The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Book Reviews

how members of farm families created custom-made cotton picking sacks
according to their own body sizes and styles of picking illustrates the intimate
and fascinating detail that fills the work. The authors demonstrate conclusively
how all aspects of life on Texas cotton farms revolved around the life cycle of
the cotton plant.
Sitton and Utley have accomplished what very few Texas agricultural histori-
ans have done. They have painted for us a word picture of how the members of
rural Texas families actually farmed and lived their lives. For me their "painting"
is a masterpiece.
Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College T. LINDSAY BAKER
LBJ and Mexican Americans: The Paradox of Power. By Julie Leininger Pycior.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997. Pp. xvi+ 329. Acknowledgments,
introduction, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-292-76578-9.
$19.95, paper.)
Julie Leininger Pycior's work is the first to assess a specific president's relation-
ship with the Mexican origin community. While numerous works document
Lyndon Baines Johnson's presidency, none have focused on his relationship to
Mexican Americans. Up until now, Pycior tells us that it was common knowledge
that Johnson taught at a "Mexican" school in the 1920s, won his first U.S. Senate
seat with Box 13 in South Texas, and that he played a role in the burial of Felix
Longoria in Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.
How does one study the political relationship between a president and an eth-
nic group/nation? Pycior tells us she "weaves together a pattern from descrip-
tion and anecdotes, with the historical actors carrying much of the story along"
(p. xiv). She studies organizations, individuals, or interest groups within the
Mexican American community though she does not make these categorical dis-
tinctions. Another way she studies this relationship is by focusing on specific
issues and identifying where different Mexican Americans fell on a political
issue. A third method of inquiry she uses is looking at "allies," "opponents," and
shifting alliances though here again she does not use these categories. For
instance, she calls Dr. Hector P. Garcia, American G.I. Forum founder, an ally
while Prof. George I. Sanchez, farm labor union organizer Cesar Chavez, and
activist Graciela Olivarez shifted their support.
The book is organized chronologically and divided into two parts, "The Texas
Scene" and "The National Scene," although both parts deal with Texas and the
nation. She addresses key Tejanos and major national Mexican American lead-
ers although Senator Johnson's relationship with Sen. Dennis Chavez of New
Mexico is not developed.
Numerous political moments across Johnson's life are narrated. She poignantly
describes the racialized environment that Johnson lived in when Mexican
Americans were not even considered U.S. citizens. As senator, Johnson did not sup-
port the Federal Employment Practices Commission, major civil rights legislation
that Senator Chavez and LULAC pushed for. Johnson was the first president to

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed July 23, 2014.