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They Came to Toil: U.S. News Coverage of Mexicans on the Eve of the Great Depression
Unformatted Document Text:  They  Came  to  Toil:  U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression   Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­14-­       luncheon, in which William Knox, the local school sub-superintendent, announced results of an economic study he had undertaken of Mexicans in San Antonio. Knox noted, among other things, that area Mexican cotton-pickers earned $11 million a year, income that flowed back to San Antonio’s local businesses, housing market and tax base. As a result, San Antonio’s commerce thrived in winter as well as summer, a phenomenon that evaded Texas cities less welcoming to Mexicans, Knox said. Spanish-surnamed pupils accounted for 40 percent of the student body in San Antonio, and many of their parents owned homes and paid property taxes, Knox reported. “Those that don’t appreciate Mexicans, don’t know them,” Knox said. “When they get to know them [Mexicans] well and understand them, that changes, and they love them.” 56 While it took the view that Mexicans might return to Mexico when the country stabilized, La Prensa also gave prominent coverage to officials such as then-U.S. Secretary of Labor James Davis. Davis called Mexicans positive contributors to the American economy and asserted they shouldn’t be subject to immigration restrictions. 57 Ethnicity, Race and the Hierarchy of Color The Express was not the most influential newspaper voice that rose in protest over Mexican immigration restrictions, and it did not hesitate one day to cover one that was. “Mexican Quota Plan Opposed” was the headline of a January 25, 1930, Associated Press article that ran in the San Antonio Express, with the subhead “Much Better than Filipinos, Harry Chandler Tells Committee.” In testimony before the House immigration Committee, Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, called Filipino laborers “quarrelsome” and said the “Mexican peon creates no social problem because he is an innocent, friendly individual.”

Authors: Garza, Melita M..
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They  Came  to  Toil:  
U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression  
Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­14-­  
 
 
luncheon, in which William Knox, the local school sub-superintendent, announced results 
of an economic study he had undertaken of Mexicans in San Antonio. Knox noted, 
among other things, that area Mexican cotton-pickers earned $11 million a year, income 
that flowed back to San Antonio’s local businesses, housing market and tax base. As a 
result, San Antonio’s commerce thrived in winter as well as summer, a phenomenon that 
evaded Texas cities less welcoming to Mexicans, Knox said. Spanish-surnamed pupils 
accounted for 40 percent of the student body in San Antonio, and many of their parents 
owned homes and paid property taxes, Knox reported. “Those that don’t appreciate 
Mexicans, don’t know them,” Knox said. “When they get to know them [Mexicans] well 
and understand them, that changes, and they love them.”
56
 
While it took the view that Mexicans might return to Mexico when the country 
stabilized, La Prensa also gave prominent coverage to officials such as then-U.S. 
Secretary of Labor James Davis. Davis called Mexicans positive contributors to the 
American economy and asserted they shouldn’t be subject to immigration restrictions.
57
   
Ethnicity, Race and the Hierarchy of Color 
The Express was not the most influential newspaper voice that rose in protest over 
Mexican immigration restrictions, and it did not hesitate one day to cover one that was. 
“Mexican Quota Plan Opposed” was the headline of a January 25, 1930, Associated 
Press article that ran in the San Antonio Express, with the subhead “Much Better than 
Filipinos, Harry Chandler Tells Committee.” In testimony before the House immigration 
Committee, Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, called Filipino laborers 
“quarrelsome” and said the “Mexican peon creates no social problem because he is an 
innocent, friendly individual.”   


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