The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 348
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
work was to "create a broad outline" (p. xv) that would provide "a general survey
of Mexican-origin women, placing them within the framework of Tejano history"
(p. xvi). In this task they succeed admirably, offering readers a broad, sweeping,
and thorough overview of the numerous roles that Tejanas have played in our
The writers divide their work into twelve chapters (and a poetic epilogue) de-
tailing Tejanas as colonists, mothers, wives, educators, entrepreneurs, politicians,
community leaders, and artists. Chapters i through 6 provide a chronological
examination of these roles from the colonial period through 1940. The sections
feature extensive use of secondary sources (and some primary research as well)
that highlight Tejanas' participation in mission, church, and community life,
their involvement in legal battles over land and property rights, and the activities
of various ranch owners and other entrepreneurs. Finally, these chapters pro-
vide extensive detail on women's roles in the Mexican Revolution as well as in
mutuales and other entities designed to improve life for Spanish-speaking people
and in countering the racist atmosphere (in both urban and rural locales) then
so prevalent in Texas..
The final six chapters are more thematic than chronological and present a
plethora of materials on Tejanas' participation in education, as entrepreneurs,
as active participants in faith-based organizations and the Chicano Movement,
and as public officials. The primary strength of this part of the book lies in what
has to be one of the most wide-ranging overviews of Mexican American women
in the commercial realm (including the legal and medical professions). Palomo
Acosta and Winegarten examine not only the types of businesses women estab-
lished, but also the impact of ethnic entrepreneurship on life in bamos and colo-
nias. Such women not only provided necessary services and products, such as
food, music, legal and medical services and many others, but they also func-
tioned as intermediaries who helped challenge discrimination in the schools and
poor conditions in Mexican American communities. The organizational skills re-
quired to operate commercial enterprises were often put to use to benefit entire
communities, not just in seeking individual profit and gain. In this important re-
gard, these Tejanas demonstrate a pattern recently attributed to male business
owners, in Thomas Kreneck's 2001 study of Houston restaurateur Felix Tijerina.
The work might be improved by the inclusion of a bit more theory regarding
the role and significance of women's history, but overall this well-researched and
well-written work provides educators with a valuable tool. It accomplishes the
goal the authors set for themselves by providing a wide-ranging examination of
the varied roles that Tejanas have filled over the past three centuries of Texas his-
tory. It is a fine addition to the growing body of women's and Tejano/a history.
Texas Tech University Jorge Iber
Cesar Chavez: A Brief Bography wzth Documents. By Richard W. Etulain. (Boston: St.
Martin's Press, 2002. Pp. xi+x38. Foreword, preface, index. ISBN 0-312-
25739-2. $7.95, paper.)
This new selection in the Bedford series in history and culture, Cesar Chavez: A
Brief Biography with Documents, details the life of Cesar Chavez and the United
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/392/?rotate=270: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.