Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

Jose Porfirio Abeyta and Carmen Sabina Sandoval: Desperate Situation, Desperate Measures in Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico

Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

Jose Porfirio Abeyta and Carmen Sabina Sandoval: Desperate Situation, Desperate Measures in Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico

Article excerpt

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The decade of the 1930s was particularly hard on my parents and their children. Adding to their devastating loss to "La Nevada" [the blizzard of winter, 1931-1932], the effect of typhoid fever on their health, the Great Depression that gripped the United States and the mass migration of people, they found themselves without money or the means to generate income. My parents were not the only ones affected and most of these families simply picked up and moved out, leaving all they had worked for behind. Regrettably, there was no one to record and publicize the hardship and deprivation that rained down on these forgotten people. Nor was there any single entity ready to come to their aid. Livestock lost all cash value, and everyday commodities like sugar and coffee became impossible to acquire on the open market. As the economy worsened, the people in Carrizo canyon became even more isolated. Cash for any type of purchase was unavailable and the homesteaders depended on barter for their survival. When barter dried up, even the hardiest souls began the exodus, many opting for a move to Albuquerque, or far off California where jobs were believed to be as plentiful as oranges on the trees. Most of the Hispanic families departed for California, never to return. They put down roots in places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vallejo, and other cities and towns whose names evoked nostalgia, but were Hispanic in name only. …

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