As I was taking the time to think about how to summarize Chapter 12: Del Rio, Texas, CA. 1910-40, from the book entitled “EL NORTE” (Gibson, 2019). The idea of the bricoleur once again came to mind, to piece together an artwork that conveys a particular idea (Leavy, 2014). In our case a piece of writing with the desired points of interest. We could think of Chapter 12 as two parts that reflect events in a particular time-period. The first (1) being the continuous battles and regimes that took effect for the Mexican Revolution, and the second (2) as being the landscapes within California, that desire to reawaken, re-imagine, the historic American past shaped from the Spanish Missions. What we could also call a legacy that desires to be known. What could potentially link both parts is the involvement of the United States (U.S.) that echo the words from Hubert Eugene Bolton (2019, p. 319-320), that the U.S. cannot merely exist as the thirteen (13) colonies, but rather to view what is happening within its surroundings, and neighbouring regimes. Which ultimately affected the decisions that were taken by the U.S.
Mexican Revolution – The regimes and historical border conflicts were taking place. The historical conflicts as depicted by Gibson (2019) made me think about the present situation, and if the border crisis’ have improved or not – or are we viewing and hearing much of the same? The unrest at the border might not be as the fierce Bandidos or border towns, but the discontentment continues today with the influxes of migration, vulnerable individuals, and trying to find solutions. But I think that the border blurs can be connected to the historical past, as individuals were allowed to cross the border with the exemptions made in 1917. Mexicans were viewed differently to other migrants, but this did not mean that they did not face discrimination and racial slurs such as: “Wet Backs” and “greaser” (p. 308). Maybe Mexicans feel that the other side of the border also belongs to them?
Whilst making legislations and allowances did eventually come into effect, the voice and desire to be recognized did not come without a fight. Within periods of battles and fighting there was an emergence of art, photography and news reels, which populated visual story-telling, to reveal how public viewership also aided the cause of the Mexican Revolution (p. 289).
The rich and poor divides continued. And lands that were now claimed by Anglo’s were a source of tension. The Mexicans wanted their lands back. During the early rebel movements the U.S. was not directly involved. As in their view the unrest was seen as an internal affair. Gibson writes of the Porfiriato period viewed with political stability, growth and marked by peace (p. 289). To also cite the need for building rail roads, and the development of infrastructure (p. 290). Rebel movements would eventually site their cause to claim back territory that was robbed from them (p. 289). Notable individuals who led and were integral to the Mexican Revolution included: the Diaz Regime, Emiliano Zapata, Viila, Obregòn and Carranza. Emilano Zapata was a wealthy land-owner who possessed a genuine concern for helping and defending the poor (p. 291).
As the conflicts and battles raged eventually President Taft of the United States sent troops to secure the border. There were many reservations about the U.S. involvement in the conflict of 1913. Whilst this was also taking place disputes arose about the bills that would allow guns, to be sent to Mexico created by Senator Albert B. Fall (p. 294). I thought that wouldn’t the fight just increase if guns and ammunition would be made available to Mexicans through exportations? But unfortunately this could also be thought of as a way to bring in revenue – but at what cost? The 1914 arms embargo was lifted and ammunition reached Villa and Carranza, the U.S. finally pulled out (p. 295) …… Villa’s revolution and rebel movement reached Texas – this time President Wilson sent troops to the border, to wipe out Villa and his forces. The U.S. remained unsuccessful and were caught in-between the Mexican Revolution battles and war that was ravaging in Europe. Germany wanted to build an alliance with Mexico only if the Mexicans aided them in Europe. Once again the U.S. withdrew and entered into the first world-war (p. 300).
These events reveal how harsh histories that had a cause, worked tirelessly to protect and preserve the cause. The similar point as everyone wanted to claim and protect what was theirs. Eventually a constitution was proposed by Carranza – he was gunned down. Obregón won the election and took office in Mexico. Within this era, insurrections were common and usually a call and a wager for war. We can relate this point to the Insurrection that took place at the Capitol in January 6th 2021. Whist there are judiciary processes in place today, within historical contexts there was war and much more bloodshed to claim what is right.
Spanish Revival – Within other parts of the United States (U.S.) there were many other kinds of revolutions taking place, such as hydrological and technological. California created an irrigation program, that would draw from Sacramento, San Joaquin and the Colorado Rivers, which became known as the Imperial Valley (p. 303). There was also the creation of the Roosevelt Dam. The waters and lands of California are assimilated to the Nile Valley and described as fertile. This imagery is also linked to the earlier descriptions as first discovered by the Spanish Missions and conquests (p. 137). Gibson’s language becomes poetic as there is movement of people, so too as the rivers ebb and flow (p. 304). Mexicans eventually found relief in New Orleans where the largest groups of Latin Americans were found (p. 310).
Jarita González – One of the first Mexican women to earn a degree was Jarita González. Gonzalez earned her degree from Our Lady of the Lake College and her Master’s from the University of Austin, Texas. Gonzalez wrote about Anglo-Americans, and the complexity of Anglo-American relations (p. 312).
As the re-imagining of Spanish Culture continued to emerge ideas began to collude, such as that of the Black Legend popularized by Spanish journalist Julian Juderias (p. 313), where the Spanish were regarded as to limit progress, however; this did not stop the re-discovery of Spanish culture, especially as the Anglos also wanted to re-discover a culture from the conquests. The reimagining was viewed as positive, but it also seemed as though real-world experiences were being written out from history.
An example of this can also be found from the desire as how to preserve the Alamo. Opposing ideas from Zavala whose grandfather was the first Vice-President of Texas and Clara Driscoll who was a wealthy Texan Anglo. Zavala believed that the Alamo could honor the men who fought within the Alamo, and also to return the history back to the Spanish missions as much as possible, to draw ideas from the Spanish period. Clara believed that the mission should represent the Anglo-American victory and Texas’ independence. Eventually the vision of Clara won. Here we learn of how Spanish roots were pulled out to that of Anglo-American, and how views shape or erase history. From this reading I agreed with Zavala (p. 314) especially also from previous research / reading with regards to, whose narrative matters and why a narrative deserves preservation?
California’s Spanish Revival Continued – Spanish architecture emerged in 1920 such as San Clemente and homes entitled as ” ‘Spanish Village by the Sea'” (p. 315). Spanish heritages were immersed with modern elements evolving through the technological shifts. Fiestas, and carnivals were created, with Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days, Flamenco dresses and in San Diego, the restoration of Casa De Estadillo (p. 316). A renaming of a city park as Vasco Nunez de Balboa who was the first Spanish explorer / conquistador to have sailed across the Isthmus of Panama (p. 318). Spanish baroque music was infused with moorish and Mexican. The writer reflects that some would view the revivals and rebirths of the spirit of the conquistador that desired to re-emerge.
Old Spanish Trail was a road that would link Arizona, New Mexico and Albuquerque, Route 66 was the highway that connected Chicago to California that passed through the Spanish Trail. Old Spanish Trail was described as a powerful pull to tourists. Historic cities began to improve to appeal for tourism. La Plaza Vieja was a plaza in front of an 18th century church named as San Felipe de Neri (p. 317).
Hernando De Soto – There was a revival and rediscovery of Hernando-de-Soto’s expeditions. He received a hero’s commemoration during the Quadricentennial celebrations (p. 318) There was a plan to create a map of the De-Soto expeditions, this was not completed. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America created a carving monument in 1948, as a commemoration of his arrival in Florida. The Chrysler Assembly Lines of 1929 incorporated Conquistador hood ornaments and designs within their logo, creating a theme of discovery through transportation.
Hubert Eugene Bolton – Bolton studied his PHD under Fredrick Jackson Turner. Bolton was persistent to write about Spanish Culture, his works were criticized because they were not “anglo-enough.” But he insisted to keep the Spanish imprint within his work. I found it interesting that in previous chapters we learn that the Turner papers were criticized to erase chunks of history (p. 258-259) yet, here we have a student who completed his PHD under Turner’s guidance. Bolton was persistent to preserve Spanish explorations and history. Notable works included: The Spanish Border Lands: A Chronicle of Old Florida and the Southwest. Spanish Border Lands were eventually published by Yale University Press after being rejected three times. Bolton conducted an address at the American Historical Association entitled; ” ‘Epic of Greater America.’ ” His ideas and speeches seemed to have influenced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with respect to the the U.S., to realize that what happens in neighbouring lands is important to the thirteen (13) colonies. Roosevelt’s good neighbour policy was drawn such as to respect each other, for purposes of goods, services, trade and military interventions (p. 319-320).
Anita Brenner – Brenner studied in Texas, Columbia, and the University of Mexico. In Mexico her friends included Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo. She socialized with many other artists and members of the communist party. She published: The Wind That Swept Mexico in 1943. She especially tried to negotiate what it means to be a Mexican and American brought up in Mexico. Art work and the Mexican mural movements reflected the Conquistadores.
- Regeneraciòn – News paper that was created by brothers Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magòn who were persecuted by the Diaz regime (p. 290)
- Nations Business – Publication by the United States Chamber of Commerce (p. 308)
- The Johnson Reed Act – To limit and control certain groups entering the U.S.
- Chinese Exclusion Act – Banning Chinese labourers to the U.S. as they were viewed as a threat to the locals who were in much need of the jobs that the Chinese were taking.
- The Reclamation Act – labourers were required to pay for projects during the irrigation and the construction of dams.
Fact – First port of entry between the U.S. and Mexico was established in Del Rio, Texas. However, the ports did not stop smuggling, illicit drugs and narcotics from crossing the border. Opioids and narcotics became a lucrative business. Today we can think about how practices such as these still exist and the impact upon those individuals who are truly vulnerable and flee to the USA for help. But we could think deeper as to why individuals resort to selling illegal drugs?
Fact – The father of Langston Hughes lived in Mexico during the time of the Mexican revolution (p. 297)
Related Blog Posts:
- BOOK READING NOTES!
- “EL NORTE”
- EMERGING VOICES!
- ST. AUGUSTINE
- SUMMARY | CHAPTER 3!
- CHAPTER 4 | SUMMARY!
- CHAPTER 5 | SUMMARY!
- CHAPTER 6 | SUMMARY!
- CHAPTER 7 | SUMMARY!
- CHAPTER 8 | CONNECTIONS!
- CHAPTER 9 | SUMMARY!
- CHAPTER 10 | SUMMARY!
- A SPANISH LITERARY ERA!
- CHAPTER 11 | SUMMARY!
- immersed in you!
Leavy, P. (Ed.). (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (Ser. Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press.
Frida & Diego. Passion, Politics and Painting. Edited by Dot Tuer and Elliott King. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2012.
Gibson, C. (2019). EL NORTE The Epic and Forgotten History of Hispanic North America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
- Image 1 – Link
- Image 2 – Diego Rivera The Arsenal 1928-1929 (2021)
- Image 3 – Link
- Image 4 – Link not found
- Image 5 – Link
- Image 6 – Link
- Image 7 – Link
- Image 8 – Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as pictured in 1933 (2012).
Notes: Notes: These thoughts were originally hand-written on August 8 – 11, 2021. Please note that these are my thoughts and views upon my reading to gain an understanding of American history of what interested me within this chapter, there are many more points that have not been discussed within my writing. Please note that I have referred to the nation of America as the U.S. within the contexts of this writing the accumulated 13 territories / colonies were known as the United States – U.S. Please also note that these blog posts are integral for the scientific process of accumulating research, these views and opinions are not a finalized scientific opinion / view. However, if anyone would like to utilize my views and opinions please adhere to citation style as necessary. Thank you.
With Love & Kindness! 🙂