Two Days on the Road Greg Olds THE TEXAS OBSERVER Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 14 7`44D August 5, 1966 Robstown It is the most appealing aspect of the Valley farm workers’ march that a handful of unassuming, impoverished people normally given to civic passivity have, footstep by footstep along dusty hot Texas roads, created a feeling of both apprehension and elation among the onlookers of the region. In South Texas there is, I think, most of all, muted surprise: that these representatives of a reputedly apathetic and forebearing people have now uncharacteristically taken it upon themselves to force attention to their problems, their deprivation of long standing. Farmers are about the only Anglos who appear distressed by this wholly unforeseen but now widening ripple of protest that is making its way upstate. Walking with the marchers two days last week, I noticed few incidents of opposition, although once further south a car had swerved toward the line of march, narrowly missing the group; at McAllen the marchers had been advised to go straight through town as fast as posible; and at Kingsville breakfast was denied at one eating place. A man in a pickup truck, evidently a farmer, found himself an involuntary spectator at the march because of cars that had slowed down in the road ahead for a closer look. At last he worked his way through the congestion and then, with an impatient changing of gears, sped away, anxious to see no more of the plodding huelguistas. Another time a car sporting a Florida license plate and a Confederate flag and driven by a man about 30 passed slowly by the line several times. Finally the driver pulled off the road just ahead and sat glaring into the impassive faces of the marchers as they passed by the side of his car. Other drivers, some from out of state, Roberto Arredondo, 26, Rio Grande City. He works in the fields for 50 to 70 cents an hour. Single, he has three married sisters, one of whom works in the field, and seven brothers who work in the fields and a cotton gin, and one is in the Army. He lost half of two fingers on his right hand when they got caught in a machine in a cotton gin, but insurance, apparently some taken out by the gin owner, paid his doctor bills and gave him a cash payment of $1,700 in compensation.’ He says the marchers get tired the first couple of days they walk, but after that it’s not so hard. He is going to walk all the way to Austin. R.D. perhaps on vacation \(from Missouri, spectacle, many of them grinning as they drove by. Latins from the area drove by often, frequently shouting encouragement in Spanish. I suppose, objectively, that marches are coming to be regarded matter-of-factly in the sixties, but subjectively the experi Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rightS of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests. of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Larry Lee. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammei., Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green. Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Greg Olds, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill. Dan Strawn, Tom Sutheland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not them ence of this one is both exhilarating and exhausting. It’s a world of blisters, dust, unrelenting sun, good conversation punctuated by periods of silent ploddinga world in which a drink of water becomes a luxury gratefully accepted. The march is picking up support now. It had good participation and fair acceptance in the first stage, through the Valley from Rio Grande City to Raymondville. Then there was a long spell of several days when the number of marchers dwindled to between ten and twenty. Eugene Nelson, the inspiration for it all, seemed to have withdrawn suddenly from the scene, evidently returned to California. But this proved untrue, and at Kingsville the marchers’ numbers were swelled to 200 by area people, including some students and a feW professors from Texas A&I College. A line of march this size was maintained north from Kingsville towards Corpus Christi. Another lift came with the addition of a burro from Mexico, sent by an unknown donor and dubbed “$1.25” by the marchers. Arriving at RobstOwn Friday afternoon the marchers went through the west side of town, the Latin neighborhood, to the glee of many of its residents. An attractive Latin woman, well-dressed in a sports outfit, enthusiastically held a sign in both hands above her head: “WelcomeBienvenidos.” Other signs seen, painted by some professional, read “Texas needs a minimum wage,” “For a living wage,” “Robstown supports the farrri workers,” and “All we want is justice.” The marchers alternated Singing, in Spanish, “The Eyes of Texas” and “Arneri August 5, 1966 3 selves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. Subscription Representatives:Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS; Fort Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Huntsville, Jessie L. Murphree, Box 2284 SHS; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c: prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: T,he Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks.
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