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*.:a wkn’ew pin 1747MVP:’ 1″7.1%trrk k..: SNV tion of black youth? They did not “lose” themselves. Indeed, more black youth are in college today than ever, because they believe a college degree will qualify them, at long last, for a tiny portion of the American Dream. They are not “lost,” and, anyway, it is not possible to “lose” a whole generation of people. Car keys can be lost, but not people. Let us be frank, then. A generation of black youth is being destroyed. This is not an exaggeration, because the statistics on black youth unemployment are proof of an unconscious attempt at destruction. The national indifference to black unemployment seems indicative of an unconscious desire for black destruction. . . . Julius Lester October 17, 1980 The Onion Revolt Hereford The odor of the onions drifts up from packing sheds and the broad High Plains fields and hangs in the air all day, simmering with a maddening sweetness. It completely covers Hereford, a West Texas town of about 15,000 squeezed up beside a Santa Fe rail line and busting over with the busiwork of agriculture. The onions have changed Hereford. They have changed the High Plains. As the area became an agricultural oasis after World War II, sucking up water from the underground aquifers to nourish the onions and the other vegetable crops, a northward migration of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans gradually pumped 60,000 Hispanics into the High Plains. Their purpose was always precise: harvest the crops, don’t make trouble. Every season the Hispanic workers have fulfilled this function. They have stooped in the hot fields 10-12 hours at a stretch picking up the onions or beets or potatoes or cucumbers and have lived in the barrio labor camps where rats should not be housed and they have lost their bladders because they could not urinate in the fields. They have been faithful. They have been very, very poor. They have worked as individual laborers at the whim of some of Texas’ largest corporations. They have been serfs. As of June 24, 1980, those days were over. In a series of wildcat strikes among the 8,000 acres of summer onions being harvested in June and July, Chicano farmworkers joined walkouts led by the Texas Farm Workers Union, an aggressive labor group that splintered from the United Farm Workers Union in 1975 because the UFW under Cesar Chavez was too busy concentrating on California. Striking workers in the High Plains asked for 60 cents per 53-1b. bag of onions, toilets in the fields, water, and the right enjoyed by every other labor union in America except farmworkers, the right to have a union. The strike continued about six weeks, the length of the onion season. It was not universal and did not shut down all the fields and did not involve all the workers. But it put the Fear into the cartel of a dozen or so growers who control the market and it pushed the average wage in the fields up to 55 cents per bag. It did one other thing. It demonstrated to Chicano farmworkers the power of collective action. It also triggered a frenzy of repressive paranoia among the mostly Anglo growers and farmers, but that also will unite the farmworkers. Hereford today feels like Mississippi in 1963. Only this time it is not just civil rights but an economic revolution that is being sought. . . . Rod Davis August 8, 1980 Workers’ Comp, At Last At long last, the legislature passed a bill providing workers’ compensation coverage for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. But it wasn’t easy. A Memorable Books from Corona The year’s “Best Historical Novel” SAM BASS is a “gritty, engaging novel” \(Dallas Morning about the legendary Texas outlaw by award-winning If you’ve ever thought about restoring an old house in the country, or know anyone who has, you need FIVE ACRES & DEMENTIA. Augusta Mutchler’s hilarious account includes lots of helpful information, too. The result is “humorous, informative and encouraging” COMING IN MARCH: CISNEROSt Portrait of a New American by Kemper Diehl & Jan Jarboe San Antonio’s dynamic mayor is “an object lesson in the evolution of the American He grows in national recognition almost weekly. What’s behind it? 208 pp. Elliot Richardson. $15.95. CORO’S CORONA PUBLISHING CO. 1037 So. Alamo San Antonio, Texas 78210 54 DECEMBER 14, 1984 vomormireheasomPeasoisswowasta