The Mexican American Experience in Texas: Citizenship, Segregation, and the Struggle for Equality (The Texas Bookshelf) (Hardcover)
A historical overview of Mexican Americans' social and economic experiences in Texas
For hundreds of years, Mexican Americans in Texas have fought against political oppression and exclusion—in courtrooms, in schools, at the ballot box, and beyond. Through a detailed exploration of this long battle for equality, this book illuminates critical moments of both struggle and triumph in the Mexican American experience.
Martha Menchaca begins with the Spanish settlement of Texas, exploring how Mexican Americans’ racial heritage limited their incorporation into society after the territory’s annexation. She then illustrates their political struggles in the nineteenth century as they tried to assert their legal rights of citizenship and retain possession of their land, and goes on to explore their fight, in the twentieth century, against educational segregation, jury exclusion, and housing covenants. It was only in 1967, she shows, that the collective pressure placed on the state government by Mexican American and African American activists led to the beginning of desegregation. Menchaca concludes with a look at the crucial roles that Mexican Americans have played in national politics, education, philanthropy, and culture, while acknowledging the important work remaining to be done in the struggle for equality.
— Texas Observer
A sweeping historical narrative of Mexican American history in the Lone Star State...This lucid, ambitious work pays off for scholars interested in not just the history of Mexican Americans, but of southwestern border politics, civil rights, and of American conceptions of race.
— Journal of Arizona History
Today’s generation is lucky to have books like this to help them imagine and work for a better future. This book is a must read for anyone serious about understanding the Mexican American fight for inclusion, citizenship,and justice.
— Pacific Historical Review
What Menchaca has managed to do beautifully is not just collate data about the civil rights’ journey of the Mexican Americans but also demonstrate how many humans were deeply involved, even at times when it would have been easier for them to look the other way. Her talent comes to the forefront in the way she has analyzed an extremely complex history of five centuries of colonization, domination, and Othering that have culminated in today’s moment.