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Books on Notable People & Families
All Rise by In 1961, Reynaldo G. Garza, of Brownsville, Texas, became the first Mexican American federal judge in U.S. history. A Kennedy nominee, Garza had risen from the obscurity of his humble South Texas beginnings to become a major player in Democratic politics. The careers of fellow Texans and political giants Lyndon B. Johnson and Lloyd Bentsen would become linked with his own. As an emerging power broker in the predominantly Anglo establishment, Garza personified the new elite in the Mexican American community and in the Democratic Party. Garza's long and storied tenure as a federal judge was marked by many more firsts. He became the first Mexican American chief judge of a federal district court, and, in 1979, Garza became the first Mexican American appointed to the United States Court of Appeals. President Carter invited him to become U.S. Attorney General, which would have made him the first Mexican American member of a presidential cabinet had he accepted the appointment. Louise Ann Fisch argues that Garza's long list of successes comprises a story of American achievement that had much to do with one man's ability to retain his heritage while forging ahead in an Anglo-dominated society. A product of the cross-border culture of Brownsville, where class and ethnic lines fell differently than even elsewhere along the Rio Grande, Garza integrated himself into the mainstream of American life, successfully balancing the Mexican and American parts of his dual identity. Fisch keenly analyzes the impact of ethnic identity on how he conducted his professional and personal life and looks specifically at the judicial issues he faced which confronted cultural dichotomy. Relying on interviews with Garza, his family and associates, verified through extensive archival and documentary work--including unrestricted access to the judge's papers--Fisch has written a book that is as much a careful examination of the rise of the Mexican American middle class in the twentieth century as it is a portrait of one pioneering man. Students and scholars of Mexican American culture, Borderlands studies, American politics, and judicial history will find in this biography an invaluable resource. Readers will be captivated by Fisch's probing look into the mythos that underlies tales of political power and the American Dream.
Publication Date: 1996-09-01
Américo Paredes by Américo Paredes (1915-1999) was a folklorist, scholar, and professor at the University of Texas at Austin who is widely acknowledged as one of the founding scholars of Chicano Studies. Born in Brownsville, Texas, along the southern U.S.-Mexico Border, Paredes' early experiences impacted his writing during his later years as an academic. He grew up between two worlds--one written about in books, the other sung about in ballads and narrated in folktales. He attended a school system that emphasized conformity and Anglo values in a town whose population was 70 percent Mexican in origin. During World War II, he worked for the International American Red Cross and wrote for the Stars and Stripes army newspaper in the Far East. He returned to Texas with a new bride and a passion for continuing his formal education and his writing. Paredes did both at the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1956. With the publication of his dissertation, "With His Pistol in His Hand": A Border Ballad and Its Hero in 1958, Paredes soon emerged as a challenger to the status quo. His book questioned the mythic nature of the Texas Rangers and provided an alternative counter-cultural narrative to the existing traditional narratives of Walter Prescott Webb and J. Frank Dobie, among others. For the next forty years he was a brilliant teacher and prolific writer who championed the preservation of border culture and history. He was a soft-spoken, at times temperamental, yet fearless professor. He was a co-founder in 1970 of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and is credited with introducing the concept of Greater Mexico, decades before its wider acceptance today among transnationalist scholars. He received numerous awards, including La Orden del Aguila Azteca, Mexico's most prestigious service award to a foreigner. Paredes became a scholar of scholars, guiding many students to become academic leaders. Manuel F. Medrano interviewed Paredes over a five-year period before Paredes' death in 1999, and also interviewed his family and colleagues. For many Mexican Americans, Paredes' historical legacy is that he raised, carried, and defended their cultural flag with a dignity that both friends and foes respected.
Publication Date: 2010-03-08
Atwood Acres : A Porción of Edinburg by History matters. As we wind down The University of Texas-Pan American and as we
ramp up The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, perhaps history matters even a bit
more. The students and faculty who comprise CHAPS (Community Historic Archeological
Project with Schools) are beautifully and wisely documenting the history of families in the
Rio Grande Valley. In this volume, they chronicle the lives of the Atwood family—from
their oil wells, to their citrus farms, to their connections to Edinburg College and its
eventual successor The University of Texas-Pan American.
Publication Date: 2014
Bair Farms: A Porción of Edinburg by Among the early arrivals to the town of Edinburg was the Bair family of College Springs, Iowa. In 1920 they joined others, including the Heacocks who had arrived in 1913 and made the Rio Grande Valley their home. The families who were bonded together in the marriage of Dorothy Heacock and Lee Martin Bair were entrepreneurs in retail hardware and agriculture. They experienced droughts, hurricanes, and freezes with their attendant economic shortcomings which changed and often shortened lives. Their son Dwayne Bair would lead a life that included farming, citrus production, and banking. This is his story but also one of many others that called the Rio Grande Valley home.
Publication Date: 2016
The Cantú Family: A Porción of Edinburg by The Cantú family settled in Edinburg, Texas, in the early 1920s and have since developed a thriving produce and trucking business providing crops to markets in the Rio Grande Valley, Houston, and even up further north to the Midwestern states area. This report is the culmination of approximately 24 months of research, fieldwork, and revisions conducted beginning in the Fall of 2012 from a class of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Texas-Pan American titled “Rediscovering the Rio Grande Valley” under the direction of a multidisciplinary faculty of anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, geographers, geologists, and historians. This is the story of one of the many Mexican American farming families that settled in the Rio Grande region after escaping Mexico’s Revolution (1910-1920).
Publication Date: 2014
Champion : the Champion family of Point Isabel by This is a history of the Champion (Campeoni) family who immigrated from Italy to the United States during the mid-nineteenth century and later settled in what was originally known as Point Isabel, Texas, but what is today Port Isabel, which is located near the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Publication Date: 2000
The Eubanks Family: A Porción of Edinburg by Almost forty years ago, Kenneth and Irene Eubanks came to Edinburg to settle in what would be their final resting place after decades of traveling the world. After a successful professional career as an agricultural economist, a professor and a high-level official for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kenneth Eubanks found the perfect location to literally "plant roots" with his family in a place referred to as the Magic Valley of Texas. The research conducted for this book represents historical, archaeological, geological and biological data that will forever be preserved within this volume collection of human-land interactions at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Border Studies Archive's Spanish Land Grant Collection.
Publication Date: 2016
Fike Family Farm: A Porción of Edinburg by Farming is at the very soul of the United States. From the shores of the Atlantic to the prairies of the Midwest and the Great Plains the image of the yeoman farmer permeates American history. In the greater Southwest those English-speaking farmers would encounter their Spanish-speaking counterparts in the 1850s. Those civilian vecinos had, served as the vanguard of the Spanish empire establishing towns, farms, and ranches in what would become California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It was in this milieu that the Rio Grande region was settled in the 1750s. A century and a half later, following the construction of railroads and irrigation systems the descendent of those first settlers were joined by new farmers speaking a polyglot of languages. Here at the beginning of the 20th century the "Magic Valley" was born. The guarantee of successful year-round farming enticed farming families to abandon their farms in temperate states and flock via train to the international border between the United States and Mexico. The Fikes of Ohio, and the Rorks of Nebraska were two such families who sought to make good on that promise. From them the union of Willard Fike and Anna Rork created over four generations a strong, sustainable, award-winning farming family. Farming involves long days, often pre-dawn until well after sundown. It is not glamorous. It is risky and unpredictable. These challenges are compounded by evolving regulations and geopolitics regarding tariffs and trade imbalances which can thwart even the most carefully planned plantings and harvests. It is no wonder that American family-owned farms are dwindling. Yet, the Fike Family is prospering as it begins its fourth generation of farming. In 2017 students in the seventh-annual study of an Edinburg-based farming family discovered a resiliency among the Fikes that is largely unknown in the 21st century.
Publication Date: 2018
The Legacy of John H. Shary by John H. Shary visited the Valley in 1912 and saw the potential for large-scale citrus production. After buying land in the Mission area, he launched the commercial citrus industry. Under his leadership, Mission became the leading citrus producing city in Texas. However, before his citrus business flourished, Shary developed and sold land in Hidalgo County. He actively promoted the area and sponsored train excursions that brought in hundreds of midwesterners looking for a good investment or better life. This book discusses the promotion of the Rio Grande Valley, and details of Shary's life and land development.
Publication Date: 2001
A Life & History by This autobiography by a prominent merchant and former mayor of Brownsville, Texas provides an account of his successful career in the family furniture business and his civic achievements.
Publication Date: 2010
Luna Farming Legacy: A Porción of Edinburg by Descendants of Spanish Colonial settlers have been practicing subsistence farming along the Rio Grande for over 250 years. As that same river became the international boundary between the US and Mexico in 1848, landownership and the landscape began to change. As issues in Mexico such as the Mexican Revolution pushed families over the river into the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, many folks established themselves as farmers alongside the new arrivals from the American Midwest in the early 1900s. The guarantee of successful year-round farming was a prominent theme and the Lunas were willing and able to embark on that challenge. As their life in the US began with some time in Los Ebanos, the family eventually found themselves purchasing land and farming in Edinburg. Today Luna family members are still farming in a section of northwest Edinburg fondly referred to as "Lunaville" by fellow farmers.
Publication Date: 2019
The Norquest Family: A Porción of Edinburg by The Norquest family immigrated to their farm site in 1925 as part of a larger wave of Midwestern immigrants to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Valley also experienced an influx of Mexican migrants in search of opportunity and work. They joined their Mexican-American counterparts laboring as agricultural workers on the farms of Anglos and Texas-Mexicans. Some of these individuals found their way onto the Norquest farm site. This multidisciplinary report posits a nuanced way of looking at human-land interaction on a farmsite in South Texas, where racial and class conflict existed, but where, in certain pockets of exception, people from culturally different backgrounds came together to labor and laugh in order to make ends meet.
Publication Date: 2012
The Norquest Family of Edinburg : a century-long perspective on life in the Lower Rio Grande Valley by Where does history begin? In the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) history began more than one hundred centuries ago during the Pleistocene epoch with the native Coahuiltecans as they roamed an open land. Beginning in 1749, the region was incorporated as a new agricultural and ranching colony in New Spain. A hundred and fifty years later—with the introduction of irrigation and railroads—the LRGV began a century of commercial agriculture. It was in this latter period that Peter Norquest and his family found a new home in the region. This book, based on research conducted by UTPA student in the CHAPS Program, chronicles how the land was changed over the past ten thousand years, and tells the story of the Norquest family's contributions to the history of the region.
Publication Date: 2013
The patriarch : the remarkable life and extraordinary times of Franciso Yturria by A personal history of the pioneering businessman, banker, and rancher, Francisco Yturria, who was a business associate of Charles Stillman, founder of Brownsville, Texas, as well as Mifflin Kennedy and Richard King of King Ranch fame. This account is also a history of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and that of the Yturria family.
Publication Date: 2006
Roegiers Family Farm: A Porción of Edinburg by A report prepared for the Roegiers Family and for UTRGV and the CHAPS program class titled: Discovering the Rio Grande Valley: the natural and cultural history of South Texas, written by Annaiz Araiza [and others] ; principal investigators from the CHAPS Program: Roseann Bacha-Garza [and others].
Publication Date: 2017