Forged under the Sun/Forjada bajo el sol: The Life of Maria Elena Lucas

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Overview

The compelling oral history of a remarkable woman's life and political struggle.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lucas, a Chicana farm worker, organizer and poet, has lived a dramatic and arduous life, as exemplified in the song she wrote that provides the book's title. Oral historian Buss ( Dignity: Lower Income Women Tell of Their Lives and Struggles ) has sensitively integrated Lucas's diaries with her spoken memories, and included an introduction that provides context about life in the Rio Grande River Valley on the Texas-Mexico border, where Lucas has spent much of her life. Lucas recalls her early ignorance of any existence beyond poverty and how, knowing nothing of sex, she married at 15, only to find her husband violent. After leaving him and moving to an Illinois farming community, she organized a store boycott and a cultural festival. In 1981, she began her formal organizing career with the United Farm Workers in Illinois. Back in Texas, in 1988 she was sprayed with pesticides from a crop-dusting plane; two years later, in fragile health but still organizing, she won a small settlement. While Lucas's story is an inspiring one of grit and hope, she is hardly starry-eyed, recognizing how sexism persists in the larger society, her community and the union. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Library Journal
Maria Elena Lucas grew up in a Mexican American migrant farm family of 16 children in the Rio Grande Valley linking Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico. In this narrative, Lucas tells of being poor most of her life, with an abusive father, a submissive and superstitious mother, and a husband and tyrannical mother-in-law who treated her like a servant and forced her to take care of the household for an extended family even while raising seven children of her own. She experienced physical and verbal abuse as she tried to cope with the attitudes toward women in Mexican culture and the racism, farm labor exploitation, and sexual harassment in American culture. While working as a migrant in Onarga, Illinois, she became a successful organizer for Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union. Her deep religious beliefs and the poems and plays she wrote gave Lucas the strength to rise above the senseless cruelty to become a writer, artist, and activist in women's causes. This is truly a moving autobiography of an extraordinary woman.-- Irwin Weintraub, Rutgers Univ. Libs., Pis cataway, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472064328
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/1993
  • Series: Women and Culture Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Making of a Farm Worker Woman
Prologue: Birth of a Metaphor 47
1 A Child of Promise 51
2 Girlhood in the Northern Fields 69
3 In the Back of the Class 83
4 Take Your Pleadings to the Lord 89
5 Tamed by the Monkey Demon 97
6 Coming of Age: Shame and Terror 105
7 The Child Weds: Learning to Think like a Married Woman 113
8 Motherhood and Misery 125
9 Caretaker of the Extended Family 137
10 Opportunity and Betrayal 143
Pt. 2 Committed and Female within the Farm Worker Movement
11 On Her Own: Life as a Single Parent 153
12 The Hardships of the North 165
13 Everything Shall Come to Pass: The Loss of Children 173
14 A Sacred Call to Action 181
15 To Live on Our Feet: Organizing the People 191
16 "Nosotros Venceremos" 211
17 Exhaustion and Retreat 219
18 Mujeres Valientes: Union Organizing for FLOC 225
19 Retrenchment in Texas 235
20 Yellow Rain 243
21 The 1988 Campaign: Commitment, Disappointment, and Resignation 251
Pt. 3 Contemporary Border Life, Self-Expression, and Religious and Political Action and Theory
22 Life among the Defeated 263
23 A Different Madre de Cristo: Changing the Roles of Males and Females 277
24 On the Wings of the Black Eagle: The Creative Impulse 289
25 As the Sun Sets and the Beast Falls: The Creation of the Third Testament 297
Epilogue 303
Appendix 305
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2002

    I felt like I was living it..

    This book is very realistic . when I was reading this book I felt like I was right there with her going through all the things that she went through. I have read alot of books but this one just blew me away. I recomend for every one to read this book.

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