The Alamo Revisited In Tucson
Rodolfo F. Acuña
In a forum circa 1970, Dr. Ernesto Galarza, a renowned Chicano scholar, and one of the few that I don’t mind referring to with a title, when asked why we just don’t forget about the Alamo and the atrocities committed by groups such as the Texas Rangers, replied that it was necessary to know the past, warts and all, if only to fend off inane questions such as, “Well, the Italians made it, so did the Jews and the Irish, so what’s wrong with the Mexicans?” According to Galarza, working Mexican families have always struggled for justice. They don’t like being discriminated against and living in bad housing and attending bad schools.
History shows that they fought back! Galarza made the remarks in reference to his book Spiders in the House and Workers in the Field (1970) and the book he was writing “Alviso: The crisis of a barrio.” (1973). Galarza showed how the power of government in combination with agribusiness during the Di Giorgio Strike broke the strike. He related “Alviso” to this incident and pressed the urgency to save the Alviso community. “Without a community people lose their historical memory,” and history is rewritten to make it seem as if Mexicans are the problem.
This scenario is currently being acted out in Tucson where so-called custodians of public education are trying to erase Mexican American history. They have made it subversive for Mexicans and other minorities to know the past. According to them, learning about injustice contributes to un-Americanism, divided races and is unpatriotic. Ironically, it is Tucson and the state of Arizona that stand accused of segregation and offering Mexican Americans bad school.