Blacklisted, Emma Tenayuca was run out of San Antonio. Growing up, Tenayuca saw some relatives' disdain for her "Indio" father. Emma went back to school and completed her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University. IMAGE COURTESY UTSA LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AT ITC. Why did Emma exile herself from high-profile political action? See a Timeline of the US-Mexico Border. Pecan shellers earned a wage increase. “Oportunidades Iguales Para Las Mujeres En El Trabajo y La Educaccion”, Women’s Strike for Equality, New York, Fifth Avenue, 1970, Eugene Gordon photograph collection, 1970-1990. In 1942, Emma applied to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Growing up on the U.S.-side of the Texas-Mexico border, Tenayuca connected capitalism, citizenship, and Jim Crow segregation, which targeted both Black and Mexican people. Tenayuca did not remain a member of the Communist Party for long, formally leaving in 1946. Daisy Bates was an African American civil rights activist and newspaper publisher who documented the battle to end segregation in Arkansas. Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice, published by Wings Press. Emma moved to California in 1945 and ended her membership in the Communist Party shortly after that. Although she never received a reason, her FBI file likely blacklisted her from government service. The party’s leaders argued that the New Deal provided necessary regulations and protections for hard-working Americans. In 1935, she joined the Young Communist League. Why was Emma asked to step down from leading the pecan shellers’ strike? Tenayuca (Nahuatl languages: Tenanyohcān [pronunciation?]) Conditions in pecan shelling factories were horrifying. Anarchist and activist Emma Goldman was a fiery (sometimes violent) advocate for peace, free love and birth control in the 1910s. Instead of focusing on the strikers’ demands for living wages and social justice, most articles talked about Emma and her Communist ties. Jarena Lee, 1849. Emma often noticed that her parents saw the world differently. However, once back in her home state, Tenayuca learned her earlier activism was now lauded. In the days that followed, Emma received many death threats. Cihak and Zima (photographer), Ida B. Wells-Barnett, ca. How were Emma’s political views shaped by her childhood and family heritage? NINETY-EIGHT YEARS ago today (1916), Emma Tenayuca was born in San Antonio, Texas. Emma Tenayuca died on July 23rd,1999 in her hometown, San Antonio, Texas. The 37-day pecan shellers strike involved as many as 6,000 workers, largely Hispanic, and is regarded as the first labor victory for Tejanos and Mexicans in U.S. history. She was arrested during a protest in 1933, at just 16 years old. Emma quickly noticed a pattern. Why was the FBI so interested in Emma? In San Francisco, California, she studied education at San Francisco State College, returning to San Antonio for a master’s degree, spending her career teaching in her hometown’s Harlandale School District. Tenayuca died in 1999, at 83. This failed to intimidate her. Shortly after retirement Emma Tenayuca developed Alzheimer's dise… And to my surprise, I returned and I find myself some sort of a heroine.". Emma Tenayuca was born on December 21, 1916 in San Antonio, Texas. In her formative years Tenayuca followed election politics of the U.S. and Mexico. Building a New Nation, 1783-1828 explores the foundation of the new nation, how women’s rights were suppressed in the formation of the new government, and the central roles women played in the creation of the new American identity. Emma Tenayuca stands on the steps of City Hall in 1938, the same year she led a pecan shellers strike at age 21. 5,000 anti-Communist protestors assembled outside the building. Emma fled San Antonio for Houston, where she worked in a series of office jobs to make money. Gertrude Kasebier (photographer), Zitkala Sa, Sioux Indian and activist, c. 1898. Dec 21, 2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Emma Tenayuca, San Antonio’s acclaimed labor and human rights activist, who died at the age of 83 on July 23, 1999.To celebrate her birthday, a dozen community partners will kick off a series of events to both honor the historic icon’s lifelong commitment to justice and compassion for the poor, and to encourage … Before her death at age 82, she was interviewed, studied in history classes, included in an exhibit of notable Texas women and inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame. 1985.212. Emma Tenayuca, labor leader, teacher, intellectual, and activist, died on July 23, 1999, in San Antonio, Texas. As the Great Depression continued in the 1930s, Tenayuca used her roles in organizations like the West Side Unemployed Council and the Workers Alliance of America to push for better treatment for Mexican Americans who were not receiving equitable access to Works Progress Administration resources. Described by one professor as “a woman people attempted to write out of history,” the sixteen-year-old Mexican American labor activist was arrested for striking against San Antonio’s Finck Cigar Company in 1933. Emma eventually took on the role of chairperson of the Texas State Committee of the Communist Party. Emma Ihrer died in 1911. See a Timeline of the US-Mexico Border. The Crew Members Who Died in the Challenger Explosion . Tenayuca died at the age of 82 in San Antonio on July 23, 1999. (Her family’s surname has also been spelled as Teneyuca.) In Houston she took jobs under the pseudonym "Beatrice Giraud." With her family and neighbors strongly affected by the privations of the Great Depression, she joined labor protests on behalf of the working poor. The darker a person’s skin, the more he or she seemed to struggle. Emma was against meeting in such a public place. She died July 23, 1999 and was given honorable mention at the Texas AFL-CIO Convention of that year by Congressman Gonzalez. I scribbled on white legal pad names like Emma Tenayuca, Luisa Capetillo, Lupe Marshall, and Luisa Moreno. Tenayuca took part in her first strike with workers from the Finck Cigar Company. By Kevin Lentz Editor’s Note: This is Part III of a three part series on the life and times of Emma Tenayuca. She was arrested for the first time at age 16 after joining a picket line of workers striking against the Finck Cigar Company. ACTIVISM, GREAT DEPRESSION, IMMIGRATION, LATINX EXPERIENCES, LAW & LEGAL STATUS, NEW DEAL, POLITICS & GOVERNMENT, ORGANIZED LABOR, RACE & RACISM, SOCIAL REFORM, WORK, RED SCARE, Major support for Women & the American Story provided by, Lead support for New-York Historical’s teacher programs provided by. Emma was often arrested for her activities and received regular threats from anti-labor activists. Terrell was born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her application to join the Women's Auxiliary Air Corps during World War II was rejected, presumably due to her membership. She mentored students who expressed an interest in activism and encouraged them to study American labor history. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1884 with a Bachelor of Arts… She earned a BA from San Francisco State University and became a reading teacher in 1952. The Historic New Orleans Collection, acc. It was a small victory but it gave the community hope and was a step forward in the struggle for equality. One of the largest groups in need of help was the pecan shellers union. Upon her return, Tenayuca discovered that her earlier efforts to fight for civil and labor rights were now better appreciated. It showed that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference. Tenayuca died in 1999, leaving behind a legacy of courage and compassion. Tenayuca's son, Francisco Tenayuca Adams, was born in 1952. Gertrude Kasebier, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Although Emma was no longer a public figure, she found ways to remain politically involved. It was a small victory but it gave the community hope and was a step forward in the struggle for equality. Born in 1916 in San Antonio, Texas, Emma Tenayuca lived at a time when Mexican-Americans were allowed few freedoms and fewer privileges. She was a San Antonio native and graduated, M.Ed., from Our Lady Of The Lake University. But the meeting room was empty. New-York Historical Society Library. She retired from teaching in 1982. University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center. : October 24, 1929: Tenayuca is profoundly affected by the events of the stock market crash (Black Tuesday) and … "It's kind of like an incredible mixture of this unstoppable force … Having to leave San Antonio because of death threats, she lived in Houston briefly, then moved to San Francisco, thereafter returning to San Antonio. Emma died on July 23, 1999 in San Antonio. Workers Alliance leader Emma Tenayuca speaking to crowd outside San Antonio City Hall, March 8, 1937. Protested beatings conducted by Border Patrol is created, Luisa Capetillo, Lupe Marshall, and the. Justice and joined the League of United Latin American citizens writer, educator and activist for civil and organizer. 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