are quitting the business because it's hard work that pays little. "There's just so many opportunities out there to do other things," said Kevin Kleb, who once raised mustard greens and eggplants in Klein. "You're trying to tie the greens in the cold and at $7 a pound, you think, 'What's the point?' "
Many farmers no longer want to put up with the risks inherent to the profession, Kandel said. Fluctuating crop prices, droughts and pests plague small farmers who are increasingly competing with agribusinesses. "It presents an opportunity for people who are willing to incur those kinds of risks and the challenges of running a small farm," Kandel said.
Moctezuma decided to take on those risks after years of importing produce from Mexico and facing slowdowns at the border. In 1989, he began his weekly ritual of driving his pickup truck laden with nopales from Hidalgo to the farmers market on Airline Drive near the 610 Loop.
By then the farmers market had already become a meeting place for Hispanic vendors and their primarily Hispanic customers. It's a place where haggling over the price of tomatillos, tamarindos and Topo Chico carbonated beverages is done primarily in Spanish. Vendors sell produce raised in Mexico, California, Florida or the Rio Grande Valley, and little of it is grown in Harris County or the surrounding counties.
"All that land is getting developed," said Kleb, who is now the manager of the Farmer's Marketing Association of Houston. "There's not much ag left in this area anymore." But back in 1942, when the market opened as a cooperative, it was supplied by local German, Italian and Japanese farmers. By the 1980s, Hispanic vendors and buyers began frequenting the market, and today 90 percent of the customers are Hispanic, Kleb said.
And many of these customers are looking for products from their homelands. Mexico City native Reina Hernandez shopped for produce with her children as she sipped coconut juice out of a plastic baggie. El Salvador native Manuel Escobar and his sister drive from Huntsville every two weeks to buy chayote, pineapple and boxes of mangoes and other produce. "It's more fresh and a little cheaper," he said.
For Moctezuma, the farmers market was an ideal place to sell his nopales. "It's a tradition for us" to eat nopales, said Elvira Torres, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, who purchased more than six pounds of Moctezuma's nopales from the market one morning.
Small farmers like Moctezuma are realizing that by growing such niche products, they can make a living. "I think that is increasingly the trend among a lot of small farms. They do a lot of gourmet products and a lot of expensive vegetables and specialty crops," Kandel said. "I would bet on nopales before I would bet on carrots."
So far, Moctezuma, who believes the market for nopales is growing beyond Hispanics, has cactuses on just one acre of his 98-acre farm near the Big Thicket's Big Sandy Creek Unit. In two months, he plans to plant three more acres. And he envisions ultimately clearing away the tall pine trees that fill his property and replacing them with rows of cactuses and a patch of artichokes. "The American market is very anxious to try new things," Moctezuma said.
Excerpt: Some day laborers report being abused and cheated in their pay
Researchers surprised by the pervasiveness of wage violations, dangers on job
By Steven Greenhouse, New York Times (January 21, 2006)
Sent by Howard Shorr email@example.com
The first nationwide study on day laborers has found that such workers are a nationwide phenomenon, with 117,600 people gathering at more than 500 hiring sites to look for work on a typical day. The survey found that three-fourths of day laborers are illegal immigrants and that more than half said employers had cheated them on wages in the previous two months.
The professors who conducted the study said the most surprising finding was the pervasiveness of wage violations and dangerous conditions that day laborers face. "We were disturbed by the incredibly high incidence of wage violations," said study author Nik Theodore, of the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We also found a very high level of injuries."
Forty-nine percent of those interviewed said that in the previous two months an employer had not paid them for one or more days' work. Forty-four percent said some employers did not give them any breaks during the workday while 28 percent said employers had insulted them.
"This is a labor market that thrives on cheap wages and the fact that most of these workers are undocumented. They're in a situation where they're extremely vulnerable, and employers know that and take advantage of them," said another study author, Abel Valenzuela Jr., of the University of California at Los Angeles.
The study said the number of day laborers has soared because of the surge of immigrants, the boom in homebuilding and renovation, the construction industry's growing use of temporary workers and the volatility of the job market.
The biggest hope for day laborers, the study said, are the 63 day-labor centers that operate as hiring halls where workers and employers arrange to meet. These centers, usually created in partnerships with local government or community organizations, often require workers and employers to register, helping to reduce abuses. Many of the centers set a minimum wage, often $10 an hour, that employers must pay laborers.
Gold enduring Mystique
California Gold Rush and the "49ers"
The greatest theft in history
Smithsonian and the Spirit of Ancient Colombian Gold
Latinos in the Smithsonian Revised
Fuss and feathers at the U. of I.
February 19, 2006
I love to read the daily cartoons, so it was a bit of a puzzlement to read the first frame of Get Fuzzy and a reference to aliens.
Orange County Register, December 11, 2005
Below is example of the easy way that reference to Hispanics/Latinos and the history of the Spanish is included and maligned. The statement under the photo of the article by Robert J. Samuelson, syndicated columnist was published in extremely bold print, such as you see here.
|Brought up in California, I
was very aware of the "49ers" presented in school as types of
folk heroes, men and women fighting the elements, striving for a better
life, etc. etc.. However, that simplistic presentation of California
history in elementary school was totally erroneous. |
January 18, 1998, California State Historian Kevin Starr speaking of the California Gold Rush wrote "It was true that Americans indulged in an orgy of self-seeking.
As a matter of social history, the legacy of the Gold Rush was obvious: Thousands upon thousands who otherwise would never have thought of migrating to America's remote Pacific territory poured into California, which in 1848, when gold was first discovered, had a non-Indian population of barely 18,000.
Infinitely more tragic, the Gold Rush even further decimated the Indian population, whom the miners frequently cleared from their path like so many vermin. Indians not murdered were frequently enslaved, especially children and adolescents. Only one horrible word, genocide, can be employed accurately to describe the effects of the Gold Rush on Indians in the mining regions. Likewise were the Old Californians (Latinos in current parlance) pushed further to the wall, although they did manage, especially in Southern California, to hold on for another generation."
|"One moment the
California creek beds glimmered with gold; the next, the same creeks ran red with the blood of men and women defending their claim or ceding their bags of gold dust to
bandits, "so writes John Boessenecker in his never-before-told tales of the American frontier,
Gold Dust and Gunsmoke .
"A lust for gold was the driving force behind the conflicts that developed as a diverse group of participants each fought for a share of the promised fortunes. Violence and lawlessness ran rampant in the 1850s, recording the
highest homicide rate in the history of peacetime US "
The New York Herald printed news of the discovery in August 1848 and the rush for gold accelerated into a stampede. Gold seekers traveled overland across the mountains to California (30,000 assembled at launch points along the plains in the spring of 1849) or took the round-about sea routes: either to Panama or around Cape Horn and then up the Pacific coast to San Francisco. A census of San Francisco (then called Yerba Buena) in April 1847 reported the town consisted of 79 buildings including shanties, frames houses and adobes. By December 1849 the population had mushroomed to an estimated 100,000. The massive influx of fortune seekers Americanized the once Mexican province and assured its inclusion as a state in the union.
even more current history of gold lust and inhumanity, the example
would be Nazi brutality during World War II. With no regard for
humanity, the Nazi got gold - mounds of gold, from the gold fillings taken out of the mouths of Jewish
victims. Searching the web for photos and
information was easy. The headlines on a Dec 1, 1997 BBC
article read: World: Analysis, The
greatest theft in history went on to describe Germany's action
|It was one of the greatest thefts by a government in history; the confiscation by Nazi Germany of around $580 million of central bank gold -- worth around $5.6 billion at today's prices. The gold came from governments and civilians, including Jews murdered in concentration camps, from whom everything was taken down to the gold fillings of their teeth.|
Yet, with two major relatively recent historical incidents of greed, the unchecked anti-Spanish colonials sentiments continue.
New March 2006 issue, Smithsonian, page 42, next to a gold Funerary Mask, 100 B.C. to A.D. 800 "The Spirit of Ancient Colombian Gold" show . . says HURRY IN . . .
Spanish explorers would have killed (and did) for a
collection of Colombian gold as large as the one on view at the National
Museum of Natural History through April.
These debasing comments appear frequently in the media, reinforcing negative attitudes towards the early Spanish colonizers. It supposes that either descendants of the Spanish colonists do not exist, or because of the accuracy of their comments that we do not take a stand in defense of our ancestors.
Notice too in those quotes, one refers to the Spanish as
conquistadors and the other as explorers,
The problem persists because incorrect history has
shaped a very negative perspective towards the role played by the
Spanish in the American continent. The Smithsonian is suppose to reflect
the discoveries and achievements of America, but the Hispanic/Latino is
still not an acceptable part of the vision. Our story has not been
told because we are telling it in the right places and to the right
In 1997, a 5-year report on the the Hispanic
presence in the Smithsonian revealed that in 1996 Latinos were 3.1% of the
The 3.1% represents 167 Latino employees; however, only 3 were in a Senior positions.
Out of the approximately 5,387 Smithsonian employees, only 3 Latinos hold Senior positions.
Source: Smithsonian Workforce Profile through 3/97; Bradley and Paulino, "Latinos in the Smithsonian Revised"; U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Diversity.
*In the 1997 study the American Indian were only 1.0% of Smithsonian. However, since that study, the beautiful Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is in Washington, D.C.. www.nmai.si.edu
January 2006, a Black History Museum approved for construction by the Smithsonian, Click
We need Hispanic/Latinos on the staff of museums, historical
sites, in national parks, concert halls, performing arts centers, PBS and
educational channels. Most agencies, public or private reach out with
internship programs. For more information about research and
scholarship at the Getty in California, go to www.getty.edu/research
By Rubén Sálaz Marquez
author of the EPIC OF THE GREATER SOUTHWEST, Click for more information
In 1972 a group known as the “Concerned Alumni of Princeton” was formed to combat entry of women, blacks, and Hispanics to this Ivy League university. This effort was not publicized, of course, so that “women, blacks, and Hispanics” would never consciously realize they were being prevented from attending Princeton by “Concerned Alumni.” This way rejected prospective students would likely blame themselves instead of nefarious societal forces like the “Concerned Alumni.”
History has shown that Californios, Tucsonenses, Hispanos, and Tejanos have generally been hospitable, kind hearted people. Most people don’t wish to believe that they are being targeted for exclusion from Princeton (or Stanford or Ohio State or how many other schools or universities that we can’t prove?) but this small slice of history demonstrates what forces are working against anyone designated as a “minority” in the USA. The idealism of the Declaration of Independence must be weighed and considered along with the realities of the Dred Scott Decision. This is crucial for anyone who is a member of a targeted group, minority or otherwise.
If we don’t recognize American realities we are doomed to suffer from them and worse, pass the sufferings on to our children and grandchildren.
One way to become more aware of what is really going on is to read widely in the field of history. While American historiography is laced with propaganda, if one reads widely enough you will have a good chance of recognizing fact from fiction, analysis from cultural bias, valid history from mere propaganda. Without a strong background in history the ordinary person is intellectually defenseless. You can be told anything and you have no way of knowing if it is true or false. For example, the missions and missionaries of California have been denigrated beyond belief only because most people don’t know much about mission history so just about any assertion can be made without serious contradiction. The same thing has happened to Juan de Oñate in New Mexico.
Many people in the Southwest are passionate about genealogy. The next step, after identifying one’s ancestors, is to study how our people actually made their personal history. Most Southwesterners will be very proud of those ancestors once you discover how they really lived. But leave history to forces like the “Concerned Alumni” and you and yours will be viewed as unworthy, if not vile. Is this being sort of paranoid? Read widely in history and decide for yourself.
Fuss and feathers at the U. of I. |
By George Will
Orange County Register, January 5, 2006
The University of Illinois must soon decide whether, and if so how, to fight an exceedingly silly edict from the NCAA. That organization's primary function is to require college athletics to be no more crassly exploitative and commercial than is absolutely necessary. But now the NCAA is going to police cultural sensitivity, as it understands that. Hence the decision to declare Chief Illiniwek ''hostile and abusive'' to Native Americans.
The Chief must go, as must the university's logo of a Native American in feathered headdress. Otherwise the NCAA will not allow the university to host any postseason tournaments or events.
This story of progress, as progressives understand that, began during halftime of a football game in 1926, when an undergraduate studying Indian culture performed a dance dressed as a chief. Since then, a student has always served as Chief Illiniwek, who has become the symbol of the university that serves a state named after the Illini confederation of about a half-dozen tribes that were virtually annihilated in the 1760s by rival tribes.
In 1930, the student then portraying Chief Illiniwek traveled to South Dakota to receive authentic raiment from the Oglala Sioux. In 1967 and 1982, representatives of the Sioux, who had not yet discovered that they were supposed to feel abused, came to the Champaign-Urbana campus to augment the outfits Chief Illiniwek wears at football and basketball games.
But grievance groups have multiplied, seeking reparations for historic wrongs, and regulations to assuage current injuries inflicted by ''insensitivity.'' One of America's booming businesses is the indignation industry that manufactures the synthetic outrage needed to fuel identity politics.
The NCAA is allowing Florida State University and the University of Utah to continue calling their teams Seminoles and Utes, respectively, because those two tribes approve of the tradition. The Saginaw Chippewa tribe denounces any ''outside entity'' -- that would be you, NCAA -- that would disrupt the tribe's ''rich relationship'' with Central Michigan University and its teams, the Chippewas. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke can continue calling its teams the Braves. Bravery is a virtue, so perhaps the 21 percent of the school's students who are Native Americans consider the name a compliment.
The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux may have to find another nickname because the various Sioux tribes cannot agree about whether they are insulted. But the only remnant of the Illini confederation, the Peoria tribe, is now in Oklahoma. Under its chief, John Froman, the tribe is too busy running a casino and golf course to care about Chief Illiniwek. The NCAA ethicists probably reason that the Chief must go because no portion of the Illini confederation remains to defend him.
Or to be offended by him, but never mind that, or this: In 1995, the Office of Civil Rights in President Clinton's Education Department, a nest of sensitivity-mongers, rejected the claim that the Chief and the name Fighting Illini created for anyone a ''hostile environment'' on campus.
In 2002, Sports Illustrated published a poll of 352 Native Americans, 217 living on reservations, 134 living off. Eighty-one percent said high school and college teams should not stop using Indian nicknames.
But in any case, why should anyone's disapproval of a nickname doom it? When, in the multiplication of entitlements, did we produce an entitlement for everyone to go through life without being annoyed by anything, even a team's nickname? If some Irish or Scots were to take offense at Notre Dame's Fighting Irish or the Fighting Scots of Monmouth College, what rule of morality would require the rest of us to care? Civilization depends on, and civility often requires, the willingness to say, ''What you are doing is none of my business'' and ''What I am doing is none of your business.''
But this is an age when being an offended busybody is considered evidence of advanced thinking and an exquisite sensibility. So, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has demanded that the University of South Carolina's teams not be called Gamecocks because cock fighting is cruel. It also is illegal in South Carolina.
In 1972, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst replaced the nickname Redmen with Minutemen. White men carrying guns? If some advanced thinkers are made miserable by this, will the NCAA's censors offer relief? Scottsdale Community College in Arizona was wise to adopt the nickname ''Fighting Artichokes.'' There is no grievance group representing the lacerated feelings of artichokes. Yet.
Gabaldon Documentary Finally Completed
Texas Vietnam Veterans
Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News
Some say "The Pied Piper of Saipan" never got the proper credit for single-handedly capturing 1,500 Japanese prisoners in World War II. But Guy Gabaldon shows no bitterness.
"Life has just been a beautiful experience," says a man who has piloted his own plane throughout the South Pacific, skippered longline fishing vessel and worked, as he put it, as "a spy in Mexico."
He corralled more than 800 prisoners on July 8, 1944. Gabaldon was only an 18-year-old Marine Corps private first class who had learned the language while growing up with a Japanese family in East Los Angeles.
"The first night I was on Saipan, I went out on my own," said Gabaldon, who now lives in Old Town, Fla. "I always worked on my own, and brought back two prisoners using my backstreet Japanese.
"My officers scolded me and threatened me with a court-martial for leaving my other duties, but I went out the next night and came back with 50 prisoners. After that I was given a free rein." His pitch simply was that the Japanese would be treated humanely.
This week Gabaldon will return to Saipan, a 46 square mile island the size of San Francisco, to participate in 60th anniversary of the World War II battles for Saipan and Tinian. He will discuss his battlefield experience on June 14. Also attending the formal commemoration ceremony on June 15 will be retired Gen. Paul Tibbets, who on Aug. 6, 1945, took off from Tinian in the cockpit of the B-52 bomber Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Arizona Memorial Museum Association is a major sponsor of the commemoration.
Many World War II veterans, like Jerry Barnett, who lives part-time in Waikiki, also plan to attend the commemoration ceremonies. Barnett, 77, made his first parachute jump after attending basic training on Sept. 2, 1945, the day the surrender documents were signed by the Japanese on the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
"It's the sense of history," said Barnett, who also spends time working as a volunteer at the USS Arizona Memorial and the National Cemetery of the Pacific. "I like to see where these battles occurred, not to glorify them, but to pay my respects.
"I didn't take part in those battles," said Barnett who served with the Army's occupational forces in Germany in 1946, "but I respect those who did."
The Mariana Islands -- specifically Saipan, Tinian and Guam -- were considered key strategic Japanese strongholds in World War II, since they were located only 1,250 miles from Tokyo.
The Mariana assault, under the code name Operation Forager, was carried out by the 5th Amphibious Corps. The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed on Saipan on June 15. The U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Battalion later joined those units. The battle of Saipan turned out to be one of the bloodiest confrontations of the Pacific War. It cost the lives of more than 3,000 American Marines and Army soldiers, 30,000 Japanese soldiers and 900 civilians before the island was secured on July 9, 1944. On Aug. 1, after nine days of fighting, Tinian Island, just five miles to the south of Saipan, was under U.S. control.
Gabaldon was recommended for the Medal of Honor by his commanding officer, Capt. John Schwabe, now a retired colonel. However, the Marine Corps initially downgraded the award to a Silver Star and then upgraded it to the Navy Cross -- one medal lower than the Medal of Honor -- just as a movie on his exploits, "Hell to Eternity," was released in 1960.
"I hate to use the race card," Gabaldon said in a phone interview, "but it is so obvious. I don't think the Marine Corps ever awarded the Medal of Honor to any Chicano in World War II.
"It was only with a twinge of conscious that they upgraded my Silver Star to a Navy Cross, and to me that indicated they knew they had made a mistake."
He said the campaign to award him the country's highest medal for valor continues with an ongoing congressional investigation on why he was denied the medal, since he captured more than 10 times the number of prisoners taken by Sgt. Alvin York, who won the Medal of Honor in World War I.
Besides the Hispanic communities in the western United States, Gabaldon, who spoke at the National Archives during the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend, said he has the support of several congressional members.
"The fight continues," said the World War II hero who loves to fly and sail. "I don't want it. It's not false modesty. I enjoy what I was doing. It was a game to me. I didn't enjoy killing."
Gabaldon returned to Saipan after the war and lived there for more than 40 years with his wife, the former Ohara Suzuki, whom he met while working in Mexico.
"I loved the sea," said Gabaldon, who also had the government contract at one time to haul milk on his 95-foot boat from Tinian to Saipan. "God has given me everything."
In 1990, he wrote a book -- "Saipan: Suicide Island" -- about his wartime exploits. He said there is another movie in the works, with talk of Antonio Banderas in the lead role.
Referring to the 1960 movie, Gabaldon said, "I had a lot of fun shooting it. But Jeffrey Hunter (who portrayed Gabaldon) doesn't resemble me. He's tall with blue eyes. Me, I am a short Chicano."
Gabaldon said Hollywood "toned the story down. It gave me a sidekick -- actor David Janssen -- but that wasn't true, I always worked alone."
Gabaldon said it's hard to single out any one point in his life, which included being adopted by a Japanese family when he was 12.
"I came from such a large Latino family that no one objected when I moved in with a Japanese family. They were my extended family. It was there I learned Japanese, since I had to go language school with their children everyday."
But when the war broke out his Japanese family was relocated to a detention camp in Arizona and he went to Alaska and worked in a fish cannery and as a laborer until he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps at the age of 17.
East L.A. Marine: the Untold True Story of Guy Gabaldon
|Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway,
US Highway 83
In gratitude to the thousands of men and
women who served our country during the Vietnam war, the people of Texas dedicate
this highway which runs across our state from
the southernmost tip to the northernmost point.
It is our hope that all those how travel US 83
will pause to remember those who gave up
their lives or their youth or their hopes in that
long and bitter conflict. We vow not to forget those who did not return to us. And we pledge
to remember the sacrifices of those who have
Sent by Willie Perez firstname.lastname@example.org
|La Carretera US 83 Conmemorando|
Veterans de Vietnam de Estado de Texas
En demonstracion de nuestra gratitud a los miles de hombres y mujeres que sirvieron esta nacion durante la guerra de Vietnam, el pueblo de Texas dedica esta carretera que traspasa nuestro estado desde el punto mas sureno hasta el mas norteno. Esperamos que los que viajen por la carretera US 83 tomen la oportunidad de recordarse de todos aquellos que dieron sus vidas, su juventud y sus esperanzas en aquel conflicto tan largo y amargo. Juramos no olvidarnos de a quien que no volvieron y prometemos mantener la memoria de los sacrificios hechos por aquellos que se lograron volver.
|Spanish Sons of the American Revolution|
|Cesar Chavez y
Bernardo de Galvez: Sons and Souls of California.|
Patriot Ancestors from Cuba (Part 2, F-J) by Granville Hough, Ph.D.
|Bruce Buonauro portrays
Bernardo de Galvez in a new production in Los Angeles. Cesar Chavez y
Bernardo de Galvez: Sons and Souls of California.
A professional performer, Bruce is well known for his portrayal of
Father Serra at Knott's
|The development of a Galvez character was stimulated by Bruce's involvement in the Bernardo de Galvez Project in 2003.|
|The role of Cesar Chavez will be played by Fred Blanco. For performance information, click.|
PATRIOT ANCESTORS FROM CUBA
G . . . .
*Miguel Guillemas. A3:XII:50, soldier, c 1782.
H. . . . .
I . . .
Chevalier:page. Chevalier, Louis Eduard, Histoire de la Marine
Francaise, pendant la Guerre de L’Indépendance Américaine, Paris
Librairie Hachette et Cie, Paris, 1877.
R:year:volume:page. The Remembrancer: or Impartial Repository of
Public Events for the year, London, printed for Mr. J. Almon or Mr. J.
Debrett, opposite Burlingto House, Piccadilly, (for each year, 1775
through 1784). CubanPat2, 4 Feb 2006.
The Descendents of Doctor Antonio Fernando Lafon Chapa
S: Armorial Popular
The surname Lafon is derived from the Old French word fontaine, which means fountain, and served as a mark of recognition for women who lived near such a landmark. First found in Savoie, where this renowned family has been seated since ancient times. Spelling variations of Lafon include: Lafontaine, Lafontain, Lafantaine, Fontaine, Fantaine, Fontain, Fontein, Fanteir, Fantaine, Fonteyn, Lafonteyn, Lafon and many more. Many crests represent different families.
Another surname website said the surname was first found in Languedoc, France, where the family was seated since ancient times. Their list of spelling variations include: Fonds, Fonts, Fond, Fons, Fondes, Fontes, Fondy, De Fondes, De Fonds, De Fonts, De Fontes, Les Fonds, Le Fond, Les Fondes, Des Fonds, Delafond, Delfont and many more. http://search.swyrich.com/searchresults.asp?Licensee=8566&Surname=Lafon&z=
The Descendents of Doctor Antonio Fernando Lafon Chapa
Compiled by John D. Inclan
Generation No. 1
El apellido Lafon lo he encontrado también en registros y actas de
Nueva Orléans, desconozco la historia del mismo, pero veo que algunos de
sus primeros miembros fueron bautizados en la iglesia de Nuestra Señora
del Refugio, en Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México. Posiblemente tengan
la misma historia que mi familia.
| Armorial Popular.
Sent by Ignacio Koblischek. email@example.com
Estimado Sr./Sra.: Ya está a la venta el volumen Nº 1 del Armorial Popular. Con esta publicación periódica nos hemos marcado tres objetivos:
1º.-Estudio de la Heráldica. En cada volumen se abordará un tema dedicado a esta ciencia, con la posibilidad de debatirlo con otros lectores, en el foro creado para este fin en:
2º.-Recopilación de Escudos de Armas gentilicios. Consultados en los principales armoriales europeos, ofreciendo su descripción y dibujo a color.
3º.-Fomentar las adopciones de Armas. Es decir, mantener la heráldica viva posibilitando que aquellos que no han heredado un escudo de armas tengan acceso a su uso de una forma legal y gratuita.
En ste primer número ofrecemos:
1º.-Estudio de las distintas teoríaas sobre el origen de la Heráldica.
2º.-618 Escudos de linajes sin expresar línea expresa. Desde "A"hasta "Abellán", con sus descripciones y dibujos a color.
3º.-65 Adopciones de Armas de particulares pertenecientes a nueve nacionalidades distintas.
Para más información:
the San Antonio Light During WWII|
Se Trata de Dinero . . a stab at pure fiction
Carmen's Dream of Going to Summer Camp, 1941
The Bull Before His Time
My career as a street newspaper boy was brief, sporadic, marked by fear and failure. At first, I was afraid of being out in the streets because in l917 my Uncle Kiko had gotten killed by a truck on the corner of Sixth and Congress crossing the street to sell a paper: And since I had been named after him I thought for sure the same thing would happen to me. This fear kept me from being an aggressive selling newspapers.
I sold papers for Alfa who was Austin's distributor of the San Antonio Light.
She was a middle-aged lady who talked and walked like a man, and had warts.
And big reddish bumps all over her body. She wore pants and a change bag around
her waist always bulging with small change. She was patient and fair; very much a
woman who treated the younger boys with a motherly affection. Which she demonstrated with lovely dark green eyes. And she also smiled a lot.
To rookie newspaper boys like me she would consign the first ten papers and once we sold them, we would pay her for them and buy ten more; which would net us fifty cents if we sold them all.
I remember that at times I wouldn't even sell the first ten; mostly because the Light wasn't very popular compared to the Austin American Statesman. The San Antonio Light a low key paper, with small headlines. It was notably thicker and full of news from San Antonio which to many Austinites was light years away.
Besides, I had no inclination available to master the art of selling papers. One had to shout, dramatize headlines and be able to shove the paper at people causing them to automatically reach into their pockets for a coin. That was an art. It happened swiftly as if buyer didn't want to be seen.
I would often forget I was selling papers surrendering to day dreams. Other times I bolted the boredom and loneliness of standing on a corner and abandoned my corner to wander around the city; something I had not been able to do as a shoe shine boy.
I explored tall buildings where I could ride the elevators, or go to the downtown. First I would go to the Capital - the most affordable - on West 6TH St. Then go North on Congress Ave to the Queen, the Paramount and the State.
One I spent Alfa's cut because I could not resist going to a movie and buy popcorn & a cold Dr. Pepper: making it urgent I sell the remaining papers. After I looked for grown cousins, uncles, or aunts to shame them into buying a paper since they could see I was a poor raged relative, a fatherless boy making his way in the rugged world of work, selling San Antonio Light.
But my luck failed me, and I returned to Alfa with a lie about about how a bully had taken the money away from me. Alfa must have loved me because she never questioned me even though she must have known I was lying.
I suppose if I dug deep enough I'd remember incidents, feelings, traumas and disappointments to write about. After all - like most - I experienced street life during a period of our nation's WWII crises. However every time I remember my newspaper boy experiences, the person who come to mind is Mateo Martinez, a man who was in his late fifties who sold the Austin American.
Mateo was an awesome sight to see rushing out of the Austin Statesman building loaded down with about l50 papers in a poncho will huge pockets, and about 50 under his arm. He'd rush into the streets shouting almost hysterically the headlines of the war.
"It's out!! The latest is out!!! Read all about it! We got the Japs on the run!!. 1000 planes downed!!! Shouting it in such a way no one even stopped to think that human being inside the planes; or that perhaps some of them had killed many of our fighting men as they fell.
Mateo was nick-named "The Goat' by some of the paper boys. Maybe it was because some thought he was a 'cabron'*. I believe it was because of the how he ran out into the streets pushing forward with the determination and speed. His kinky grey hair was combed straight back also giving him the aspects of a goat. He was not very tall but there was something fierce and awesome about
him. He seemed to own the streets. In fact every corner of the city was his to peddle papers on. Most of the other newspaper boys didn't like this at all, but Mateo was much older and his voice commanded the respect of every one.
And had the Austin establishment behind him. This made him unofficially a sheriff and he used this authority to break up fights, mediate and settle arguments that erupted among us.
My first memory of him was when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor December 7th . And I saw him selling papers in the Eastside where no one ever bought papers. I don't remember seeing him make a lot of sales either. He had realized the tragic and historical significance of the event and had taken off running to from the office of the American Statesman, determined to announce to the sleepy Eastside the beginning of a new era.
And Mateo - like many other entrepreneurs - prospered during the war. Because the sales of newspapers soared as great destructive wars raged in the Pacific and in Europe. Austin, sleepy-conservative historical city as the seat of the Lone Star State's government, suddenly became a thriving city: A city of full employment. Benefited from the nearby presence of army and air force bases
Prior to Pearl Harbor the Austin schools religiously focused on legendary war stories of Texas' 'glorious struggle for independence; mainly stories of the battles in the Alamo and San Jacinto. While in the Chicano barrios stories and songs of the Mexican Revolution were still very much alive.
But when the War came, attention was drawn away from both Texas and Mexican history.
Before Pearl Harbor most people could not bring themselves to spend a hard earned nickel on newspapers that reported stories - of how the local, state, and federal governments were solving the problems of the economy - found themselves with better jobs and were anxious to read about the catastrophic events in the Pacific and in Europe. Hoards of soldiers invades Austin during the week-ends searching for pleasure, tasting their final days of state side existence before going to the wars. Since there weren't too many thrills to be found in Austin, many had to settle for a few beers and for the latest news on the war.
The surge in newspaper sales force Mateo to run even faster and to shout more hysterically, for he knew that on every corner he could find the curious, those awed by the raging war, anxiously waiting for the next issue of the Austin Statesman to roll off the press.
With each passing year of the war Mateo's shouts grew more hoarse, and the content of the headlines grew more tragic.
By l944, Mateo, the enterprising newspaper salesman, had paid a terrible price for his prosperity. One of his sons was killed in the Pacific. A profound change took place in his life. No one called his 'goat' anymore or resented him for being the city's most successful newspaper vendor. The other paper boys didn't complain about him claiming every corner in the city; in fact, the Austin establishment officially recognized him a Austin's leading citizen and made it clear that the streets
were his. He didn't have to run as fast anymore, and I'm sure he didn't feel like running fast anyway. People felt obligated to buy their paper from him. It somehow seemed like a way to support the war effort. So they waited to by the papers from him and to give him looks of pity and condolences. He was often seen on the corners crying over the death of the son. And crying over the way the war was going, with so many of our boys dying.
When he shouted the news, people were more moved than before. At times he had tears in his eyes as he ran down the streets selling the bad news. He started being considerate of the other newspaper boy. When ever he'd make a sale on someone else's corner he just turned over the nickel to the boy without take a paper back.
Small groups would gather around him to hear him tell about how terrible wars were. He would end his sermon-like talks by asking ever5yone to pray for peace so that parents could stop losing sons as he had, and would ask people to pray for the safe return of our American boys. Some people found this offensive; some found it un-American to talked about peace when we had not yet thoroughly and complete licked' Japs' and the 'Krauts'. When this view was expressed he world take out his purple heart of his son and would begin to cry, while making it clear how proud he was to be an American because his son died for America. Soon no one dare openly oppose his prayers and preaching for peace.
One day I saw him coming around the corner of 7th and Congress where the Stephen F. Austin Hotel is located. As he rapidly came around the corner, he accidentally bumped into a retire Anglo businessman wear a suit, who had a permanent residence in the hotel. In a fit of anger and irritability of lode shouted. 'With where you are going you black meskin!"
Mateo was not black but he was a dark brown Mexican who spent most of his days under the hot Texas sun. The man's words angered Mateo and he shouted back "You crazy fool, you call me a black meskin, and I'm just as American as you are: my people have always been on this land." And then he choked and began to cry uncontrollably. When he recovered he said with desperation in his voice.
You stupid man, I gave my flesh and blood for my country, what have you given besides the hate you have for my people. And he held a Purple Hearts In his hands, tragically and pathetically saying, "Look, if you don't believe me, this is all I have left of my son?
The cranky old man couldn't even bring himself to say he was sorry or anything. He just growled and mumbled and made his way into the Stephan F. Austin Hotel.
Shortly after that Mateo retired from the streets of downtown Austin to the Eastside here with his dead son's insurance money he bought a two story building with rooms to rent and a small store at the bottom level.
For years after I remember seeing him as I walked by his place on Six St. on my way to Congress Ave. He seemed serene sitting front of his store, smiling and waving at everyone who saluted him. He didn't sell the Austin Statesman anymore. He only sold papers in Spanish.
There was another story told about Mateo. They say that one day shortly after the war was over; he was on a train to San Antonio to visit his daughter. There were a couple of loud mouth gringos of the train referring to the war as the good old day and how they missed it. One of them said he was sorry he was not making much money anymore. And it angered him so much he had to be restrained to prevent him from throwing the man off the train.
The following story is from my book, Chicken Chisme: The Fine Art of Gossip.|
I credited it to the lady who I was interviewing (my brother's suegra). I believe it to be a bitter-sweet story and I hope you take a moment to read it in its entirety. Perhaps you can use it in a future issue. I hope you don't mind the suggestion. Ben Romero firstname.lastname@example.org
By Enriqueta Escajeda
My name is Enriqueta Escajeda. I am eighty-four years old and live in Sacramento, California. Like many people my age, I have good days and bad. Today was one of the better ones. My daughter, Sylvia and her husband, Louie played Chinese Checkers with me. I tried to let Louie win, but he is a terrible player.
My granddaughter, Syvie, and her husband, Manuel stopped by to see me. We worked on a Betty Boop puzzle for a long while (or was it Lucy?). We held meaningful conversation, which is a treat for me. You see, my memory sometimes fades. But today, my mind was sharp. I asked my granddaughter to fill me in on chisme, but she did not cooperate. You should have seen me at her age. I could put old ladies to shame.
“Mija,” I told her, “how do you expect to have lasting friendships if you don’t know how to gossip?”
“I have friends that don’t gossip,” is what she replied. I can see having a husband who doesn’t like chisme, but a real señora knows how to use it to her advantage.
“And how long do you think these ‘friends’ are going to be around?” I asked. “What will you have to talk about when you get old and your husband has gone to see his maker? If you have no chisme, you’ll have no friends and life will be dull.”
You know what she said? “I’ll just buy me a cat to keep me company.” Imagine that!
Her words brought back a memory. “Syvie,” I said, “let me tell you a story about my youth. Mama and Papa didn’t let me keep pets.”
“I know,” she said. “You’ve told me many times.”
“Listen anyway, Mija. I have the need to tell it.”
“I want to hear too,” said Manuel. Now, here is a husband worth keeping. A man who takes the time to listen to a vieja is worth his weight in tacos.
“I was just a teenager,” I explained. “Mama and Papa refused to let me keep a gatito or a small dog. I longed for a pet to talk to and caress and care for. Then one day in 1936 I got a pet chick from a neighbor. I was helping her wash windows and she came outside with the pollito in her hand.”
“Abuelita, it’s a good thing you didn’t have a cat,” teased Syvie. “It would have eaten your chick.”
“I didn’t know what to name her,” I continued, “I called her Polla and she and I became very close. I used to let her sleep in my bed. At night she settled in my bosom. Even at the age of sixteen I had very large chee-chees.”
“Welita!” cried Syvie, “You’re making Manuel blush.”
“I’m sure he can handle it,” I continued, ignoring Manuel’s laughter. “In those days we did not have electric alarm clocks with snooze buttons and all that basura. People used to get up with the crowing of the roosters. I was lucky. Polla used to wake up early and peck at my nose. That’s how she would wake me. I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, but the moment the chick started pecking at me, I knew it was time to get up.”
“Don’t tell the rest,” begged Syvie, “ it’s too sad.”
“Mija, it needs to be told,” I said. “I can’t leave Manuel hanging there.” I sat up straight and continued sharing my memory. It was as clear as if it just happened.
“One morning I overslept. Bright sunlight from the window is what awakened me. I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen. Mama had breakfast ready and shook her finger at me for being late. I would have trouble getting to school before the last bell.”
“Where was your chicken?” asked Manuel.
“Don’t ask!” scolded my granddaughter. “You’ll be sorry.”
“I looked everywhere for her,” I continued. “Even though Mama was yelling at me for running late, I had to know if Polla was safe. There was only one place left to look, and I almost wished I hadn’t. There on my mattress, partly covered by the blanket lay my little friend. In my sleep I must have rolled over, and smashed the poor thing.”
Tears ran down my wrinkled cheeks. My granddaughter and her husband sandwiched me with a long, silent hug. For a moment I felt smothered and it made me grieve even more.
Sometimes I wonder if a fading memory is a blessing. Other times I am content to remember anything I can, even if it means recalling a tragedy sixty-eight years past.
trata de dinero..a stab at pure
He had gotten in fact deliriously excited when rebel had captured his
imagination over the glories ahead for the soldiers of the Revolution of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata: Men who were going
to transformed Mexico into a rich nation that shares everything with
the people ..every worker.
The recruiting sergeant just looked at the disappointment in Efrain's
face and didn't even admonish Don Benjamin, he simply eyed a juicy looking goat
being raised for Teresita's baptism. The sergeant quickly went
shot the goat dead and had his men prepare to load it on a
horse, for that evening's supper.
Efrain's reflective spell and romantic notions of having missed the most important happening his
country ever had, ended with the wild laughter of Chensha and Olivia
Renteria, hermanas vistitidas
con vestidito demonstrados pierna hasta las nalgas.
Al fin Efrain se deconto porque de por si habia gastado los centavos que iba necesitar el dia
sigunete. De por si ya se habia puesto bien kikiriki, llengo a su cama bien pedo con haber tomado 8
DREAM OF GOING TO SUMMER CAMP, l941|
As told by her brother, Frank "Kiko"Sifuentes
My sister Carmen’s reputation was so profoundly important to me and all our brothers and sister that if she were nominated she would be odds on FAVORITE as outstanding oldest daughter of a large family in Atzlan. Her destiny was sealed three years after our father had died in l938. (Carmen and Ben were All American, I threw Atzlan in not able to resist the urge to be ethnic.)
She stood close to mama all the way: From the time of the first shock upon learning our father Benito Cazares Sifuentes had been mortally wounded. And throughout the 7 days he hang on and remained fully conscious, though steadily losing his struggle to live, without the use of his lower intestines.
And she was next to mama –along with Benny – during the worse times: after he died and had been buried. With me observing and still dumbfounded by this thing call DEATH. After the burial where she had thrown herself on fathers coffin as a real express of wishing she was there with him. (This was even before all those Italian movies showing women make an ultimate expression of love. Mama could not be consoled: With Carmen at her side crying over her loss of our father and for the feeling of helplessness at age 7.
Then there no longer remained time to weep and be paralyzed by sorrow: Because Tio Nalo had negotiated to buy us a house paid from our dad’s Life insurance of $250; which paid double enmity after Henry argued our dad’s death brought manslaughter charges against Manuel Medrano was an accident. Therefore legally it was called an accident, even if the man had been in a drunken rage. In our family, only Uncle Henry had the pull to have it become $500. He knew the laws, many non-English speaking folks did not. And he also knew about real estate and that because of the Depression houses were cheap.
Hence we moved in to l902 East 7th, the 2nd house on the North Side, next to the home of Luis Lopez family. Carmen as the oldest girl - aside from the normal traditional Mexican culture that Mamagrande Juanita wanted he to remain an old maid to take care of her and mama - became the one who had to became a surrogate mother.
And particularly because mama had found employment as a maid at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. So we not only lost our father, but also our mother during the day six days a week; and had to arise early to get ready for work, dropping off Mary to be taken care of by Tio Meme and Tia Lupe.
In the meantime Ben as the oldest male and Carmen as the oldest female took over direction of the household.
Mama had milk delivered and she gave Ben 15 cents to buy coffee cake. Or she would have a box of Post Tosties. We became Post Tosties addicts..and with mama warning us not to put too much sugar because we would get sugar diabetes. (During the 30’’ diabetes was like a death sentence ..a horrible one!!) Mama was more concerned we would run out of sugar, without a strict rule: one teaspoon only! (Kind of making diabetes el cuicui!) Ben headed the ritual of pouring equally portions in five bowls of milk from the quart delivered. And he also sliced five parts of the cake.
We watched him like a hawk to assure ‘equal’ cuts; and though he tried to be as fair as he could be, he was only human. I remember objecting to his taking a larger part, though it probably only happened once. He rationalized by say it was a larger portion but It was only half cover with icing! He of course does not remember though it was nothing to be ashamed of. I accepted his explanation.
Yes, the sugar coating was the best part! It was. However, Carmen who had full time duty as a domestic worker. And in addition, she had to train Juanita and Mary as they got older to some day become housewives.
I do not remember seeing Ben help around the house. Though surely he would have to say, "You were never around the house to help in anything. True, true.. so true. Mia culpa, mis culpas!!
By l943, Benny already had a paper route and had joined the Boy’s Scouts of America. And eventually he became an Eagle Scout. An amazing feat for a Mexican boy from the depth of poverty. Any bright social psychologist would theorize that for him the shock and trauma of our Father’s ‘murder’ made him decide he was not going to let that stop him from making something of himself. And a psychiatrist would perhaps suggest that his anger motivated him.
I don’t know how many times I hear Ben say, ‘ WHAT BUSINESS DID HE HAVE! Out at midnight at the Cantina del Rancho Grande. Carmen on the other hand had had three hard years of mourning the loss of our dad, who called her princess. And during these years she adjusted to her role at home, enjoyed being in the neighborhood and playing, plus learn to enjoy going to our new school, Zavala Elementary.
Whereas Ben to this very day says ‘he never had a childhood. ’One would have to fully understand what he means: That he never stopped acting like he had the authority and the power our father had. A terrible burden: Especially since he had promised our father during the last hours of his life to make sure and take care of Kiko!
Pobre hermano.. To make matters more terrible for him, Kiko was an early role model for ADD kids of the future: FREEDOM to remember and forget whatever you want! Out right disassociation!!
I had better make this more low key. Benny may still want to give Me the whipping he never gave me. Though once I remember he wrestled me to the ground and tickled me until I starting crying for him to stop. What a great brother to ‘teach’ me how to laugh! Carmen’s adjustment at school was not easy, because she would not stand for any harshness from the teachers no matter how much they claimed it was for her own good. Was she ahead of her own time or not?? At least half of the teachers were still in the l9th Century. Carmen was a model 20th Century at 10 years old. And being a full time surrogate mom did not help in any real way either. She ended up in the 5th grade with me. And because we looked a lot alike, both chubby, we soon became known as boy girl twins. (Hard to imagine, I was just as pretty as Carmen!)
From the time we started living in East 7th
\Carmen had been hearing and seeing in movies and reading in magazines that going
camping was the ultimate experience for young children: being in the out
doors, in the wilderness.
Here is the story as told by Carmen:
By Maria del Carmen Moreno Sifuentes Shepard, l988
When I was ten years old I got a chance to go camping. I had been dreaming of going to summer camp for the previous three years. And would picture myself running through the woods laughing with my friends, finding all kinds of treasures, dreaming under the stars!
And at last my dream was going to come through. I was going to camp!! The fact that it was only one day camp didn’t matter. I could still make new friends, run through the woods, and who knows what else.
We had been given a list of things to bring: a change of clothes, a blanket, an empty oatmeal box, etc. I wondered what the oatmeal box had to do with camping. "I’ll bet it’s for carrying all the treasures I will find when I go for a walk in the woods." I thought to myself. I hardly slept the night before the event. I kept going over the list in my mind. I would not allow myself to think of the condition of my blanket, or that my clothes were not what I thought one would wear to camp. The important thing was to get there with everything on the list.
I was to meet the group at the park by the Colorado River on First St. I knew I had to take the 7:a.m. bus to get there on time. I had to go into town and transfer to the Congress Ave bus South. I was up at six o’clock. Mama had the bathwater warming on the stove. I took a quick bath and dressed in what Mama though were suitable clothes for camping I was ready to leave!
As I started for the door, I remembered the bus fare. Oh no! In all the
excitement I had forgotten the most important part of all and it was
taking Mama too long to find the money. "I’m going to miss the
bus!, I cried. "I’ll miss camp;!" I barely heard Mama saying
that they would wait for me, they knew I was coming. In my heart I knew
this was not true , but with her encouragement I started for the bus stop.
"Where is this fool girl going with that blanket in this
heat?" I hug my gear close. Can’t they see I am on my way to camp?
I walk a few blocks, struggling with my f\gear. I have to get to the meeting place. My heart begins to pound as I get closer. Maybe Mama was right and they are waiting for me. No, they are gone. I sit under a tree by the picnic tables. A little breeze comes up and I grab a candy wrapper as it blows by. I wonder who the lucky kid was who ate the candy and made it to camp. I try to picture that kid running through the woods with his oatmeal box, filling it with all kinds of treasure. My eyes start to fill with tears.
After a while, I know it’s time for the long journey home. I stand up, pick up my bundle, and wonder, "What am I doing with this dumb blanket?"
By Pedro A. Romero
Story in Chicken Chisme: The Fine Art of Gossiping by
My grandmother was the world's heavyweight champion of gossip, and was proud of that hard-earned title. She would tell me the most scandalous stories about assorted family members and acquaintances. I reveled in the feeling of knowing something secret and forbidden. The more illicit the better.
One morning, my grandmother took a seat at the table after finishing breakfast and we enjoyed each other's company over drinks; mine was milk and hers was Mexican coffee, brewed in a pot with black grit floating inside of it. She liked to 'link' her spoon against the rim of the mug as she told about her brothers. None of them was any good except her older brother, Mike.
I asked about her younger brother who I once met at a funeral. She laughed and said he was the worst of all.
"Could Uncle Rey be that bad? He seemed nice at the funeral."
"Mijo," she said, in her raspy voice, "His name is Salvador. My mother called him 'Rey' because he was always the little king in her life. He's a spoiled little man."
"He showed me his scar from the war at the funeral." I had seen a large pink area on his back when he bent over to throw dirt onto the casket. That was when Uncle Rey told me he was burned by enemy troops who caught and tortured him in hopes of getting secret U.S. military information.
Grandma leaned close and said, "Do you want to know something about Uncle Rey's scar? It wasn't from the war."
"What happened to him?"
"He was home from the military where he had picked up a smoking habit. My mother was a big smoker herself, but she didn't want her kids smoking. So he hid the addiction from her. One day he went to the outhouse and lit one up. He was reading the JC Penny's catalog while he was there, since the pages would soon become toilet paper. Did you know that is where they got the expression 'shop till you drop'?"
I shook my head. She continued, "when he finished his cigarette, he still wasn't finished doing his business, so he lit another and dropped the flaming match between his legs. The outhouse exploded and he went flying into the weeds."
I loved that story and repeated it as often as possible. I enjoyed seeing people's reactions and used to tell it to everyone I knew. It became one of the stories I carried in my arsenal of gross and scandalous musings.
One day in high school chemistry class, I told the story to the class. The teacher explained that it was impossible for the filth in an outhouse to produce enough methane gas to explode. I told him that my uncle had a scar from it and that it was a very true story.
He shook his head. "Some stories are told so often that they become urban legends." I was distraught at the notion that my grandmother was telling me something that was not genuine. I was determined to get to the bottom of the story and spent weeks going over books in the school library in an effort to find any cases of exploding outhouses or theoretical notions that would make it possible. I was obsessed.
I found that the school library was inadequate for my needs, so I headed to the city library after school with my red binder and an assortment of writing instruments. I was always interested in chemistry and science, and knew I could write better than most kids in my school. I figured I could make one heck of a report to turn in one day. And any successful student knows that having a backlog of reports is essential to victory in school.
I was heartbroken to find there were no case studies proving my theory correct. Chemically speaking, there was no way for sewage to create the methane needed to cause an outhouse to explode. I went over many books and found nothing but urban legends and tales of exploding toilets by fanciful writers.
Then came a breakthrough. I saw my Uncle Rey at a family gathering and asked him point blank about the scar. His eyes lit up. The Germans caught me and poured gasoline on me. They said if I didn't translate an Allied code for them, they were going to fry me. I gave my name, rank, and serial number. The next thing I knew, I was on fire. I rolled on the ground to snuff out the flames. They locked me up without water. When it got dark I picked the lock on my cell with a wire coat hanger and killed the guard with a sharpened lid from a tin can. Then I made my way out of enemy territory and used a spoon to send Morse code to the Allied troops with the sun's rays.
It was a fascinating story. He told it so passionately that I hated to burst his bubble. I asked about the outhouse and his pride melted away. The once boastful man hunched over and looked like his spirit was broken by my words.
"My sister was right," he said. I dropped the match into the mire and BOOM! I was shot out of there like a circus clown getting shot out of a cannon. I got flaming caca all over my back and that is what burned me."
"How did it catch fire?" I asked. "My teachers say outhouses can't explode."
Uncle Rey smiled. Those teachers must be spoiled rich kids who had flushing toilets all their lives. But we, campesinos know about relieving ourselves in the strangest of places. Let me tell you where your teachers are wrong. The caca-water is not what exploded. It was the kerosene my mother used to dump in there to break up the caca. She had just dropped a gallon can of it into the toilet before I went in. Since I was smoking, I couldn't smell the fumes. And that is what caused the explosion."
I must have looked really excited, because he decided
that this story was better and more scandalous than the one he'd been
telling. From then on, he never used the war story again. And each time he
told it after that, the explosion got bigger and the wounds got worse. I
guess that shows that even a true story can become an urban legend with
enough retellings, and there is nothing greater than a hot tortilla with a
side dish of chisme.
|The Bull Before His Time|
By Francisco Zamarripa, Ph.D . . . PC (puro Chicano)
No day in my life has been as exciting and as funny as the day the bull jumped out of the bull ring into a kitchen. It was around 1957. We had gone to Cedral, San Luis Potosi, to pay homage to La Virgen de La Asuncion on a religious pilgrimage, as we did each year after year before my mother died.
We used to visit with my grandfather who lived with his two sons and one daughter, and grandsons. I was tolerated as I used to be quite a spoiled brat - always playing jokes on my little cousins. We played in the giant cactus patch, eating tunas, and shooting the cactus leaves with my BB-gun. We would ride the donkey, drink from the open water well and eat figs from the big fig tree which gave us ripe honey-tasting fruit. We ate the grapes, and ran around all day. playing, cowboys and Indians. What a life it was to be 12 years old and to be carefree.
Every night would turn us into religious fanatics who walked with the religious procession throughout town until we reached the church for the daily services and rosary which was customary. Afterwards we would assemble outside the church and see the Matachines dance to the ancient Indian drum and handmade guitars and violins. The grand finale of the night was the daily fireworks. The rotating castillos de polvora, which were wheels within wheels of bamboo spheres embedded with fire crackers which made the wheels rotate and make them light up the night with their magic. The finale was when the entire outline of the church would light up with fireworks. That happened of the last day of the five day affair. At night we would turn into religious goblins and during the day we were carefree kids exploring the surroundings. During the day we would go to the fair and other events that took place for the entire community.
The weekend after the 15th of August, which was the last day of the feast, we rented an oxen cart, taxi, or truck, depending on our finances and go El Real de Catorce. This was the ancient meeting grounds for our indigenous people. Our people had been going there for thousands of years before the white man came to spoil it all. It was known as the heart of our world by different related Indian tribes. Ours was the Huachichil tribe. We never mentioned that we were Huachichil, we just went to see San Francisco de Asis, as the ways of worship had changed with the conquest of the white man. The place was still the same, now we still went to fulfill our religious obligations as had been the practice before.
During the fiesta, there was always a Corrida de Toros, or bull fight. That year was special. It was the year that we were the actors and the bull was the spectator. It turned out that day, that one of the five scheduled bulls, was not in the mood for fighting. He decided that he was going somewhere else. When he came out of the redilas, like a demon on fire, he did not go for the bullfighter, but ran around looking for an exit. Finally, he found one. Don't ask me how, but he jumped up the protective wall that was made to encircle the fighting, ran around between the bull ring and the bleachers, then jumped about ten feet into the bleachers where the spectators were siting. Not knowing what to do under these circumstances, as the bull was running wild and running into people, my father decided to jump down into the bull ring, taking me along with him.
The bull continued circling around the bleachers, each time going higher and higher until the reached the musicians' stand and trampled all their drums and other instruments. I guess he did not like the music and got even that day. After he had scared all the people and had them running around yelling in fright, he decided to jump off the highest part of the bull ring toward the outside. He jumped into a building where there was the kitchen used for cooking the items for sale at the bullring. He fell through the kitchen roof, leaving a hole on top of the building, and ran out the back door of the kitchen, still running wild and scared, but determined not to fight that day.
Can you imagine what the cooks in the kitchen must have seen when this tremendous big bull fell on top of them, trampled all their utensils, and ran out the kitchen - hay mama! That was during the time that television adds with bulls breaking the china were not even thought of. He was a bull before his time. No one knows what happened to that bull after that day. No one wanted to know. We were just glad that we got away! Who cares about the bull? Since then I came up with "my" unfunny joke: In Mexico a law has been passed. No longer can bull fighters kill a bull because the SPCA helped pass a new law. Now the bull fighters just sit around and "shoot the bull."
History to life for students|
March 4: Story Time for Kids and Adults
March 11: SHHAR Meeting: Ruben Salaz "Epic of the Greater South West"
March 16: Ruben Salaz to speak at Libreria Martinez Bookstore
March 18: MAJOR EVENT: Hispanic Family History Conference, Riverside
George Ryskamp, BYU Center for Family History & Genealogy
Classes by Spanish/English, Prof. Ryskamp and BYU students
Actors Wanted: Hispanic/Latin-American, and Multi-Racial
In need of luncheon or dinner speakers, contact, contact your editor.
History to life for students
|Role model: Melva Espinosa, 17, gets her shirt signed by Sal Castro, who spoke at Laguna Hills High School on February 2. "After what he said, I want to go to college," said Espinosa. "I am going to give it my all and accomplish it." Castro, Known for his role in the 1968 East L.A. school walkouts, spoke about Latino contributions and the importance of education.|
||Activist Teaches a lesson in Hispanic
By Rita Freeman
Sal Castro was a history teacher for 45 years. He is current coordinator of Chicano Youth Leadership Conferences.
Castro spoke to about 300 students, teachers and parents on the role of Hispanics in history.
"Teachers have to demand high expectations of our kids, but also bring into the class enrichments so that all kids can feel at home.
|The former teacher was part of a 1968
protest over conditions in L.A. schools. Using visual aids, life
experiences and video clips, Castro emphasized looking beyond the history
books to learn about the past, particularly when it comes to Hispanic
contributions. He pointed out significant Hispanic figures such as
Marina Vallejo, one of the first men to serve in California's
constitutional convention who later became a state senator.
His most powerful message was to stay in school and get a college education. It is one of the only ways they will succeed, he said, noting the high dropout rate among Hispanic students.
"I'm really happy that he helps the Hispanic have a voice. We take part in American's history." Karren Hernandez
"If you know where you come from and know your history, no one can put you down. Don't be ashamed of who you are." Jennifer Perez
TIME, FOR KIDS AND ADULTS
Sent by Frances Rios email@example.com
Yearning to hear a good story? You're in luck if you have the time to sit and listen to a great storyteller...On March 4...at 1pm..... Adrienne Chavaez McMillan will tell stories of the Aztec, Mayan and Amazonian cultures at Libreria Martinez in Santa Ana. McMillan will be joined by Martin Espino, who will play indigenous music on a variety of instruments. The event is free. For more information, call 714-973-7900. Libreria Martinez...1110 North Main St., Santa Ana
March 11: SHHAR Quarterly Meeting: Ruben Salaz Marquez
"EPIC OF GREATER SOUTHWEST"
Orange Multi-Regional Family History
Ruben Salaz M. has broadened the study of Southwest History to include multicultural aspects as well as important discussion items often neglected by various writers. ..EPIC is a more complete history of the Southwest where documented facts take the reader where they may. EPIC is intended for everyone interested in a valid introductory history to our eight southwestern States but especially for readers young and old who wish to get beyond standard concepts of American historiography...
BOOK: Epic of the Greater Southwest 620 pages, $39.95
you can not make the meeting on Saturday the 11th, Ruben will
also be speaking:|
March 16 at Libreria Martínez Bookstore, Santa Ana, 6:30 p.m. 1110 N. Main St.,
Santa Ana, CA 92701. Contact: OC- MANA, Nellie Kaniski 714-836-8290
18: Keynote speaker
Opening Comments: "Trabajad en la Obra" por George Ryskamp
Parish and Civil Registers
Registros de matrimonios
Cómo usar "Personal Ancestral File"
Reading the Old Handwriting
La parroquia se quemó, ¿qué hago ahora?
Cómo encontrar el lugar ancestral y sus registros
Hispanic Internet Sites and Searches
Cómo organizar su historia familiar
Archivos de España, Portugal, y Latinoamérica
La historia familiar debe ser interesante para todos
Helping Latin Americans in the FHC
Registros de emigración e inmigración
Investigación de la historia familiar en Centroamérica
Cómo usar registros civiles y parroquiales
Finding Hispanic Peoples and Places in the FHLC
Casos avanzados – respuestas a sus preguntas
from OC Register 11-15-2005
Wanted: Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Latino, Latin-American, and Multi-Racial|
New play: "The Mexican OC", A Breath of Fire Theater California Story Grant Collaboration
THEATER El Centro Cultural de Mexico www.el-centro.org
DIRECTOR Sara Guerrero
PRODUCER Heather Enriquez www.themexicanoc.org
RUN April 28th - May 6 (7 performances, more may be added)
AUDITIONS, Open Call
Saturday March 11th 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and Sunday March 12th 11 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
REHEARSALS Read through March 13th. Rehearsals start March 20th.
LOCATION 310 W. Fifth St Santa Ana, CA 92701, Broadway/Fifth, above El Curtido, 2nd floor
PLEASE BRING Picture and Resume. Cold reading, sides will be provided. Small actor's stipend.
Strong actors with wide range required, as each cast member must play multiple roles and ages (from child to elderly). Must be able to switch characters quickly. Spanish/English Bi-lingual a plus, but not necessary. Age range, 30s-40s years old.
The "Mexican" OC: Triumphs and Contributions of Orange County's Mexican Communities
Few people in Orange County have knowledge of the history, positive contribution, or struggles for social justice of Mexican communities. The rich stories of triumph and survival of our ancestors wait to be told. Our project hopes to address this void by presenting a play based on stories of Mexican people, past and present, who have challenged the status quo to assert the rights of Mexican communities in Orange County. More information, please e-mail BreathofFireTheater@yahoo.com
Sent by Sara Guerrero
SHHAR Board members and Somos Primos staff consultants are open to speak at luncheon or dinner events, and or educational conferences and events. We are in the process of compiling a list of titles for presentations. Below are the presentation titles on which Michael Perez will speak. Michael is project manager of the on-going Galvez Project. He also serves as Ethnic Chair for the California State Genealogical Alliance.
|1. Hispanics in the American
2. The Hispanic Army That Saved America
3. The Forgotten Hispanic Army of the
American Revolutionary War
4. Bernardo de Galvez, General of the
|5. The Black Legend and Hispanic
6. The New Hispanic members of the Sons and
Daughters of the American Revolution
7. The Founding of Spanish North America
8. Hispanic Cowboys
^In need of 2006 luncheon or dinner speaker? Look
at article above ^
March 24, 25, 31st and April 1st
Cesar Chavez y Bernardo de Galvez
March 24, 25, 31st and
1444 N. Sierra Bonita Ave.
Cesar Chavez was known for being one of the most influential and inspirational civil rights leaders of our time. he fought to bring social justice to migrant farm workers through his philosophy of non-violence which would one day travel beyond the fields and orchards of California.
Bernardo de Galvez as the Spanish Governor General Louisiana and Florida during the American Revolution. In the years of 1776-1781 Galvez led the Spanish contribution to the American Revolution. Both these men were from different times but contributed so much to the growth of what we know as today's California.
The production is two one-acts, separately depicting the life and times
of each man through the style of "one-man" performance.
Bruce Buonauro will portray Galvez, in the first half of the production,
and Fred Blanco will portray Chavez in the second half. There will
be interludes of live traditional Latin music in between.
|A first of a kind screening of the movie WALKOUT
by Moctezuma Esparza and James Edward Olmos depicting the
historic East Los Angeles high schools where Chicano and Latino students
walked out in protest of the institutional education neglect and
racism that was endemic in barrio schools is being shown at CAL State
L.A. 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, 2006. It is
being sponsored by the CSU Chancellor's Office under the coordination of
Dr. Jorge Haynes. Seats limited, contact Diane Ene at (562) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent by Sergio Hernandez, email@example.com
|Hispanics for LA opera, Celebrating the
15th Anniversary of HLAO.|
New members of the board
Hispanics for LA opera Newsletter No.32 January, 2006
of us in Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera wish to thank Dino Barajas and
Carlos Payan for joining Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera as new Board
members this season. Their talented contributions to the season's plans
are already in motion, and we are are most eager to introduce them to our
readers in this section of our Newsletter.
Dino T. Barajas is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP. Dino has extensive experience representing lenders, investors and developers in a wide range of domestic and international multi million dollar project financings and was recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as "Attorney of the Year" (energy) in 2004, and by KCET as "Local Hispanic Hero" (Business) in 2005. Dino received his ].D. from Harvard Law School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in Communication Studies
and the Business Emphasis Program from
UCLA. He is a frequent chair and speaker at various international conferences, both in English and Spanish. Dino's charming wife, Patricia is also involved with Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera as Co-Chair of the 2006 Placido Domingo Award Dinner. The are proud parents of six year old Maya and reside in Pasadena, California.
Payan is Vice President, Loan Officer of Commercial Asset Management at
Banco North America. Carlos has eleven years of experience in banking,
banking including business promotions and commercial credit analysis, and
is fluent in English and Spanish. |
After graduating from LISC in Administration Business Administration, he received his Masters Degree from Loyola Marymount University in 2003. Carlos is a strong believer in volunteer work on behalf of his community, and serves as such in the Last Los Angeles College Puente Project, in the Holy Family Services Adoption and Poster Care Center, and in the "65 Roses" charity club.
In recognition of his financial background he was offered and enthusiastically assumed the position of Treasurer of Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera. Carlos is married to Michelle Hernandez and resides in Alhambra, California. They are proud parents of their 15 month old son, Gabriel.
Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera is fortunate to count with these wonderful contributors.
Welcome aboard Dino and Carlos!
Hispanic Family History Conference, Riverside|
George Ryskamp, BYU Center for Family History & Genealogy
Classes in Spanish/English, by Prof. Ryskamp and BYU students
Click for more information.
March 2006 marks the 40th anniversary of Chavez’s lead 1966 march
The Original California Constitution was a Spanish-English document.
CALIFORNIOS and the Birth of the State of California, 3rd in a series
Legendary Queen of California -- Califa
Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
Sacramento pioneers re-interred in Sacramento County Cemetery
New Latina Court Commissioner
Los Californianos Recommended Reading List
Juan Francisco Permission to Marry
Nieblas - use SF newspapers for DOD
Colonial Life in Spanish California During the North American Revolution
In need of luncheon or dinner speakers, contact, contact your editor.
|Fred Blanco, as Cesar Chavez|
in a new L.A. production. click
|Poster . . . 18 X 36 |
Chicano Art - 'Cesar Chavez, La Familia' by I. Gomez
$9.95 + $4.95
The Original California Constitution was a Spanish-English document.
Nurturing the California Spirit, a Word about a Petition: Galal Kernahan, Somos Primos' Constitutional consultant, has already met with the Orange County Department of Education and is in contact with the California State Department of Education concerning the need to make a simple inclusion in the 4th grade curriculum.
Our State began when voters approved its Original Constitution and
elected our first officeholders on November 13, 1849. Recognizing
this Constitution, the U.S. Congress admitted California to the Union,
September 9, 1850. We became the 31st Star in the America Flag.
Los Amigos of Orange County want California children to relive the same
intercultural goodwill that those who wrote our Original State
Constitution demonstrated. Almost half of California's public school
children are Hispanic. The State-mandated Fourth Grade California
History-Social Science Standards ignore the very important fact among its
32 sub-expectations. The important fact:
The simple story of how they worked their way through this bicultural civic joint venture remains a vivid human relations lesson to this day. Taught simply, it is one ten-year-olds can understand.
Please join Los Amigos of Orange County in their effort to unite
Californians, send a quick email to supporting the need to include
in the 4th grade curriculum this very simple fact:
Galal@lworld.net or write
to Los Amigos, 1585 W. Broadway, Anaheim, CA 92802
NORIEGO WHO? by Galal Kernahan
Who is Noriego?
The "Birth Certificate" of the State of California was composed at the 1849 Monterey Constitutional Convention. In discussions there, someone named "Noriego" spoke of mean-spirited court cases where money talks. (There is no "Noriego" on the official roster of delegates.)
Consider to whom he grumbled: the 47 other fathers of our state-to-be. Eleven were attorneys from Back East. Only one had been in California more than three years. Six had been here less than eight months. A few were stretching things claiming four. No lawyer delegates had been elected south of San Luis Obispo. The Gold Rush was not in the south.
California-born "Noriego" (then 36 years old) came from Santa Barbara. Answering a lawyer, who argued against limiting (in the California-to-be) higher court case jurisdiction no matter how small the matter in dispute, "Noriego" said, ". . .very often. . .rich persons. . .do not care much about how a case goes on account of the money. . .I have known persons to appeal merely on the subject of a calf, and send it up to the Supreme Court in Mexico City . . .to gratify a malicious feeling towards the opposite partry. . ." (Wednesday, September 26, 1849, Page 225. PROCEEDINGS of the Convention as published in English and Spanish.)
Richard Henry Dana, author of TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, wrote a 1859 postscript to his book about 1835-36 California. During his 24-years-later return visit, he ran into an old sea captain he had known in those earlier days. They reminisced.
Dana was told: "The descendants of Noriego had taken the ancestral name of 'De la Guerra' as they were nobles of Old Spain by birth. . ." (There is indeed a "De la Guerra" among signers of the 1849 Constitution.)
Did Noriego's candor and outspoken style cause him trouble later on? Apparently not. The old captain continued his update ". . .and the boy (in 1836) Pablo. . .is now (in 1859) don Pablo de la Guerra, a Senator in the State Legislature from Santa Barbara."
Before he went home, Dana made a swing through the State Capital and chatted with this respected political leader a decade after he signed California's Original Constitution.
|Legendary Queen of California -- Califa.
Sent by Lorraine Frain firstname.lastname@example.org
"Know, then, that, on the right hand of the Indies, there is an island called California, very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise, and it was peopled by black women, without a single man among them, for they lived in the fashion of Amazons. They were robust of body, with strong and passionate hearts and great virtues.
Their island was the strongest in all the world, with its steep cliffs and rocky shores. Their arms were all of gold, and so was the harness of the wild beasts which they tamed and rode.
In this island, there were also many griffins. In no other part of the world can they be found. And there ruled over that island of California a queen of majestic proportions, more beautiful than all others, and in the very vigor of her womanhood. She was not petite, nor blond, nor golden-haired. She was large, and black as the ace of clubs. But the prejudice of color did not then exist, even among the most brazen-faced or the most copper-headed. For, as you shall learn, she was reputed the most beautiful of women; and it was she, O Californias! who accomplished great deeds, she was valiant and courageous and ardent with a brave heart, and had ambitions to execute nobler actions than had been performed by any other ruler"
(My favorite part of this story--as told by a tourist) While traveling in Spain, with an historian as our guide, I asked him how the Amazon women reproduced when no men were allowed on the island. Looking at me, he answered seriously, "Senora...the winds."
Excerpted from Las Sergas de Esplandian (The Deeds of Esplandian), written in 1510 by the Spanish writer, Garci Ordonez de Montalvo.
In my search for the namesake of California, Califa, I came across the following, regarding a painting of Califa: "Herald and Express article of July 30, 1936 featuring Lucile Lloyd's mural, "The Origin and Development of the Name of the State of California," (This is a beautiful mural.)
There are several paintings of Califa throughout the Art World. It is my understanding that one such painting is probably still featured at our State Capitol in Sacramento.
Please let me know any comments which you may have regarding the Califa Story, as I find it to be quite fascinating. Take care, Lorri
Annual Meeting Santa Barbara Trust for
Santa Barbara Trust for
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation continues to benefit from its unique partnership with the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation. Enabling legislation enacted in 1988 by the State of California authorizes the Trust to both reconstruct and operate El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park under a series of multi-year operating agreements with State Parks. El Presidio State Historic Park receives nearly 50,000 visitors annually. These guests include not only locals interested in their history, but also visitors to Santa Barbara from around the world.
In addition to income from a modest fee to tour the site, the Park is financially supported by rental income generated by commercial and residential properties located on State property and administered by the Trust. This income supports Park operations, as well as maintains these properties for their tenants. The annual operating budget for the State Park for fiscal year 2005-06 is approximately $665,000.
The Trust is currently actively pursuing the sale of three properties to the State of California. Complex negotiations will likely result in the sale of the Presidio Properties parking lot, on Santa Barbara Street across from the Rochin Adobe, to the State. This parcel contains the foundations of the front gate of EI Presidio, and the sale will advance the goals of the General Plan by placing this important resource under the protection of the State. Additionally, the Trust is in the process of transferring ownership of the parcel just northwest of the Rochin Adobe to the State. This parcel also contains foundations from the original Spanish fort. Finally, the Trust has begun discussions with State officials to transfer ownership of the Mills property, near Solvang, to the State, with the intention of ultimately creating a State Historic Park, so that the historic Mills might more easily be enjoyed by the public.
2005 saw completion of the new restrooms at EI Presidio. Also in this past year, work began on reconstruction of the Northwest Comer of El Presidio. When completed, later in 2006, this project will include a new visitor center, new handicapped entrance ramp, and additional period rooms for interpretation of the site.
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
values its long collaborative relationship with State Parks and looks
forward to many future joint endeavors.
Part of the ceremonies for this year’s Annual Meeting of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation was to dedicate and place a time capsule in the floor of the of one of the buildings in the Northwest Corner of the presidio which is currently under construction. The time capsule is to be opened in 2082, exactly 300 years after the original founding of the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara. Various items are included in the capsule, among them is a copy of an 1808 Manual of Arms for the firing flintlock muskets. This drill was translated, implemented, and is regularly used by Los Soldados in ceremonies as a living history exhibit.
Two very dedicated volunteers were also honored at the Annual meeting.
George W. (Bud) Decker and Jim Elwell Martinez were appointed as Life
Honorary Members of the Trust. Included are the proclamations for these
men which highlight their accomplishments.
Proclamation for Jim Martinez
Whereas, Jim Elwell Martinez began his involvement with El Presidio de Santa Bárbara over fifteen years ago as a founding member of Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara in April of 1990; and
Whereas, Jim translated and implemented the Spanish Manual of Arms of 1808 from an original document obtained from the Los Angeles County Museum and took it upon himself to be drill instructor for Los Soldados to implement historic marching evolutions with the authentic firing of period muskets; and
Whereas, Jim Martinez located the first model 1757 Spanish reproduction muskets from suppliers in Historic Saint Augustine, Florida, and made it possible to purchase and acquire them for use at Trust events; and
Whereas, Jim for a number of years has served as the president of Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara and was responsible for naming the group; and
Whereas, Jim Elwell Martinez has served Los Soldados since its inception as Sergeant of the Guard adopting the first person interpretive role of Pablo Antonio Cota, who was with the Portolá expedition in 1769, Sargento at Santa Bárbara in 1782, and Alférez at Santa Bárbara in 1788; and
Whereas, Sargento Martinez (Cota) directed the military escort for Prince Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, Prince of Asturias, in June of 1995; and
Whereas, Jim Elwell Martinez’s interest in presidio soldiers is rooted in his military background, as well as in his family’s history since he is related to soldiers who served in the American Revolution and is a direct descendant of Lieutenant José Francisco Ortega, founder and first Comandante of the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782; and
Whereas, Jim Martinez is currently serving in the interpretive role as teniente (Lieutenant) José Francisco Ortega with Los Soldados in honor of his ancestor; and
Whereas, teniente Martinez
(Ortega) continues to volunteer as a distinguished soldier of Los Soldados
del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara and has participated in literally
hundreds of events contributing unselfishly of his time, energy, and
expertise in the finest tradition of military excellence in honor of the
original soldiers of the Royal Presidio of Santa Bárbara, and
Proclamation For George W. (Bud) Decker
| Sacramento pioneers
reinterred in Sacramento County Cemetery|
By Mary-Ellen Jones Liaison, California Historic Cemetery Alliance
California Historian, Vol. 52, No. 2, Winter 2005
On Friday, February 4,2005, some 50 people gathered at the Sacramento County Cemetery, adjacent to St. Mary's Cemetery, to memorialize 72 early Sacramentans who were removed from the Sacramento County Hospital Cemetery, now part of the UC Davis Medical Center, during the expansion of the Cancer Center early last year.
The history of the Sacramento County Hospital Cemetery dates back to September 4, 1877, when the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors authorized the chairman of the Hospital Committee to enclose "with a good and substantial fence one acre of ground on the Hospital Farm for the pur-pose of burying the county dead." The board further directed that on or after the 15th, all persons buried at the expense of the county shall be buried within said enclosure.
No records for this one-acre site have been located, but burial records from Sacramento County books list over 100 burials from 1903 to 1912 and from 1926 to 1927. No hospital records have ever been found listing burials for the 50-year period the Hospital Cemetery was used.
In 1927, burials were started at the Sacramento County Cemetery and continued until 1961. During these years, well over 10,000 indigents were interred by the county. In the early 1970s, this property was acquired by St. Mary's Cemetery and the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.
The gap in burials during the years 1912 to 1926 at the County Hospital Cemetery was probably related to a situation that made headlines in 1912. The Sacramento Bee re-ported in an article titled "Cesspool Bier of Dead" that indigents were "homeless in life, buried in slime, bodies weighted to insure interment."
There are anecdotes of trenches being dug for burial during the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 but no firm evidence exists to document that this occurred. However, the method of burial of about half of those re-interred here was comparable with such burials, and these appear to be more recent burials than those in surrounding areas.
Thanks must go to UC Davis Medical Center for their cooperation and dedication in the disinterment and re-interment of these pioneers. They have already had archaeologists explore sites of future expansion to ensure there is no cemetery in these areas and will involve archaeologists in future excavations.
Thanks must go to St. Mary's Cemetery and the Diocese of Sacramento. They have provided four concrete vaults to hold the remains and have provided all necessary services. They will donate a granite marker to be placed on this site, which will memorialize the 72 persons buried prior to 1927 in the Sacramento County Hospital Cemetery and re-interred in February 2005.
Thanks are due also to Pacific Legacy for their exhaustive research on the Sacramento County Hospital Cemetery, and for their dedication and extra efforts to try to determine sex and approximate age of each person disinterred and to ensure that those re-interred receive the respect they deserve. Each person has been placed in an individual, numbered box within double concrete vaults.
The Sacramento County Cemetery is continually being beautified by the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. The area has been leveled, lawn established and maintained, and about 300 trees have been planted by the Sacramento Tree Foundation. It has become a beautiful nature area, a peaceful site where people can come to meditate and pay their respects to those who lie here.
|New Latina Court Commissioner :
Sent by Dorinda Moreno email@example.com
I wanted to share with everyone that our good friend and colleague Ana Bravo has been appointed to serve as Commissioner for the Sacramento County Superior Court. Commissioner Bravo has been a very active leader of La Raza Lawyers Association of Sacramento since she graduated from law school in 1985, including being past president, vice president and secretary. She has won a number of awards and was recognized by the Sacramento Unity Bar for her community leadership. She is completely bilingual and is very sensitive, sympathetic, understanding and yet tough when appropriate. In addition to being an accomplished prosecutor with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office since graduation from law school in 1985, Ana and her husband Alvaro also have raised three beautiful and wonderful daughters who are now in their 20's. Please join me in congratulating our friend. The Sacramento community has a new commissioner who surely will treat litigants, witnesses and all present respectfully and fairly. Gabriel Vivas
I. COMPLETE OVERVIEW
Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewitz. Lands of Promise and Despair. Heyday Books, 2001. $23. A compilation of excerpts of letters, reports and reminiscences about California. Each entry has an introduction by the editors. Some of their comments are more critical of the Hispanics than we find substantiated by the record. Not an easy read, but fairly complete coverage of the entire time period. It stands alone, and if only one book is read, this should be it.
II. BEFORE THE FOUNDING AND THE FOUNDING
1. Harry W. Crosby, Antigua California. University of New Mexico
Press, 1994. reprint $57.
2. Donald Garate, Juan Bautista de Anza. University of Nevada
Press, 2003. $34.
3. Harry W. Crosby, Gateway to Alta California. Sunbelt Publications, 2003. $37 A very readable day-by-day account of the first land party of the 1769 expedition, led by Rivera. Profusely illustrated, with highly detailed topographical maps of the route from Velicata to San Diego. Short biographies of soldiers of the land parties.
III. THE MISSION PERIOD AND LIFE OF THE INDIANS
1. Thomas E. Chavez, Spain and the Independence of the United States. University of New Mexico Press, 2004. $20. What was going on in the world at the time of the founding of the Presidios and first missions. Should be of great assistance to teachers trying to make California and Spain relevant to students whose roots are Mexico or the East Coast. A lengthy book in very small print makes it less suitable for casual reading. •
2. Robert Hoover, "Another view of the California Missions." Article in Los Californianos' Noticias, April 2005. $1.50. Also available on our Web site. Written as a response to a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed article badmouthing the missions, Spanish soldiers and priests. A general refutation of the oft repeated allegations that the Missions were slave labor camps and the soldiers raped the Indian women and brutalized the men.
3. Jack S. Williams, 'Review of Robert H. Jackson and Edward Castillo, Indians, Franciscans and Spanish Colonization H-Net, October 1995. Available on line at http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=9109851380190 Another lengthier article on the same topic refuting the allegations of gross abuse and enslavement of the Indian neophytes.
4. David Weber, The Spanish Borderlands of North America, a Historiography. Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, Summer 2000. Available on line at http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/spanishfrontier/weber2.html An excellent quick review of our history with comments on why it has been underrepresented or misinterpreted. Some very dubious sources are quoted, so must be used with care.
5. Barbara Linse, Live Again Our Mission Past. Arts' Publications, 1983. original price $20, available on net $4. Sasha Honig reviewed this book for California Mission Studies Assn. most favorably. "This edition, which is bi-lingual, is approved by the California State Dept. of Education and would be a fine addition to any fourth [grade] teacher's personal/professional library. It is chock-full of ideas " We also found this book charming and can be used by parents and/or grandparents at home. There are a few comments that I wish were not there and a few errors or misinformation. However these do not make a serious effect on the story told. One caution is necessary. On page 141, acorn nut mush is made without the week long rinsing in running water as done by the Indians. The result will be unpalatable at least, if not actually upsetting to the digestion.
IV. THE MEXICAN PERIOD
1. Antonio Maria Osio, (translated by Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz), The History ofAlta California. University of Wisconsin Press, 1996. $24.35 (paperback), also available hardback and used. Most probably the first history of California, this was written in 1851 in the form of a letter, as Osio did not feel qualified to write a book as requested. His manuscript did not fall into the hands of Bancroft or other Anglos, who might have edited it to change it's emphasis. It is sometimes rambling; nonetheless it is one of the very few accounts strictly from the Califomio view.
2. David J. Langum, Law and Community on the Mexican California Frontier. University of Oklahoma Press, 1987. out of print.A good study of Mexican law at that time and the response of the Anglo-American immigrants. Includes specific cases with names. •
3. Charles B. Churchill, Adventurers and Prophets: American Autobiographers in Mexican California, 1829-1847. Arthur H. Clarke Co., 1995. $30 A good and readable book about the impressions and actions of the American and other non-Hispanics coming into California during the years leading up to the MexicanAmerican War and the years thereafter. Thus a foreshadow of what was to come and why. Combined with Langum above, it helps us maintain our balance of outlook.
Francisco Permission to Marry
December 6, 1782|
Translation and submitted by Mercy Bautista Olvera firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm sending a requested document of marriage for the future groom, who had requested
this document last year, he would like to marry. If this soldier comes to this mission,
I have written and give my permission to Juan Francisco Reyes to do so. I believe that
you could run or walk to follow the diligence and the announcement. Here in Monterey
we would continue on its time, I would give my permission if they come on time.
If they don't come on time I'd allowed it as long as the church does not give them a discount.
Of course many friends from this department would attend. If anyone knows why this couple
shouldn't marry, let us know
Our Lord with his grace Bless you,
San Carlos Mission, Monterey
December 6, 1782
Colonial Life in Spanish California During the North American Revolution|
By Leon G. Campbell.
Leon G. Campbell received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1970. An authority on Spanish American and California history, he is the author of several works, including The Military and Society in Colonial Peru, 1750-1810, American Philosophical Society Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1978.
This essay was written while he was a Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. He has since moved to Northern California, where he may be contacted by clicking on his name, above.
Observation of the North American Revolution offers historians and others the opportunity to retell the dramatic story of Anglo-American cultural development. From beachheads at Jamestown and Plymouth and Boston, pioneers valiantly established colonies and secured independence. Then began their march westward across the Appalachian barrier, over the interior valley, and through the Great Plains. Ultimately, they planted settlements in the valleys of California and Oregon, during the nineteenth century, fulfilling a destiny which had been manifest years earlier.
The entire "frontier hypothesis," announced in 1893 by historian Frederick Jackson Turner, pictured a population stream flowing east to west across the continent, English in character, dynamic in spirit.1 But while Turner correctly identified this as the main artery of our national civilization, his research implied a continent devoid of other civilizations. Neglected were the subsidiary streams which have contributed fundamentally to the American character: French Canadians moving south in the seventeenth century into Michigan, Illinois, and throughout the Great Plains; Spaniards from the Caribbean Islands of Cuba and Hispaniola traversing Florida into Carolina and Virginia, in the sixteenth century, and others radiating north from Mexico throughout an area from Louisiana to California in the eighteenth century, continuing unbroken a process of conquest which had been begun in the Caribbean two centuries earlier.
By the nineteenth century the Spanish empire in America was of awesome size, stretching unbroken from the Cape Horn to San Francisco. As Robin A. Humphreys has observed, "the distance from Stockholm to Cape Town is less extensive. Within the area ruled by Spain in America," he noted, "all western Europe from Madrid to Moscow might lie and be lost."2 The virtue of Spanish America as a field for historical inquiry in the United States was recognized and explored, thanks in large part to the efforts of Herbert Eugene Bolton, who evolved the concept of the Americas, North and South, as a single geographic unit, and urged that the United States be recognized not as simply an outpost of England, but rather a complex region understandable only in terms of the Anglo-French and Anglo- Spanish intrusions that had altered its culture and behavioral patterns.3
Despite the efforts of Bolton and his students, all were not convinced of the importance of studying remote borderlands regions such as Alta California, the furthest removed and smallest of Spanish provinces, which, within half a century of Spanish American independence, was absorbed by the relentless drive of the westward-moving Anglo-American pioneers. Zoeth S. Eldridge, for example, delivering the presidential address to the California Genealogical Society on July 13, 1901, admitted that the Spanish period of California history was an interesting chapter in the state's development and that the Californios seemed to have been "a brave and generous, honest and kindly people." Yet, because they did not possess "the restless energy and enterprise of the Americans," he predicted they would soon disappear as a race and their cultural traditions would be lost.4 And Bernard De Voto, in The Year of Decision, 1846, concluded that "if one is to sympathize with the (old) Californians, it must be only a nostalgic sympathy, a respect for things past." Implicit in his remarks was the feeling that Spanish and Mexican California was a small, culturally backward area, governed by a group which contributed little that was new or original to mankind, more destined to become the preserve of antiquarians than scholars.5
Because the Spanish archives were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, much speculation and considerable mythology has surrounded early California history. On one hand, Spanish California has been held up as an example of the fact that Spain failed to develop true settlement colonies in the United States, while the British succeeded in doing so. This inattention to Spanish colonial endeavor helps to propagate a Black Legend of Spanish corruption, bigotry, inhumanity, and inferiority, according to which the Spanish came to California as they had come earlier to Peru and Mexico, lusters after wealth and glory, content to explore and conquer but less willing and able to sow the seeds of permanency and progress.6 Equally misleading is the school of historiography which has attempted to rescue Spanish California from its detractors. Nellie Van Der Grift Sanchez' Spanish Arcadia is a prime example of this genre of historical literature. Comparing Spanish California to the isolated mountain kingdom of Arcadia in Ancient Greece, Sanchez paints an idyllic picture of a quiet, simple, pastoral area, peopled with wealthy rancheros, many of them titled Spanish Dons, and saintly mission fathers.7 It is understandable why this myth was taken to heart by Californians of a later day.8 Many found it comforting to remember, during the rapidly modernizing twentieth century, a simpler agrarian society which lacked the impediments of imperfect modernization - urban sprawl, squalid slums, class struggle, and of course smog.
There are, however, at least three sounder reasons for re-examining Spanish California during the era of the North American revolution. First, other historical experiences offer us insights into our own past. Like their Anglo counterparts, Spanish pioneers moved north from Mexico across rugged, treacherous lands, and faced Indians who threatened the permanent occupation of these frontier regions. Both shared problems of converting and assimilating Indian nations; both faced conflicts between civil, military and ecclesiastical authorities over the control of conquered regions; and the societies which emerged on the Anglo and Spanish frontiers were both products of isolation and deprivation. Accordingly, they were as different from their metropolitan counterparts, perhaps more so, than they were from each other.
Second, Hispanic culture contributed fundamentally to the development of California society. We cannot be unaware, for example, of the plaza, grid systems in town planning, and Spanish architectural styles. At a more individual level, persons of Spanish heritage preserve an intense localismo, or respect for one's own locale or district, a deep belief in personalismo, which glorifies the individual over an abstract principle, religious and familial practices, and an intense preoccupation with the present, not generally shared by their Anglo counterparts.
Finally, we should be aware, as Leonard Pitt has noted, that California history is largely a story of immigration and nativism, of cultural confrontation, and of the submergence of California's alien cultures into the American melting pot.9 The very unfamiliarity of westward-moving Anglos in the mid-nineteenth century with Hispanic culture and society led to conflicts and open warfare in Texas and elsewhere. Throughout the southwest, the defeat of relatively static, traditionalist societies by those more oriented to technology and the ideal of progress, produced cultural shock waves of seismic intensity. Ironically, the dominant Yankees arriving in 1848 were for once cast in the role of immigrants, while the native-born Californios were reduced to the status of foreigners, veritable strangers in their native land. The relegation of Spanish and Mexican Americans to minority status in areas where they once constituted overwhelming majorities has its origins in the late Hispanic period and continues to remain the most important problem resulting from the cultural intersection of 1848.
I should like to concern myself here with the nature of presidial society in Spanish California during the revolutionary era, and more specifically with the common soldiers and their officers, who, for nearly a century, stood watch over this remote outpost of empire. Considerable attention has already been paid to the missions and mission fathers, men of no small amount of talent and influence. Some has also been given to the intrepid explorers of California, such as Juan Bautista de Anza and Gaspar de Portola, yet little attention has been given to the presidial institution, which historian Charles E. Chapman has called "the backbone of the province of California." Nor has any composite picture been drawn of the soldiery, which the same author refers to as "a sine qua non, or absolute essential, of the system."10
Lest it smack of the antiquarianism against which De Voto and others have warned, let me justify this restriction of field. First, there exists a considerable body of primary materials on these men in the archives of Spain and the Bancroft Library. These data allow us to reconstruct, to use historian James Lockhart's words, the history of a society, to deal with "the informal, the unarticulated, the daily and ordinary manifestations of human existence, as a vital plasma in which all more formal and visible expressions are generated."11 Second, the fact that the presidial soldiery was a small, well-defined group of about 200 men, makes it possible to examine this body rigorously and form a collective social profile of the soldiers. Since immigration to California was almost completely ended by the Yuma Massacre of 1781, which closed the land route from Sonora, marriage patterns were endogamous and family groups remained largely intact. Third, and most important, the particular situation of California meant that the soldiers functioned not primarily as fighters, but rather as administrators, artisans, and rancheros, a complex of activities which may have been typical of the larger society of which they formed a part. Hence, the pattern of activities emerging at the presidial level seems to shed considerable light on society and economics at the provincial level, and points up peculiarities of both which manifest themselves to this day.
Alta California was settled for defensive purposes rather than out of any belief in the profitability of the area. Following the French and Indian War in 1763, Englishmen were free to move westward and involve themselves in the lucrative fur trade of the Pacific Northwest which had for so long been in French hands. This created a potential challenge to Spanish claims. And, thanks largely to the efforts of Jose de Galvez, the dynamic Visitor-General of New Spain (Mexico), a process of defensive modernization was begun in the northern provinces, which were consolidated and placed under separate command. Playing upon his sovereign's fear of an English, Dutch, or Russian attack upon the rich silver mining districts of northern Mexico, which constituted the lifeblood of empire, Galvez obtained permission from Charles III to occupy the ports of San Diego and Monterey, projects which had long been considered and periodically given up as hopeless.
In 1769 Galvez assembled the so-called "sacred expedition," a handful of Spanish soldiers and a group of Franciscan missionaries, who together made an overland and seaborne journey to the area north of Baja. Logistically, the group faced tremendous difficulties, but equally as serious a threat to the success of the venture was the animosity existing between the military and religious members of the expedition. This was a long-standing problem. Galvez and the Crown, distrusting the independence of the Jesuit fathers who had earlier colonized the Baja Peninsula, had turned the missionary duties in Alta California over to the grey-robed Order of Friars Minor. Unlike the Jesuits, the Franciscans were not given full control over military and civil matters, but were limited to the control of religious affairs only. Alta California was to be placed under military governorship. The missionaries and military, then, had quite different ideas about what they were doing and why, assuring that the process of colonization would be punctuated with disputes.12
In 1774, the same year that Bostonians resisted the Intolerable Acts of the English government, Spanish authorities in Mexico dispatched Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (left) from the Tubac presidio south of Tucson to blaze a trail overland to Alta California. De Anza reached Monterey in the spring of 1774. The following year, on his second expedition, he pushed further north to the Bay of San Francisco; and, shortly after the Americans penned their Declaration of Independence, the mission and presidio of San Francisco were founded, on September 17, 1776. With this established, the Crown decreed the following year that the capital of the Californias should be transferred from Loreto, in Baja, to Monterey.13
With the founding of the presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782, the province of California was divided into four presidio districts. The presidio, or fort, was Spain's defensive arm of colonization. Throughout the southwest the sword moved in tandem with the cross, with missions and presidios being established next to one another, the latter affording the former the protection it required to enable it to Christianize and acculturate the Indians. The presidial district of San Francisco extended from the northern frontier about as far north as Santa Rosa, to the Pajaro River to the south; the Monterey presidial district stretched between the Pajaro and Santa Maria Rivers, while that of Santa Barbara covered the region from the Santa Maria River to and including the Mission San Fernando. That of San Diego comprised the region between San Fernando and the Tia Juana River to the south. The 1781 Regulation, which was established for the government of Alta California, provided for a 202-man presidial force to be divided among the four districts. The primary responsibilities of the soldiers were to defend the 600-mile coastline and the missions within their districts. To this end, small detachments of soldiers were established in each mission and civil pueblo.14
Although the missions, due to the presence of Indian neophytes who worked the lands and the agricultural expertise of the fathers, became generally self-supporting within a matter of years, the problems of feeding the presidios remained critical. Because supply lines from San Blas were difficult to maintain and the mission fathers protested against requisitions on their crops and herds to feed the garrisons, it was decided to establish two civil towns in the northern and southern regions of the province. These were to be populated by settlers drawn from northern Mexico who were to develop the agricultural resources of these areas. In 1777, Governor Felipe de Neve collected men from the presidios of Monterey and San Francisco and in that year established the town of San Jose de Guadalupe southeast of the Mission of Santa Clara de Asis which had been founded the previous year. In 1781 the pueblo de Nuestra Senora de la Reina de Los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula was founded to the south. Thereafter, only one other civil town, that of Branciforte, located in 1797 near the Mission Santa Cruz, was founded in Alta California.15
Surviving data on these earliest frontier settlements in Alta California indicate that the region was among the smallest outposts of Spanish America, populated by poor, unskilled, largely illiterate members of the lowest strata of Mexican society. Major South American cities such as Potosi in Upper Peru had populations in excess of 100,000 persons as early as 1575, unequalled by cities such as Philadelphia until 1830. Yet census figures show that as of 1781, the four presidios, two pueblos, and eleven missions of the province of Alta California were populated by no more than 600 persons exclusive of the indigenous groups. While this number grew to 3,700 just prior to independence in 1822, the closing of the Anza Trail in 1781 meant that this increase was due largely to the birth of descendents of the earlier colonists rather than to the arrival of new ones. By independence, then, most of the inhabitants were Californios, or natives of the province.
The presence since 1777 of the capital in Monterey caused this region to become the hub of social and political life in the province and by 1830 the city had a population of 950 persons, the largest urban area in the region. San Diego, with a population of 520 persons at independence, was the next-largest area, although slightly less favored agriculturally than Monterey because of the infertility of the soil. Santa Barbara, which had a population of 237 persons in 1790, grew rapidly in the last years of Spanish rule as the ranching economy developed, having a population of 850 persons in 1810 and rivalling Monterey in importance. San Francisco remained a small hamlet of 130 persons in 1787, maintained primarily to defend the northern perimeter of the province from a Russian or English attack.16
Census data taken in Alta California confirm the fact that the first Californios were largely non-whites, or mestizos, of mixed Spanish and Indian parentage, drawn from the presidial towns of northern Mexico or forcibly conscripted from the jails of the same regions to relieve overcrowded conditions. Men of wealth could not be expected to make the journey, not only because the hardships were many and the chances of material gain small, but also since the Spanish hidalgo, or gentleman, refused to idealize agricultural pursuits, preferring instead to enter the religious, military, or civil bureaucracies in more metropolitan areas where promotional opportunities were more assured. Nor did men of good family seek regular army careers which took them to the frontiers, but chose rather to receive militia commissions which allowed them to serve closer to home. Since persons of moderate and even poor circumstances also clung to these gentlemanly pretensions only the mixed-blood and the misbegotten ventured north from Mexico.
While some skilled workers accompanied the sacred expedition of 1769, as a group the entrepreneurial did not come to Alta California in large numbers. The original settlers of San Jose and San Francisco were, by their own admission, totally lacking in skills and drawn from the poorest elements of Sinaloa. In Los Angeles the same applied, with not one of the pobladores being able to sign their names to grants of land made to them in 1786. Only Jose Tiburcio Vasquez, out of nine heads of families in San Jose, could read or write. The same general situation held true in the presidial garrisons. Only fourteen of the fifty soldiers in Monterey were considered literate by their superiors, while only seven out of thirty in San Francisco were accorded this ability.17
Because the few literate and educated persons in the colony were the Franciscan friars, men of cultivated birth and a sense of purpose which the soldiers did not share, it was common for the soldiers and settlers to be depicted as a lazy and dissolute lot, good for nothing but drinking, gambling, and pursuing Indian women. Although the mission fathers grudgingly recognized the need for presidial protection, they resented having to share authority with the military governor in Monterey, whose conception of good government frequently diverged from their own. They also begrudged the governor's land grants which permitted the soldiers to raise livestock on properties which the fathers purported to hold in trust for the Indians. They considered the mixed-blooded soldiers and their officers of little Christian virtue and hence a threat to their spiritual mission. Not infrequently, mission fathers refused to allow the soldiers to attend Mass or conversed among themselves in Latin to prevent their eavesdropping, adding to the tensions between the two groups.18
For their part, California governors and presidial commanders found the mission priests to be a haughty lot who sometimes considered themselves superior to the military. Commandants disliked being required to use their scarce resources to chase runaway Indian neophytes and resented the economic dependence of the presidios on the missions. Although requisitions made to the presidios by the missions were covered by situados or subsidies from the government in Mexico, these were frequently in arrears, causing the mission fathers to assert that they were forced to feed the soldiers gratuitously. During the early years of the colony, so deep did the conflict become between Father Junipero Serra and Governor Pedro Fages that Serra removed the Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey to a site along the Carmel River farther removed from Fages' jurisdiction. In response, Fages refused to affirm Serra's requests to establish additional missions on the grounds that he lacked a sufficient number of soldiers to protect them.19
Unfortunately, the picture of the presidial soldiery which most often emerges is that usually given by the mission fathers with whom they were constantly at odds. While wrongdoing and
mistreatment of the Indians were not exceptional among the presidials, other data give a more accurate picture of the California military during this period. Most of them were of low birth, born of presidial families along the northern Mexican frontier. For lack of alternatives they entered the presidial companies, being too poor to secure commissions or cadetships. Most had served as soIdados de cuera (left), or leather jacket soldiers in Northern Mexico, so-named for the several thicknesses of deerskin which they wore to protect themselves against Indian arrows. Theirs was dangerous and unrewarding work, especially in areas like California where promotions were likely to be slow and commissions difficult to obtain. As the grizzled Sergeant Pedro Amador wryly commented in his service record, the only compensation he had received for eighteen year's service in California was fourteen Indian arrows in his body.20 Nor was California service well-regarded by Mexican authorities who most often chose to use the province as a dumping ground for reprobates and criminals. In 1773, for example, two soldiers were tried in Mexico for assaulting an Indian girl and her soldier companion in San Diego. After the case dragged on for five years, the men's lives were spared on a technicality. As punishment, however, the court condemned them to spend the balance of their lives as citizens of California.21
Because the California Indians posed no continuing military threat as did the tribes of Texas and New Mexico, promotional considerations within the presidios after 1769 came to be based more upon a soldier's literacy and administrative talents than his military capacity. The fragile nature of the presidial economy dictated that commandants and paymasters be men of unquestioned honesty, possessed of managerial and administrative skills. Since California was almost completely dependent upon supplies and subsidies from Mexico which arrived on a yearly basis, corrupt and/or inefficient management might incapacitate the defense of an entire region by making it impossible to pay and feed the soldiery or provide them with equipment.
Presidial records indicate that California governors after 1769 passed over soldiers of unquestioned bravery in favor of retaining men of administrative capacity on the payroll. Portola's intrepid trailblazer, Lieutenant Jose Francisco de Ortega, for example, who enjoyed the powerful patronage of Father Serra, was considered unsuitable for command, and found others of lower rank promoted over him. Conversely, Hermengildo Sal, an ordinary soldier who had been forcibly conscripted into the ranks and sent to California as punishment for some undisclosed crime, apparently taught himself to read and write, a prerequisite for promotion above the rank of corporal. Showing a flair for management when placed in charge of the presidial warehouse in San Francisco, he was given the rank of sergeant in 1782 and sent to Santa Barbara. When the commandant there was dismissed for illegal activities two months after his arrival, he found himself commissioned as an ensign and placed in command of the fort. Sal later became commandant in San Francisco and was praised by Admiral George Vancouver as a man of considerable education and business acumen. In a similar fashion, presidial commands were bestowed upon Jose Dario Arguello and Felipe de Goycocoechea, both former enlisted men, as the result of their success in distributing public lands to the settlers of Los Angeles and in transferring the presidial treasuries during the general reorganization of 1781.22
A further key to the character of the presidial soldiery can be obtained through the marriage and baptismal certificates retained in the mission archives. Because enlistments were for ten-year periods, many soldiers chose to settle down and marry within the district. Fully two-thirds of the California soldiers were registered as married, while those remaining single were often living with Indian women whom they had taken as common-law wives. Observers have remarked that the soldiers were an optimistic lot who aspired to marry their commandants' daughters or other women of equally elevated station.
Because there seems to have been an easy air of familiarity among the officers and men, this was not impossible by any means.23 Contemporary accounts indicate a lack of social distance within presidial society which, after all, was ethnically more homogenous than in Mexico, where the officer corps was white and well-born. A surviving case in which a commandant's wife released a group of soldiers whom her husband had jailed, implies that a relaxed atmosphere pervaded the garrisons, one with strong familial overtones. Governors and commanders assumed that the soldiers would remain in California following their tours of duty and local marriages and land grants were strong inducements to this end. As historian Max Moorhead has found in a lifetime of studying the frontier soldiery, the presidial was neither a swashbuckler nor a carefree teenager, but a mature man, usually married and with children to support.24 We might simply conclude that the California presidial, through marriage and land holding, rapidly made the transition from soldier to settler within a short time of his arrival in California.
Because of the need to physically occupy unsettled regions and the constant requirement to make the colony agriculturally self-sufficient, presidial soldiers were granted lands and given a pension following an eighteen-year term of enlistment. This was an uncommon practice in other areas, where defensive considerations outweighed economic ones, since it was difficult to assemble soldiers living off the post and land was already closely held.25 Although a relatively small number of mercedes, or Royal grants of land, were made during the Hispanic period of California history, records indicate that former presidial soldiers were the primary recipients of these awards. For example, Juan Jose Dominguez, a scout for the Portola expedition, was granted a rancho of 74,000 acres for his services to the Crown, while Luis Peralta, a former presidial sergeant, was given control of lands which today encompass the cities of Berkeley, Alameda, and Oakland. Similarly, presidial commanders such as Ensign Jose Maria Verdugo held sixty-four square leagues (166 square miles) of land on which he ran 5,000 head of cattle, while Ensign Jose Francisco Ortega, the commandant in Santa Barbara, controlled the huge Refugio rancho nearby. An 1831 listing of the larger California ranchos indicates that most of the rancheros were ex-soldiers, controlling private grants up to 300,000 acres in size.26
Foreign affairs were of only minimal concern in this isolated settlement. Spain had already been at war with England six times since the beginning of the century and was to wage war against her three more times prior to 1822. Thus, the Royal Order of July 8, 1779, by which Governor Felipe de Neve was notified of the state of war between the two countries, hardly provoked a reaction in California. No declaration of war had ever brought troops to California nor was there a sufficient number of settlers to adequately defend the province from attack; hence, the Crown's order to the Californios "to make war by land and sea" against the British made little sense. Letters between members of the California priesthood indicate that this group was aware of the war but make no mention of the fact that the North American colonies were in revolt against the mother country or that the Spanish Crown was in support of their actions. This was probably because officials in Madrid and Mexico provided provincial governors with no more information than was absolutely necessary. Whatever the case, provincial administrators would have made no mention of the fact, it being considered improper for local authorities to comment upon policy matters in their correspondence. Their business was to comply with Royal orders, not comment on them. Unofficially, however, one can gain some reaction about the war. Father Pablo Mugartegui referred to Governor Neve as a "malicious reprobate" in his letters to Serra, and questioned the ability of the presidials to defend the province in any event.27
While no direct connection can be established to link California more closely to the Revolution, other events tie the two together. In 1778 the English Captain James Cook had sailed to the Pacific on what was ostensibly a scientific expedition. While the Crown had ordered Cook not to interfere with the Spaniards, he was given secret instructions to reconnoiter areas of future colonial interest as part of a scheme which possibly sought to secure new colonial territories in the Pacific Northwest. With the outbreak of the North American Revolution the Mexican government was forced to suspend its costly explorations up the Pacific Coast in 1779, thus averting a confrontation with England in the Pacific which would likely have become entangled with other aspects of the revolution.
"Building a Lasting Legacy."
The Division of Continuing Education is pleased to announce the
eighth annual Computerized Genealogy Conference March 10-11, 2006, in the
BYU Conference Center at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. The conference is sponsored by BYU Religious Education, BYU
History Department, BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, LDS Family
History Library, and Division of Continuing Education. The theme for this
conference is "Building a Lasting Legacy." Sessions will cover such
topics as operating genealogy software programs, working with databases, finding
useful tools on the Internet, organizing your computer files, and many other
topics. Conference information is located at http://genealogyconferences.byu.edu. This work will strengthen the
ties that bind families together forever.
Richard C. Eddy,
Division of Continuing Education
The Division of Continuing Education is pleased to announce the eighth annual Computerized Genealogy Conference March 10-11, 2006, in the BYU Conference Center at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
The conference is sponsored by BYU Religious Education, BYU History Department, BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, LDS Family History Library, and Division of Continuing Education. The theme for this conference is "Building a Lasting Legacy." Sessions will cover such topics as operating genealogy software programs, working with databases, finding useful tools on the Internet, organizing your computer files, and many other topics. Conference information is located at http://genealogyconferences.byu.edu.
This work will strengthen the
ties that bind families together forever.
Richard C. Eddy, Dean, Division of Continuing Education
Ku Klux Klan Had Short Life in El Paso|
Alien Arrivals to El Paso click
Book: Ringside Seat to a Revolution by David Dorado Romo
Book: Cottonwood Saints
Tunnel underneath the US/Mexico border
Klux Klan Had Short Life in El Paso
By Vanessa Mendoza, Melissa A. Case, Yvonne Garcia, Yazmine Contreras, Alejandra Garcia and Cristal N. Spradling, Borderlands Supplement to the El Paso Times 2002-2003 Vol. 21
Sent by: Ivonne Urveta Thompson email@example.com
The Ku Klux Klan in El Paso? Yes, it did exercise some influence in the city in the 1920s. With their white sheets and hooded faces, the Klan settled in El Paso and affected the city politically and in religious and race issues as well.
After the Civil War, six Irish Americans began the organization as a social club for ex-confederate soldiers I from the poverty-stricken town of Pulaski, Tennessee. The name may have derived from the Greek word for circle or band, kuklos. Its numbers grew rapidly as Southerners attempted to regain control of their region. Nathan Bedford Forrest, legendary Confederate cavalry officer, became the Klan's first Imperial Wizard, establishing new chapters all over the South. With over a million members by 1870, the Klan's purpose became political. The KKK believed in native white, Protestant supremacy, and aimed its invective at Jews, Catholics, anti-Prohibitionists and any person of liberal or radical views.
The Klan's mission, to prevent newly enfranchised black Southerners from putting Republicans in power in the Southern states, soon came to be carried out with hatred, evil j and pride. Its members, sworn to secrecy, wore white robes, pointed hoods and masks and adopted the burning cross as their symbol. They were most active during elections, when their nighttime rides to murder, rape, beat and warn were designed to overcome Republican majorities in their states. In 1872, Forrest left the Klan, denying responsibility for the violent turn the Klan had taken. By this time, the Klan had lost its earlier power as segregation laws took effect in the South.
In April 1868, the Klan appeared in northeast Texas, terrorizing and murdering freedmen, burning houses and crops and intimidating officials. By 1871, the Klan offi-cially ceased to exist because of national laws against secret conspiracy and the refusal of the South to tolerate violence.
In 1915, William J. Simmons reorganized the national Klan at Stone Mountain, Georgia, to fight new threats, especially immigration and social ills. By 1922, Texas had as many as 150,000 Klan members, and by 1924, Texas had more Klansmen in public office than any other state.
El Paso became vulnerable to the Klan's efforts at creating conflict within the city. The impact of the Mexican Revolution and World War I were still strongly felt in El Paso during the 1920s. El Paso's experiences during the Mexican Revolution were different from those of any other city in the United States because it was the only large border city at the time. Frightened by the confusion and anti-American sentiment in Mexico, many Anglos became prejudiced against Mexicans, feeling that they had no place in an American city.
After World War I, thousands of new Anglos arrived in El Paso. Many of these newcomers were natives of the racially intolerant South. So with these hostile attitudes the border was vulnerable for the Ku Klux Klan to establish a chapter in El Paso.
In May 1921, Klan recruiter C. C. Kellogg set up office in the Sheldon Hotel. By late summer 1921, the KKK had established the Frontier Klan No. 100 in El Paso. Besides racial problems, issues concerning law and order and social morality provided the Klan the opportunity to recruit law-abiding and respectable citizens, including attorneys, physicians, bankers and businessmen.
The Klan also controlled members of the Herald Post's editorial staff, allowing for the society to print its beliefs in the newspaper. Members were able to publish one editorial on their goals in El Paso and how they would make El Paso flourish.
In public statements, the Klan claimed it had a purpose: "to make El Paso a better and cleaner city, a better place in which to live and rear our children." The Klan claimed to be against crime of all types. The social ills of El Paso, which included prostitution and gambling, were the first that the Klan promised to eliminate. Other crimes the Klan vowed to attack were home burglaries and car thefts. Juveniles drinking across the border and returning late at night were other targets. Klan members would record names or take pictures to show the parents of the young people.
Their concerns weren't limited to social ills. The Klan was also concerned with the political issues in the community. In order to arouse enthusiasm in one school board election, the Klan planned to parade through town dressed in sheets and hooded masks. They had to be threatened with jail before they would cancel their plans.
The Klan's main reason for the entry into the school board election was their belief that the Roman Catholic Church was trying to gain control of the public schools. Samuel J. Isaacks, a well-known attorney, clearly asserted his position on Catholics to his listeners. He said, "This is a country of religious tolerance, but not a country where any sect can come in and run our educational system."
In April, the ticket of Klan members consisting of Charles S. Ward, Hal Gambrell and Isaacks beat W. H. Burges, U. S. Stewart and J. B. Brady, gaining control of the school board. Many residents and other anti-Klan organizations were stunned to see the final results of the election. This election marked the high point of Klan power in El Paso politics and was the first indication that the Frontier Klan had the popular vote.
Since they were free to make changes within the school system, Isaacks suggested changing the names of the schools to commemorate Texas heroes. Highland Park became Fanin, El Paso High became Sam Houston High School (later changed back due to strong protest), Manhattan Heights became Crocked, and Grandview;: became Rusk. The schools that were under construction! were named Austin and Bowie and Burleson Elementary.
The school board held secret meetings to vote out two school principals and other staff members who were Catholic. Even a librarian, Edith Cony, was dismissed because she had protested the removal of a Catholic encyclopedia from the library. Many people started to grow concerned about the Klan taking over. Nevertheless, in March 1922, the Klan initiated 300 men near Kem Place. After the initiation, Klaasmen drove up Scenic Drive on Mount Franklin, where they burned a wooden cross. About 3,500 El Pasoans joined the Klan in the few years of its existence here.
Lawyer William H. Fryer, a personal enemy of Samuel J. Isaacks, made a major assault on the Klan. At the Odd Fellows Hall, the Catholic Fryer pointed his finger at the hooded audience and said, "I know who you are and one day you will be unmasked before the public." In October 1922, Fryer filed an injunction to remove four candidates from ballots in the upcoming election who had sworn allegiance to the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan's membership roster and other materials were made public, exposing lists of outstanding citizens who had taken the Klan's secret oath. Fryer accused the Klan of believing their oath took precedence over the Constitution and the United States. Later, Fryer dropped the action since his purpose to expose membership had been accomplished.
Other anti-Klan residents followed members to secret meetings. They wrote their license plate numbers down, eventually identifying these members to the community. Others who opposed the Klan included El Paso Times editor James Black. Backed by his paper, Black called the Klan "anarchists and public enemies" who "seize the purpose of the State." Police Chief Peyton J. Edward he would do everything in his power to oppose Klan actions and dismissed officers who were members.
By February 1923, the Klan was soundly defeated at the polls when El Pasoans elected anti-Klan candidate R. M. Dudley mayor over Klan member P. E. Gardner. In April, the Klan also lost the school board elections. The Klan's member base rapidly decreased to a handful of individual advocates and the KKK eventually retreated from El Paso. Many residents believed that it was important to keep good relations with the resident Mexicans for business purposes, leading to the weakening of the Klan.
The Ku Klux Klan's membership dwindled in the state as it did in El Paso in the late 1920s. The Klan became active again in the 1950s and 1960s once the civil rights movement gained impetus. Among the largest groups still active in Texas are the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Camellia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In South Texas, the Vietnamese were the targets of Klan violence in the 1980s, and in the 1990s various groups of the Klan united with neo-Nazis. The influence of the Klan in El Paso lives on in the names of several city schools, but little outward sign of any other influence exists.
"Ringside Seat to a Revolution," by
David Dorado Romo, |
Sent by Dorinda Moreno firstname.lastname@example.org
The following excerpt is adapted from Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juárez: 1893-1923 (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005) by David Romo.
I was raised in both Juárez and El Paso, but I've spent a large part of my life trying to get as far away from both of these cities as possible. If you walk through downtown El Paso after 5 p.m., you'll find that the place is dead. Mostly there's just a lot of loan shark agencies and trinket shops inside neglected old buildings. There's more action in Juárez. But it didn't appeal to me either. There was too much suffering there.
So pretty much from an early age I wanted out. I wanted to go some place where things were happening-where matters of significance occurred. I didn't want to live on the border, on the edge of the world. I wanted a cosmopolitan cultural center, a city with a busy nightlife, museums, bookstores, theaters, lots of history and no Border Patrol. I didn't know back then that the Border Patrol is everywhere. But as soon as I graduated from high school, I split. I spent four years in northern California, two-and-a-half in Jerusalem and five years in Florence. But something kept drawing me back to this desert, this place that so many consider nothing more than a vast cultural wasteland. My family and friends had a lot to do with me coming back, of course. But there was something else. If geography is destiny, as they say, then I felt I had to come to terms with my own geography.
I've been looking for Pancho Villa for the last four years. I didn't intend to. When I began writing this book, it was meant to be a psychogeography, not a history. In 2001, I was the artistic director of El Paso's Bridge Center for Contemporary Art and had just received a grant to chart the underground cultural life of El Paso and Juárez. The first rule of psychogeography is to walk through the streets without preconceived notions; just drift and let the city's underground currents take you where they will. The areas that drew me the most at first were the Tex-Mex dives along Alameda Avenue, neglected cemeteries, the Santa Fe International Bridge, the seedy hangouts on Avenida Juárez, and the old buildings around downtown El Paso. Almost everywhere I went, Pancho Villa had been there before me.
I ordered an elote and a lemonade near a Korean-owned store on Mesa and Texas Streets where everything costs a dollar. It had once been the Elite Confectionary. Villa and General Pascual Orozco, who headed Madero's troops during the Battle of Juárez, had been there in 1911. Pancho and Pascual didn't like each other very much, but they had posed for Otis Aultman's camera anyway, sitting stiffly next to each other. Pancho, famous for his sweet tooth, had ordered the Elite Baseball, a scoop of chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream, for ten cents. Pascual didn't want anything.
I walked two blocks down from the Elite Confectionary to the First National Bank Building on the corner of Oregon and San Antonio. In 1914 Villa had his Consulado de Mexico there. El Paso Detective Fred Delgado, who moonlighted as Villa's secret agent, worked out of Room 418. When the U.S. recognized Venustiano Carranza in 1915, Pancho Villa shut the consulate down. I looked around the place, maybe something had been left behind. Villa's offices were empty. The whole building was empty. No one had even bothered to at least put up a little sign reading: "Pancho Villa was here."
Pancho Villa had been across the street at the El Paso del Norte Hotel as well. That's where my Latin Jazz band, Fronteras No Más, used to play at the hotel's Dome Bar every Saturday night for tourists and hip Latinos. Villa didn't like that place too much though. He thought too many perfumados-sweet smelling dandies-stayed there, like the Guggenheims (who owned one of the ASARCO smelters Villa threatened to confiscate in Chihuahua), General Pershing, Alvaro Obregón and the Terrazas clan.
He preferred to lodge at the Roma Hotel, on the corner of Paisano and El Paso Street, during his American exile in 1913. It was a more down-to-earth place. Villa and his number one wife Luz Corral stayed there after he escaped from a Mexico City prison. She had a soft spot for El Paso too. Pancho would walk around coddling pigeons in his arms. People thought he was a little eccentric but he told them pigeons were the only thing he could eat, on account of his delicate stomach. The truth was he was using them as homing pigeons, to send messages to his rebel friends in Chihuahua.
Almost every evening, Pancho Villa would walk downstairs to the Emporium Bar, which was also a little strange since Pancho was a teetotaler. He would order nothing but strawberry soda pop, his favorite drink, and hang out with all kinds of characters. One evening, he met with alleged German secret agent Maximilian Kloss at the bar. Apparently, the agent wanted to buy the rights to some submarine bases in Baja California just in case Germany went to war against the United States.
After a few months of walking through the city, I realized my aimless wanderings had transformed themselves into an obsessive, very focused manhunt. I'd somehow entered a zone I couldn't leave. I followed every clue, no matter how insignificant.
I wanted to know about Villa's eating habits: He loved canned asparagus and could eat a pound of peanut brittle at a time. I wanted to know where his offices and headquarters were: the Mills Building, the Toltec and the First National Bank in El Paso. In Juárez, his headquarters were in the Customs House and on Lerdo Street.
How much money he had in the bank on this side of the line: $2,000,000. What kind of jewelry his wife wore to high-toned Sunset Heights tea parties: five diamond rings, a double-chained gold necklace with a gold watch and diamond-studded locket attached, a brooch, a comb set and earrings with brilliants.
Villa's musical tastes: He enjoyed "El Corrido de Tierra Blanca," "La Marcha de Zacatecas," "La Adelita," and "La Cucaracha."
Pancho Villa took me to places where I never expected to go-I traveled throughout the United States and Mexico. But although Villa is everywhere in this book, it's ultimately not about him. He's merely my tour guide. Instead Ringside Seat to a Revolution is about an offbeat collection of individuals who were in El Paso and Juárez during the revolution. Many crossed Pancho Villa's path at one time or another. More often than not, they were both spectators and active participants during one of the most fascinating periods in the area's history.
This book is about insurrection from the point of view of those who official historians have considered peripheral to the main events-military band musicians who played Verdi operas during executions in Juárez; filmmakers who came to the border to make silent flicks called The Greaser's Revenge and Guns and Greasers; female bullfighters; anarchists; poets; secret service agents whose job it was to hang out in every bar on both sides of the line; jazz musicians on Avenida Juárez during Prohibition when Villa tried to capture Juárez for a third time; spies with Graflexes; Anglo pool hustlers reborn as postcard salesmen; Chinese illegal aliens; radical feminists; arms smugglers; and, of course, revolutionaries, counterrevolutionaries and counter-counterrevolutionaries. Ringside Seat to a Revolution deals not so much with history as it does with microhistory. A surprisingly large number of the events related to the Mexican Revolution took place within a five- square-mile area between downtown El Paso and the Juárez customhouse.
Microhistory at its best is more about small gestures and unexpected details than grand explanations. It's a method of study that focuses more on the mysterious and the poetic than on the schematic. It's like prospecting for gold or exploring underground mazes-those honeycombed tunnels underneath Oregon Street in El Paso's Chinatown that the U.S. customs officials raided during the turn of the century. Elderly Chinese immigrants opened secret doors for them. In one underground chamber the border agents found cans of opium; in another, they found a young man playing an exotic stringed instrument the American officials had never heard before.
Several excellent historical works about the Mexican Revolution on the border served as my guides. But the one historian who is perhaps the most responsible for getting me to write about my own city is Leon Metz. I've run into him a few times at historical conferences. The former law enforcement officer turned historian is an amiable man. He looks a little like John Wayne and a little like Jeff Bridges. Everybody likes Leon Metz. He's almost as popular as the UTEP football coach. His books sell very well too. If you go to the history section at any Barnes & Noble in El Paso you probably won't find any of the books that served as my guides to the revolution. But you're likely to find more than a dozen books written by Leon Metz about local gunfighters, sheriffs and Texas Rangers-John Wesley Hardin, Pat Garrett, John Selman and Dallas Stoudenmire. Occasionally Metz writes about the Mexican Revolution too from that Wild, Wild West cowboy perspective of his.
Let me give you an example. In Turning Points of El Paso, Texas, he is highly critical of the revolutionary Spanish-language newspapers that flourished in South El Paso around the turn of the century. Metz-who doesn't read or speak Spanish-denounces many of them as badly written "handbills" full of "emotional, oftentimes hysterical overtones" whose content "sounded impressive only to other social-anarchists." He expresses displeasure with these publications that "frequently denounced the United States (which protected their right to publish) as savagely as they did Díaz." One of those anarchistic newspapers he mentions is Regeneración, which Metz claims was published out of the Caples Building in El Paso by Ricardo Flores Magón. (I'm not sure how Magón-who established his headquarters in El Paso in 1906-could have published his newspaper out of the Caples Building. The Caples wasn't constructed until 1909.) The Old West historian describes Magón as a friend of "bomb-throwers," a man with "enough real and imagined grievances to warrant psychotherapy for a dozen unhappy zealots."
Ay, ay, ay! Talk about bomb-throwers. Them's fightin' words, as the Hollywood gunslingers used to say. They're the kind of outrageous distortions that would spur any self-respecting microhistorian worth the name to reach for his laptop and write his own version of the past. Which I did.
But I guess I shouldn't be too irritated by Metz' take on things. Historians are like the blind men who touched different parts of the elephant and thought it was either a wall, a snake, a tree trunk or a rope, depending on what they touched. We all have our biases and our limited viewpoints. It all depends on where we stand. Microhistorians, I think, are just a little more honest about it. We tend to believe that there is no such thing as a definitive History-only a series of microhistories.
El Paso probably had more Spanish-language newspapers per capita during the turn of the century than any other city in the United States. Between 1890 and 1925, there were more than 40 Spanish-language newspapers published in El Paso. They provided a counter narrative of the border not found in the mainstream press on either side of the line. The periodicals printed not only news and political manifestoes but serial novels, poetry, essays and other literary works. The cultural milieu created by a large inflow of political refugees and exiles-which included some of Mexico's best journalists and writers-set the stage for a renaissance of Spanish-language journalism and literature never before seen in the history of the border. The first novel of the revolution, Los de Abajo, was published in serial form in 1915 in the Spanish-language daily, El Paso del Norte. Mariano Azuela, a former Villista doctor, wrote it while he lived in the Segundo Barrio.
Yet politics was indeed most of these publications' bread and butter. Because they were published on the American side of the border, the Spanish-language press could be aggressively anti-Díaz. Many publications were openly revolutionary. Victor L. Ochoa, the first El Pasoan to launch a rebellion against the government of Porfirio Díaz in 1893, was the editor of El Hispano Americano. In 1896, Teresita Urrea was listed as the coeditor with Lauro Aguirre of El Independiente. She had moved to El Paso that year and was already called the "Mexican Joan of Arc" because of the various uprisings her name had inspired throughout northern Mexico. In 1907, Aguirre's press also printed La Voz de la Mujer. It was a fiery, aggressive weekly, which called itself "El Semanario de Combate," written and edited by women who had no qualms about denouncing their political enemies as "eunuchs" and "castrados" (castrated men). The anarchist Práxedis Guerrero-who coined the phrase that is often attributed to Emiliano Zapata, "It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees,"-published Punto Rojo out of El Paso in 1909. Silvestre Terrazas, the black sheep of the Chihuahuan oligarchic family who at one time helped smuggle weapons for Pancho Villa from El Paso, published La Patria between 1919 and 1924. It was one of the more successful Spanish language papers in the border city. Silvestre Terrazas had been sued 150 times, imprisoned 12 and had received a death sentence under the government of Porfirio Díaz for his writings. In México, Díaz imprisoned Ricardo Flores Magón various times as well. Each time Magón and his fellow radicals got out of Mexican prison, they would stubbornly republish their old newspaper under a different name-first as El Ahuizote, then El Hijo del Ahuizote (The Ahuizote's Son), El Nieto del Ahuizote (The Ahuizote's Grandson), El Bisnieto del Ahuizote (The Ahuizote's Great-Grandson
) and El Tataranieto del Ahuizote (The Ahuizote's Great-Great Grandson.)
Things were somewhat better for journalists in El Paso. But that's not to say that the U.S. was a paradise for free speech either, as Leon Metz would have us believe. Spanish-language editors were frequently harassed, censored, and imprisoned by the American authorities for what they wrote. Flores Magón was sued and arrested several times in the U.S. for his articles. Ultimately, censorship ended up being more severe for him north of the border than south of it. He died in an American prison in the 1920s while serving a 20-year sentence for questioning, in one of his publications, the needless loss of life of American soldiers during World War I.
Spanish-language newspapers were suppressed on numerous occasions in El Paso during the revolution. In March 1916, Mayor Tom Lea, Sr., ordered the suspension of four "Mexican dailies" published in the city: El Rio Bravo, La Justicia, Mexico Nuevo and El Paso del Norte. Their crime was to report on and give their own version of Pancho Villa's raid of Columbus a few days before. The editor of El Paso del Norte, Fernando Gamiochipi, a resident of the American border city for 14 years, was thrown in jail for having written "something of a political nature."
That same month, the El Paso City Council passed an emergency ordinance which stated: It shall be unlawful for any persons within the city of El Paso to transmit for the purpose of publication any report about the conditions existing in the city of El Paso which would be calculated to injure the general business or reputation of the city of El Paso.
Newspaper reporters who wrote negative articles about the city that the authorities deemed false were to be "punished with a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $200." In June 1919, the editor and business manager of El Paso's La Republica were arrested for failing to provide an English translation of their newspaper. They were subsequently deported to Mexico.
Despite this kind of repression, the proliferation of radical journalism in El Paso helps explain why the border city was such a hotbed of insurrection. On the border, journalist and revolutionary were often synonymous. Journalists planted the ideological seeds of rebellion. They held secret meetings in their newspaper offices. They were the first to call for armed uprising. They drafted the insurrection's blueprints. And usually, the periodistas were also the first to take up arms themselves. Yet these fronterizo journalists were more than mere agitators. Many lived lives full of unexpected twists and turns; they were often revolutionary beyond just the political sense of the term.
Despite being listed as coeditor of El Independiente, Teresita Urrea was not exactly a journalist. She also never publicly called herself a revolutionary. Yet she inspired journalists and revolutionaries in El Paso for many years to come. In many ways, the revolution on the border began with her.
A woman of many contradictions, she defied all the reigning stereotypes of a 19th-century mexicana. She was the illegitimate daughter of a rich Sonoran hacendado, Don Tomás Urrea. Her mother, Cayetana Chávez, was a poor Tahueco-part Cahita, part Tarahumara Indian-woman who had once been employed as Don Tomás' maid. Don Tomás impregnated Cayetana when she was 14 years-old.
Teresita dedicated her life to healing the poor. She had been a healer since her early adolescence. While at her father's ranch, Teresita had been the apprentice of a Yaqui curandera named Huila. From her, Teresita learned the medicinal uses of more than 200 herbs and folk remedies, many of which are still used among the Indian communities along Mexico's northern border today. One observer claimed that more than 200,000 people had visited her home in Rancho Cabora, Sonora; she had healed 50,000 of them. Most of them couldn't afford a physician. Yet she intermingled comfortably with high society on both sides of the border although she had practically no formal schooling.
The Catholic church considered her a heretic, and the Mexican government considered her a dangerous subversive. She was opposed to the spilling of blood, yet the rallying cry "Viva Santa Teresa" was heard during several uprisings throughout northern Mexico. According to a Mexican official quoted by the New York Times, Teresita was responsible for the death of more than 1,000 people killed during those uprisings. At 19, Teresita was forced into exile by President Porfirio Díaz.
She first crossed the border in Nogales, Arizona, in 1892, the year that the soldiers of Porfirio Díaz massacred and burned down the entire village of Tomóchic, a Chihuahuan village about 200 miles south of El Paso. Four years later Teresita Urrea passed through El Paso like a comet-a heavenly portent that shone brightly for a brief period then vanished.
In March 1896, hundreds gathered at the Union Depot train station to wait for the 22-year-old miracle worker known on both sides of the line as "Santa Teresa." "But the young lady," the El Paso Evening Telegraph reported, "did not come." When she finally did arrive on June 13, 1896, about 3,000 pilgrims camped outside her new home on the corner of Overland and Campbell Streets. They had traveled by foot, wagon and train from all over the U.S.-Mexico border.
Soon the El Paso Herald was comparing her to Jesus Christ. "El Paso has the distinction of having a live saint within its borders. It is understood that she has commenced her work of healing, but here comes the rub. Strange as it may seem, dominant religions never welcome one that comes to do good in individual lives. The Nazarene had the experience, and Santa Teresa will find that she is no exception to this rule," the evening newspaper predicted.
The El Paso Herald's prophecies weren't far off the mark. Within a year, Teresita would suffer three assassination attempts and be forced to leave the city in search of safer grounds.
The El Paso that Teresita passed through in 1896 was a booming border town. Railroad lines from the four cardinal directions-connecting it to Mexico City, Santa Fe, Los Angeles and San Antonio-had transformed the town into the main gateway between the United States and Mexico and a major center for smelting, cattle, mining and other products of binational trade. City boosters claimed El Paso's geographic location made it "the best pass across the Continental Divide between the equator and the North Pole." It was one of the fastest growing cities in the Southwest and had a population-according to the 1896 El Paso City Directory-of 15,568. About 60 percent were of Mexican descent. For the next few decades, El Paso's railroad connections and the concentration of Mexican residents would make the city an ideal location from which to plot a revolution.
Teresita soon became the most famous woman in El Paso. Her name appeared regularly in the gossip columns of the local newspapers. El Pasoans couldn't get enough of her. One postcard salesman did a "hefty business" selling pictures of Teresita throughout the area, as far as the neighboring town of Las Cruces. It wasn't just "Mexican peons"-as the Anglo press called them-who gathered around Teresita. The sick of all races, the curious, the insane, thieves, peddlers, upper-class admirers, anti-Díaz rebels, newspaper reporters, law-enforcement officers and paid government informants from both sides of the border, all hovered around Teresita's Segundo Barrio home. The newspapers kept their readers informed about every new development. They published regular dispatches about her healings, her dress, and about every important guest who stopped by to chat with her-such as El Paso Mayor Richard Campbell or the ex-governor of Chihuahua, Lauro Carrillo.
Reading about Teresita in the El Paso newspapers was almost like watching a modern day soap opera, except with an added dose of international political intrigue. News of the young lady's suitors immediately made the front pages. But Teresita was not just a celebrity at the local level. Her fame spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the United States as well. Newspaper correspondents came to the border from San Francisco, Austin and New York to interview the young Mexican miracle worker. Later, when she left El Paso and toured throughout the United States, she also made headlines wherever she went. Many of the out-of-town journalists that visited Teresita in the Segundo Barrio reported that they thought some kind of healing was actually taking place, but they all had different explanations for this phenomenon. A news correspondent from Austin, for example, declared that without knowing it, Teresita was using the techniques of some of the best known hypnotists in the world. Many of her healing methods, however, were grounded on the indigenous culture that she had grown up with. When many of her predictions came to pass, the villagers took it as another sign that Teresita was divinely inspired.
In the fall of 1896, when a rebellion broke out in several towns along the U.S.-Mexico border waged in Teresita's name, rumor had it that the young miracle worker had used her powers of astral projection to lead the revolt against the soldiers of Porfirio Díaz. Although she was hundreds of miles away in El Paso, federal soldiers claimed they saw Santa Teresa leading a group of rebels at Nogales, Sonora. They said she was riding upon a white horse that hovered above the ground.
Acclaimed Chicano-Irish-German-American author Luis Alberto Urrea-a fellow research freak whom I consider a friend-sent me an e-mail when he found out that I was going to write about Teresita Urrea's revolutionary activities in El Paso. He's Teresita's great-nephew and was working at the time on a historical novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter, that focuses on Teresita's life before her American exile. He heard that I was looking into rumors that Teresita, while in El Paso, not only helped prepare an uprising against the government of Porfirio Diaz but even blessed the revolutionaries' rifles. Luis Alberto didn't believe that Teresita could have ever done such a thing. In Mexico she was all about compassion and healing. She opposed bloodshed. It's just not possible that she could have ever blessed rifles, he argued. He warned me to be careful of what I wrote. He's seen terrible things happen to people who have written about her in the past. One woman who wrote a fictionalized novel about his great-aunt-with a few passages that weren't entirely flattering-ended up getting kidnapped in Mexico. Others have suffered serious injury. It must be the avenging spirit of the Yaquis, who were devout followers of Teresita during her life, Luis Alberto explained.
With Luis Alberto, it's not always easy to tell how much of his rollo-that part-college professor and part-mixed-blood-vato-loco spiel of his-is up front and how much is tongue in cheek. I thanked him anyhow for the warning about the curse of the Yaquis. I assured him that I wasn't about to libel his Great Tía. I told him I thought his Tía Abuela comes off smelling like roses-literally. (People said that during a healing Teresita smelled like roses.)
But at the same time Santa Teresita is a lot more complex than some of the hagiographical accounts that have been written about her in the past. Teresita may have been a pacifist during her Mexican period, but by the time she reached El Paso she was no longer the same woman. It appears that the massacre of Tomochic radicalized her, like it did many other fronterizos. There are just too many firsthand accounts-from many different sources-about her underground activities in support of the revolution. It could be that they're mostly just rumors, puro chisme. But those historians who completely excise this chisme from their accounts leave out an important part of the picture.
With Teresita Urrea, fact and rumor often blend into one. I've explored the zones where Teresita left her mark as carefully as I could, but I must admit that I can't always distinguish clearly between the two. At the risk of life, limb, and incurring the wrath of the Yaquis, I've given it my best shot.
David Romo, the son of Mexican immigrants, is an essayist, historian, musician and cultural activist. He lives in El Paso. This is his first book.
by Gene Guerin describes the book as "90% fiction and 100% fact!"
Sent by Reviewer: Gloria L. Cordova, Ph.D. email@example.com
'Intimacy and familiarity' is the sense I experienced throughout my reading of COTTONWOOD SAINTS. Intimate and familiar because it seemed as though Guerin knew my Spanish-Mexican family experience in describing his in this novel; my family migrated from northern New Mexico to southern Colorado in the mid-1800s. The characters and episodes are so wonderfully described that the reader feels as though s/he is there -- interacting with the characters and experiencing the events.
I heard that Guerin described his novel as "90% fiction and 100% fact." The story reads just like that! The chapters read easily and beautifully into a wonderfully woven story. In 2004, I completed a doctoral dissertation on the phenomenology of "The Lived Experience of Nortenas de Nuevo Mejico: Finding Voice and Claiming Identity." Had Guerin's novel been published when I was doing my literature chapter, this marvelous novel would have been included in my bibliography because Guerin's mother is so descriptive of my research findings regarding the 'nortena de nuevo mejico.'
Reviewer: Constance M. Gotsch
"Cottonwood Saints" by Gene Guerin came about when the author asked his mother to write her memoirs about growing up in northern New Mexico during the early part of the 20th Century. He found her recollections so compelling, he turned them into a novel. "Cottonwood Saints" begins with the birth of this mother, whom he calls Margarita Juana, then follows her growing up, marrying, having children of her own, and dying. Sometimes books based on family history end up a personal narrative with meaning for the authors, but few others. Gene Guerin avoids this trap by focusing his story on universal issues. His mother copes with things everyone faces. She just happens to do it in a unique part of the Southwestern United States.
At the same time, Gene Guerin offers a vivid picture of life on one of the last American frontiers, describing in vivid detail the rutted roads over which Margarita Juana and her father drive to bring loads of lumber into town, trips to an Indian Pueblo to visit friends, and the arduous process of washing clothes and preserving food in a time before electricity and refrigeration. Labor is back breaking both in the barn and in the house. Tempers flare. Parents slap. Children learn to obey, and help do chores without argument. When someone gets sick, people cope as best they can. On-the-job safety doesn't exist. The wise woman, or curandara, brings herbs and teas to the rescue. The doctor comes as a last resort, often when it's too late.
Strong personalities, not all of them likeable, fill "Cottonwood Saints." Margaritia's mother, Tama, is about as nasty as they come. Margarita's husband, Miguel redefines bland and meek. Nash, Margarita's Indian nanny, is a woman anyone could love, as are Margaritia's doting aunts and uncles. The reader sympathizes with Margarita's feelings of abandonment when these kindly people die.
Bit by bit, Margaritia learns to cope with her life, and make what she can of it, just as everyone does. Her varying degress of success and failure make her an everyday hero, and keep the reader turning the pages of "Cottonwood Saints."
Author Guerin tells Margaritia's over-arching story in the first person, the voice of Michael, her son. But he also has the knack of stepping into the third person to relate portions of the novel that happened before Michael was born. The technique gives "Cottonwood Saints" a wonderful flow. The reader can smell the chili roasting, and see an old family hacienda crumbling.
By the end of the book, Guerin has summed up the triumphs, failures, glories, and horrors of a woman's life. It happens to be Margarita Juana's, but it could be anybody's. New Mexico's frontier families were tough. But so is human nature, or their descendants wouldn't be around to write qbout their ancestors.
Reviewer: JLB "JLB" (Ohio)
"Cottonwood Saints" is a wonderful book, full of vivid characters and descriptions. The narrative transcends geography and time - it is a universal story of mothers and sons, love and loss, and dreams deferred. I read this book in two sittings. I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end.
This is by far one of the best new fiction books on the market.
Reviewer: L. Esquibel "Author's boyhood friend" (Mountain View, CA USA)
The author seems to have closed his eyes and remembered in fascinating detail how his mother recalled her childhood. He then projects this experience into describing her adulthood which the mother probably never directly revealed to the author but could not remain hidden since he had the early matrix. The childhood years are likely factual; the adulthood years are conjectural, including her reaction to her author- son's "defection" from the priesthood, the loss of two other sons and finally her fading into the fog of Alzheimer's disease. The story is lovingly told and laid at the mother's feet as a tribute with a note saying, "Mom, I understand and thank you." It is the author's first novel but I predict not his last.
(New York Times, 01/26/06) - One of the longest, most sophisticated tunnels was discovered in recent years along the Mexican border. The tunnel is 60 feet below ground at some points, five feet high, and nearly half a mile long, extending from a warehouse near the international airport in Tijuana, Mexico, to a vacant industrial building in Otay Mesa, Calif., about 20 miles southeast of downtown San Diego.
sophistication of the tunnel surprised officials, who found it outfitted
with a concrete floor, electricity, lights and ventilation and groundwater
pumping systems. The authorities said a tip led to the discovery. The
tunnel is one of the latest to be found along the border. Most are
attributed to Mexican drug cartels searching for ways to move contraband
into the United States, but some appear to be the work of smugglers of
illegal immigrants. Since Sept. 11, 2001, when border security was
tightened, agents have uncovered 21 tunnels of varying degrees of length
and sophistication, from "gopher holes" to engineered marvels.
The tunnel is almost like a mineshaft. The builders, had to have access to
money and somebody with a strong construction and the engineering
background. Also, several miles west of big tunnel, the authorities found
a smaller one — about two feet underground and extending 30 feet across
the border near a storm drain — after a United States Border Patrol
vehicle hit a sinkhole.
|The African Presence in México From Yanga to the Present |
Book: My Soul To His Spirit:
Soulful Expressions From Black Daughters To Their Fathers
Research shines spotlight on an unsung L.A. pioneer, John Ballard
At Burial Site, Teeth Tell Tale of Slavery
Taking 'Roots' to a DNA level, PBS series
Family Tree Magazine E-Mail Update
Mall Site Is Chosen for Black History Museum
The African Presence in México From Yanga to the Present
Curated by Sagrario Cruz-Carretero & Cesáreo Moreno
Sent by Soldelmar00
February 11 - September 3, 2006
The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (MFACM) is showcasing The African Presence in México, the most comprehensive project ever organized about African contributions to Mexican culture featuring three exhibitions: The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present, Roots, Resistance and Recognition, and Common Goals, Common Struggles, and Common Ground. The project also features numerous public and educational programs throughout the seven months that the exhibitions will be presented. The project examines the missing chapter in Mexican history that highlights the African contributions to Mexican culture over the past nearly 500 years. These groundbreaking exhibitions also attempt to stimulate a better understanding of Mexican culture among Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike. The exhibitions will run from February 11 - September 3, 2006 and subsequently tour to at least four other museums in the U.S. and Mexico.
1852 West 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608-2706
|For nearly 500 years, the existence and contributions of the African descendants in Mexico have been overlooked. Soon Africans arrived in Mexico in 1519 Yanga, an African leader, founded the first free African township in the Americas (January 6, 1609). Since then Africans have continued to contribute their artistic, culinary, musical, and cultural traditions to Mexican culture through the present day. No exhibition has showcased the history, artistic expressions, and practices of Afro-Mexicans in such a broad scope as this one, which includes a comprehensive range of artwork from 18th Century Colonial Caste Paintings to contemporary artistic expressions.||Por cerca de 500 años, la existencia y contribuciones de los
afro-descendientes en México han sido pasadas por alto. Desde la llegada de los africanos a México hasta el
presente, ninguna exposición ha puesto en evidencia su historia tan extensamente como ésta. De la histórica fundación de Yanga (6 de
enero, 1609), el primer municipio africano libre en las Américas, a pinturas de castas coloniales del siglo
XVIII, hasta sus presentes prácticas y expresiones artísticas contemporáneas, ésta muestra ampliamente documenta y celebra las extensas contribuciones de la gente
|Who Are We Now? Roots, Resistance, and Recognition |
Curated by Elena Gonzales
|This exhibition investigates the complex relationship between African-Americans and Mexicans in the U.S. as well as the relationship that African-Americans have with the Mexico. Who Are We Now? charts a path of collaboration between Mexicans and African-Americans in the U.S. from the domestic slave trade to the present including such milestones as the Underground Railroad to Mexico, the artistic influence of the Mexican School, and the landmark political campaigns of former Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.||Esta exposición de fotografías, impresiones y pinturas del siglo XX y XXI utiliza las artes plasticas para exponer las relaciones complejas entre los afro-americanos y los mexicanos dentro de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, asi como las relaciones entre los afro-americanos con el país de México. Who Are We Now? traza un sendero de colaboración entre los mexicanos y los afro-americanos en los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, desde el comercio de esclavos domésticos hasta la actualidad, incluyendo acontecimientos como el Underground Railroad a México, la influencia artística de la escuela mexicana, y el hecho memorable de las campañas políticas del ex Alcalde Harold Washington de Chicago y del Alcalde Antonio Villaraigosa de Los Angeles.|
Common Goals, Common Struggles, Common Ground
|This interactive exhibition, Common Goals, Common Struggles, Common Ground, presents a balanced account of historical issues that are common to both the Mexican and African American communities in Chicago. It will identify struggles shared by both communities such as the ones found within the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the current gentrification of the Maxwell, Bronzeville and Pilsen/ Little Village neighborhoods. There will also be an interactive component that will allow visitors to respond to the three exhibitions, the discussions of current events, and the overall issue of race in Chicago.||Es una exposición que presenta las situaciones históricas que comparten las comunidades Mexicanas y
Afro-Americanas en Chicago. Esta exposición identificará la lucha social que ambas comunidades
comparten: el movimiento de derechos civiles de la década de los 1960s y el desplazamiento de las comunidades de los vecindarios de Maxwell,
Bronzeville, Pilsen y Little Village. También habrá un componente interactivo que ofrecera la oportunidad de reflexionar sobre las tres exhibiciones para discutir los acontecimientos
actuales, y los temas raciales en Chicago.|
My Soul To His Spirit: |
Soulful Expressions From Black Daughters To Their Fathers,
Sent by Diane Sears firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia, PA – 18 Jan '06 - Her groundbreaking book by Mrs. Melda Beaty, My Soul To His Spirit: Soulful Expressions From Black Daughters To Their Fathers, is one of the reasons she is considered a rising star on the African American literary scene. She is an educator and lecturer who has taught, among other things, English at several universities including Northwestern University, Illinois State University, Heartland Community College and Olive Harvey College. She published scholarly articles in Black Issues in Higher Education in 2002-2003. She holds a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism and a M.A. in Writing.
"The message from the contributors to my book, I believe Black daughters everywhere, is clear:
|Research shines spotlight on an unsung L.A. pioneer ,
by Eric Leach, Daily News Staff Writer, http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_3509634
Sent by Johanna De Soto
SIMI VALLEY - More than a decade before the Civil War bloodied the South, a former slave from Kentucky made his way to Southern California, eventually settling in the isolation and rugged beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains.
John Ballard was among the region's pioneers, homesteading 300 acres after the war near what is now Westlake Village. But California's third-graders won't find Ballard - the area's first African-American settler - in their textbooks as they wade through California history. Patricia Colman, a history professor at Moorpark College who came across Ballard's story and delved into his life, wants to change that.
"Yes, L.A. was founded and built upon the backs of men like Pico, Keller, Banning ... but also on the back of John Ballard," Colman said. "I think he deserves to have his story told and credit given.
"In all of the literature I've seen on early L.A., no one talks about him, yet he was one of the pillars of the tiny 19th-century African-American community." As part of Black History Month, Colman will presented her findings at a lecture February 15th during a lecture at Moorpark College. Besides teaching history, she is a historian for the National Park Service.
There's no question Ballard remained bound by the shackles of prejudice after he moved West. "We can assume without a doubt that he faced intense racism," Colman said. "There was institutional racism against blacks in California during the 1850s, and the state had a law that said blacks could not homestead in California."
But by the 1860s, the prohibition had ended. Ballard was allowed to homestead in the Santa Monica Mountains. Colman found in her research that he helped establish the First AME Church in Los Angeles, yet died with little record or recognition for his contributions.
It was an astute eye that uncovered his story. Colman found a 1900 Census for Calabasas and came across Ballard's name, along with an "N" for Negro designating his race. She also found a book published by J.H. Russell, who was a boy when he met Ballard around 1900.
Ballard's story as pieced together by Colman and Russell's accounts in his book, "Heads and Tails and Odds and Ends," helps illustrate the struggles of the 19th-century black community in the Los Angeles area.
"I began researching the Ballards and over time I realized that I had stumbled upon true pioneers in Los Angeles history," she said. After his wife died, Ballard and his daughter, Alice, put roots down in what became known as the Seminole Hot Springs area of the Santa Monica range, near what is now Mulholland Highway and Kanan Road.
Historians and officials at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles say the church was officially founded in the early 1870s by Bridget "Biddy" Mason and her son-in-law, Charles Owens, at a site Mason purchased at 331 S. Spring St. for $250.
The Rev. Brenda Lamothe of First AME, the oldest African-American church in Los Angeles, said she was unfamiliar with Ballard's connection, but that Mason was a slave when she came to California from Mississippi and Utah with a Mormon family.
But Colman said Ballard is listed in real estate records with Owens and others who helped found First AME. "He was part of a core group of African-Americans who fought for getting a school opened for black children and getting the AME Church set up," she said.
Ranford Hopkins, another Moorpark College history professor who has researched blacks in Los Angeles, said Colman's work on Ballard is groundbreaking and will help change the image of African-American pioneers.
"This is all new, but what is new is not that it happened, but where it happened," he said. "That is what is so significant about professor Colman's work."
Ballard was listed in an 1860 Census as a teamster, Colman said, and Russell wrote that he was known throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where he used to drive a team of mules.
He was known to be a wealthy man at one time and was extremely strong - easily able to lift a 100-pound sack of barley with one arm, according to Russell's book.
"He made a good living, that's for sure," Colman said. "He had an Indian servant living with the family and lived in the downtown area, around Temple and Spring, and later moved toward Washington."
In 1880, Ballard chose for his homestead a rugged part of the mountains that includes what became the Seminole Hot Springs Resort. The springs were likely his reason for stopping there, Colman said. The area is near the site of Holy Family Catholic Church, the old Lake Enchanto Resort and Peter Strauss Ranch, now part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Homesteading for Ballard involved building a sprawling makeshift house and raising crops. The Ballards were always willing to help their neighbors, and Ballard's second wife was known as a great cook, wrote Russell, who loved to stop by their home and eat her biscuits with wild grapes preserved in honey.
But when Ballard's wife died, his daughter married, leaving him alone. As successful as he had been in Los Angeles, he grew old and wound up with a meager existence before dying in 1905. "They talked about how he was basically living off rabbits he could hunt," Colman said. One of Ballard's friends was John Fredericks, the district attorney of Los Angeles, who recommended that he move back to the city, where the county government could take care of him.
Russell wrote that the last time he saw Ballard, he brought him some food and told him, "You are liable to starve to death here sometime." "The Lord will take care of me," Ballard responded, telling Russell he wanted to die and be buried in the mountains.
Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602 Patricia Colman's talk was broadcast live on the Internet at http://video.moorparkcollege.edu so it is possible that a copy is available.
At Burial Site, Teeth Tell Tale of Slavery|
by John Noble Wilford
pagewanted=print Sent by Dorinda Moreno email@example.com
While remodeling the central plaza in Campeche, a Mexican port city that dates back to colonial times, a construction crew stumbled on the ruins of an old church and its burial grounds. Researchers who were called in discovered the skeletal remains of at least 180 people, and four of those studied so far bear telling chemical traces that are in effect birth certificates.
The particular mix of strontium in the teeth of the four, the researchers concluded, showed that they were born and spent their early years in West Africa. Some of their teeth were filed and chipped to sharp edges in a decorative practice characteristic of Africa.
Because other evidence indicated that the cemetery was in use starting around 1550, the archaeologists believe they have found the earliest remains of African slaves brought to the New World.
In a report to be published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the archaeology team led by T. Douglas Price of the University of Wisconsin concluded, "Thus these individuals are likely to be among the earliest representatives of the African diaspora in the Americas, substantially earlier than the subsequent, intensive slave trade in the 18th century."
Dr. Price said last week that a more precise dating would be attempted soon with radiocarbon analysis of the excavated bones. Maps and other records of Campeche, on the Yucatán Peninsula, indicate that the burial ground was used from the mid-16th century into the 17th. A pre-1550 medallion was found in a grave.
Other archaeologists and historians who were not involved in the research said they knew of no earlier skeletal remains of African-born slaves that had been found in the Americas. Dr. Price said that a colleague in the research, Vera Tiesler of the Autonomous University of the Yucatán, who is a historian of the colonial period, thought the slave burials occurred in the cemetery's first years. She directed the excavations.
The fact that the burials were found in ruins of a colonial church could mean "that they had some kind of status or were converted to Christianity," said Richard H. Steckel, a professor at Ohio State University who studies health and nutrition of pre-Columbian American Indians.
Although ample records attest to the presence of African slaves in the New World at this time, Dr. Steckel, who had no part in the discovery, said: "Much less is known about their health. So, if researchers can document the stature, degenerative joint disease, dental decay, trauma and so forth, then it could be quite interesting."
William D. Phillips, a University of Minnesota professor who is a historian of Old World and New World slavery and who was not involved in this research, said it was not surprising to find African remains in the Yucatán at this time.
Dr. Phillips and other historians said colonial Campeche was an important Spanish gateway to the Americas and would have had substantial traffic in slaves. Within a few years of the first voyage of Columbus, in 1492, they noted, Africans were shipped to the Caribbean and then the mainland. Their numbers increased steadily as sugar plantations were established by the Spanish on the islands, then in Mexico and coastal Peru.
"Some experts suggest that more Africans than Europeans went to Spanish America in the period up to 1600," Dr. Phillips said. Herbert S. Klein, a historian of Latin America at Stanford and an author of studies on slavery in the region, said, "The slave trade was in full development by the mid-16th century and would have brought African slaves to Mexico, though the primary work force remained Amerindians."
In time, as European diseases reduced Indian populations, the demand for labor from Africa increased. Over a span of four centuries after Columbus, it is estimated, as many as 12 million Africans were placed in bondage and brought across the Atlantic to ports throughout the Americas.
If any older slave burials have been excavated, Dr. Klein has not seen reports of them in the professional literature, he said. The most likely places for any earlier finds, he added, would be in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic or in Cuba, where African slaves were first introduced.
The site in Campeche was discovered in 2000. As researchers examined the remains, they determined that some belonged to Europeans and Indians. Then they were drawn to a few with the distinctive dental mutilations, their first clue that these were probably people born in Africa.
Upon further examination, James Burton, the third member of the team, said four of the individuals "were like something we'd never seen."
Dr. Burton and Dr. Price, who are colleagues at the Laboratory of Archaeological Chemistry at Wisconsin, and Dr. Tiesler embarked on the strontium studies, supported by the National Science Foundation. Such strontium research, often applied in physical anthropology, is a part of their broader investigation of social mobility - where people were born and how near or far from home they eventually settled - in ancient Mexico and Central America, known as Mesoamerica.
At least 10 skeletons appeared to be African, the researchers reported, and four had teeth with "unusually high" combinations of two isotopes of the element strontium. An isotope is a slight variation of a chemical element, with a different mass but otherwise the same as the basic element.
In this case, the ratios of the isotopes strontium 87 and strontium 86 were consistent with those in the teeth and bones of people who were born and grew up in West Africa. A comparison with strontium measurements of people born in Mesoamerica showed no similarities with the four specimens.
These strontium signatures enter the body through the food chain as nutrients pass from bedrock through soil and water to plants and animals. Different geologies yield different isotopic strontium ratios. This is locked permanently in tooth enamel from birth and infancy, an important tool to trace the migration of individuals.
The researchers said the findings showed that these four appeared to be original migrants to the New World, not their children. Five other individuals thought to be African slaves had isotope ratios expected for people born around Campeche, hence from a later generation.
"In a community occupied for several generations, only a relatively small proportion of the individuals in a cemetery would be expected to come from the first generation," they wrote in the report. The four individuals, the researchers said, appeared to have come from the area around Elmina, Ghana, a major West African port in the slave trade. This was also the region of origin of some of the slaves found in the 17th- and 18th-century African Burial Ground, uncovered in 1991 in Lower Manhattan, New York.
Taking 'Roots' to a DNA level, PBS series By Suzanne C. Ryan, |
Globe Staff | January 29, 2006
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is still a little shocked, chairman of Harvard University's Department of African and African-American Studies has just produced a four- part series for PBS, ''African American Lives," in which DNA testing is used to trace the African ancestry of nine famous Americans, including Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, & astronaut Mae Jemison.
The series, which premiered in February on WGBH-TV (Channel 2), revealed lots of surprises, including the news that Jemison is 13 percent East Asian (''I don't even know how that happened," she says), Winfrey's people come from the rain forests of Liberia (''That is astounding," Winfrey says), and Jones's family hails from an area in Cameroon known for its music (''I would have never guessed," he marvels).
But Gates -- who at one point refers to himself as ''Captain Black Man" in the program -- can't get over his own results: He's half European. ''I'm going to have to give up my job . . . I'm descended from that African province known as Ireland or France or Northern Europe," he jokes in the series. ''I'm heartbroken."
It's been 29 years since Alex Haley riveted the country with ''Roots," the story of his search for African ancestors. That miniseries was a milestone, particularly among African-Americans for whom it is difficult to trace a family tree before the Civil War -- the US census at the time did not list slaves by name, and property records often listed them by age and gender only.
Today, in the wake of advanced technology using DNA samples, the documentary aims to demonstrate that -- with the swipe of a cotton swab inside a cheek -- African-Americans have a good chance of tracing the ethnic group they descended from in Africa.
But before blacks head overseas, Gates maintains in the show, there is plenty of personal history they can learn about their families here using modern genealogical resources like ancestry.com, an online database.
''It's important that we are able to narrate the great African-American saga through regular Negroes, and not just through famous people like Booker T. Washington," he explained last week in an interview. ''History is so much more interesting when it involves your own family. You won't find those family stories in a history book."
Gates's celebrity guests are hardly regular Joes, but their ancestors were; in the show, the professor attempts to find out how they rose from slavery.
His subjects are Whoopi Goldberg, comedian Chris Tucker, Dallas-based Bishop T.D. Jakes, Baltimore-based pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Harvard professor of education Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, as well as Winfrey, Jones, Jemison, and Gates himself.
The series, which encourages African-Americans to explore genetic testing, has raised questions in some academic circles. Elizabeth Amelia Hadley, a professor of Africana Studies at Simmons College, maintains that while finding one's lost heritage is noble, it's really a hobby for the wealthy, as evidenced by the cast list, and not a viable new way to uncover American history.
''I'm glad Chris Tucker is getting in touch with the motherland, but how many of us have the resources and time to go over there and do the research? And what purpose does it serve? Do we want to establish yet another hierarchy in the black community? We're already dealing with issues of class, ethnicity, and skin color. Now we can say, 'I'm from the Yoruba tribe. Who are you?'
''I think we're better off putting our money into improving our schools here and doing research around the AIDS epidemic," she adds.
''African American Lives" opens on Ellis Island, a place with few historical answers for African-Americans. Gates goes on to interview his famed guests one-on-one and then speaks with family members. When oral history runs dry, he turns to courthouse records, the 1870 census -- the first to list blacks as citizens, not property -- and war service records.
Eventually, Gates turns to various scientists who use DNA analysis to trace ancestral roots. Along the way, viewers follow him from Dallas to Chicago to Los Angeles, learning details about historical events like the post-World War I great migration north and the civil rights movement. Finally, he travels to Angola with Tucker to visit what may be the comedian's ancestral village.
Key to the series is the work of Rick Kittles, an associate professor at Ohio State University, who is cofounder of African Ancestry Inc. That firm has built a DNA database, still incomplete, of present-day African populations. Series participants used the database to cross-reference similar genetic signatures.
Gates, who spent two years on the project, was initially inspired after talking to his friend Quincy Jones one day about what he calls their mutual '' 'Roots' envy." ''We were saying how lucky Alex Haley was to go to his grave believing he had found his lost tribal ancestry," Gates recalled in the interview.
''I thought, 'Heck, using the new genetics, why don't we try?' I asked Quincy -- who wrote the score for 'Roots' -- if he would try, and he said, 'I'm in.' Oprah called a week later from Quincy's house and said she's in."
Hobbling on crutches with a broken ankle during the filming, Gates did research at the Family History Library in Utah, which houses public records for millions of people. He also visited the National Archives in Washington, which has records of black Civil War troops.
Although Gates sold the series around the concept of American blacks connecting with Africa, the professor was surprised that he and his guests responded so emotionally to the discovery of unknown ancestors here in the United States.
''Everybody knew their grandparents, but getting beyond that was quite a voyage for people," he says. ''I cried. I found out my fifth great-grandfather fought in the American Revolution. I didn't know he existed. I now have a real family tree going back to 1750. That's amazing."
T.D. Jakes, a televangelist and author of ''Woman, Thou Art Loosed," learned via DNA testing that his family lore was correct; his people come from Nigeria. ''It's kind of weird because for the last 10 years I've been increasingly focused on Africa, doing ministerial and philanthropic work there, including in Nigeria," he said in an interview. ''I went to Lagos, and I had the most odd feeling of being home. I thought, 'You look so familiar to me: your humor, your music, your food. I swear I know you from somewhere but I don't know where.' . . . My Nigerian friends are all going to say, 'See, I told you!' "
Tucker is the only guest on the program to actually travel to an African village, in Angola, where his ancestors might have once lived. His DNA test indicates a perfect match with the Mbundu people of that region.
After visiting a local slave museum, where he handles rusty shackles that once bound slaves, Tucker and Gates are directed by a historian to a region in the bush where the Mbundu people were enslaved in the early 1700s. There, Tucker is greeted warmly in an emotional homecoming by villagers who dance for him in celebration. ''I've seen the real Africa. . . . I just fell in love with it," a clearly moved Tucker says in the series. ''There's wisdom in knowing where you're from and I know now. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me."
Suzanne Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org © Copyright 2005 The New York Times Co
Tree Magazine E-Mail Update|
Essential news and tips for family historians.
Feb. 16, 2006 Diane Haddad, Newsletter Editor email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org editor writes:
I'm a fan of talk show host Oprah Winfrey, but I hope the diet that's keeping her slender has crow on the menu. This month during "African-American Lives," the PBS show profiling the roots of several well-known African- Americans, host Henry Louis Gates told Oprah Winfrey her DNA reveals she's not Zulu--contradicting Winfrey's controversial assertion last year that a DNA test had determined she was related to the South African tribe. (See the story in the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine.)
"There are no African-Americans who come from the Zulu people," Gates flatly stated during a January press tour, adding that Winfrey's DNA signature is common in West Africa. "African-American Lives" cameras caught her surprise and disappointment, but Gates made up for it with the deed her ancestor Constantine Winfrey, a freed slave, received from a white Mississippi landowner. Gates used land records, wills and property taxes to trace five generations of Winfrey's family-- which probably made that crow go down pretty easy. Read more about the show at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives.
| Native American Film Festival and Cultural Weekend,
Palm Springs |
Grand View, Hualapai Indians are building a glass walkway
Earliest Maya Writings Found
Geraldine Janis 1928-2005, Lakota Defender of Tribal Rights
Chiapas / Mayan Indians
March 25: 7th Annual Southern California Indian storytelling Festival
Health disparities among Native Americans
The William Duncan Strong Southern California Photograph Collection
Springs Native American Film Festival and Cultural Weekend
OC Register December 18, 2005
Nothing but a piece of glass between you and the Colorado River almost a mile below. Called the Skywalk, the glass structure will cantilever out in a semicircle 70 feet from the cliff wall.
Originally scheduled to open in January, the one-of-a-kind structure is now slated to open to the public in late spring or early summer.
Along with the Skywalk, the Indians
New World slower: Writing emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India as far back as 3,000 BC. Yet the first full-blown text—a series of signs that are clearly telling a story—don't show up in the New World until about 400-300 BC. They were left by the Zapotecs in the Oaxaca valley south of central Mexico. Most of the early Maya writing comes from 150-250 AD.
Because Zapotec writing emerged so much earlier, researchers have long believed that the Mayas were influenced by it. The earliest single Maya glyph—which could have stood for a person's name or been a sign on a calendar—dates to about 600 BC. But it isn't considered writing. These new glyphs are much more complex, said project leader William Saturno of the University of New Hampshire.
"This is a full blown and fully developed script," Saturno told LiveScience. "Which is not to say that the Maya invented writing and not the Zapotec, but it does lead us to question the origins and the complexities of these origins." One thing seems certain: The Maya style was not influenced by the Zapotecs.
"It's not similar at all to Zapotec," Saturno said. "You have these roughly contemporary examples that are completely different, which implies a more complex history than simple derivation."
Say what? Despite being clearly developed written text, the newfound work cannot yet be read by scientists. "Between 200 and 300 AD is when we become literate in Maya writing," Saturno said. "It's definitely writing, though, no question about that. Some of these signs are consistent with Maya writing for the next 1,000 years."
For example, glyph 7 is an early version of "AJAW," a symbol ubiquitously used with kings' names that means "lord, noble, or ruler." Glyph 2 has vague pictorial qualities and may suggest a hand holding a brush or a sharp knife-like object.
Firm date: A common problem with dating Maya writing is that it is often on stone, which scientists can't accurately date using radiocarbon dating. Instead, they must use stylistic changes to date materials. However, Saturno and his team found these writings in a pyramid made in part with wood, which is carbon based and can be dated with radiocarbon techniques.
"The way the Maya built pyramids is by building one layer on top of another," Saturno said. "We have [the building where the writing was found] sandwiched between two other buildings. We can get a date from the building itself, but also a range from the other two."
Taken together, these samples imply that the text was painted between 300 and 200 BC. But it's likely that Maya writing goes back a lot further, Saturno said.
"Given the grace, form, and consistent line-width of these symbols, it's not likely someone just picked up a brush and said 'I'm going to invent writing today,'" Saturno said. "This complexity shows it had been around for a while." This research is detailed in the Jan. 5 online edition of the journal Science.
|Geraldine Janis 1928-2005, Lakota Defender of Tribal Rights |
Native American Times. Copyright © 2005
Sent by email@example.com
Source: John Gallagher
"Unfortunately, this remarkable woman will fade into obscurity. Not many will know of her bravery and love to her people in a very trying time; in a war zone that most people don't know about within the boundaries of an occupied zone in the United States. Rest in Peace Geraldine." John G
Obituary: Geraldine Janis 1928-2005
Sioux woman defended rights of fellow tribal members
by Candy Hamilton, 1/19/2006
Geraldine High Wolf Janis, Zinkta Maniwin, was born May 18, 1928, the first child of Raymond High Wolf and Leta Goings High Wolf. Leta's mother was Julia Nelson, who danced for the Queen of England when she worked for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. After the show, the Queen gave Julia a ring. Leta also worked for the Coleman Brothers Circus as a wild horse racer. Her father Frank Goings was a judge. Geraldine's grandfather, Clayton High Wolf of Porcupine was an Episcopal minister. Geraldine had two younger brothers, Raymond, Jr., and Leonard. When Geraldine was 14, her mother died of pancreatic cancer while Raymond was in prison. She and her brothers lived mainly with their grandparents who owned a lot of land around Porcupine and always planted large gardens. Her grandfather always shared food from the garden with all the people. Her Grandma Julie taught her to feed people whenever they came to her home, and up until her last days, Geraldine continued to make sure people who came to see her had something to eat.
The High Wolf children wore moccasins and rode horseback with their Aunt Jessie. Her grandmother bought Geraldine all the candy she wanted and spoiled her in other ways too. If her grandfather told Geraldine to wait to get something or to go somewhere, her grandmother would make him do whatever Geraldine wanted immediately. Her grandparents often took Geraldine and her brothers along when they traveled by wagon to visit friends, including Frank Fools Crow and Nicholas Black Elk (of Black Elk Speaks). Grandmother High Wolf put Geraldine in school so young that she could not yet talk plainly. She told the teacher her name was Geraldine Wawa, and her classmates teased her about being Geraldine Wawa long after she was an adult.
Geraldine was always very protective of her younger brothers. Once when her brother Buck ran in the house after a man had hurt him, Geraldine ran out, hit the man, and then stabbed him. Throughout her life she continued to protect her relatives and friends. She continued to be protective of those she loved all her life. Her daughter Eileen recalls running into the house pursued by older goon children trying to fight her during the 1970s wars and finding Dennis Banks, Lenny Bellecourt, and Russell Means, who had also taken refuge there.
In high school Geraldine and her close friends became known as the Gangbusters, known for having a good time and pulling some crazy stunts. Later as a Grandma she was "Daisy Duke" driving her grandsons everywhere--no matter the weather--mud or snow, they'd be at East Dam or some other place and never got stuck.
In 1943, Geraldine married Ival "Spot" Janis, and they had nine children, Charles "Chuckles," Ival, Jr., Patrick, Vee, Emerald, Francine, Terry, Cora, and Eileen. Geraldine also had an adopted son, Jesse Mendoza and two adopted daughters Valerie Hernandez and Jan Coulton. Geraldine and Spot now have 31 grandchildren and 47 great-grand children. Having had to live without many necessities when she was growing up, Geraldine was determined her children would have all they needed. She cleaned houses and washed other people's clothes for fifty cents an hour to buy her kids new clothes, shoes, and other necessities. By working hard and managing their resources, Geraldine and Spot were eventually able to build their own house in Pine Ridge, where they each remained until their deaths.
After working with a 1960s federal program to provide health care to outlying communities, Geraldine became director of the Community Health Representatives Program when it was established on the reservation in the late '60s. After the murder of Raymond Yellow Thunder in Gordon, Geraldine supported the long boycott of Gordon stores along with her close friends Evie Deon and Lesanne Killer. Those three became the real AIM militants of the reservation during the years of struggle for honest tribal government, traditional ways, and treaty rights.
When she opposed Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson's leadership and refused to take orders from him that would be detrimental to the CHRs' purpose, he had her thrown out of her office and replaced. She had already been active with Pedro Bissonette in the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization and helped organize the effort to impeach Wilson. Once, when Wilson asked her in front of a lot of people, including many goons, if she was going to vote for him, she stood right up to him, saying, "Hell no, I won't vote for you."
She then helped with OSCRO's nightly meetings at Calico Hall and was part of the decision to invite the American Indian Movement to the reservation to assist with the opposition to Wilson, the goons, and their lawless behavior. After the ensuing siege at Wounded Knee began, Geraldine along with other women demonstrated everyday in front of the BIA building in Pine Ridge while marshals with assault weapons watched from the roof of the building. Despite threats from the police and goons, she never backed down. She would stand up for the rights of the tribal people when many others were afraid to. She once said the hardest part of opposing the goons was seeing her children get harassed by the goons and their children. However, even as protective as she always was of those she loved, she never wavered in her determination to end the goons' violence and mistreatment of the people.
When Wilson fired Geraldine, she made this attack an advantage by going to college to study nursing. She received her nursing degree at age 55. As a member of the first board of trustees of Oglala Lakota College, she made sure the college offered a nursing program so Oglala nurses could take care of Oglala people when they were ill. She and three others who were fired sued the tribe over their illegal removal. Their case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, where they won, and that case now provides an important precedent for others who are illegally fired. However, by the time they won their case, Wilson was out of office and had left the tribe penniless. Geraldine was immediately re-hired as director of the CHR program and remained in that position until she retired 30 years later. She also served on the first Oglala Sioux Public Safety Board, the enrollment committee, and the credit board. After her retirement from the CHRs, she continued to serve on the Oglala Sioux Tribal Housing Board and other tribal boards.
Geraldine also continued to be a strong supporter of Leonard Peltier, attending court hearings related to his appeals, distributing Christmas gifts the Peltier Support Committee sends to the reservation ever year, and assisting those who work for the support committee.
Geraldine was a life-long defender of Oglala Lakota treaty rights. She was a sun dancer who believed in her traditional Lakota religion, a source of her strength to face hardships and difficulties always with courage and a good spirit. Many, many people looked to her for advice, guidance, strength, and friendship. Although she will be sorely missed, she has left a rich legacy for her friends, family, and tribe.
| Chiapas / Mayan Indians |
Recommended websites sent by John P. Schmal JohnnyPJ@aol.com
According to Ethnologue, there are 69 Mayan languages. Many are in Guatemala, many in Mexico, one in Belize.
Annual Southern California Indian storytelling Festival |
Saturday, March 25, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Story as Song performances: 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m.
The Pavilion Sunrise Park, 401 S. Pavilion Way
The Spirit Vol. X No. 4 Dec. 2005/Jan./Feb. 2006
The California Indian Storytelling Association and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum present the 7th Annual Southern California Indian Storytelling Festival, Saturday, March 25, 2006.
Native storytellers from California and Hawaii will showcase storytelling presentations and performances based on indigenous oral traditions and language. This year's event will also include children's activities, basket weaving circles, children's story time, and Native American vendors.
This festival is made possible by funding from the Arts, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the California Indian Storytelling Association, and audience donations.
Health disparities among Native Americans
"A typical American Indian is 650 percent more likely to die from tuberculosis,
420 percent more likely to die from diabetes, 280 percent more likely to die in
an accident, and 52 percent more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza
than the rest of the U.S. population," said Joe Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians at a National Press Club presentation.
Source of the Information: 2006 DiversityInc.com, February 04, 2006
Sent by firstname.lastname@example.org
Duncan Strong Southern California Photograph Collection|
The Spirit December 2005/January/February 2006
William Duncan Strong (1899-1962), author of the Cahuilla reference work Aboriginal Society of Southern California (1929), was a major figure in American anthropology. His accomplishments were as a field worker in archaeology and ethnology, archaeological theorist, writer, and teacher.
While an undergraduate at the University of California, Strong was brought into the field of anthropology under the influence of Alfred Louis Kroeber. Strong, in turn, conducted archaeological and ethnological field research in several areas of the New World, including Southern California.
After his death, Strong's papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by his widow, Mrs. Helen Richardson Strong. Most of the arrangements were handled by Dr. Ralph S. Solecki, then of Columbia University. Interestingly, Dr. Solecki was the major professor with whom our Executive Director Michael Hammond studied. He sent the papers to the archives between 1974 and 1979, and there have been small accretions since that time.
Unfortunately, records from Strong's 1924 and 1925 ethnological study of the Serrano, Cahuilla, Cupeno, and Luiseno of Riverside and San Diego counties in California are not in the NAA collection and their whereabouts are unknown. However, photographs from this expedition still exist and are held by the NAA.
While attending the Smithsonian Affiliates Conference this past summer, ACCM Archivist Jon Fletcher visited the National Anthropological Archives and was able to view Strong's Southern California photograph collection. He found the album was in fairly poor condition and, at the time of his visit, also discovered that the photographs had not been digitized to ensure their long term preservation.
Each Smithsonian Affiliate institution is assigned a liaison to address ways that affiliates can best share resources. In follow-up discussions with the ACCM's designated liaison, the ACCM indicated its desire to have the Strong photographs digitized for long-term preservation purposes and to obtain high resolution digital surrogate copies of the photographs for its own collection. The Smithsonian agreed, providing funds for the digitization effort at no cost to the ACCM.
The photographs of the Strong's expedition to the Coachella Valley are now available for viewing at the ACCM Archives and will no doubt play an important role in upcoming exhibits and for other research purposes.
|Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans:
Consuelo Luz Arostegui|
Semitism and Anti Semitism in Arizona and Sonora:
An Ethnobiography of Experience and Insight
Universalism in Jewish Thought
Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans
By Gloria Golden © 2005
Consuelo Luz Arostegui
Consuelo Luz Paz de la Gloria Caterina Arostegui Davila is my full name. I was baptized on "Saturday of Glory," thus the "de la Gloria." This was a common way that converse (or hidden) Jews referred to Saturday as a special day without making reference to the Sabbath. I took Caterina as a confirmation name after one of my favorite Catholic saints and a nun I adored at Maryknoll School in Rome. Luz is my aunt's name and Paz is my mother's name. Arostegui is my father's Basque family name (my father was Cuban) and Davila is my mother's family name (from Chile).
Throughout my childhood I remember hearing references to our "Jewish ancestry." Most particularly, I recall hearing that we were related to Saint Teresa ofAvila on my mother's side of the family (Davila meaning from Avila). This made a huge impression on me, especially since I was being raised Catholic by a Colombian nanny, and I resolved to become a saint when I grew up.
My parents did not practice any religion, never went to church, and seemed puzzled by my devout Catholicism. I prayed that God would forgive them for not believing in the Resurrection and they would go to heaven anyway. My nanny tells me the pope in Rome confirmed me, but I don't remember because I was delirious with fever that day.
I settled in northern New Mexico in my early twenties and married a Jewish man. My now ex-husband took me to my first Yom Kippur service and I was entranced and moved deeply by the spiritual connection I felt to this special day.
Around that time, the New Mexican state historian had started sharing his findings from his research on the Jewish ancestry of many of the New Mexico Hispanic families. Rabbi Chavah Carp of Taos showed me some religious songs in a language called Ladino (very similar to the ancient Spanish spoken in the villages of northern New Mexico) and asked me to learn some of them to sing at services. These haunting, passionate songs spoke to something very deep in me and inspired me to write a special song for my son, Max, to sing on his bar mitzvah.
I started inquiring among family members about our Jewish ancestry. My mother, Paz Davila de Arostegui, who lives in Spain, told me she believed the strongest Jewish connection was on her father's mother's Espinoza side (related to the famed Jewish philosopher Spinoza). My aunt, Luz Davila de Carrasco, who lives in Chile, told me the following story:
When my Grandfather Carlos Davila Espinoza was dying of cancer in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1950s, his nephew, Dr. Miguel Millan, traveled to Washington from Chile to care for him. My grandfather was secretary general of the Organization of American States at the time. He had been a founder of the OAS, of the United Nations, and in 1932 he was also the leader of the first socialist revolution in the Western Hemisphere, in Chile, which lasted for a few short months during which he served as president of Chile-before going into exile under threats of assassination.
Before my cousin Miguel died in the late 1990s, he confided to my aunt that Carlos, on his deathbed, had told Miguel, "Somos Judios" (we are Jews). Miguel had waited until he was dying, almost fifty years later, to pass this on to another member of the family.
My grandfather had lost his first wife, my Grandmother Herminia, to cancer when she was in her early forties. Herminia Arrate de Davila was a respected artist in Chile and a beloved hostess in Washington, D.C., where my grandfather was ambassador from 1927 to 1931. Later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, being very fond of my grandparents, was to order that Air Force One be used to transport my grandmother back to Chile so she could die in her native land surrounded by her family.
Carlos married Frances Adams, a direct descendant of President John Adams, many years later. In the last several years, I have had many wonderful conversations with my step-grandmother, Frances. Among her many delightful stories, she informed me that Carlos told her that Herminia's great-great-grandfather had been a rabbi.
As I researched deeper into my Sephardic background, I continued singing the Sephardic songs I discovered in Taos. I sing at High Holy Days in the Temple Beth Shalom in Santa Fe, bar mitzvahs, weddings, special services, and internationally, at venues such as the SephardicArts Festival in Los Angeles, Les Orientates Sacred Music Festival in France, the World Expo in Germany, the U.S. Southwest Jewish Cantors' Conference in Santa Fe, and the Jewish Community Center in Havana, Cuba. I recently released a CD of these songs titled DEZEO (www. consuelojuz^cpj'ni).
I feel this music came to me as a gift and as a holy task, and it is my sacred responsibility to share the spiritual power and beauty of these songs with as many people as possible. The spiritual energy released by these long-hidden songs is cherished by the congregation in Santa Fe. I hope to spread the singing of these songs and their Sephardic spirit to Jewish congregations across the country and also, as "world music," use these songs to bring together people from all cultures and beliefs in the loving and joyous celebration of our universal soul.
Semitism and Anti Semitism in Arizona and Sonora: An
I approach the following with the same trepidations and misgivings but there is a scarcity of first hand information as shadowed as it may be of those persons who experienced processes and events in which Mexicans and Jews actually had a developed association or in which the masks over non-told histories of that association are taken off. I provide you with this small and modest effort to contribute to the literature and to suggest broader cultural inclusions to that region known as Greater Mexico.
Most Mexican neighborhoods when I was growing up in Tucson as a child in the late forties and early fifties were pretty well acquainted with some aspect of the Holocaust. We were accustomed to watch newsreels during WWII and after of the terrible events in Asia and Europe. Many times on Sunday nights in Tucson, the local bond drive would tie great white sheets hung on ropes between the Fox Theater and one of the local bars across Congress Street the main downtown thoroughfare in the then very small city of 25,000 persons or so. Model A Fords, some Model Ts, and assorted Chevys, Plymouths, and even some Cadillacs would park with their trunks facing the images of war and terror where people would squeeze together sitting on pillows and blankets. I would lie on my mother's lap next to my sister and father who reclined against the back of the cab on the bed of the Model A truck. After the newsreels had spat out those awful images of battles and heroes there were also included very early in 1946 some of the first images of the camps were revealed where skeletal figures with uplifted hands and eyes sought succor from their GI liberators. As a very young child this was my first introduction not only to the inhumanity of persecution but also to my Mother's fury about those events—a fury that was understandable given her moral and ethical bearing buttressed by a strong Catholic framework or so I thought.
We did not know Jews or so I thought and later as a child not much was said about Jews except when El Polaco also known as El Judio came to peddle his goods door to door or to collect owed debts for shoes and clothes purchased on credit. He owned Goldman's Clothing on Congress where many Mexicans bought shoes so hard that for my sister and me my Dad invented a pair of pliers like tongs made from two table spoons that softened the back of the heel so we wouldn't get blisters.
But El Judio or El Polaco, both names were interchangeable, always looked like a saddened man. He wore silver rimmed glasses behind which lay two deep brown eyes that seemed to have seen too much. When my mother opened the door he would remove his cap, give a slight bow, and smile through browned and blackened teeth a-id cocking his head slightly to one side he would greet her with his guttural Spanish and she would always laugh when he always mispronounced Buenos Dias as Vienas Dian. Once inside he would lay out his credit list and get to my mother's name as well as show her some of the new merchandise that he always carried in a bulto tied together with string.
They always had a good time laughing about the colors, the sizes, and even the hardness of his shoes and there seemed to be real regard one for the other. But his eyes seldom changed even when laughing and they always made me uneasy as if layers of something dark lay permanently etched on his pupils. He would rise after collection, bundle up his bultos, and shuffle out the door and finally doff his cap towards my mother as he walked out the door. We saw Mr. Goldman for years in my house and at his store but one day a few years later when now a teenager I read that he had died suddenly from heart failure and that he had been a survivor from the awful camps the terrible images of which I recalled simultaneously to my reading about his death. But these images were hooked on to as well to the upside down numbers on the inside of his left arm that as a child I had seen but I had thought were temporary reminders for important telephones or addresses.
But during those childhood days was also my first introduction to a Jewish family, Los Kruger. We Mexicanized all family surnames with the plural Spanish article so that they would seem more like us. But they weren't or so we thought. Los Kruger had moved to our neighborhood right after WWII from New York and since they did not have much money, they rented the house next to us as did many other east coast families who moved to Tucson in that period so that Irish, Jewish, and Italian surnames became Los Callahan, Los Krugers, and Los Triantis. But Los Kruger were special, Betty was this outlandish, smart independent woman who scandalized the neighborhood by hitching a ride to work in the morning in contrast to Leonard her husband who always wore a tie and was a kind of mousey man who worked in a drug store. Leonard Jr. and Irma were eight and four and we became friends. Betty would often tell us in an offhanded manner while we played in their house of stories of her dead parents and grandparents who had been lost in the holocaust and of strange places called Palestine and of Jews fleeing the Holy Land, and of virulent and violent books written by trashy minds. Leonard quickly became a member of our neighborhood troop of Mexican and some Irish kids—all Catholic and bigoted. Leonard eventually as did the Irish kids, acquire a Mexican accent and on Sundays we took him to mass with us where he peered confusedly through what we now consider as Harry Potter glasses.
He had to shift all the time from going to Shabbat, and Saturday services reciting Hebrew to Sunday mass where he listened to the Latin mass and the fiery sermons of Padre Estanislaou a Spanish Franciscan who lambasted apostate protestants and heathen Jews in
lisping Castilian. We would elbow Leonard and we would stifle our giggles and laughter and roll over from our attentive positions on the last pew of the church. Los Kruger moved to the other side of town a few years later.
I lost track of Leonard until much later as a graduate student I was reading of a newly authored book of the "I'm Okay, Your Okay" type. The author on the back cover peered out through Harry Potter glasses and it was Leonard now a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills. But the tale did not end here. About 10 years later, I read that one of the more notorious Swamis in Oregon had became a controversial figures for not only driving his Rolls Royce up and down a single street while his followers heaped garlands of flowers as he passed but also for having his followers engage in sometimes questionable political activity in one of the towns nearby.
The spokesman for the Swami was one Darilama Contishepra formerly known as— Leonard Kruger Jr. I think we may have had something to do with his journey toward self discovery.
But if Mr. Goldman and Betty, and Leonard were among the tragic and elating and amplifying persons that introduced me to Judios, then their opposite medium was my Tio Luis who was a most bigoted, anti-Semitic, and rabid of ethnocentric figures. Married to my mother's sister and living in Santa Ana, Sonora, he was the town's only physician. He was kind, generous to a fault, treated all without exception including local giggling prostitutes in his consultorio (clinic), and an outstanding surgeon to whom Americans went to see especially for gastric problems. He saved my mother's life twice during childbirth. These visits occurred almost simultaneously parallel to my taking Leonard to Church and peering cautiously at Mr. Goldman's eyes and while I began to emerge as a gangling teenager.
In his home My Tio ruled the roost, over bearing, controlling, and as I said bigoted. He was the son of Cristeros the rabid Catholic believers from Guadalajara and of Spanish parents fortunately not diluted with intermixing with mongrel Mexican natives as had Cortez done, he said. He told me often that his reading of the Book of Zion convinced him that Hitler had done the right thing and that much of the Holocaust was an over exaggerated event. Jews had been harshly treated but never killed. Jews had been exiled and deported as had been Einstein but never killed.
I raised many objections and argued the best I could and I gave him a severe brain hurt when I reiterated what Betty Kruger had said about the Books of Zion and how these were basically the meanderings of trashy minds. My Tio Luis often retorted that I was too young to know anything about Jews and when asked if he had had anything to do with Jews he responded with noises of derision and negation. He had not known Mr. Goodman, Betty, or Leonard nor did the good doctor ever know that in fact he had married into one of the best kept secrets in my mother's family.
My sister died at age twenty-nine of lupus and left a five year old boy and a grieving husband who never got over his despondency for the next forty years. We were all
tragically affected and no more so than my mother and without her faiths she would have succumbed to despair. And one day soon after my sister's death, my mother called me in to her room, closed the door, and said, "I have something to say to you: Somos Judios." Just like that. She said that it was time for me to know since only the women of her family knew of the secret and no man had known up to now and not even my father. Since my sister was gone, I had to keep the secret and pass it down.
Totally confused, this did not make sense since she was a strict Catholic and went to mass every Sunday despite my father's objections since he thought all churches were for the benefit of the priests. He was a kind of anarchist who thought most religions were if not the opium of the people were largely created to lull them into complacency. But not Mom she gave to Catholic Charities and subscribed to the Maryknoll missionaries periodical and read about its priests, brothers, and sisters who strongly became involved in the liberation theology movement. My Mom kept very interesting images: a hanging bleeding Christ nailed to the wall and on top of her dresser a Virgen de Guadalupe and curiously some candelabra looking objects with small red votive candles surrounding them. These were later lost when some of my female cousins from Sonora visited the house after my mother's death.
It finally occurred to me that on Fridays when she and my sister retired to her bedroom and locked the door that they may have been engaged in probably some of the same rituals that Betty and Leonard Kruger were engaging right next door. I wondered at times why my mother and sister never ate the ham and pork chops that they served us and that my sister and my female cousins made such a fuss about always insisting on eating only salads when such food was served either in Sonora or in Tucson. My mother loved Mogen David wine. Finally, it occurred to me that my mother's sister in Santa Ana in her own secret places with my girl cousins also were reciting ancient lore and making sure that my Tio Luis never caught on. He didn't for the fifty years that they were married and in reality there was really a stranger in his bed.
But the story does not end here. I had always thought that it was terribly sad that neither my father nor I had ever become privy to my mother and sister's secrets. But then they would not have been secret.
But of all ironies of ironies and with a little
bit of digging, it seems that not only were my mother's family secret Jews
but it seems that most of my father's patriline
may have also been Sepharditas. As far as is known most of my great
grandfather's family of Velez-Escalante's were booted out of New Mexico
during the Pueblo Revolt and after making a U turn journey ended up in
Hermosillo, Tubutama, Alamos, and Ures Sonora and later to Tucson sometime
in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries. Both Velez and
Escalante are Sephardic surnames although the former is also from Castile
and probably Catholic. My paternal grandmother's side of the family were
Garcia Gil with both but especially the latter also Sephardic surnames.
Could it have been that perhaps it was not accidental
that the Velez Escalantes and the Garcia Gils intermarried often and perhaps had their own secret? Were my father's father's father's father and their wives Sephardic Jews and his mother's mother's mother's mother and their husbands also part of the tribe. Could have my father and mother who lived together for 55 years never revealed in the most intimate of moments some of each other's history? Or did they? No se, but this is what secrets are made of and hidden family histories the stuff of what Wolf referred to as "People without Histories."
If only half of what I have related is verifiable then we are all closer than we think and we can ill afford to develop course work for our students of the Southwest United States and of Northern Mexico that only focuses on one portion of the extremely heterogeneous history of this population that we call Mexican in what is now Arizona and Sonora. If the lower Pimas of Sonora and the upper Pimas of what is now known as Arizona were important sources of intermarriage and familial exchange and development, then so too were the perhaps hundreds of Sephardic Jews that kept secret their histories crucial to the cultural and social identity of many parts of this area. But so too are Los Krugers who came from the east carrying their own cultural scripts but whose children were strongly influenced by people like me and their identity changed from that of their own mothers and fathers and sought answers to the confusion brought about by cultural change in the solace of Freud or Hindu religion. So too did mine by Leonard, Betty, Mr. Goodman, my mother and sister, and even my Tio Luis who in my negation of his bigotry, I found a way to think about connectivity and cultural change and which eventually wound up as part of my unconscious rationale for becoming an anthropologist—a seeker of cultural understanding for the confusions I myself underwent.
In reality, few of us are Jews or Mexicans or Indians or Irish in this great ecology of Greater Mexico as Americo Paredes refers to the Borderlands. If anything this tale provides us insights not only of desperate attempts to retain that which was and perhaps never was but also of the manner in which becoming is much beyond the reach of rationalized self definition.
I close this tale with the following Velez Crest:
|Universalism in Jewish Thought|
By Amos Luzzatto
The Separdic Report, Fall 2005, Vo.2, No.1, pg. 29
The following text is an excerpt of the talk given by physician, author and President of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, Amos Luzzatto, for the opening evening of the weekend held in May 2004, A Celebration of Italian Jewry.
Let me begin by telling you a story that occurred sometime in 1947. I was speaking with some friends of mine, all future Rabbis from various Italian Jewish communities, out-side the entrance of the rabbinical office in Rome. We were approached by a friendly-looking young Catholic priest who spoke of his interest in Jewish rabbinical culture. We invited him in and proceeded to the library where he immediately picked up the first volume of the Talmud: Masekhet Berakhot. To our astonishment, he began reading Meematay qorin in Hebrew and translating and commenting as he read. He could have been a regular bochur Yeshiva clergyman.
I could not help but ask myself what compelled this young man to maintain such a strong interest in Judaism. After-all, few Catholics before WW II studied the Old Testament and fewer yet had an interest in post-biblical culture. But times have changed. Jewish intellectual thought is taught at universities while Jewish texts are increasingly translated and published. In 1995, the booklet "Hamishah Sifre Emunah" or "Five Books of Faith" written by the great 19th Century Jewish scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz was posthumously published. In it, Leibowitz summarizes his views on biblical texts including Bereshit (Gene-sis), lyov (Job) and Qphelet (Ecclesiastes) as well as the post-biblical writings of Rambam's "Guide for the Perplexed" and Moshe Hayim Luzzatto's "Way of the Righteous." These books all discuss the profound faith of the observant Jew.
According to Leibowitz, the teachings of Ranibam and Luzzatto show us that faith requires a covenant between Man and God. In other Words: How should a living human being on this Earth unconditionally fulfill his duties toward the Almighty? Rambam tells us that the covenant is accomplished by performing the mitzvot. For Luzzatto, Jewish Man has added more commandments than originally prescribed in order to strive for a greater level of perfection. Leibowitz underscores that these five books of faith are intended for the Jewish people who strive to serve God in their own unique fashion.
What is it then about Jewish law that interests the minds of those not bound by the same precepts? The answer lies in the "universalism of Jewish thought" as described in Luzzatto's "Way of the Righteous" which does not specify Jewish 'Man' but refers to all Men. Of course there is the other reason for this renewed interest among the Christian intelligentsia which is that by studying Judaism and Jewish law, unavoidably, one discovers the roots of the early Christian Church. I am for furthering these exchanges that enable us to better know what we hold in common and what distinguishes us.
Yet, I want our people to know more about Judaism. Our rabbinical seminaries should be modern centers of learning and research. Babylonian yeshivot leader Samuel is a case in point. In addition to being an astronomer, he was a master of 'Halakha'. People said he knew more about heaven's pathways than about the paths of his own hometown Nehardea. In this same spirit, let us go from our traditional methods of learning to universal teaching. It has always been our duty and we should accept it: he'e-madnu 'alenu mitzvot.
Born into an old traditional Jewish family in Venice, Amos Luzzatto hails from a long line of distinguished scholars. His maternal grandfather was the renowned Professor Dante Lattes, one of the most important scholars of Jewish Italian culture and his great-grandfather Samuel David Luzzatto was a prominent professor at the Rabbinical College in Padova, As a lifetime student and writer, Luzzafto has translated and commented on numerous books and also contributing essays including The Left and and the Jewish Question (Editori Riuniti, 1989). Recently, he published two books Una Vita Tra Ebraismo, Scienza e Politca (Morcelliana, 2003) and Il Posto Degli Ebrei (Einaudi, 2003).
Washington Parade in Laredo, Texas|
National Hispanic Sports Hall of Fame
March 3-5: Canary Islanders Symposium
March 29: Writing Historical Fiction
Book: My Grandfather's Grandfather by Tomás Rodríguez Benavides
Thirty-Five Years of Struggle and Triumph: Mexican Americans in Tejas
Book: The Continuous Presence of Italians and Spaniards in Texas
as Early as 1520, Chapter 3 by Alex Loya
Texas Connection to the American Revolution |
participated in the February 17th Washington Parade in Laredo, Texas
In answer to the question circulating among Texas researchers why a George Washington Parade would be held in Laredo, Texas . . . the following was shared: "here is an interesting comment from a good friend of mine, from Laredo, Tx, which adds a different prospective.....regards, David Benavides:
"David, I don’t doubt that this is partially true if not completely! I say partially, only because of many of the stories I had heard over the many decades a part of my family lived there. My grandfather and his older friends told me, the festivities had more to do with the settling of the boundary issues between the US and Mexico. While Texas had established its Independence in 1836 it wasn’t until over a decade later that the Mexican-American war actually clarified what river was the border between Mexico and the US. Mexico had asserted the Nueces River was the Northern Border, and of course Texas and then the US asserted the Rio Bravo (Mexican Name) or the Rio Grande was the southern border of Texas, then the US (when Texas became a State). While the Mexican/American war settled all claims and Nuevo (New) Laredo was created, with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo; Mexican Nationalist & Mexican Revolutionary troops continued to cross virtually unimpeded for the next fifty years. I do not believe that the influx of US nationalists had much to do with it as Laredo is unique in its blended society. The Martin, Mann, Bruni, Werner, Leyndecker and many other non-Mexican families had been in the area for generations.
Additionally, I think that the records of the Laredo Lodge would have, at the least, reflected some of the premise in your story. They don’t. Laredo Lodge was founded in 1883 and co-existed with another recognized Lodge (sanctioned by the Grand lodge of Tamaulipas, Mexico) in Laredo for many years. In searching sir-names No Hispanics were members if Laredo 547 for almost 100 years, and it wasn’t until the 1960’s that we find the first Hispanic Master of Laredo Lodge 547 (If I remember correctly, I was only the third). Why? The language barrier! Originally, even my grandfather was a member of the Mexican Lodge in Laredo, Texas. In my studies of Laredo Lodge transcripts, I find no overt acts of discrimination as most of the 547 members were married to Hispanics! It was the language and that is reflected in the History! They (forefather brethren) couldn’t do the work in Spanish, so they formed their own lodge. Likewise the members of the (now, not then) Clandestine Lodge couldn’t do the work in English! All were friends and worked for the good of the order until the local schools brought English to Laredo. The Grand Lodge of Texas refused to recognize the Mexican lodge, after repeated applications by them for recognition, due to the language of the work and the Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas eventually withdrew its recognition, due to lack of jurisdiction. That Lodge still exists today, but it is totally clandestine.
Additionally and in support of my account, Laredo had also been the center of another less known 19th Century revolutionary movement, which was short-lived, under the banner and flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande (please note the non-Mexican name for the river). Had that separatist movement been based in and by Mexican Nationalists, it would have been the Republic of the Rio Bravo (The Mexican Term). This is the point where I believe my history separates from your account. I believe the people of the area revered Honored Revolutionaries. George Washington is the most revered and hence the celebration. Curiously, if you travel to Monterrey Mexico and study its oldest identified highways and byways, you will find George Washington Blvd in downtown old Monterrey, a city which is over 250 years old. Finding absolutely NO designed social separation, other than where language was practical, within the Laredo community, I can only surmise that the Celebration is, as it appears (Occam’s Razor); to honor North America’s greatest Revolutionary & our brother Mason; “George Washington!”
George Gause email@example.com recommended the following book on the subject:
A history of the Washington Birthday Celebration / edited by Stanley Green.
E312.6.G74 1999, Available at the University of Texas,PanAmerican,
UTPA LRGV (Room 112)
Ties That Bind, Part 2
Another connection to royal lines can be found in the ancestry of Josefa de la Garza, mother of Tomás Sánchez, who founded Laredo, Texas in 1755. Sánchez , who had eleven children, has thousands of descendants many of whom have stayed close to home over the years, increasingly taking interest in their historic past.
One connection he discussed was her ancestry to Alonso de Estrada -- one of the first four arriving royal officers -- who claimed to be a descendant of Ferdinand, husband of Queen Isabel.
Carl L. Duaine in his book With All Arms, A Study of a Kindred Group, (New Santander Press, Edinburg Texas, 1980 Ed., Austin, Texas 2004 2nd Ed.) used some of González de la Garza's research to explain the Ferdinand relationship.
claimed that he was an illegitimate son of Ferdinand
through a liaison with Luisa de Estrada whose father was Fernán, Duke of
Estrada.Fernán was the man sent by Isabel and Ferdinand to arrange the
marriage of King Henry VIII of England to their daughter Catherine of
Aragon. Duaine referenced as further proof certain information
in the Inquisition files. Many historians, however, dispute this story.
While a member of a noble family whose children had famous marriages -- Jorge de Alvarado and Francisco Vázquez de Coronado among them -- Estrada was not considered a great administrator and was somewhat of a braggart.
Most recently José Antonio Esquibel of New Mexico discovered whom he believes are the real parents of Alonso de Estrada, naming them in an article written in the genealogical journal of The California Society of Hispanic and Historical Ancestral Research (SHHAR) Vol. IV, 1998. In spite of his research the controversy continues over Estrada's parentage.
Josefa de la Garza is also a descendant of another of
the first four New World administrators, Gonzalo de Salazar. Gonzalo's
daughter, through his marriage to Catalina de la Cadena, was Catalina de
What a surprise it must be to some of the
worshippers at San Antonio's San Fernando Cathedral that they may have
direct ancestral ties to one of the patron saints of the city!
Interesting to note, one other of Josefa's ancestors who came to the New World was Andrés de Tapia, perhaps Hernán Cortés' most trusted captain, who wrote a brief chronicle pertaining to the Aztec conquest.
Another notable aspect of Catalina's life is that she had a famous second marriage when she came with her daughter Magdalena to New Spain/Mexico. She was suspected of bigamy since her first husband, Diaz de Mendoza, was rumored to still be alive in Spain.
She claimed, however, that he was deceased.
At any rate, her second marriage was to Cristobal Pérez de Oñate, one of the founders of Zacatecas, Mexico and its rich silver mines. Their son was Juan de Oñate who led the first colonization of New Mexico mostly financed by his family's huge wealth.
Captain-General Oñate wed Isabel de Tolosa,
granddaughter of Cortés and great granddaughter of Moctezuma, the last
Emperor of the Aztecs.
Colonel Ernest A. Montemayor, U.S. Air Force, (Retired), of Hispanic American Genealogical Associates, is one of the pioneers of Hispanic genealogy research in the United States having dedicated over fifty years to this effort accumulating in the process an extensive personal library of over 10,000 volumes and files. His large collection of books, journals, and other investigative materials of Hispanic families, covers the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, The Caribbean, the Philippines, and Spain and Portugal.
Diego de Montemayor's wife, Juana Porcallo de la Cerda, purportedly descends from two royal lines. While the lines seem to be well-documented Col. Montemayor, utilizing his high standards requiring exact confirmation of any ancestral ties, is currently conducting his own investigation to verify the connections.
|Canary Islanders Symposium
is part of the events planned for the weekend of Mar. 3-4-5, 2006 to celebrate the 275th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Canary Islanders to the Presidio de Bejar where they founded La Villa de San Fernando on Mar.9th, 1731.
For complete information email Alicia Burger, firstname.lastname@example.org.
or call 210-999-8119.|
March 29th, Lila Guzman, Ph.D. will be giving a workshop sponsored by TCARA. The topic is writing fiction using historical information. It will be held at the main San Antonio Library at 10:00.
For more information, please contact Dr. Guzman directly at email@example.com
|Book: My Grandfather's Grandfather: Tomás Rodríguez Benavides.|
by Mauricio J. González
Extensive historical and genealogical information on Zapata County (with emphasis on San Ygnacio), Guerrero Viejo, Tamps., and Saltillo, Coahuila. It is also the story of a Tomás Rodríguez Benavides who according to legend shot a Texas Ranger around 1890 and then had to leave Zapata County forever. A person-based index.
174 pages, $9.95, plus $1.75 S&H. To order a copy call Marina González at (956) 718-2577 or send a check payable to Mauricio J. González, 126 Otañes, Laredo, TX 78046. To contact Mauricio González email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sent by Elsa Herbeck email@example.com
Thirty-Five Years of Struggle and Triumph:
Mexican Americans in Tejas|
A Photographic Exhibition by Alan Pogue
Alan Pogue is a world renowned documentary photographer. His first great body of work resulted from living and marching with Texas migrant farm workers as they struggles for better working conditions in the face of violent resistance from growers and law enforcement agencies.
For more information about this exhibition and/or other Center for Mexican American Studies of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin public programming events, please contact either Dolores García or Clarisa Hernández at 512-471-4557 or visit the CMAS web site at www.utexas.edu/depts/cmas. The exhibit was mounted by Dolores García and Virginia Raymond.
Sent by Elvira Prieto
Academic Advisor, Center for Mexican American Studies
University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station F9200
Austin, TX 78712 (512) 471-2134 Fax: (512) 471-9639 http://www.utexas.edu/depts/cmas/
|The Continuous Presence of Italians
and Spaniards in Texas
as Early as 1520 by Alex Loya
"In my last installment to Somos Primos I examined the ethnic background of the original Texans, the original Tejanos whom I will call Texians, as a way of setting a foundation for the story that follows. As I examined in my previous article, the original Texians were, generally speaking, criollos, that is full blooded Spaniards or hispanicized Europeans born in the New World, as opposed to mestizos or genizaros, that is, people of mixed white and Indian blood or Indians who had lost their tribal identity and had adopted Spanish names and the Spanish language, as most, but certainly not all, of the Mexicans are.
This difference was at the root of their distinctiveness from the Mexican population, and this distinctiveness combined with other factors which resulted in the eventual annexation of Texas by the United States. In this issue I will examine the participation of the people of Texas whose identity we examined in the previous issue, and of the people of Louisiana, in the Independence of the United States, and I will put special emphasis on a historical fact that thus far has never before been discerned by any historian, that Texas was a veritable fourth front of the American Revolution, and what all of this means to us. It is my hope that by reading this article all who read it will begin to realize and understand just how much a part of the United States of America Texas, the American Southwest and those who pioneered it were." Alex Loya
Blas M. Loya, with his wife Andrea , born in Peñitas, Texas on February 1862, one year into the Civil War. The historical tradition that Peñitas was founded in the year 1520 and has been continuously inhabited by the descendants of the first Spaniards ever since has been passed down by word of mouth in his family for generations. This tradition is consistent with the verifiable facts set forth in this book.
TEXAN PATRIOTS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Some time ago I was driving between New Orleans, my hometown, and a little town called Vacherie. My car was the only vehicle for miles and I was really enjoying the solitude of that road. The view of the landscape, the wide fields of green grass bordered by pine trees in the distance, made my mind travel back in time where, perhaps, life was simpler. Little did I know that a turn in that lonely road would indeed bring the past, a past that was so critically important yet widely unknown, a past that was so personal, bursting into the present!
With lunch-time approaching, the empty feeling in my stomach compelled me to veer off the main highway into a smaller road to the right to find a place where I could stop and eat my brown bag lunch. After driving perhaps a couple of miles, I noticed an old church along River Road, just across the street from the levee and the mighty Mississippi. It caught my attention, as I am usually interested in historical sights, so I decided that in front of the church was a good place to park and eat my lunch. As I ate my sandwich I noticed an historical marker in front of the church. I walked over to read what was on the marker and found out that this was one of the oldest churches in Louisiana. The town, or hamlet, or group of houses really, with the big historical church in the middle, Edgard, Louisiana, was just as deserted as the road. Fortunately, the gate to the cemetery was open. With this being one of the oldest churches in Louisiana, I figured I had to take a look at the grave markers. As I walked through the cemetery, with each step I began to travel back in time through American history! There were the graves of Vietnam veterans and Korean Conflict soldiers, there were WWII and WWI heroes buried there! All of a sudden, one grave marker stopped me in my tracks! It was a plain grave, perhaps the most plain of all, just a slab of white concrete on the ground, but the words inscribed on the marker made my head spin around at least 3 times!
"Luis Bethancourt, Colonist and Patriot, served with the Galvez Expedition for American Independence"
I had attended good, perhaps among the very best American schools for 24 years, and not once had I heard what my eyes were reading; that Louisiana had participated in the war for independence of the United States! Urged by my discovery, I began to research and study the subject, and I found that in some sort of injustice to Luis Bethancourt and his descendants, a vital, I would say essential, chapter of the history of the United States had been buried and forgotten along with this American Patriot!…
When George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hanckock and the rest of the American Patriots had signed the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776, Benjamin Franklin is reputed as having said, in his characteristic bright humor, "Gentlemen, now we must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately" . By 1779, the citizens of Texas and Louisiana had joined these American Patriots in their "hanging together".
Ever since the beginning of the war, Spain, which at that time owned all the land west of the Mississippi River from the Isle of New Orleans to the Canadian tundra, had had "observers" to monitor the status of the war, and had covertly been aiding the American Patriots. Through the efforts of two of these observers stationed in Philadelphia, Juan de Miralles and Francisco Rendon, Spain was able to bring substantial aid to the Americans. As Robert Thonhoff documents on page 2 of his "The Vital Contribution of Spain In the Winning of the American Revolution", in 1777 the Spanish firm "Jose Gardoqui and Sons", at the request of Benjamin Franklin through Arthur Lee, sent "215 bronze cannons, 4,000 field tents, 12,826 grenades, 30,000 muskets, 30,000 bayonets, 30,000 uniforms, 51,314 musket balls, and 300,000 pounds of gunpowder… Later, in one of his letters, Franklin thanked the Spanish minister, Count of Aranda, for 12,000 muskets sent to Boston by Spain".
Granville W. Hough and his daughter N.C. Hough recently discovered the reports of Arthur Lee in which they found the manifests of twelve ships loaded with war supplies which had sailed from Cadiz, Spain to Boston and Philadelphia (Granville W. Hough in a personal email to me dated Aug. 5, 2005, Papers of the Continental Congress, Records Group MO247, Item #83, Roll 10, "Letters from Arthur Lee, 1776-1780"). Although such help was obviously very significant, it was far from being the only help given by Spain to the independence effort of the 13 British Colonies. Because the British had blockaded the Atlantic coast, the Mississippi and Ohio River system became vital to the survival of George Washington’s and George Rogers Clark’s armies. Using the port of New Orleans as a back door and the services of Diego de Gardoqui in Bilbao and Oliver Pollock in New Orleans (who, by the way, was the 3rd single largest financial contributor to the American cause), Spain sent badly needed medicine, money, muskets, munitions and military supplies to the embattled colonials. At a critical juncture on September of 1776 when General George Washington was assessing how much gunpowder and lead he had left and was trying to decide when to fight and when to retreat based on his available resources, General Bernardo de Galvez of Louisiana sent a flatboat flotilla up the Mississippi River carrying medicine, cloth, lead, muskets and 9,000 lbs. of gunpowder, to help meet George Washington’s need through the backdoor of the Mississippi and Ohio River system. In addition to this Galvez sent an extra 1000 lbs. of gunpowder by ship with George Gibson around Florida and up the East Coast. When the Continental Congress authorized the first issue of American currency on May 9, 1776, before the Declaration of Independence, it was the Spanish treasury that backed up and guaranteed it. For this reason the new American currency took the name "dollar" from the Spanish milled "doblas" (Maria Angeles O’Donnel, Honorary Consul of Spain in San Diego, in a speech delivered June 28, 2003). In fact, although some theorize that the dollar sign ($) is composed of the letters U.S. for United States with a broken U on top of the S, Robert Thonhoff explains that what is thought as a broken U is not a U at all, but the two pillars of Hercules, and the S actually stands for Spain. Whatever the case may be, however, Spain’s help in the war for American Independence would become more involved.
While Galvez was sending badly needed help to the Continental Army, at the same time he was developing a letter writing relationship with several American Patriots including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry, the fiery Patriot Governor of Virginia who said "Give me liberty or give me death!", suggested to Galvez that Spain should get more involved in the war and regain East and West Florida, which Spain had lost to England in 1763, back from the British. On May 6, 1778, Bernardo de Galvez wrote a letter back to Patrick Henry that, though mentioned just briefly by historians, had extremely far reaching implications in the history of the United States! This letter, I believe, is without a doubt one of the most important documents in American history! Robert H. Thonhoff writes concerning Galvez’ closing remarks in this letter:
"Galvez concluded the letter by assuring Henry that he would not spare any effort or trouble which may redound to the benefit of the colonies, on account of the particular affection he had for them." (Robert H. Thonhoff, The Texas Connection with the American Revolution, p. 26, emphasis mine)
This letter is absolutely crucial to American history because in it Bernardo de Galvez expressed just how committed he was to the American cause, how much he wanted the benefit of the 13 American Colonies, "on account of the particular affection he had for them". This last statement might just as well be the statement that was heard around the world! The reason I say this is because Bernardo de Galvez was always a just and a kind man well loved by all. While he had served in Chihuahua and West Texas, for example, he was known, respected and feared for his bravery, plunging into battle to defeat his enemies, but he was loved for his kindness, which he demonstrated when he enrolled in school fourteen young Apaches he had taken captive in one of his last campaigns. Bernardo de Galvez was well known and trusted, and deeply loved by the people, consequently what he said and did, the attitude he espoused, had a tremendous effect on the people he led. The point is that when Galvez told Henry about his commitment not to spare any effort or trouble for the benefit of the United States at the time the U.S. was being born, "on account of the particular affection he had for them", Galvez expressed to Henry an attitude he communicated to the people involved in the fight, including the people of Texas. This statement by Galvez, in my opinion, is an absolutely essential statement to American history, truly a statement that was heard around the world, because in this statement is found the foundation and the explanation of the love and sense of destiny of being Americans the Spaniard Texans had, which I will examine later in this book, and which they later expressed at the time of the Texas Revolution which caused them to pursue freedom from Spain in 1813 and freedom from Mexico in 1835 which culminated in the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845 and the setting of the American border in 1848. In other words, this "particular affection" Bernardo de Galvez had for the United States, which he showed by his deeds, was communicated to the Spaniards of Texas and the American Southwest and it eventually resulted in the United States of America being extended to the Pacific Coast. In this statement, Bernardo de Galvez laid the foundation for the Continental United States to exist as it does today.
For this reason it is not too much that Bernardo de Galvez, the unsung hero of the American Revolution, should rank way higher than Lafayette and Pulaski and Von Steuben and de Grasse and the other Europeans who helped the United States during the American Revolution. Their help, though appreciated, was not as extensive as the help that Galvez and the Kingdom of Spain brought to the American colonies. But beyond that, their help was limited to the physical realm of the war itself and/or any other help they may have given. On the other hand, Bernardo de Galvez’ influence in the hearts of the Spaniards of Texas and the Southwest through getting them involved in the birth process of the United States while communicating to them a sincere and special affection for the United States caused them to feel American even then which resulted in the expansion of the United States to the Pacific Coast. The participation of Spain, Texas and Louisiana in the American Revolution and the leadership Galvez provided paved the way for this expansion. George Washington is the Father of our country, the United States, and, the truth be told without diminishing George Washington in any way, Bernardo de Galvez is the Father of our country as it extends to the Pacific Coast today. Keep this in mind and it will become evident as you read the rest of this book, particularly chapters 8-18, chapter 29 and chapter 31.
On June 21, 1779, King Carlos III of Spain declared war on England and issued a decree ordering his American vassals to fight the British anywhere they could find them, whether on land or at sea. The British had been preparing for war with Spain in Louisiana before this declaration of war and for this purpose they had sent Colonel Dickson with an army from the British settlement at Pensacola to strengthen British positions along the Mississippi River. Governor Bernardo de Galvez, who had not yet taken the oath of office, responded by building a gunboat to patrol the Mississippi River and by fortifying the river, he also required some recently arrived British refugees to take the oath of allegiance to Spain (J. Ben Meyer, Sr., Plaquemines The Empire Parish p. 15). At the same time Galvez encouraged the immigration of Spanish colonists from the Canary Islands whom he established in settlements strategically located around New Orleans. These Canary Islanders, as well as the French Acadians known as Cajuns, were encouraged to move to Louisiana by offering them land grants, farm animals and money enough to last them four years, for the purpose of increasing the Spanish presence around New Orleans as a line of defense against the British in case war broke out. Interestingly enough, only six years after Spain’s war with England during the American Revolution was over in 1783, the town of San Elizario, Texas, located 15 miles east of El Paso, was founded with the same strategic purpose as the purpose for which these French Acadians and Spaniards had been encouraged to settle around New Orleans:
"In 1789, Spain sought to protect its interests in the growing Paso del Norte region. A presidio named after San Elcear, the French patron saint of the military, was established at the old hacienda, and the settlement that grew up around it became known as San Elizario." (Booklet "A Walking History of San Elizario", Los Portales Museum & Information Center, San Elizario, Texas)
Considering how slow news travelled in those days, considering that Bernardo de Galvez had been the commander of the Spanish forces in the El Paso del Norte area and had fought the Apaches in West Texas on numerous occasions, and considering, as we will see, the direct relationship the Indian Wars of Texas at that time had to the American Revolution, it seems evident, at least to me, that the founding of San Elizario, Texas, and the encouraging of families to move to the site as a strategic move, was directly related to the events of the American Revolution in Texas and Louisiana. The coincidences seem too strong to be accidental! Apparently, the founding of San Elizario, Texas, in West Texas was a direct consequence of the American Revolution. It almost has to be so!
At any rate, acting as the appointed provisional Governor of Louisiana, Galvez closed off the Mississippi River to British vessels, allowing only Spanish, French and American vessels to use the Mississippi trade route, all the while expediting the flow of supplies to the 13 Colonies. In the spring of 1777 Galvez seized eleven British ships.
By the time the King of Spain declared war on Britain, the British had built forts in Natchez, Manchac and Baton Rouge. British West Florida extended all the way from Florida west through Alabama, Mississippi, what today is known as the New Orleans Northshore (where my babies were born 220 something years later) across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans proper and all the way through Baton Rouge. In Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez kept the declaration of war a secret until he had assembled a fleet of riverboats loaded with supplies and ammunition, assembled military units and commenced drill sessions. Finally, he called a general assembly at the Plaza de las Armas (Jackson Square) and as he formally took the oath of office as Governor of Louisiana (although he had been appointed provisional governor two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1777), he announced to the general public that Spain was now at war with England.
Ten months after the King of Spain declared war on England, on April 21, 1780, Domingo Cabello, Governor of Texas, read this Declaration of War to the citizens of San Antonio de Bexar, effectively involving Texas in the American Revolution. Governor Bernardo de Galvez of Louisiana, as I mentioned, had previously served as a Lieutenant of the Spanish forces in Chihuahua where he had led several campaigns against the Apaches, effectively linking West Texas and Chihuahua to Louisiana since West Texas and Chihuahua were both part of Nueva Viscaya (Nueva Viscaya adjoined New Mexico in West Texas). Because of this he became aware of the large cattle herds that roamed the plains of South Texas. In 1778 Bernardo de Galvez had sent Athanese de Mezieres from Louisiana to Texas to determine the availability of horses and cattle in case war erupted against England. De Mezieres’ report was favorable, the large herds of cattle that Galvez remembered were indeed roaming the plains of Texas and were available to supply the Louisiana army in the event of war against England. The next year, on June 20, 1779, Governor Galvez of Louisiana sent Francisco Garcia as an emissary to San Antonio de Bexar to meet with Texas Governor Domingo Cabello and to deliver to him a letter requesting and authorizing the export of cattle from Texas to Louisiana, a business move that was previously unauthorized, for the purpose of feeding Galvez’ army. So were Texas and Louisiana joined in their common effort against the British and for American Independence. Galvez mustered up a 7000 man army plus a navy which included Spaniards, Canary Islanders, Germans, Frenchmen, Acadians, Indians and Blacks, both free and slave, from Louisiana, a contingent of about 30 First Continental Marines from Fort Pitt, a part of the South Carolina Navy,… and a few soldiers from Texas. By law, all men between 14 and 60 years of age had to serve in the militia in the Spanish possessions.
Let me stop here for just a minute and meditate a little more on what is invariably mentioned just in passing, that 30 (some sources say 26) American Marines served with Bernardo de Galvez’ Louisiana and Texas Army. Much has been speculated as to why the French contribution to the American Revolution is well remembered when, according to Granville Hough, all of the French contribution to the American Revolution was always 50-50 in conjunction with Spain, and Spain’s contribution to the American Revolution was historically more significant. Some have thought it is perhaps because Spain and the Spaniards came to be mistakenly associated in the American mind with the Mexicans and other Latin Americans who, generally, were of a foreign race to the Americans with which the Americans could not identify. A less sinister explanation is because the French, though not as helpful to the Americans as the Spaniards, actually fought side by side with the Americans in the 13 Colonies, as opposed to the Spaniards who fought in the South and up the Mississippi River outside the borders of the 13 original states. Whatever the case may be, we need to stop here for just a minute and meditate on what it means that 30 American Marines from Virginia, George Washington’s home state, fought with and under Galvez.
Considering the battles in which the Spaniards of Louisiana and Texas defeated the Waldeckers and the Maryland Loyalists and the British Forces under Colonel Dickson, fighting directly alongside those 30 American Marines, those 30 American Marines were the flesh and blood link between Galvez’ Army and the Continental Army that made the two armies one. Those 30 American Marines were the flesh and blood union that made the American Colonials and the Spaniards of Louisiana and Texas one people at the time America was born as an independent nation, those 30 American Marines brought, in real life, the people of Texas and Louisiana, their Army and militia, under the American Yankee Doodle fife and drum.
After Louisiana and Texas entered the war for independence of the United States, the citizens of Texas joined in full support of the American Revolution in several capacities. First, public prayers were immediately offered to secure the help of Almighty God in the struggle against England and for the victory of Spain and of her ally, the 13 British Colonies struggling for independence. Second, a voluntary tax was collected to help the war effort. At least half a million pesos were contributed by the citizens of Texas and the other provinces of New Spain which were directly used to re-supply the legendary French Fleet which came to the aid of George Washington’s Continental Army right in the nick of time during the Battle of Yorktown. Third, as I mentioned, there were a few Texans who served as soldiers in Governor Galvez’ army, and, fourth, all Texan men between the ages of 14 and 60 would have been activated to serve in the militia, which during the war years was primarily involved in fighting Indians, who stole Spanish cattle and horses and traded the latter to the British in the Great Lakes region for guns.
The war effort of the Texas militia directly contributed to the war effort in the South, where America would later be embroiled in that painful War of Brothers known as the Civil War. I will discuss the Indian Wars of Texas as they relate to the American Revolution in more detail in chapter four. This issue is so significant and so essential to American history that it really deserves to be discussed in a chapter all its own!
After King Carlos III of Spain commanded his American vassals to fight the British and Governor Galvez mustered up his army and navy, Spanish Texas ranchers, escorted by Spanish Texas soldiers, trailed some ten to fifteen thousand head of Texas cattle to feed the Spanish forces under Galvez. They followed a trail up Nacogdoches, Natchitoches and on to Opelousas, where the cattle was distributed to Galvez’ forces, one hundred years before the famous Texas cattle drives to Kansas, Nebraska and Montana. Supported by several hundred Texas head of horses which were used in the cavalry and artillery, Governor Bernardo de Galvez created a third front in the American Revolution. By creating this third front in the war, Galvez relieved the forces of George Washington and George Rogers Clark of pressure to fight the British more effectively in their respective two fronts. This assertion is not just something that those of us who study history have recently discerned, General George Washington acknowledged this fact in a letter dated February 27, 1780 which he wrote to King Carlos III of Spain through Jose Monino, Count of Floridablanca, the King’s Secretary of State, congratulating him for Galvez’ victories along the Gulf Coast:
" Sir: I have the honor of your letter of the 18th… I am happy in congratulating you on the important successes it announces to the Arms of His Catholic Majesty, which I hope are a prelude to others more decisive. These events will not only advance the immediate interest of his Majesty, and promote the common cause, but they will probably have a beneficial influence on the affairs of the Southern states at the present juncture… It appears that General Clinton was expected to be in South Carolina so early as November… It would not be surprising if the British General on hearing of the progress of the Spanish Arms in the Floridas should relinquish his primitive design and go to the defence of their own territories." (General George Washington to King Carlos III of Spain, through the Count of Floridablanca, the King’s Secretary of State, in a letter dated Feb. 27, 1780 delivered by the hand of Juan de Miralles. De Reparaz, Carmen I. "Yo Solo, Bernardo de Galvez y la Toma de Penzacola en 1781" Editorial Serbal, Madrid, Spain, 1986.)
Washington’s realization of the strategic diversion the Spanish Arms would create was effectively fulfilled when the British had to draw supplies and troops from the 13 Colonies to fight Galvez, including the Pennsylvania Loyalists, the Maryland Loyalist Forces, the Waldeckers and other such units whom Galvez defeated. Incidentally, George Washington was a distant cousin of the King of Spain because he, George Washington, was a direct descendant of King Fernando III of Spain through his daughter Leonor of Castile who married King Edward I of England. If one thinks about it, that makes the participation of Spain in the American Revolution even more significant and direct, seeing that the Father of the American Revolution himself, George Washington, was also in part a Spaniard:
"…George Washington, ‘The Father of Our Country,’ was abundantly endowed with some good Spanish genes that trace back to the great Spanish king and saint, San Fernando, and beyond". (Robert H. Thonhoff , "Essay on the San Fernando-George Washington Bernardo de Galvez Connection")!
George Washington’s genealogical chart showing his descent from Eleanor or Leonor of Castile, born in Castile, Spain, daughter of King Fernando III of Spain, born near Salamanca, (himself the son of King Alfonso IX, King of Leon and Berengeria, daughter of Alfonso III, King of Castile), through her marriage to King Edward I of England. That General George Washington, First President of the United States and the man who became the Father of our Country, was in part a Spaniard, and a Spaniard who was a descendant of the marriage that united the Spanish Kingdoms of Castile and Leon and of the king, King Fernando III, who indefatigably fought the Arabs in the Reconquista of Spain until he reduced their presence in Spain to Granada, adds significance to the contribution of Spain and her citizens to the American Revolution. It seems also Providential that the First President of the United States was himself of Royal descent in both his English and Spaniard sides. (Genealogical chart from Marcus Cunliffe, Leslie Hume Cunliffe and David Williamson’s "Burkes’s Presidential Families of the United States", courtesy of Robert H. Thonhoff )
As I mentioned, as soon as Spain had declared war on England, the British began to plan a two pronged attack on Spanish New Orleans. Like I said, the British at that time controlled the Great Lakes area, and they planned to send a large force to attack New Orleans down the Mississippi River. At the same time they would send another large military force against New Orleans, up the Mississippi River from Pensacola, Florida. Besides this, Simon Girty was evidently charged with expediting the flow of English guns for Spanish horses to the Indians, making it quite evident that the provision of arms and ammunition in exchange for horses stolen from the Spaniards in Texas was a British strategic move in the American Revolution all along. Governor Galvez, however, beat them to the punch. Although eventually Galvez’ army grew to be 7000 men strong, Galvez didn’t wait for the British to attack, he immediately marched against the British stronghold at Baton Rouge with a force of only 600 men. As Galvez and his little army force-marched up the Mississippi River towards Baton Rouge despite the extremely bad condition of the roads, he recruited volunteers and purchased supplies. By the time Galvez reached Baton Rouge, his army had grown to about 1,400 men, and they had captured Fort Bute (J. Ben Meyer, p.16).
Beginning with the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779, Governor Bernardo de Galvez’ Spanish forces defeated the British all along the South. The British seemed to have found the Spanish Army, composed in large part by Louisianans and Texans, invincible! Suffering only a relatively low number of casualties, the Spanish-Louisianan-Texan Army defeated the British not only in Baton Rouge in 1779, but also in Manchac, also in Louisiana just a few miles northwest of New Orleans, and Natchez in Mississippi. The following year on March 14, 1780, in an advance they could not stop, the British were defeated by Galvez’ combined forces at Mobile, Alabama, after a month long siege of the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte. Wherever he was successful, Bernardo de Galvez required the inhabitants of the land to take the oath of allegiance to Spain, which they joyfully did (J. Ben Meyer, Plaquemines; The Empire Parish, pp. 16-17).
Governor Galvez demonstrated a tremendous tenacity in his campaign against the British during the American Revolution. As early as March 7, 1780, Galvez had attempted to invade Pensacola, the capital of West Florida, but had been hindered by several human and natural hurdles. Originally, his army and navy had not been able to agree on how to attack Pensacola, so they had been forced to call the invasion off. Then on October 16, 1780, as Galvez’ army and navy set out to attack Pensacola for the second time, a terrible hurricane scattered his forces.
After Galvez’ forces were beaten and scattered by the hurricane, the British tried to take advantage of the situation and set out to recapture Mobile, Alabama, from the Spaniards. General Campbell from the British stronghold at Pensacola, sent a force of 600 men to accomplish the task. The Spaniards holding Fort Charlotte at Mobile fought gallantly, however, and although they sacrificed the lives of fourteen Spaniards and suffered over twenty wounded, they successfully repelled the British attack (Thonhoff, The Texas Connection With The American Revolution, p. 34).
Galvez, however, was a man made of the same steel as Winston Churchill during WWII and he refused to surrender to the circumstances. Finally, on February 28, 1781, the Spanish forces under Bernardo de Galvez were mobilized to try to capture Pensacola yet a third time. Spanish soldiers from New Orleans were transported by sea to meet the Spanish Fleet that had issued from Havana at Pensacola. Meanwhile, General Galvez ordered Spanish soldiers stationed at Mobile to march over land to join the rest of the Spanish force gathering around Pensacola. At this point, yet another unexpected hurdle "reared up" in Galvez’ strategy to dislodge the British and take Pensacola.
Victory in Pensacola was wholly dependent on the Spanish fleet entering Pensacola Bay through a narrow and shallow bar that was located directly under the British battery. The foot soldiers were able to accomplish the mission without the aid of the Spanish fleet. Unfortunately, Admiral Joseph Calvo de Irazabal, who was directly responsible for the Spanish fleet, was not directly under General Galvez’ authority and he was, as my little ones sometimes say at night, scared. Admiral Calvo refused to send the Spanish fleet through the shallow bar fearing that the British cannon would decimate the Spanish ships.
At this point, General Bernardo de Galvez did something that sets aside true heroes from the general population; leading the attack, he forced his way into the Bay of Pensacola with only his own vessel. The British cannon opened up upon Galvez’ brigantine, the Galveztown, and on three smaller boats that followed. Contrary to Admiral Calvo’s expectation, the British cannon balls did hardly any damage to Galvez’ private flagship, punching holes only in the sails. Galvez’ troops cheered and, having been thoroughly shamed, Admiral Calvo finally followed Galvez, "The next day, the rest of the squadron entered the bay" (Thonhoff, The Texas Connection With The American Revolution, p. 36).
Almost three months later, on May 10, 1781, the British were, once again, defeated by Galvez’ Spanish Colonial Army and Navy in "a two pronged land and sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida" (Thonhoff, The Vital Contribution of Texas in the Winning of the American Revolution, p.10). The Spanish Louisiana-Texas Forces under Governor Galvez had dealt a deathblow to the British forces in the South, swiftly penetrating deep into British held territory, capturing Fort George, killing over 100 British soldiers and taking 1100 British prisoners after a two and a half month siege in which, true to his good character, and in a gesture that American forces would always express, he had sent flour to the besieged British so that they would not starve to death. Governor Galvez had added to Spain almost all of the Mississippi Valley and all of the land westward from East Florida to the Sabine River, for which accomplishment the King of Spain made him Viscount of Galveztown and allowed him to write on his coat of arms "Yo Solo", I alone.
While Galvez was leading his army in this gloriously undefeated campaign against the British in the South, British forces attempted to gain the upper hand in the North along the Mississippi River. Ever since, as a consequence of the French and Indian War, Spain was given all the land west of the Mississippi, including New Orleans, by the Treaty of 1763, after which Spain had established military posts at strategic locations along the river. In May of 1780 British soldiers attacked the Spanish stronghold at San Luis (St. Louis), Missouri. St. Louis was defended by a combined force of Spanish soldiers and civilian militia under the command of Fernando de Leyba. Spanish troops from St. Genevieve reinforced Leyba’s men and the British attack on St. Louis was successfully repelled. Although this battle is hardly known, it was one of the most important battles of the American Revolution because it secured Spanish control of the Mississippi River for the remainder of the American Revolution. Consequently, the Mississippi and Ohio River system remained open as a main line of supplies for the American forces through the war.
The Spaniards had set up a strategic post on the juncture between the Arkansas and Mississipi Rivers called Arkansas Post. Before Spain got militarily involved in the American Revolution, Arkansas Post had been used as a refuge for the American Patriots. In the winter of 1777 William Linn’s "Gibson’s Lambs" had been welcomed to stay out of the freezing weather on their way back from New Orleans when they transported supplies to Fort Pitt. The following year the First Continental Marines under James Willing took refuge in their expedition within the Spanish fort.
"On November 22, 1780, Spanish Officer Baltasar de Villiers crossed the Mississippi River from Arkansas Post and took possesion of the lands east of the Mississippi River in the name of the King of Spain" (Robert H. Thonhoff in a personal letter to me dated December 30, 2005).
The British did not appreciate de Villiers claim to the land for the King of Spain east of the Mississippi, and they began to plan to try to take St. Louis a second time. Fortunately for the American cause, Lt. Governor Antonio Cruzat got intelligence about the British plan to take St. Louis. Like Governor Galvez had done at the beginning of military hostilities between the Spaniards and the British, Cruzat took the initiative and beat the British to the punch. Putting Lt. Eugenio Pouree in command of 151 armed men, including 91 militia and 60 Indians, Lt. Governor Cruzat sent an expeditionary force to take possession of the British fort at San Jose
(St. Joseph), Michigan (Robert H. Thonhoff in a personal letter to me dated December 30, 2005).
Lt. Pouree and his men left St. Louis, Missouri, on January 2, 1781 on their way to St. Joseph, Michigan. They traveled by water up the Mississippi River and then up the Illinois River. Enduring incredible hardship in the freezing northern winter, like good soldiers, they then marched overland over two hundred miles of ice and snow to accomplish their mission! Finally, one month and ten days after they had set out in this expedition they reached their destination. On February 12, 1781,
Lt. Pouree and his Spanish militia, with the sixty Indians that assisted them, attacked the British fort at St. Joseph, Michigan. Being completely surprised by the attack the British surrendered, they had been caught completely unprepared for the attack, not expecting the Spaniards to travel that long distance in the unforgiving northern winter. With these military campaigns up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri and St. Joseph, Michigan, the Spaniards had fought for the Independence of the United States literally from Texas to Louisiana through Mississippi, Alabam and Florida, and up north through Missouri and Michigan.
Besides this, the Spaniards directly helped George Rogers Clark and his army with war supplies in the battles at Vincennes, Indiana and at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, Illinois.
Two months after the victory of the Spaniards over the British at Pensacola, Francisco de Saavedra y Sangronis, the personal representative of King Carlos III of Spain, arrived at St. Domingue (Haiti) to meet with French Admiral De Grasse. At their meeting in July of 1781 Saavedra and De Grasse developed the De Grasse/Saavedra Convention or Accord in which De Grasse, representing the French, and Saavedra, representing the Spaniards, together, developed the strategy on how they would wage the war in the American Theatre and the Western Hemisphere.
"In the de Grasse/Saavedra Accord, the three-part strategy was: 1. Aid the American cause so powerfully that the English cabinet would lose hope of subduing them; 2. Take positions in various points in the Windward Islands where the English fleet lay in protected forts; 3. Conquer Jamaica and eliminate England from the West Indies. After they agreed on these aims, de Grasse told Saavedra of the Chesapeake Bay plans, which fitted well into the first aim. They made six copies of their accord in French and Spanish and sent them to their respective governments, where they were ratified." (Granville W. Hough in a personal email to me dated August 5, 2005).
Although De Grasse and Saavedra did not know at this time that British General Cornwallis had selected Yorktown as his point of exit, they knew it would be somewhere in or around Chesapeake Bay. Accordingly, they proceeded to pursue the Chesapeake Bay Campaign that culminated at the Battle of Yorktown. Working together, De Grasse and Saavedra laid out the strategy for the Chesapeake Bay Campaign. The French Fleet under Admiral De Grasse would proceed to Chesapeake Bay to help General George Washington, while the Spanish Navy would protect the West Indies in De Grasse’s absence, covering his back. In addition to this, the Spaniards would pick up most of the tab for the Chesapeake Bay Campaign.
A problem arose when Admiral De Grasse found out that there was no French money available for the campaign, leaving him on the lurch. He tried to raise money from the French citizens of Saint Domingue, but they refused to give of their cash for the American cause. At this point, Admiral De Grasse plainly told Saavedra that he could not proceed to Yorktown without more Spanish money. Francisco de Saavedra y Sangronis immediately sprung into action and personally raised, in two days, from among the Spanish citizens of Havana, the money necessary for Admiral De Grasse’s French Fleet to be able to sail to George Washington’s aid at Yorktown. Saavedra also dipped into some money that had been assigned to Spanish Haiti (Santo Domingo) and reassigned it to the Yorktown naval French expedition. R. H. Thonhoff states that at least $500,000 (pesos) that had been raised from the Spanish citizens of New Spain were also used to directly aid the French Fleet in this predicament enabling De Grasse to proceed to Yorktown. Bernardo de Galvez, who had been appointed Captain General of Louisiana and West Florida arrived at Havana where he approved of Saavedra’s plans with De Grasse and began, with the French, to prepare to invade British Jamaica. The rest, as they say, is history; the legendary French Fleet under Admiral De Grasse arrived at Yorktown in the nick of time to help General Washington and the Continental Army defeat the British Army under General Cornwallis, making Yorktown the most decisive battle of the American Revolution.
"It can be accurately said that what put us over the top at Yorktown was Spanish money, as de Grasse told Saavedra plainly that he could not sail there without it… Yorktown was thus the result of Spanish financing of cooperative efforts of the French Expeditionary Force, the de Grasse Fleet, and the American forces." (Granville W. Hough in a personal email to me dated Aug. 5, 2005).
After their surrender at Yorktown, however, the British held Detroit, New York, Charleston and Penobscot Bay for two more years as bases from where they could reinvade the United States and again bring it under the British crown. Bernardo de Galvez, however, had raised an army of 10,000 men to invade British Jamaica and, together with the French, expel the British from the West Indies and the Western Hemisphere. The British, being more concerned with holding Canada and the West Indies, sued for peace and were thus kept at bay by the Spaniards and the French from reinvading the United States. George Washington’s words in his letter to King Carlos III, which I quoted earlier, regarding Galvez’ success in his Southern Campaign, also applied to the permanency of the success of the United States "…It would not be surprising if the British General on hearing of the progress of the Spanish Arms in the Floridas should relinquish his primitive design and go to the defense of their own territories".
As I stood by the Patriot’s Grave, Luis Bethancourt, I was standing by an essential chapter of American history without which, evidently, it is possible the United States of America would never have been born, or would have been still born. In saying what I just said, I am not inflating the role of Spain and her American Colonials in Texas and Louisiana, I am simply asking the necessary question; what if? What if the Texas militia had not fought the Indians who were stealing the cattle meant for Galvez’ Army? Well, Galvez’ Army would not have been able to march against the British and it would not have won it’s victories at Baton Rouge, Manchac, Mobile, Natchez, Pensacola, and up the Mississippi River to Michigan. What if Galvez’ Army would not have been able to fight those battles for lack of food supplies? Well, the British already had plans to take New Orleans and invade Spanish Louisiana, they would have done so. Consequently, New Orleans would have been closed to ship supplies for the American Colonies causing both the Mississippi River system and the East Coast to be blockaded and the American supply lines to be dried up. The Mississippi River would have instead been used to supply the British and attack the Americans through the back door. What if the Spanish had not raised the money for DeGrasse’s Fleet? Well, Admiral De Grasse plainly told Saavedra that without Spanish money he could not sail to Yorktown. Consequently, the French Fleet would never have arrived to Washington’s rescue and the British would not have surrendered at Yorktown. Quite the opposite would have happened: the British would have beaten the Continental Army and the Americans would have lost the American Revolution. What if on top of all of this Spain had not had plans to invade Jamaica? Well, then the British would have been free to reinvade the American Colonies from their bases in New York, Detroit, Charleston and Penobscot Bay. But really, the British would not have had to reinvade the United States because if the things I mentioned above had happened, the Americans would not have been successful. Evidently, without the participation of Spain, Texas and Louisiana in the American Revolution, the United States of America would have been still born.
As I continued to stand by the Patriot’s Grave, a sense of awe and respect, as well as a sense of injustice, welled up inside of me. This chapter of American history was so essential, and so intimately personal to me and to all other original Texans and Louisianans, yet it was unknown to most of us! Since all men in the Spanish Colonies had to serve in the militia in times of emergency, all male ancestors of original Texans and Louisianans would have to have served in the militia during the American Revolution in one capacity or another. Providence would have it that through the series of events of the American Revolution just described, a family that had been separated in the old continent would be united, albeit without knowing it, in the common cause of American Independence. While the list of Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution includes two individuals from Massachusetts bearing the surname Loya, first name unknown, and their, presence in the 13 British Colonies is also attested by the record of Jonathan Loya from Middleburgh, New York, in one of the very first U.S. Federal Census (which started in 1790), and by the listing of Pierre Loya in a list of French immigrants to Acadia in 1772, the record of the Loya in South Texas does not stop with Enrique Loya’s birth in 1820. Granville and N.C Hough in their book "Spain’s Texas Patriots in its 1779-1783 War with England During the American Revolution" list at least three members of the Loya family in their listings of Patriots who were part of the Texas militia which was activated during the American Revolutionary War. On pages 100 and 109 of their book, Granville and N.C. Hough include in the lists of Patriots from South Texas one Isidro J. Loya , son of Francisco J. Loya, and Fermin Solis Loya and Gerardo Solis Loya, both sons of one Ma. Luisa Loya, all from the town of Revilla, Guerrero, an Escandon settlement which had land on both sides of the Rio Grande. They would have been directly involved in fighting the Lipan Apaches who were hampering Spain’s efforts in the American Revolution by stealing horses and cattle needed to support the fight against the British from Louisiana to Florida. And here is where this chapter of American history becomes so intensely personal to me and to every descendant of original Texans and Louisianans, and here is what is so great about history, I was there in the loins of my fathers!
And here also is something that is extremely significant that is brought to light by the presence of the Loya family in the 13 Colonies, in the oldest, American Revolution significant towns of New York State and Vermont; Chazy, Ticonderoga, Middleburgh, Orwell and Rutland around Lake Champlain, and their participation in the War for American Independence. And here it is where this extremely significant point is brought into reality by the presence of the Loya family in the oldest towns of Texas; Penitas, Revilla, Presidio (San Juan Bautista) and San Elizario, and their participation in that same War for American Independence. From the very beginning, as evidenced by at least this one family group, the Loya family, there had been family ties, blood ties, uniting one end of our country with the other, Texas and the Southwest to the 13 Colonies, at the point and event of conception of the United States.
Louisiana State Museum Grand Opening in Downtown Baton Rouge! |
"They Came in Ships..."
Louisiana Infantry 1779-1781 (Spain)
Yahoo group: Canary Islanders of Louisiana.
Recently, I spent a week in Louisiana and traveled from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles, Natchitoches, and West Monroe. The stop at New Orleans was cancelled because the host building at the University of New Orleans was not ready to reopen.
Mimi has asked me to write about people, places and things east of the Mississippi, but once in a while something in west Louisiana may slip through. My specialty is the Spanish contribution to the American Revolution. With my husband, Rick Guzman, I write young adult novels (ages 11 and up) about forgotten events in our history.
While driving around Baton Rouge, I stumbled upon a government building with the flags of a number of nations in front. I immediately pulled over and whipped out my digital camera.
One flag in particular grabbed my attention: the Union
Jack*. This was the flag that was flying over Baton Rouge when Don Bernardo de Galvez attacked the British in September 1779. It never flew over New Orleans.
One final flag: the flag that Don Bernardo de Gálvez was flying when he defeated the British at Baton Rouge. > >
Louisiana State Museum Grand Opening in Downtown Baton Rouge!
Parking is available in the Galvez Garage (N. Fifth and North St.)
There is also a State Museum stop, Downtown Trolley Route #16. |
Admission is $6 for adults
$5 for students, seniors, &active military
Museum Hours: 9a.m.- 5p.m. Tues- Saturday
Noon to 5p.m. Sunday, Closed on Monday
Two examples of exhibits in the museum:
First floor features Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation, exhibition showing the impact of Louisiana history on the nation and the world!
Third floor exhibition features: The Louisiana Experience: Discovering the Soul of America'
tribute to the people & cultures of Bayou State.
|"They Came in Ships..."|
[An address delivered by Paul Newfield III on October 7, 2000, at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, on the occasion of the dedication of the monument celebrating the Canary Islanders who settled in Louisiana in the late 18th century.]
El año mil setecientos, setenta y ocho... The year 1778. They came in ships -- men, women, children -- our ancestors. Seven hundred recently enlisted recruits with their families, departing their native Canary Islands forever, aboard sailing ships that would carry them across the seas to Spanish Louisiana. By estimate, approximately 2,363 Isleños set sail for Louisiana, but not all of them arrived here.
King Carlos III of Spain required fresh troops to bear arms in the imminent war against Great Britain, and he needed loyal subjects to settle, populate and defend his Louisiana lands. Over a period of about five years, beginning in the about 1778, our Canary Islands ancestors came to Louisiana. They settled at places they called San Bernardo, Tierra de los Bueyes, Galveztown, Barataria, Valenzuela.
I have often tried to imagine what it might have been like for those early Isleños. Why did they come? What circumstances would compel a man to leave his native land and boldly travel to the other side of the earth, to a distant destination, Nevermore to return? It takes Courage, Inner Strength, Faith, and a lot of Hope – Attributes that I admire in my ancestors and that I look for in myself.
Who were those people?? These Corvo, Marrero, Falcon; Sanchez, Suarez, Diaz, Dominguez; Lopez, Ramirez, Gonzalez; Garcia, Perez, Hernandez, Rodriguez, Fernandez; Martin, Martinez; Hidalgo, Delgado; Morales, Torres, Truxillo; Acosta, Aleman and Plasencia??
These Canary Islanders were loyal subjects of King Carlos III of Spain. Their native archipelago consisted then, as it does now, of seven volcanic islands situated in the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, some 800 miles southwest of Spain and 100 miles west of Morocco on the African continent.
They came to this place called Louisiana -- this flat, featureless land of marshes, bayous, swamps and prairies -- a place so very different from their homeland.
They were military men, freshly recruited soldiers of the newly established Second Battalion of the Fixed Louisiana Regiment. Earning their pay, they captured Baton Rouge from the British in 1779; they captured Mobile in 1780, and Pensacola in 1781. In the story of America's fight for Independence, these soldiers justifiably earned a place of honor. They were pioneer farmers - tamers of the land and cultivators of the soil.
Equally deserving of recognition and a place of special honor were the Women -- the wives, the mothers -- keepers of the hearth, Women who shared the hardships and joys, who bore the children and who reared and nurtured them.
In our research, we are fortunate to have access to the detailed records, penned by Spanish clerks and administrators more than 200 years ago, among which are a series of ledger books called Libros Maestros.
In Valenzuela, the Libro Maestro dates from 1779, and lists 113 family groups, including 3 widows and 9 orphaned girls, for a total count of about 400 souls.
The very first name appearing in that Libro Maestro was Francisco Gonzales Carbo, with his wife and 9 children - 11 family members in all. It is no wonder that this family name is so well known to us all.
Many Canary Islanders prospered... But not all. Those in Galveztown were not so fortunate.
The recruit Antonio Alonso set sail from Santa Cruz de Tenerife on October 28, 1778 aboard the frigate San Ignacio de Loyola, with his wife Rita and their 5 year old son, Antonio. Rita was two months pregnant when they began the voyage.
She must have been a strong woman. A sea voyage, pregnant, but with a spirit full of Hope. They arrived at New Orleans in early January, 1779, and they were among 28 families of the San Ignacio who ascended the Mississippi River to Galveztown, a newly established frontier settlement at the confluence of Iberville's Bayou Manchak and the Amite River, directly across from contentious British territory. The Alonso family would be part of the Galveztown settlement, and the elder Antonio would hope to wear the uniform of Bernardo de Galvez's Second Louisiana Infantry Battalion.
The Alonso family was enrolled on the pages of the Libro Maestro, and from these pages from Galveztown we read the following notations:
"On May 27, 1779 was born a daughter.
"On the 8th of July, 1779 the son died;
"On the 25th of July, 1779 the daughter died;
And then lastly we read,
"All the remaining individuals of this family died on the 2nd and the 16th of September, 1779...."
Only 11 months after Antonio Alonso and his family sailed, they were all gone. Vanquished Hope! Sic transit gloria mundi.
The old settlement at Barataria has all but disappeared, returned now to its original moss and palmetto, but its cultural legacy to us is a small, languid bayou, remembered to this day as Bayou des Familles - "Bayou of the Families" - in recognition of the Canarian families that once inhabited its banks. Ironically the name of the bayou is in French.
From the settlements of San Bernardo and Tierra de los Bueyes in St. Bernard parish, those early Isleños bequeathed to us their Spanish language, which they passed along to their children and their children's children. They perpetuated the old stories, and they sang their decimas - those distinctive songs of a particular form and meter that celebrate life. The Isleños of St. Bernard, above all, have been "keepers of the flame", where that glowing ember of "Spanishness" has continued to smolder for more than 200 years.
And back to the settlement of Valenzuela - along the banks of Bayou Lafourche des Chetimaches - where we are today.
We have come here, this October 7th, 2000, to this old venerable parish cemetery of the Church of the Ascension, in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to dedicate and bless this beautiful monumental stone. And in so doing, let us also call upon our Isleño ancestors - those bold immigrants - for their blessing upon us and our families; and we pray that their strengths and virtues will continue to pour down upon us, their lineal descendants and heirs of their blood - upon us here, who, in their time, were the Hope for which they prayed.
Louisiana Infantry 1779-1781 (Spain)
Regimiento de Infanteria de Luisiana
This page is part of Google's © FOTW, Flags Of The World website
Description shared: Michael Bunn, of the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, asked about the flags used by Spanish military forces in America, specifically De Soto ca. 1540 and Gálvez ca. 1780. I received the following information from Spanish vexillologist Eduardo Panizo:
An image of this flag exists in the Spanish Archivo General de Indias, in the city of Seville. It is a battalion flag of the Regimiento de Infanteria de Luisiana 1779-1781. This was the flag used by this regiment, commanded by Bernardo de Gálvez, at the battle of Pensacola on May 8th 1781, where the Spanish Army defeated the British one.
José Carlos Alegría, 16 July 2000: I suppose this may shed some additional light on the origin of the state flags of Florida and Alabama. This white square flag features the traditional red burgundy cross used by the Spanish army, cornered by four identical coats-of-arms, and over all the latin writing Honor et Fidélitas, meaning Honour and Loyalty. José Carlos Alegría, 6 September 2000.
| Yahoo group - Canary Islanders of Louisiana.|
Wade Falcon sends an invitation to join a free new Here, we can share all the information that we find and it will all be archived in one place for easy access. If you have a Yahoo account (which is free), feel free to begin adding links and post genealogy questions and information.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CanaryIslandersOfLA/ Wade Falcon firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended information sent by Bill Carmena: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canary_Islands
at El Paso
Sent by George Ryskamp
The National Archives and Records Administration announces the completion of A3396, Index to Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals at El Paso, Texas, July 1924-July 1952 (19 rolls). RG 85. 16mm.
A3396 has been placed in the National Archives Building Robert M. Warner Research Center in cabinet 31A / 2, and it is being provided to NARA Regional Archives at Anchorage, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Laguna Niguel, Pittsfield, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Descriptive material is on all rolls of the microfilm publication.
Archives I Research Support Branch (NWCC1)
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408
| Mall Site Is Chosen for
Black History Museum|
by Lynette Clemetson
Sent by Win Holtzman
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 — After nearly a century of political infighting and delay, the Smithsonian Institution on Monday selected a prominent space on the Mall near the Washington Monument as the site of its National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
Supporters of the project, including many black cultural, political and academic leaders, who labored for years to have the museum approved, greeted the selection by the Board of Regents, the institution's governing body, with elation.
High-profile advocates of the museum, the institution's first dedicated to a comprehensive study of the black American experience, had told Smithsonian officials that any site off the Mall would be viewed as a slight to African-Americans.
In September 2004 the National Museum of the American Indian opened to much fanfare and high visibility on the eastern edge of the Mall near the Capitol.
Some groups responded to the announcement on Monday with disappointment, arguing that the project would clutter the Mall, the grassy expanse stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. Smithsonian officials said the vote on the site was not unanimous but would not give details. Officials said they hoped to open the new museum within the next decade.
"My first task for tomorrow is to stop smiling," said Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the museum.
The selection of the five-acre site allows Mr. Bunch to move forward with choosing an architect, as well as to begin raising money and acquiring collections. Cost estimates for the museum, the 19th in the Smithsonian complex, range from $300 million to $500 million. Fifty percent of the cost will be paid by the federal government, the other half by private sources.
The building will probably be at least 350,000 square feet, roughly the same size as the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian officials said. Mr. Bunch, former director of curatorial affairs for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, left a position as president of the Chicago Historical Society in July to lead the new project. He said it was "quite fitting that the experience of African-Americans take its place among the museums and monuments that make the National Mall a world-renowned location."
Fund-raising has already started and will be greatly aided by the site selection, Mr. Bunch said.
Lawrence M. Small, secretary of the Smithsonian, said the institution was committed to building "a remarkable museum that will inspire generations of future visitors from around the world with truly American stories of perseverance, courage, talent and triumph."
Richard D. Parsons, chairman and chief executive of Time Warner Inc. and a co-chairman of the museum's advisory council, said he planned to use America Online, which Time Warner owns, to create a virtual connection between the museum and potential donors, by offering links to the kinds of material and artifacts that the museum will contain.
"We are going to try to hit this at several levels," Mr. Parsons said in a telephone interview after the announcement. "We will reach out to the entire corporate community and the philanthropic community, but also just folks at very large levels and at the $5 and $10 level. And you can use online communities to reach these people in new and unique ways."
Supporters said the highly visible spot, adjacent to the Washington Monument across the street from the National Museum of American History, acknowledged the centrality of the African-American experience in the country's development.
Efforts to build a national museum of black history began in the early 1900's but were repeatedly thwarted by political and social opposition well into the 1990's. In 1994 Senator Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, passionately blocked Senate passage of a bill authorizing the museum, saying Congress should not have to "pony up" for such efforts.
"Thank God," said Robert L. Wilkins, a Washington lawyer who headed the site selection committee on a presidential commission formed in 2002 to make recommendations for the museum to Congress. "Even though the building has not yet been constructed, I feel like we have finally fulfilled this long quest in an honorable and appropriate way."
Many opponents of the site had lobbied heavily for one south of the Mall, arguing that the new museum would help bring about a much-needed physical and psychological expansion of the Mall beyond its current boundaries.
"It is a lost opportunity," said Judy Scott Feldman, chairwoman of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, a group founded in 2000 to oppose the location of the World War II Memorial between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. "We believe that there was a possibility here to make this museum not the last museum on the 20th-century Mall, but the first museum on the 21st-century Mall. It could have motivated the nation to move the Mall into the future."
Detractors said they had long suspected they were waging a difficult battle. The advisory council — which includes numerous influential black leaders, including E. Stanley O'Neal, chairman and chief executive of Merrill Lynch &Company; Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television; and Oprah Winfrey — recommended the monument site to the Board of Regents in early December. They based their recommendation on a review of a 198-page engineering evaluation, commissioned by the Smithsonian, of four potential sites. Two were on the Mall; two were not.
"We were very clear and unanimous in our recommendation," said Michael L. Lomax, president and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund and a member of the advisory council. "The site articulates not just the kind of recognition the museum will receive, but ultimately what kind of recognition African-Americans will receive for their contributions to the country."
In an interview, Mr. Johnson said he had told Mr. Small that he would resign from the advisory council if the board chose a site off the Mall. "The symbolism of denying African-Americans the same treatment as museums like the Museum of the American Indian, the Holocaust Museum
and all of the great museums on the Mall would have been too much," he said. "To have relegated this museum to another site, when people are looking to it to answer everything from the need for an apology for slavery to reparations, would have been the ultimate dismissal."
[[ The Holocaust was built on Federal land with funds donated by private citizens.]]
The 17-member board includes several politicians, as well as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Vice President Dick Cheney was the only member not in attendance for the announcement, made in a lecture hall near the Castle, the Smithsonian's main administrative building.
President Bush, who signed the bill authorizing the museum in December 2003, also endorsed a site on the Mall last February at a Black History Month event at the White House. "We have a chance to build a fantastic museum, right here in the heart of Washington, D.C., on the Mall," the president told those in attendance, including Mr. Small.
Mr. Bunch said in an interview that he awoke at 4 a.m. on Monday, the day of the announcement, in a fit of excitement and anxiety over the vote. "I have always thought that the honor of creating this museum would make any place that it is located sacred ground," he said. "My focus has just been let me know what the decision is, and off to work I will go." He is quickly hiring staff members to fill his temporary offices, near the site south of the Mall that the board rejected.
Lakiesha Carr contributed reporting for this article.
|My trip to Juanchorrey
by Helen Mejia
S: Otra vista del viaje a Juanchorrey
S: Personajes de la historia, Obispos de Zacatecas
S: Homenaje; A Jose Leon Robles de la Torre
S: March 27-29 IV Seminario:
Reforma, Intervención francesa y Segundo Imperio
Mexico City Aerial view
The African Presence in México From Yanga to the Present, go to Black
My trip to Juanchorrey by Helen Mejia Z.-Savala
Hi Mimi, I just returned from a fantastic trip to my parents roots, Juanchorrey, Zac. Mexico. I had been there before, but I did not have my cousin, Jose Leon Robles de la Torre at my side.
The trip was so fruitful and rewarding because Jose Leon Robles knows everyone and their relationship to one another. I truly believe that he and I are related to every person in that rancho. (Well, almost everyone.)
Mimi, Mr. Robles told me he had forward some books to you and he speaks very highly of you. Of course, I had to tell him that you are a wonderful person and always willing to help, and so dedicated to your work with "somos primos". He gave the "somos primos" e-mail to several people, who were interested in writing--so you might get some e-mails from Mexico. One person was Jose (Pepe) Cupertino from Tepetongo. Wonderful person and great family. He has a beautiful hacienda and his family is so hospitable. Great people!
My cousin, George Luna and his wife, Ursula, from Atascadero, CA, and his nephew, Jesus Garcia from Bakersfield joined us also. We were together sometimes, but George wanted to look up his Luna/Zunga family, so they did their thing, while Mr.& Mrs. Robles and my husband, Manny and I did ours. However, at the end of day, we would meet and share and talk etc. etc. George Luna's cousins are related to me also. Mimi, I could go on and on, but I'll let George and Mr.Robles share some of their experience. George was deeply touched as to how well he was received in Juanchorry. He did not know any of his cousins, yet they welcomed him with open arms,-- to them
family is "family". I don't think we will experience this type of a reunion again. It was truly a homecoming to our family roots.
I wish cousin, Mercy Bautista could have joined us, and cousin, Sally Zuniga-Quinones from Hollister.Ca. too, they would have met all their cousins also.
In closing I must tell you that in Juanchorrey, their feast day is Feb. 2, "el dia de la Candelaria". They had a beautiful procession honoring the Blessed Mother, the bishop from Jerez came to confirm the Sacrament of Confirmation, some great mariachis from Guadalajara, food, music all day
long, plus all the people who had lived there, including the surrounding towns and the U.S. A wonderful feeling of togetherness.
Mimi, keep up the good work. I am sure that hearing stories like these makes all your hard work worthwhile. That is why I wanted to share this my story with you.
Thank you, Helen Mejia Z.-Savala email@example.com
Otra vista del viaje a Juanchorrey
En Tepetongo, Zacs., en casa del cronista de la ciudad don José Cupertino González Muro y su esposa Alicia Ávila de González. De izquierda a derecha: Ing. Manuel Zavala, jubilado de la Nasa; Elena Mejía Zúñiga de Zavala, José León Robles de la Torre, Ana Rodriguez de Robles, Dr. George Luna y su esposa Ursula Charlotte Kittler-Luna, Jesus Garcia Reveles, Alicia Avila de Gonzalez y su hijo. (El Sr. Jose Cupertino Gonzalez Muro tomo la foto.)
14 de febrero de 2006 El Dr. en Matemáticas y maestro emérito de la Universidad de San Luis Obispo, California y Ex Mayor de la ciudad de Atascadero, Calif., George Luna acompañado de su distinguida esposa Úrsula Charlotte Kittler de Luna, acompañados de don Jesús García Reveles, supervisor de colegios en Bakersfield, Cal. y quien estuviera en la Casa Blanca durante el Gobierno de Clinton en el área de Estadística Nacional; así como el señor Ing. Manuel Zavala Prieto, jubilado de la Nasa y su esposa Elena Mejía Zúñiga, vinieron de los Estados Unidos a la fiesta del dos de febrero en Juanchorrey.
Sent by niece Mercy Bautista Olvera
El Dr. Luna con su esposa y Jesús, llegaron a Torreón en automóvil y aquí abordamos el vehículo mi esposa Ana Rodríguez y yo, y nos trasladamos a Jerez, Zacs. y de ahí ellos continuaron a Tepetongo, desde donde nos desplazamos a Juanchorrey. El Dr. Luna hizo esta visita especial para conocer a varios hermanos de su padre: Crescencio, Leopoldo, Lorenza, Sarita, José Isabel, Emilia, Andrés y Rebeca, todos Luna Zúñiga, con sus numerosas familias. George fue recibido espléndidamente por todos los miembros de su familia.
Juanchorrey es un pintoresco pueblito al pie de la Sierra Madre Occidental. Tierra de gente buena, honrada y trabajadora, muchos de los cuales han triunfado en la industria de la tortilla por todos los rincones de México y parte de los Estados Unidos. De todas esas latitudes acuden a las fiestas del dos de febrero, día de la Candelaria, cuya patrona es La Inmaculada Concepción de María. Un ilustre hijo adoptivo de Juanchorrey, el escritor, periodista y maestro don Juan N. Carlos en la década de los cuarentas del siglo XX, le dedicó una hermosa canción cuya primera estrofa dice: “Ranchito de Juanchorrey, por qué eres tan engridor, será por tus altos cerros, que están a tu alrededor, es donde vive una madre, que nos ama sin cesar, qué torrecitas tan blancas, alcanzo yo a divisar, es donde vive mi Virgen, hermosa estrella del mar”.
Esa imagen de La Inmaculada Concepción de María, bellísima, fue comprada a empeños de don Antonio González por el año de 1871. Es una escultura de singular belleza que mide un metro y diez centímetros. Está sujeta a una peana que representa al mundo sobre el cual se encuentra la bíblica serpiente, mostrando en sus fauces la simbólica manzana que causó la desgracia a la humanidad...
La fiesta resultó extraordinariamente hermosa. La misa del día dos fue concelebrada por el señor Obispo de Zacatecas Excmo. Lic. don Fernando Mario Chávez Ruvalcaba, XIII Obispo desde 1999, con cuatro sacerdotes y los dulces acordes sacros interpretados por el famoso Mariachi de Tecalitlán. La procesión, con la Virgen y más de cien arcos adornados de hermosas flores que formaban un mosaico multicolor, haciendo el recorrido por la calle nueva, vuelta por los durmientes y regresar a la plaza y luego a la hermosa iglesia que luce sus canteras labradas, y en la parte alta del altar principal, la Virgen de La Inmaculada Concepción de María, las flores desde el piso hasta lo alto de la cúpula y los miles de peregrinos que llegamos a postrarnos a sus pies. Por todo el pueblo, las músicas surcaban los horizontes; una profusión de cohetes como ráfagas, y tres castillos de fuegos artificiales que se dicen han sido los mejores que se han visto en Juanchorrey.
Mientras el Dr. Luna, su esposa y Jesús disfrutaban de la familia Luna, Manuel Zavala, Elena Mejía de Zavala, mi esposa Ana y yo, disfrutamos de las comidas con mis primos Jesús Robles de la Torre, su esposa y su familia, y con mi primo Benjamín de la Torre Robles y su esposa Julia Mejía de De la Torre.
El día tres el cronista de Tepetongo, mi amigo José Cupertino González Muro, su esposa Alicia Ávila de González y su familia, nos agasajaron con una espléndida comida, que también disfrutó mi sobrina Juanita Núñez y su hijo Guillermo, que fueron por nosotros para traernos a Zacatecas capital. Fue un maravilloso viaje de perenne recuerdo.
Personajes de la historia,
Obispos de Zacatecas
Personajes de la historia,
A Jose Leon Robles de la Torre |
Reconocen a Don José León Robles de la Torre
Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera firstname.lastname@example.org
22 de enero de 2006 EL SIGLO DE TORREÓN
TORREÓN, COAH.- El pasado miércoles 11 de enero el Club Toastmasters Pioneros de La Laguna, en su sesión ordinaria 358, realizó un merecido homenaje a nuestro colaborador José León Robles de la Torre, por su distinguida trayectoria como escritor, investigador, historiador y periodista en el marco de su 62 aniversario como notable escritor.
En dicha sesión se dieron cita los socios activos del club, quienes se mostraron orgullosos por tener la posibilidad de convivir con José León Robles de la Torre, zacatecano de nacimiento, lagunero de corazón, y mucho más de disfrutar de una amena plática que tituló Mis Recuerdos, mismo nombre de su último libro editado con la recopilación de sus vivencias e infinidad de anécdotas de su andar por este mundo.
Víctor Rubén García Gastélum, presidente del Club Pioneros de La Laguna, fue el encargado de dirigir unas palabras de felicitación por su trayectoria y de igual forma, en emotivo acto entre aplausos y el total de la membresía de pie, entregó en nombre del club un reconocimiento a José León Robles de la Torre, quien en todo momento se mostró agradecido y conmovido con la sencillez que lo caracteriza.
Al invitado de honor lo acompañaron su esposa Ana María de Robles y familiares.
Honor a quien honor merece
José León Robles de la Torre, quien desde 1987 es colaborador de este diario, se ha hecho merecedor de infinidad de reconocimientos, entre los que destacan:
1987: Develación de su busto en bronce en la Calzada de los Escritores de la Alameda Zaragoza.
1988: “El Capullo de Oro” y el pergamino de Ciudadano Distinguido de Torreón.
1992: Ponen su nombre a una calle en Tepetongo, Zacatecas y de igual forma a la Biblioteca Pública de Buenavista, Zacatecas.
2001: La UAL le entrega el reconocimiento Al Mérito Académico.
2004: Es nombrado Huésped de Honor en la ciudad de Zacatecas.
2004: Cronistas de Zacatecas le otorgan el Blasón Zacatecano.
FUENTE: Investigación de El Siglo de Torreón
|Extraordinary collection of aerial views
of Mexico City
Sent by Paul Trejo PGBlueCoat
Seminario Internacional de Especialistas sobre la Reforma,|
la Intervención francesa y Segundo Imperio, Marzo 27-29th
Marzo, lunes 27 registro de participantes
Informa: Centro de Estudios de Historia de México Condumex:
Plaza Federico Gamboa, Chimalistac, San Angel, México DF.
10:00 hrs Inauguración, Bienvenida
Manuel Ramos, Director del Centro de Estudios de Historia de México CONDUMEX
Presentación, Patricia Galeana Presidenta de la Asociación de Estudios sobre la Reforma,
Intervención francesa y el Segundo Imperio, El indio Juárez, Miguel León Portilla
1ª sesión, 12:00 hrs
Juárez frente a Santa Anna, Enrique González Pedrero
Dos proyectos liberales: Juárez y José Fernández Ramírez, Enrique Krauze
El proyecto económico del liberalismo juarista, Enrique Semo
2ª sesión, 16:00 hrs
Juárez frente a la Santa Sede Luis Ramos
La Iglesia frente a Juárez, Manuel Olimón
El clero liberal, Francisco Morales
La religiosidad de los liberales, Brian Conaunghton
El laicismo / Juárez masón, Roberto Blancarte
Martes 28 de marzo, 3ª sesión, 10:00 hrs
El imperio británico frente a la escisión mexicana, David Brading
Juárez en Estados Unidos, George Baker
Juárez frente a Estados Unidos, Patricia Galeana
Imagen de Juárez en las memorias de un voluntario imperial Emb. Walter Astié - Burgos
4ª sesión, 12:00 hrs.
Juárez frente al imperio napoleónico, Alaine Boumier y Luis Napoleón Bonaparte
Juárez en el imaginario austriaco, Konrad Ratz
España frente a la intervención en México, María Teresa de Borbón
Noticias de Juárez en los Archivos belgas, Gustaaf Janssen
El Juárez de Carlota, Susanne Igler
5ª sesión, 16:00 hrs
Presencia de Juárez en América Latina, Adalberto Santana
La doctrina Juárez, Graciela Arroyo
(Historiadores latinoamericanos) Colombia, República Dominicana, Perú, Argentina
Miércoles 29 de marzo, 6ª sesión, 10:00 hrs
El Juárez de Mendivil, Evelia Trejo
Juárez en la Ciudad de México, Ángeles González Gamio
Benito Juárez, Aurelio de los Reyes
Benito Juárez, Omar guerrero
7ª sesión, 12:00 hrs
La historiografía juarista, Álvaro Matute,
El primer centenario de Juárez, Clementina Díaz y de Ovando,
Iconografía juarista, Elisa García Barragán
Juárez en la literatura, Vicente Quirarte
14:00 hrs Reflexiones finales, Patricia Galeana, Clausura, Manuel Ramos
College, Tennessee Conference|
Diario de la Marina: The Jaruco Articles
The Birth of a Puerto Rican
Lane College, Tennessee, Black Hispanics
Sent by Margarita Tapia
In observance of Black History Month, February 23rd lecture was delivered concerning Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Cuba's war for independence..
In Cuba’s war for independence, slavery and racism were a part of the struggle. On October 10, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves before beginning the war for freedom. General Antonio Maceo, known as the Bronze Titan; and Juan Gualberto Gómez, a civil rights advocate, were among the Blacks who fought alongside Whites for liberty in Cuba. As most Americans may be unfamiliar with these and other Afro-Cubans, this lecture will enlighten students and the general audience about the accomplishments of these heroes. The presenter will be Lane College Faculty member Blanca Acosta from Cuba who teaches Spanish.
Location: Lane College, 545 Lane Avenue, Jackson, TN 38301
Diario de la Marina: The Jaruco Articles
by Eduardo Ramos Garcia
C.G.C. Journal Winter/Spring 2005
Thanks to the efforts of our friend and colleague, Mayra Sanchez-Johnson, president of the Cuban Genealogica Society in Salt Lake City, Utah, we know that Francisco Javier de Santa Cruz y Mallen, in addition to writing the important "Historia de Familias Cubanas" volumes, also wrote a series of articles published in the newspaper "Diario de la Marina". In her quarterly magazine, "Revista", Mayra Sanchez-Johnson, identified a total of 164 articles by Francisco Xavier de Santa Cruz y Mallen written during a span of seven years: from 1945 through 1952. For a complete listing of these articles, please refer to the April 1988 edition of "Revista" (volume I, issue number 2). For a copy of this issue, you may visit: www.rootsweb.com\~utcubangs or write Mayra at P.O. Box 2650, Salt Lake City, UT, 84110. In this issue, Mayra states there may be more articles and that the articles are not all genealogical in nature. In order to assist you in your research, The CGC Journal staff would like to offer a summary of each of these articles with the hope that many may contain information or clues concerning your family lines. These summaries will run as a feature article in each successive issue of "Raices de la Peria" until we have covered all 164 known articles. Our staff will also conduct research as to whether or not any more arti-cles exist; summaries of those will be published as well. If any of you are considering reviewing these articles on your own, we can offer one time saving tip. While viewing the microfilms, our board member, Mariela Fernandez, noted that several of the first few articles were found on page 33 of the "Diario de la Marina". Try that page first before skimming the entire paper. If anyone would like to contribute a summary of an article, we would greatly welcome and appreciate your efforts.
1. "Un Cubano Principe de la Iglesia" - December 27, 1945
The subject of this article is Monsenor Manuel Arteaga y Betancourt , the first Cuban priest to hold the post of Cardinal in The Roman Catholic Church. The author describes Monsenor Arteaga's rise in the church, his own relationship with the Cardinal and makes note of his ancestors, starting from the first Arteaga to arrive on Cuban shores from Sevilla, Spain, over 300 years earlier, Martin Arteaga y Erasu, "capitan de Navio de la Real Armada", through to the Cardinal's father, Rosendo Arteaga y Guerra-Montejo, who held the rank of Comandante during the Cuban War of Independence.
2. "Nobleza Cubana - Los Origenes" - July 7, 1946
This article is a general piece dealing with the origins of the Cuban nobility, breaking it down into two classes. The first and oldest being the descendants of the original conquistadores and settlers; the second those descended from the later immigrants. El conde de Jaruco also offers his own personal view on the relevance between these two classes. Unfortunately, no families in particular are dealt with in this article.
3. "Historia del Real Tribunal de Cuentas" - July 21. 1946
The Real Tribunal de Cuentas were tax centers established by law in 1605 and confined to three administrative centers in Spain's colonies: Peru, Colombia and Mexico. At first, Cuba, along with Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Florida, reported to the tribunal in Mexico but due to distance and growth, Cuba received its own center in 1639. In this article, Francisco Xavier de Santa Cruz y Mallen names the first ten contadores and pro-vides genealogical information on most, some in great detail. These first ten were: Pedro Beltran de Santa Cruz y Beitia, Juan Ortiz de Gatica y de la Barrera, Bartolome de Arriola y Garcia de Londoho, Agustin Valdez y Cordova, Pedro de Arango y Monroy, Diego de Torres-Ayala y Quadros, Manuel Garcia Palacios, Juan Francisco Zequeira y Ramallo, Jose Antonio Gelabert y Garces, and Manuel Jose Aparicio del Manzano y Justiz.
4. "El Morro" - July 28. 1946
Just after the discovery of the New World, word of the riches brought over from the Spanish colonies spread throughout the other European powers. Pirates sponsored and protected by Spain's enemies, began raiding ships and Spanish ports. La Habana, unfortunately, was one of these ports and did not escape looting by pirates. The fortress of "El Morro" was built in the latter part of the XVI century to defend the city of La Habana against these foreign aggressors and pirates. The fort had its own Alcalde del Castillo de la Fuerza who besides governing its activities, was also charged with the important duty of serving as the acting Captain and Governor General of Cuba whenever a vacancy occurred until a new governor was named and officially took control of the island's leadership. This practice was first petitioned in 1615 by one of the alcaldes del Morro, Jeronimo de Quero, and continued until 1715 when a change was made and the post of lieutenant governor of the island was created. This article briefly covers the creation of "El Morro", its designers, the re-edification process started by Antonio Fernandez-Trevejo y Zaidivar, and backgrounds and exploits of a couple of its more illustrious alcaldes: Luis Chacon y Castellon & Vicente Gonzalez de Bassecourt. The author also covers the family of one of the military entrusted with the defense of the city, Alejandro O'Reilly Y MacDowell, Inspector General de la Tropa Reglada Y Milicias de las islas de Cuba y Puerto Rico, brother-in-law of Luis de las Casas y Aragorri, one of Cuba's Governor Generals. His son, Pedro O'Reilly y de las Casas, born in Madrid, married the habanera, Maria Francisca Calvo de la Puerta y del Manzano. Also mentioned is one of their children, Manel O'Reilly y Calvo de la Puerta, who married Maria francisca Nunex del Castillo y Montalvo.
The Birth of a Puerto Rican
He came to the United States of America in the blizzard winter of 1900.
Puerto Ricans began migrating to the United States as far back in time as the American Revolutionary War, but it was not until Americans won the Hispanic American War, and the Island of Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory that their presence as a community on United States mainland emerged. The new American military government installed in Puerto Rico in 1898 facilitated the slow but steady migration movement.
Don Feliciano's reply came three weeks later. He never liked Manolo and loved his daughter, but he did want any daughter of his leaving her husband, but he was willing to help Joey escape from New York. Maria read the letter with tears in her eyes. There was no escape for her. Joey received the news with mixed emotions. He wanted to go, but he knew how much his mother had suffered. He was uncertain and indecisive. He had witnessed the daily shouting and verbal abuses of his father. He stayed quiet out of respect towards his father, but he also felt he had gone too far.
* Oh Dios mio: Oh my God
* barrio: countryside or rural community
* bodega: small grocery store
* finca: farm
|* mulattos: born from an interracial
* mayordomo: administrator
* tu eres un viejo: you are an old man
* busca a mama: get mom
* machista: chauvinist
I have always been interested in that first PR migration, well, not the first, but the first major one, 2000 PR's en route to Hawaii in 1900. This is a true story. Then, I have a friend in California who told me about relatives he has in Hawaii, third cousins. . great-grandchildren of that migration. Then, I have also done research on the ones that stayed in California. Many escaped, just like Manolo. I wondered what their lives would be like meeting their Latino counterparts. Believe me, much of it is sheer imagination. But there is a lot of truth in it. Then, there has always been this thing between immigrants in the US. You know what I am talking about, so all this could have happened, but it didn't. It is fiction.
Manuel Hernandez created a Yahoo group for the discussion of literature and education. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/latinoliterature Contact him at email@example.com
Book: La Identidad Vasca en el Mundo:
Migration and Transnational Identity Migration and Diaspora by Gloria Totoricaguena. (Basque Textbooks Series). 640 pages. Hardcover, $24.95 (ISBN 1-877802-46-8); paper, $14.95 (ISBN 1-877802-45-X); Transnational Identity CD, $4.95.
Introduces the historical, sociological, political, and economic factors which led to Basque migration to over twenty countries. Includes data results from years of field work regarding Basque identity and cultural maintenance. Combining theories from sociology, political science, history, and anthropology, the book investigates the specifics of Basque migrations, cultural representations, diasporic politics, and ethno- nationalism. The author analyzes the Basque Autonomous Government's international relations with various Basque communities abroad and compares them with other similar homeland- ethnic diaspora groups' relations.
La Identidad Vasca en el Mundo:
Narrativas sobre Identidad mds alia de las Fronteras (Basque Identity in the World: Identity
Narratives beyond Frontiers) (Bilbao: Erroteta, 2005), co-authored by Basque Ph.D. student Pedro Oiarzabal and his brother, Agustin M.
Oiarzabal, is a pioneer study that addresses the classical question: what is the meaning of being Basque today?|
The book is the result of research that took place in 2002 in twenty countries where Basques have an institutional presence in either the diaspora or the Basque Country. Basques of various ages, generations, socio-economic, and political backgrounds define in their own words the meaning of being Basque in a globalized world.
For more information, www.euskalidentitv.corn. The book is available through Amazon.com, are in bookstores in the Basque region.
|Recommended sites sent by
Alfredo Valentin firstname.lastname@example.org|
These are two sites with pictures.
Here are the two groups that I recommend you join:
Arde el obispado |
News From My Uncle in El Salvador
Simon de Alcazaba y Sotomayor
Arde el obispado: http://126.96.36.199/2006-01-24/index.htm
Un incendio destruye en cinco horas tres siglos de historia y una de las joyas arquitectónicas de Aguere. A la incredulidad y dolor por la pérdida se suma la indignación por la ineficacia en la lucha contra el fuego. EL DÍA y COINTE abren una cuenta con 120.000 euros para ayudar a reconstruir el edificio. 24 de enero de 2006
Para decir al Otro. Literatura y antropología en nuestra América.
Acercamiento interdisciplinario y comparativo a las letras hispanoamericanas examinando el diálogo entre literatura y antropología: la "traducción" de culturas como tradición literaria y la literatura como "creación" cultural. 506 p., Más información
Desde la dolorosa cintura de América.
Más de una veintena de especialistas conforman una imagen multifacética de las literaturas centroamericanas contemporáneas contextualizándolas histórica y socioculturalmente.
374 p., Más información
News From My Uncle in El Salvador|
by Jaime Cader
In the March 2005 issue of Somos Primos, I presented biographical facts about my uncle, a retired university teacher in El Salvador. That article included the following website which shows photographs taken by my "tio" Rafael Granados: http://www.lybelula.net/alfa/barraNav/index.htm
Most of these photographs depict scenes in El Salvador. Granados taught in the agronomy department at the University of El Salvador. Every so often we e-mail each other and he has been generous with his time and resources in acquiring for me information that I need for my family genealogical work which I have been working on for years.
In two recent e-mails that I received from Granados, he tells of his newest websites. One is for viewing photographs of El Salvador that were taken via satelite (parts of Mexico, etc. can also be seen) and the other one is for individuals wanting to improve their internet and English skills.
The website addresses are 1) for the satelite photographs: http://geoelsal.50webs.com/ and 2) for
the internetlessons: http://conozcamosinternet.terminus1.com/
I was very impressed with the "Geografia: El Salvador visto desde el cielo" website. It has maps and
photographs of population centers, volcanoes, lakes, coastal areas, etc. One can really appreciate the
greenery of that country in the photos. Many years ago I decided that if for some reason I could not
return to El Salvador soon, I could remember that land by simply remembering the color green. I feel that in a sense this has worked for me as unfortunately I have not visited Cuzcatlan (the Indigenous name for El Salvador) since 1978.
In other photos the outlines of streets can be seen along with buildings seen from a distance.
On February 6, 2006, I received yet another message from my Uncle Rafael. In that communication he adds that he has transferred all of the images in the "El Salvador as seen from the Air" website to a CD-Rom.
He said, "Con efectos de varios dias de anticipacion, te cuento que he trasladado las imagenes de satelite de El Salvador a un CD. Intento distribuir el tema por medio de CDs, inicialmente, de manera gratuita, y ya veremos si le gusta al publico, especialmente a los salvadoreños en el exterior."
Referring to the website with its corresponding CD-Rom, I believe that the photographs and the
included information are excellent tools that can be used at education centers. I have directed some high school students to the website and I observed that they became interested in viewing the scenes depicted. I wish my uncle much success with his latest projects. We highly recommend that you take the time to visit the websites mentioned in this write-up.
|Esteban Gomes |
Hay diferencias sobre su lugar de nacimiento, porque unos historiadores dicen que nació en Cádiz, España, en el año 1478 y otros, como el portugués Barbosa Machado, dice que fue en Oporto en 1474. Desempeñó trabajos para Portugal como piloto de la flota de la India, hasta que se enroló también como piloto de la nao “San Antonio”, en la expedición de Fernando de Magallanes. No estaba de acuerdo con la forma de dirigir la expedición por parte de Magallanes y fomento una insurrección, por lo que Magallanes lo apartó de sus servicios, si bien, como era buen piloto y su trabajo era necesario no lo apartó del todo. Pero en la primera ocasión que tuvo, se amotinó en unión de otros marineros apoderándose de la “San Antonio” y huyeron.
En su huida pasaron por unas islas en medio del océano, donde estuvieron unos meses. Esas islas eran las que hoy conocemos por Las Malvinas, por lo que podemos considerar a Esteban Gomes y sus compañeros los descubridores de ellas.
Ciando llegó a Portugal, en marzo de 1521 fue encarcelado, aunque la libertad le llegó muy pronto y propuso el emperador Carlos V dirigir una expedición para buscar un nuevo paso para llegar a Indias, que fue aceptada, partiendo de Sanlucar de Barrameda en noviembre de 1524 al mando de una carabela. Alcanzó la costa de Florida en 1525 y al no descubrir el deseado paso, navegó hacia el norte en la búsqueda del nuevo paso, explorando todas las entradas que se le ponían a su alcance, por lo que cuando emprendió la vuelta capturó a unos indios y los trajo a Sanlucar de Barrameda, donde los vendió como esclavos. Cuando fue a visitar al Emperador Carlos para relatarle su viaje, fue recibido de forma desfavorable por el Monarca que le reprochó que hubiese capturado a esclavos.
En 1530, convenció a varios comerciantes y volvió a partir, esta vez con dos barcos, para efectuar una nueva exploración en el continente americano. No se volvió a hablar nada de Esteban Gómez, aunque también los historiadores están divididos sobre las circunstancias de su muerte, porque aunque Barbosa Machado dice que murió en Toledo en 1534, según otros el 17 de agosto de 1535 partió de Sevilla autorizado por Pedro de Mendoza y una vez en Buenos Aires el 16 de enero de 1537 emprendió una expedición, con dos bergantines, en busca de Juan de Ayolas por aguas del río Paraná. Se sabe que volvieron los dos barcos, pero no se dice nada de Esteban Gomes, por lo que no podemos asegurar que volviese a España o si perdió la vida en aguas del Paraná o en las selvas paraguayas.
Ángel Custodio Rebollo email@example.com
DE ALCAZABA Y SOTOMAYOR
en 1470 en Portugal, aunque inició su carrera en la marina del
emperador Carlos V, por lo que fue recusado por su patria. En 1534 se
traslada a Sevilla para organizar la escuadra que le
llevará a la zona del estrecho de Magallanes donde el rey le ha
nombrado Adelantado de la nueva provincia de Nueva León.
21 de septiembre de 1534, al mando de dos barcos viejos, “Madre de
Dios” y “San Pedro”, y con unos 250 hombres, partieron de Sanlucar
de Barrameda, llegando a finales de año al sur del continente.
los componentes de esta expedición iban; Alonso Fernández de
Villamarim, Nuño Álvarez, Gonzalo Rabelo y Gonzalo de la Vega, de
Orense; Florencio de Colmenara, del Valle de Ojeda; Alejo García, de
Paradinas; Ochoa de Meñate, de Munguía; Juan Cañada, de Cuenca;
Antonio Sánchez, de Carrión de los Condes; Martín de Chaoz, de
Calahorra; Juan de Sarabia, de Arnedo; Juan Rodríguez, de Sevilla; Jerónimo
de Fonseca, de Ayamonte y Francisco de Medina, Dionisio de Monroy y Andrés
de Toro, de Medina del Campo.
El 9 de marzo de 1535 Simón de Alcazaba eligió el lugar donde iba a construir su ciudad y diseñando el trazado de la fortaleza, solemnemente instala un toldo y fundó la primera población de la Patagonia y futura capital de su adelantazgo.
mismo día parte una expedición para el interior y tras veinte días de
marcha con muchas dificultades, dos marineros llamados Arias y Sotelo,
se sublevan y apresan a
Rodrigo Isla y Juan de Mori, que marchaban al mando de la expedición.
regresan a la costa, los sublevados asesinan a Simón de Alcazaba
que se encontraba a bordo de su nave.
de la perdida de mas de 80 vidas, Isla y Mori logran imponerse y Arias y
Sotelo son degollados y Rodrigo Martínez, piloto de la nave “San
Pedro”, Nuño Álvarez y Alejo García, son abandonados a su suerte
por haber participado en la revuelta. Las dos naves se hacen a la mar y
la “Madre de Dios” naufraga, pero la “San Pedro” logró llegar a
la bahía de Todos los Santos
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Most Europeans descended from hunters|
The Official Federal Land Patent Records Site
Example of Ancestry.com resources
Free genealogy databases
S: Buscadores Especializados y Metabuscadores, (Internet resources)
Most Europeans descended from hunters|
Most modern Europeans are descended from Stone Age hunter-gatherers and not from later Neolithic farmers, a new study suggests.
The 11 November 2005 issue of Science reports on the first detailed analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) taken from skeletons of early European farmers. An international team of archaeologists and geneticists started by attempting to extract mtDNA from 56 skeletons of humans who lived in various central European locations approximately 7,500 years ago. These humans belonged to two cultures identifiable by how they decorated their pottery: the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) and the Alföldi Vonaldiszes Kerámia (AVK). The presence of these cultures signifies the arrival in the region of farming practices that originated in the Fertile Crescent approximately 12,000 years ago.
The researchers were able to extract mtDNA from 24 of the skeletons from 16 locations in Austria, Germany and Hungary. Analysis revealed that six of the skeletons belonged to a genetic lineage called N1a, which is extremely rare in Europe and around the world today.
"This was a surprise. I expected the distribution of mitochondrial DNA in these early farmers to be more similar to the distribution we have today in Europe," said one of the paper's authors, Joachim Burger from Germany's Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz.
Based on their findings, the scientists estimated that at least 8% and possibly as much as 42% of early European farmers belonged to the N1a lineage. Even the lower estimate of 8% is far greater than the 0.2% of modern Europeans who are descended from this ancestral line.
"In the currently available worldwide database of 35,000 modern DNA samples, less than 50 Europeans today have these ancient farmer DNA types," said another of the paper's authors, University of Cambridge geneticist Dr Peter Forster.
These results suggest that most modern Europeans are descended from Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers who first arrived in Europe long before the pioneering farmers. The later arrivals do not seem to have made a major contribution to the European gene pool. Their cultural legacy, on the other hand, was immense, as they brought with them new agricultural practices that would have a profound impact on history.
But why was their genetic impact so limited? The most likely suggestion is that existing hunter-gatherer populations were not displaced by the small groups of arriving farmers but stayed and adapted their own lifestyle to the new techniques. Because they outnumbered the arriving N1a farmers, the latter's effect on the gene pool was relatively low.
Source: news release issued by the American Association for the Advancement of Science]
The Official Federal Land Patent Records Site
of information On Ancestry.com|
BOSTON PASSENGER LISTS, 1820-1943 (Update adding 1820-1891)
This database is an index to the passenger lists of ships arriving from foreign ports at the port of Boston, Massachusetts from 1820-1943. In addition, the names found in the index are linked to actual images of the passenger lists, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm, T843, rolls 1-454.
Information contained in the index includes given name, surname, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or last country of permanent residence, destination, arrival date, port of arrival, port of departure, ship name, and microfilm roll and page number. If a name of a friend or relative whom the individual was going to join with, or a place of nativity was provided, that information is included in the index as well. Many of these items may be used to search the index in the search template above.
It is important to note that the port of departure listed on these passenger lists is not always the original port of departure for these individuals. A ship could make several voyages throughout the year, making several stops along the way. Oft times the port of departure found on these lists is the most recent port the ship was located at prior to arriving at the port of Boston. Therefore, if your ancestors emigrated to the U.S. from Germany, they could be found on a passenger list coming from Liverpool, England (if, in this case, the ship left from Bremen, Germany then continued on to Liverpool, England before arriving in Boston).
The microcopies of the passenger lists found at NARA are arranged chronologically by arrival date of vessel. If you do not wish to search this database using the search template, the images may be browsed following the chronological arrangement. To browse the images first select the "Year" in which you would like to search, followed by the "Month", and finally the "Ship Name".
To learn about researching in passenger records consult John P. Colletta's book, They Came In Ships (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993).
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Excerpt: Inca Show Pits Yale Against Peru
The National Museum of the American Indian collections contain one of 16 known Mexico stone boxes in the world's museums. Box features Tezcatlipoca in ocelot guise as Tepeyollot.
At the time of the Spanish conquest in 1521, the Native people who dominated central Mexico were the Mexica (the people previously known as the Aztecs). According to their own legends, they had migrated from somewhere in north or northwest Mexico as a small, nomadic, Nahuatl-speaking people. During the 13th century they settled in the valley of Mexico. There the Mexicas' courage and strength helped them overpower their neighbors, and within two centuries the Mexica had created an empire. Today various Nahua peoples across Mexico claim to be descended from the Mexica.
Warfare was a vital part of everyday life for the Mexica. Their warriors belonged to the orders of the jaguar or the eagle - animals associated with the gods -and wore costumes elaborately decorated to represent these orders.
Religion was equally important in the Mexica culture. The Mexica worshiped multitudes of deities, each representing a different aspect of life. Ceremonies involving bloodletting were very important to the Mexica - they felt that blood gave the gods strength.
The Mexica created many works of sculpture depicting various subjects, including themes of everyday life and religious rituals. One type of stone sculpture included elaborately carved stone boxes called tepetlacalli, meaning "stone house." At least 16 stone boxes are known to exist in museum collections worldwide, in Mexico City, Chicago, Berlin, and Washington, D.C. These boxes were created for different purposes; one was to contain the ritual instruments used for sacrificial bloodletting ceremonies. Carvings on several boxes portray seated figures drawing blood from their ears. They also depict the grass balls associated with such ceremonies.
One tepetlacalli is in the National Museum of the American Indian collections. Its carving depicts a bloodletting or ear-piercing ceremony (nenacaztequiliztii) and is dated from circa 1200 to 1521. According to the collection information, it was excavated at the location of the Convent of Santa Clara in Mexico City between 1897 and 1902. George Gustav Heye, founder of the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation, purchased the box in 1908 from the archaeologist Zeiia Nuttall.
As recorded in the Mexica codices, the nenacaztequiliztii was associated with the Mexica god Tezcatlipoca, the deity who carried a mirror that enabled him to see the deeds of men. Rulers took the power to command, reward, and punish under Tezcatlipoca's patronage. In this ceremony priests pierced their ears with sharpened bone instruments. After piercing themselves, they placed the bone in the zacatapayoli, a ball of matted grass decorated with down. The grass ball was then placed in the stone box and ritually offered to the gods.
The tepetlacalli in NMAI's collections displays three figures in bas-relief, one on each of three sides, all in the act of piercing their ears. A grass ball is depicted on the fourth side and on the bottom of the inside. To one side of each figure is a smoking, ladle-shaped incense burner. To the other side is an image resembling an agave leaf, into which bone instruments have been stuck. The three figures represent Tezcatlipoca. He is often depicted with the emblem of a smoking mirror in place of his foot, as seen on two sides of the box.
The most interesting side of the box shows a representation of Tepeyolloti, the ocelot or jaguar guise of Tezcatlipoca. According to myth, Tezcatlipoca transformed himself into an ocelot when he was cast down from heaven. He roamed the earth for 666 years in the form of an ocelot. The Tepeyolloti figure has a beard resembling that of an ocelot. An ocelot's head is visible at the back of his head, and an ocelot's hide hangs down behind his back. He also wears leggings made of spotted ocelot skin. This box, dedicated to the god Tezcatlipoca, is one of the few representations of the religious ritual nenacaztequiliztii, a rarely seen aspect of Mexica life and culture. The religious practices of the Mexica peoples have provided collectors with a wealth of fascinating materials, many of which can be viewed in museums throughout the world today. •
Excerpt: Inca Show Pits Yale Against Peru
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Peru has asked for the return of many of the artifacts in "Machu Picchu," an exhibition now back at the Peabody Museum at Yale University.
Yet instead of cementing an international partnership, the exhibition, which returned to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale in September, has brought a low ebb in the university's relations with Peru. At issue are a large group of artifacts that form the core of the show, excavated at Machu Picchu in a historic dig by a Yale explorer in 1912. The government of Peru wants all of those objects back.
Peru contends that it essentially lent the Machu Picchu objects to the university nearly a century ago and that the university has failed to return them. Yale has staunchly rebuffed Peru's claim, stating that it returned all borrowed objects in the 1920's and has retained only those to which it has full title.
The dispute is inflamed by the swashbuckling exploits of Hiram Bingham III, a Yale professor, aviator and later senator, and the special dispensations he brokered with the Peruvian government to take Inca bones and ritual tomb objects out of Peru.
"The irony is that for years the collection was just left in cardboard boxes," said Hugh Thomson, a British explorer who has written about the early-20th-century Yale expeditions to Machu Picchu. "It's only when they rather conscientiously dusted it off and launched this rather impressive exhibition that the whole issue has surfaced again."
Both Yale and the Peruvians say they hope for an amicable resolution, and talks continue. In December, Yale even offered to return numerous objects to Peru and help install and maintain them in a Peruvian museum. Up to now Peruvian officials have not responded to this proposal, saying that recognition of Peru's title to the entire collection must be the basis of any agreement.
Peru did have laws in force at the time governing archaeological finds, and its government in theory had ownership of any artifacts unearthed from Peruvian soil. As a result, the dispute has become something of a test case for the limits of cultural property claims against American institutions.
Yale's recent research on the Bingham collection has been pivotal to cracking the mystery of Machu Picchu, a site whose purpose had eluded scholars for decades. Bingham argued variously that the site was a fabled early capital of the Incas or one of the empire's most important religious complexes where "virgins of the sun" were regularly sacrificed. Others have speculated about its possible astrological significance. But research led by Dr. Salazar and her husband, Richard L. Burger, a professor of anthropology at Yale and also a curator of the show, suggests that the site was simply one of many royal estates used as a country retreat away from Cuzco, the Inca capital.
Other researchers, citing the Yale team's extensive scientific work on the burials and the scholarly exhibition it assembled, suggest that Peru's campaign to get back the collection is politically motivated. As the first indigenous Peruvian to hold the office, Alejandro Toledo has saluted the country's Inca heritage, even choosing to have part of his inauguration ceremony held at Machu Picchu in 2001.
"Machu Picchu has tremendous symbolic value to Peru," said Johan Reinhard, an Inca specialist who is explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society. "By refusing to acknowledge Peruvian ownership, it may be losing the cultural battle."
12/30/2009 04:49 PM