Historian Emilio Zamora's Book Acknowledged as Best in Texas

zamora_claimingrights-195x300Historian Emilio Zamora has been named a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), in addition to winning its annual Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for best book on Texas for his work “Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II,” (Texas A&M University Press, 2009).

The award bears the name of the late Tullis (UT alumnas, B.A. ’24 and M.A. ‘27), who was one of the first women on faculty in the History Department.

In addition, The Texas Institute of Letters presented him with its Scholarly Book Award this spring. Zamora brings focus to his study with the overarching argument that wartime concerns in Mexico-U.S. relations raised the issue of race to a hemispheric level of importance and encouraged Mexican workers to continue their call for equal rights. It will remain relevant to scholars and policy makers in the present as questions about immigrant labor, Mexican Americans, Mexico-U.S. relations and discrimination continue to draw our attention.

Historian Emilio Zamora’s Book Acknowledged as Best in Texas

zamora_claimingrights-195x300Historian Emilio Zamora has been named a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), in addition to winning its annual Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for best book on Texas for his work “Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II,” (Texas A&M University Press, 2009).

The award bears the name of the late Tullis (UT alumnas, B.A. ’24 and M.A. ‘27), who was one of the first women on faculty in the History Department.

In addition, The Texas Institute of Letters presented him with its Scholarly Book Award this spring. Zamora brings focus to his study with the overarching argument that wartime concerns in Mexico-U.S. relations raised the issue of race to a hemispheric level of importance and encouraged Mexican workers to continue their call for equal rights. It will remain relevant to scholars and policy makers in the present as questions about immigrant labor, Mexican Americans, Mexico-U.S. relations and discrimination continue to draw our attention.

Center for Mexican American Studies hosts talk with the co-editors of “Beyond the Latino World War II Hero”

rivbeyMaggie Rivas-Rodríguez, associate professor of journalism, and Emilio Zamora, professor of history, will discuss their new anthology “Beyond the Latino World War II Hero: The Social and Political Legacy of a Generation” (University of Texas Press, 2009), at an event hosted by the Center for Mexican American Studies at 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16, at El Mercado Uptown, 1702 Lavaca St.

The collection of oral histories, scribed by an array of scholars from various disciplines, adds illuminating insights into Mexican American patriotism during World War II. Addressing important issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and its effects on veterans’ families, and Chicano activism during the 1960s and 1970s, the writers contribute diverse perspectives of the Mexican American wartime experience.

Rivas-Rodríguez founded the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. The project has interviewed more than 650 men and women of the World War II generation and has multiple components, including a photographic exhibit, a play, three books, and educational material.

Zamora is the author of “Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas,” and “The World of the Mexican Worker in Texas.”

A Look into the Mexican-American Struggle for Equal Rights

During the economic boom of the Second World War, Mexican laborers experienced unparalleled occupational gain in the United States. However, Emilio Zamora, associate professor of history, points out that discrimination impeded their movement from low-wage, low-skill agricultural jobs to better-paying jobs in rapidly expanding industries.

In “Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II” (Texas A&M University Press, 2009), Zamora traces the wartime experiences of Mexican workers in America and their struggle for civil and labor rights.

Through extensive use of Spanish-language archives in Mexico and the United States, Zamora reveals that despite the rising numbers of Mexican laborers who advanced from second to middle class ranks during World War II, significant numbers were denied job opportunities due to discrimination.

Offering compelling evidence on how unjust employment practices restrained the immigrant workers’ upward mobility, Zamora reveals how race-conscious Anglo workers, including members of industrial unions, maintained racial order. He also discloses how government agencies, such as the United States Employment Service, collaborated with segregationists to maintain an uneven rate of advancement between Mexican and Anglo workers.

Despite the problem of unequal access to wartime jobs, Zamora notes that Mexicans made unprecedented improvements in their lives during this time of transition. However, he argues Anglos and African Americans benefited more from wartime opportunities and recovered faster from the Great Depression.

Zamora is author of the award-winning “The World of the Mexican Worker in Texas.” He is also editor of “Mexican Americans in Texas History; Selected Essays,” and “Beyond the Latino World War II Hero: The Social and Political Legacy of a Generation.”

For more background on Zamora’s penetrating research in Mexican-American and U.S. labor history, read his interview in the March 1 edition of the Austin American-Statesman.