20th Century, History, Intercession, Mexican-American, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Mexican Community Organization

Unknown

1922
Mexican-Americans in St. Paul form the Anahuac Society. The organization sponsors social events and encourages participation in community affairs and the celebration of traditional Mexican holidays.*

Anahuac means “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, so it is no surprise that it be transferred onto a home with many waters like Minnesota.** The Anáhuac Society established in Saint Paul was meant to provide a solid foundation for Latinos to survive in a new environment, as well as an institutional basis for organizing.*** Anahuac is also a small town in Texas which claims “the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10-12, 1832.”***

Some of Saint Paul’s first Latinos likely were driven north during this era due to the unrest of the Mexican Revolution or Revolución Mexicana. The corruption of the Diaz administration was challenged by Madero and Pancho Villa. Mexicans who fled this conflict found work first in the sugar beet industry of Minnesota.

Let’s observe with You, Lord, and see where this prayer leads. We see a people displaced by war or revolt seeking a new way of life. We see a bold quest for freedom in spite of the rigors of farm labor.

Will You forgive the judgments made between groups during the Mexican Revolution, and their transference through these pioneers to Minnesota? All immigrants to Minnesota have carried our historical baggage here. We have viewed our neighbors and government through the lens of both our beliefs and misbeliefs shaped by the pains and experiences of our countries of origin. We give You our dirty glasses this day Lord, will You give us new eyes for those around us who have also overcome to reside in this place?

Will You remember the hearts of these new arrivals, and their commitment to stay and build community? Will You bless their progeny to see their wisdom? Will You bless those who have chosen to live here humbly in peace, even rather than be warriors in their homeland?

Will You bless the contributions of Latinos to our state, especially through generations of untiring work in agriculture? Will You remove the present day judgments of those who work with their hands in the field? Will You show us new solutions to the problems of guest workers and illegal immigrants?

We are drowning in judgment over the plight of guest workers and illegal immigrants in the present tense. We have refused, to often, to even hear the thoughts of our neighbor on the subject. Our Democratic friends have judged their Republican next door to be: racist, haters of brown people, and living in a bubble of white privilege. Our Republican friends may believe in the human rights of illegals, but that civil rights are belong only to citizens. They have judged their Democratic friends of being incapable of rationality, over emotional, and false accusers of those who love our laws and hate lawlessness. In any case, will You forgive us whether we are those who judge, or those who counter-judge our neighbor in Minnesota? We invite You to be our Judge and Justice for all Minnesotans. Will You make Anahuac- Saint Paul a place that is lawful and just for all nations who love your laws of grace and truth?

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” **** Proverbs 16:32

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universidad_Anáhuac_México_Norte
**http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesotanos-latino-journeys-minnesota
***http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/travel/weekend-getaways/article/Twenty-four-hours-in-Anahuac-in-August-11943198.php

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18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Sugar Beets and Migrant Labor

220px-276_Beta_vulgaris_L

Beta Vulgaris

1917 to 1919
Labor shortages in the U.S. during World War I and political unrest in Mexico draw many Mexican workers north to the sugar-beet fields of the Red River and Minnesota River valleys. Many return year after year; others move to the Twin Cities to find permanent jobs.*

As a backstory, the sugar beet came to prominence in 18th century Silesia through experiments subsidized by Frederick William III (the King of Prussia) to extract sugar. These findings were furthered by scientists Andreas Marggraf and his star pupil Franz Karl Achard. Their work led to the selection of ‘Weiße Schlesische Zuckerrübe’, meaning white Silesian sugar beet, and boasted about a 6% sugar content.**

The Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota had perfect conditions for the growing of this specis of beta vulgaris. Mexican migrant workers entered the scene just as local sugar beet growers and the American Crystal Sugar Company had need for their hand-harvested crop. The Great War had commandeered local labor, leaving room for displaced Mexicans.

Jim Norris, a local expert on these relations, stated the following in his book “North for the Harvest”:
“Though popular convention holds that corporations and landowners invariably exploited migrant workers, (the author) reveals that these relationships were more complex. The company often clashed with growers, sometimes while advocating for workers. And many growers developed personal ties with their migrant workers, while workers themselves often found ways to leverage better pay and working conditions from the company.”

And so, Lord of the Harvest, we find ourselves in a triune relationship; the company, the farmers, and the field workers. We invite Your illumination of these events, and Your insights. Come and lead our meditation!

We thank You for beta vulgaris and the sweet taste it brings to our lives. We thank You for the research done for centuries that yielded such fine results, and provided an alternative to sugar brought into existence by the slavery of the sugar cane fields! We thank You that You provided opportunity for Mexicans amidst the tragedy of the Great War!

Next, we thank You for Your example of a three-sided relationship creating balance. Your roles incorporate our experience of simultaneously living out three roles, yet being one person. We are mothers, daughters, and wives simultaneously! We are fathers, sons, and husbands at the same instant!

Therefore, we can find security that companies, farmers, and fieldworkers can play three roles that serve one united purpose in sugar beets or the production of any commodity. Will You be the guardian of these relationships in Minnesota? Will You forgive our offenses to You in our imbalances in these relationships?

Will You forgive us as field workers for negating the needs of our farmers to produce results without fail? Will You forgive our farmers their dehumanization of laborers? Will You forgive those that own the company of their drive to power and market position? Will You forgive us as farmers and field workers our fearful judgments of Wall Street? We do not know the pain of finding a buyer or fair price for huge quantities of a perishable product. Have mercy on us!

May we find sweetness in being a three-legged stool! May we see the imbalance should we remove one leg of our relationships! May we be one in purpose regardless of position: migrant, farmer, or president!

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet
***Dig deeper on the impact of migrant workers in Minnesota and the Midwest in this excellent book. “Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry” by Jim Norris
http://muse.jhu.edu/book/5421

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