Beloved Land: An Oral History of Mexican Americans in Southern Arizona / Edition 1

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Overview


Doña Ramona Benítez Franco was born in 1902 on her parents' Arizona ranch and celebrated her hundredth birthday with family and friends in 2002, still living in her family's century-old adobe house. Doña Ramona witnessed many changes in the intervening years, but her memories of the land and customs she knew as a child are indelible. For Doña Ramona as well as for countless generations of Mexican Americans, memories of rural life recall la querida tierra, the beloved land. Through good times and bad, the land provided sustenance. Today, many of those homesteads and ranches have succumbed to bulldozers that have brought housing projects and strip malls in their wake. Now a writer and a photographer who have long been intimately involved with Arizona's Hispanic community have preserved the voices and images of men and women who are descendants of pioneer ranching and farming families in southern Arizona. Ranging from Tucson to the San Rafael Valley and points in between, this book documents the contributions of Mexican American families whose history and culture are intertwined with the lifestyle of the contemporary Southwest. These were hardy, self-reliant pioneers who settled in what were then remote areas. Their stories tell of love affairs with the land and a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Through oral histories and a captivating array of historic and contemporary photos, Beloved Land records a vibrant and resourceful way of life that has contributed so much to the region. Individuals like Doña Ramona tell stories about rural life, farming, ranching, and vaquero culture that enrich our knowledge of settlement, culinary practices, religious traditions, arts, and education of Hispanic settlers of Arizona. They talk frankly about how the land changed hands—not always by legal means—and tell how they feel about modern society and the disappearance of the rural lifestyle. "Our ranch homes and fields, our chapels and corrals may have been bulldozed by progress or renovated into spas and guest ranches that never whisper our ancestors' names," writes Patricia Preciado Martin. "The story of our beautiful and resilient heritage will never be silenced . . . as long as we always remember to run our fingers through the nourishing and nurturing soil of our history." Beloved Land works that soil as it revitalizes that history for the generations to come.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A touching tribute and history combined." —The British Bulletin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816523825
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 150
  • Sales rank: 1,061,128
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author


Patricia Preciado Martin, a native Arizonan, has been active in Tucson’s Mexican American community for many years and was the Arizona Library Association's Author of the Year in 1997
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Table of Contents

List of Photographs ix
Foreword xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction xix
Carlotta Parra Rodriguez Sotomayor 3
Ramona Benitez Franco 19
Elena Vasquez Cruz 41
Rafael Orozco Cruz, as Told by Elena Vasquez Cruz 61
Teresa Mendivil Gradillas 77
Tim (Eutimio) Mendivil 85
Joe Quiroga 95
Agatha Cota Gastellum 111
Luis Acuna Gastellum 123
Ramon de la Ossa 135
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