Songs My Mother Sang to Me: An Oral History of Mexican American Women

Patricia Preciado Martin, Author University of Arizona Press $39.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8165-1279-9
As a counterpoint to the largely urban and California/Texas orientation of Chicano scholarship, Martin ( Images and Conversations ) has interviewed 10 Arizona-area Mexican-American women born in the early part of the century, showing the mosaic of life in rural and urban areas as well as ranching and mining towns. Aware of negative stereotypes of Mexicana women, Martin notes that her subjects have a wide range of experiences--one working as a radio journalist, another a laundress and a third a Eucharistic minister at a hospital. The oral histories--presented as narratives, not dialogues--are full of details of the women's daily lives, from cooking to childhood songs to religious practice, but they likely will interest only specialists. There are notable moments: Julia Yslas Velez adopted a political maxim from a black activist: ``I want Mexican faces in high places''; Carmen Celia Beltran recalls how her father's political involvement in Mexico forced her family to hide in the mountains. However, one wishes Martin also probed issues like class consciousness and marriage to Anglo husbands. Photographs, mainly of the subjects in their youth and their parents, add texture to the interviews. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-8165-1329-1
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