Southwestern Historical Quarterly
provide insight into the meaning of this portion of the state's history.
Its view of the past betrays a temptation to turn more toward myth
than toward history. Because black people in Texas experienced op-
pression in different forms and to different degrees, there is a dan-
gerous tendency among historians of the black experience to exag-
gerate either the totality of white oppression or the heroic black
resistance to that oppression. The victory for black people is yet to be
Amarillo College NEIL SAPPER
Mules, Mines and Me in Mexico, 1895-1932. By Morris B. Parker.
Edited by James M. Day. (Tucson: The University of Arizona
Press, 1979. Pp. xviii+230. Introduction, maps, bibliography,
index. Paperback, $7.95.)
Morris Parker was an active mining engineer during the heyday of
mining by North Americans in Mexico, and his reminiscences of ad-
ventures in that country include some fascinating vignettes about the
times and the people. Under the inviting terms offered by dictator
Porfirio Diaz, foreigners prospered: the number of American-owned
mining companies increased from 13 in 1868 to 840 by 1907, at which
time about $800 million had been invested by United States capitalists
in Mexican mines. Three-fourths of the dividend-paying mines of the
country were owned by Yankees.
Parker was personally acquainted with many prominent figures of
the times and he recounts interesting observations about them. Among
them were Plutarco Calles, later president of the republic, and Abra-
ham Gonzalez, the governor of Chihuahua. During one period Parker's
head mule-freight contractor was Pascual Orozco, soon to become a
prominent leader of the Revolution. Orozco's assistant, who had the
trail job as hind man, or "pusher," was none other than Pancho Villa.
The mules of the title form an interesting part of the story, because
some of the mines were more than a hundred miles from a railroad,
and cargoes went in and out on muleback. Management of the mule
trains often required considerable skill, since very heavy machinery
had to be carried piece by piece. One mine could require 1,500 mules
in its operations, and when we consider that there were hundreds of
working mines, the widespread dependence on the beasts is clear.
This book not only gives us a good picture of conditions of the times
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/. Accessed December 5, 2013.