cover of book

Reading, Writing, and Revolution: Escuelitas and the Emergence of a Mexican American Identity in Texas
by Philis Barragán Goetz
University of Texas Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-1-4773-2094-5 | Paper: 978-1-4773-2092-1 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-2091-4
Library of Congress Classification LC2687.T4B37 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 371.829680764


2022 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award
Tejas Foco Non-fiction Book Award, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies
2021 Tejano Book Prize, Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin
2021 Jim Parish Award for Documentation and Publication of Local and Regional History, Webb County Heritage Foundation
2021 Runner-up, Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book

The first book on the history of escuelitas, Reading, Writing, and Revolution examines the integral role these grassroots community schools played in shaping Mexican American identity.

Language has long functioned as a signifier of power in the United States. In Texas, as elsewhere in the Southwest, ethnic Mexicans’ relationship to education—including their enrollment in the Spanish-language community schools called escuelitas—served as a vehicle to negotiate that power. Situating the history of escuelitas within the contexts of modernization, progressivism, public education, the Mexican Revolution, and immigration, Reading, Writing, and Revolution traces how the proliferation and decline of these community schools helped shape Mexican American identity.

Philis M. Barragán Goetz argues that the history of escuelitas is not only a story of resistance in the face of Anglo hegemony but also a complex and nuanced chronicle of ethnic Mexican cultural negotiation. She shows how escuelitas emerged and thrived to meet a diverse set of unfulfilled needs, then dwindled as later generations of Mexican Americans campaigned for educational integration. Drawing on extensive archival, genealogical, and oral history research, Barragán Goetz unravels a forgotten narrative at the crossroads of language and education as well as race and identity.

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