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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  -­2-­         ABSTRACT   This  research  examines  English-­‐language  and  Spanish-­‐language  newspaper   coverage  in  San  Antonio,  Texas,  about  Mexicans  and  immigration  at  a  pivotal   moment:  the  aftermath  of  the  Stock  Market  Crash  of  1929  and  the  stirrings  of  the   Great  Depression  in  early  1930.    San  Antonio  was  selected  because  it  had  a  thriving   Spanish-­‐language  daily  newspaper  and  English-­‐language  daily  newspapers  in  a  state   that  would  ultimately  report  the  largest  number  of  forced  and  voluntary   repatriations.   The  paper  assesses  whether  news  coverage  at  the  incipient  stage  of   this  great  Mexican  diaspora  reflected  a  U.S.  economy  divided  by  culture,  with  the   language  of  the  newspapers  serving  as  a  proxy  for  culture.  The  migration  of  persons   of  Mexican  ancestry  to  and  from  their  homeland,  whether  the  U.S.  or  Mexico,   occurred  at  various  times  prior  to  the  1930s.  The  question  for  this  paper:  How  did   two  newspapers,  the  San  Antonio  Express  and  the  Spanish-­‐language  La  Prensa,  cover   a  minority  community–Mexicans–as  the  nation  entered  its  most  extreme  period  of   financial  stress?  The  research  found  that  both  newspapers  editorialized  against   federal  legislation  to  restrict  Mexican  immigration,  suggesting  a  commonality  forged   through  regional  economic  interests  and  cultural  relationships.  But  the  newspapers   also  differed  considerably,  with  La  Prensa  serving  as  a  guardian  for  Mexicans  in  exile   and  a  civil  rights  advocate.  The  Express,  at  least  in  this  period,  was  largely  silent  on   these  issues,  though  it  editorialized  in  favor  of  preserving  Spanish  and  Mexican   heritage  in  Texas.  

Authors: Garza, Melita M..
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background image
They  Came  to  Toil:  
U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression  
Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­2-­  
 
 
 
ABSTRACT  
This  research  examines  English-­‐language  and  Spanish-­‐language  newspaper  
coverage  in  San  Antonio,  Texas,  about  Mexicans  and  immigration  at  a  pivotal  
moment:  the  aftermath  of  the  Stock  Market  Crash  of  1929  and  the  stirrings  of  the  
Great  Depression  in  early  1930.    San  Antonio  was  selected  because  it  had  a  thriving  
Spanish-­‐language  daily  newspaper  and  English-­‐language  daily  newspapers  in  a  state  
that  would  ultimately  report  the  largest  number  of  forced  and  voluntary  
repatriations.
 
The  paper  assesses  whether  news  coverage  at  the  incipient  stage  of  
this  great  Mexican  diaspora  reflected  a  U.S.  economy  divided  by  culture,  with  the  
language  of  the  newspapers  serving  as  a  proxy  for  culture.  The  migration  of  persons  
of  Mexican  ancestry  to  and  from  their  homeland,  whether  the  U.S.  or  Mexico,  
occurred  at  various  times  prior  to  the  1930s.  The  question  for  this  paper:  How  did  
two  newspapers,  the  San  Antonio  Express  and  the  Spanish-­‐language  La  Prensa,  cover  
a  minority  community–Mexicans–as  the  nation  entered  its  most  extreme  period  of  
financial  stress?  The  research  found  that  both  newspapers  editorialized  against  
federal  legislation  to  restrict  Mexican  immigration,  suggesting  a  commonality  forged  
through  regional  economic  interests  and  cultural  relationships.  But  the  newspapers  
also  differed  considerably,  with  La  Prensa  serving  as  a  guardian  for  Mexicans  in  exile  
and  a  civil  rights  advocate.  The  Express,  at  least  in  this  period,  was  largely  silent  on  
these  issues,  though  it  editorialized  in  favor  of  preserving  Spanish  and  Mexican  
heritage  in  Texas.  


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