Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage - Vol. 2

By Erlinda Gonzales-Berry; Chuck Tatum | Go to book overview

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Spanish-Language Journalism in the Southwest:
History and Discursive Practice

Gabriel Meléndez

Necesario se hace que la Prensa, ese espléndido altar
que la civilización moderna ha erguido a las institu-
ciones populares,—comprendiendo su alto ministerio y
la importancia que ella representa en las mismas—
abandone la frivolidad con que desde tanto ha venido
enervándose, para ocuparse seria y conscienzudamente
del desarrollo intelectual de las masas populares his-
pano-americanas que habitan todavía una porción del
Oeste y el Sudeste de esta gran república del Norte.

—José Escobar, Denver, Colorado, 1896.1

"It becomes necessary for the Press, that splendid altar
that modern civilization has erected to popular institu-
tions,—taking note of its high ministry, and the impor-
tance it represents in those institutions—to abandon the
frivolity which for so long has weaken it, in favor of
employing itself in the intellectual development of the
masses of Hispanos that still inhabit a portion of the
West and Southwest of this great republic of the North."


A Culture of Print Among Nuevomexicanos "New Mexicans"

Nuevomexicanos "New Mexicans" became Mexican Americans by political default in 1848. But even prior to becoming a conquered people they long held a desire to know the liberating benefits that would accrue to them with the establishment of the press in their particular corner of the world. Before the conquering armies of the United States visited them, poverty, isolation and lack of educational opportunities slowed Nuevomexicano social, cultural and historical development.

The acquisition of the press by Padre Martínez and others in New Mexico in 1834 pushed what had been essentially an oral and a colonial manuscript

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