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

Octavio Romano

Friday, June 23, 2006

Taking Our Land; Segundo Barrio may be gone in segundos

Barrio Blues

Dennis Bixler Marquez, director of Chicano Studies at UTEP has credited Abelardo Delgado with writing one of the first instructional modules for teachers designed to teach concepts of neighborhoods and barrio. "All this is a new field, segments of communities, tenterface, identity. Lalo was dealing with those same concepts ahead of his time," say Bixler.

Lalo's historic study A Demographic Description of the Barrio was printed in 1973. His novel Letters to Louise tells us the early life of Lalo in the Segundo Barrio of El Paso.

My favorite book is Los Atrevidos which was actually published with the last of the Juvenile Delinquency Project money. It is nice picture/photo book of Segundo with related poems by lalo describing each place in South El Paso. In my last interview with Lalo, he said that book has many location which are now gone.

I have tried to document various barrio of El Paso over the years. So far I got San Juan, La Roca, Lincoln, and just recently El Barrio Del Diablo. The sadness is that many of these barrios are no gone.

But now, the barrio is for sale. At least that what those fro the El Paso Del Norte grove want to do. They tell us to look at cities like Denver and Kansas City. I remember reading one of Manuel ram's books, I think it was Rocky Ruiz where he talks about the stadium area of Denver use to be Chicano neighborhoods.

Here in Kansas City, I've been seeing first hand how historic Chicano(a) neighborhoods try to fight back against Del Norte Group types. Like many cites, the social structure tried to keep Blacks and Chicanos closed in while using racial covenants to keep Chicanos and Blacks out of the White suburbs. In the KC area, Reece Nicoles was one of the biggest proponents of racial covenants. That was until the courts rule they could not used them.

Now, city want to "redevelop" their inner cities building lofts in old building and rezoning. Residents of Kansas City's Westside fought efforts to rezone their community last year, so I was surprise to read the the DNG was using KC as a model. Putting it straight, people are fighting back.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was legal for a city to take property by eminent domain (not to be confused with UTEP) and then sell it to developers. Several states since then have passed law curbing eminent domain abuse.

Well, we'll keep you up to date, but keep you browsers on:

The Newspaper Tree
Paso del Sur Group

Cinco Puntos Publishers Get Booked

Bobby Byrd has putt out a book of poetry on Cinco Puntos Press: White Panties, Dead Friends and Other Bits and Pieces of Love. Also, Lee Myrill Byrd has published Riley's Fire (Algonquin Books). "Riley Martin, an adventurous, inquisitive seven-year old boy, is the hero of this immensely satisfying novel set in the isolated universe of Galveston’s original Shriners Burns Institute. It’s here that Riley is being treated for third-degree burns over 63 percent of his face and body. It’s here that he and his parents meet the future—his and theirs." Read more.

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