The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 627

Book Reviews

maintains that 70 percent of Mexican women were single and the other
30 percent were widowed, divorced, or married (p. 34). Women in
Mexican households provided about 20 percent of the family income,
while family children earned about 35 percent of the total household
income. Wages for Mexican cannery women were modest and lower
than those of their Anglo and European counterparts. This ethnic dis-
crimination together with the unsanitary working conditions led to col-
lective resistance.
UCAPAWA, a CIO affiliate, encouraged women and minorities to
participate in this democratic trade union. Mexicans, Anglos, Filipinos,
and Blacks came together in the union spirit to improve their standard
of living. In California the cannery and packing house locals formed
the nucleus of union activity. In this regard Mexican women became an
important entity of labor activism in southern California. Ruiz's well-
written monograph documents how effective Mexican women proved
to be as union organizers.
Cannery Women, Cannery Lives is an outstanding addition to the his-
torical literature on labor. It provides a new perspective of the condi-
tions minority women endured in their employment and family lives.
Vicki L. Ruiz has utilized government as well as trade union documents
and oral interviews in this study that is highly recommended by this
reader. In the appendices the author has included for researchers a
poem written by Edith Summers Kelly (author of Weeds), an essay on
protective legislation in California, and the text from a letter written by
Carey McWilliams in 1937 concerning these cannery women.
Texas Tech University YOLANDA G. ROMERO
Planters and Plain Folk: Agriculture in Antebellum Texas. By Richard G.
Lowe and Randolph B. Campbell. (Dallas: Southern Methodist
University Press, 1987. Pp. xvi+216. Preface, appendices, bibli-
ography, index. $22.50.)
Planters and Plain Folk: Agriculture in Antebellum Texas is Richard G.
Lowe and Randolph B. Campbell's contribution to the growing body of
literature concerned with white social-class relationships in the nine-
teenth-century South. They express the hope that their work, along
with recent studies in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Missis-
sippi, and Louisiana, will provide the foundation for a "future general
history of agriculture in the antebellum South" (p. 3). The larger work,
they believe, would stress the importance of "a substantial middle class
of yeoman farmers that should not be overlooked while undue atten-
tion is given to the planter class" (p. 3).


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