"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, July 18, 2005

El Paso author's spotlight: Martha P. Cotera

Well, is early Tuesday morning and I had to take a break from studying. For these next few spotlights we will be looking at Chicana and Latina writers from the tri-state border region, and for this one we look at famed activist and scholar: Martha P. Cotera. Every time I look up Cotera, she seems to be up to trouble, fighting for our people's rights. Check out: "Police methods in East Austin under fire"

Active in organizing the Crystal City High School walkouts to organizing neighborhood associations, Cotera is always organizing. I forgot which Chicana wrote this essay about when she first got to Austin, somebody invited her to a party where all the Chicano writers and activists in Austin would be. She attended excitedly hoping to meet Cotera, but it turned out all the activists and writers were all men. She left very disappointed. That writer might have been Carmen Tafoya, but I'm not sure.

As for Cotera, she was born in Nuevo Casa Grande, Chihuahua, but her family moved to El Paso in 1946. From what I know she was here through college attending Texas Western College (now UTEP). She then went to Ohio for her master's. She returned to Texas going to Austin for more graduate work. I know during the 1950s she worked as a librarian in both El Paso and Austin. She was in and out of Texas a few times. She became active in Raza Unida and even ran for office. She helped organize the Crystal City walkouts.

She was included in the book 100 Hispanic-Americans Who Shaped American History. Among the books shes written are Chicana Feminist, Diosa y hembra: The history and heritage of Chicanas in the U.S., Mujeres Celebres a Biographical Encyclopedia of Hispanic Women (Editor), and more.

Other books she's written are Chicanas in Politics and Public Life, Dona Doormat No Esta Aqui: An Assertiveness and Communications Skills Manuel for Hispanic Women. She's contributed to many publications.

Well, I better get back to the books, but Google Cotera online and learn!

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