in San Francisco in 1885, under the name C. Loyal. To anyone who then thought in two languages, the pseudonym itself was an ironic play on words, as C. Loyal was easily recognized as Ciudadano Leal or loyal citizen the phrase with which government officials in 19th century Mexico closed their correspondence. was one of 480 refugees who moved from Baja California to the San Francisco area immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Later, as a 37year-old widow of U.S. Army Captain Henry S. Burton, she attempted several money-making endeavors, with varying degrees of success. The writing of novels was such endeavor. When she died in poverty in 1895 in Chicago, she was preparing an appeal in her lawsuit to reclaim the Ensenada tract in Baja California as her own. Mexican racism of the time. They, in fact, held the Indian in the same low regard that the Anglo of their time held the Mexican, as is made obvious by references to “stupid Indians” who neglect the care of the Alamar cattle. But life in Maria Ruiz de Burton’s California has as much to with class as race. When Don Mariano’s son, Gabriel Alamar, who has intermarried with Lizzie Mechlin, the daughter of a prestigious New York family, loses his job in San Francisco bank and has no influence to find another position suitable to his social standing, he is reduced to working for two dollars a day. We see the change in the couple’s status through the eyes of the Anglo wife and we better understand the relation between racism and classism: When Gabriel came to his position in the bank, [Lizzie Mechlin] was again warmly received by all her society friends. But this cordiality soon vanished . . . they avoided her as if she had been guilty of some disgraceful act. The fact that Gabriel was a native Spaniard, she saw plainly, militated against them. If he had been rich, his nationality could have been forgiven, but no one will willingly tolerate a poor native Californian. Like the writer of an 18th-century English novel of manners, Ruiz de Burton explores close up the relationship between the new aristocracy of moveable property and the old aristocracy: “But the weight of gold carried the day. . . . Henceforth, money shall be the sole requisite upon which to base social claims. High culture, talents, good antecedents, accomplishments, all were now the veriest trash. Money, and nothing but money, became the order of the day.” The Alamar family is rescued from ruin by Clarence Darrell, who has made his fortune in mining and land investments. There is no such savior for most Mexicanos and Gabriel’s labor represents the unkind present and unpromising future of the native Californian: In that hod full of bricks not only [Gabriel’s] own sad experience was represented, but the entire history of the native Californians of Spanish descent was epitomized. Yes, Gabriel, carrying his hod full of bricks up a steep ladder, was a symbolical representation of his race. The natives, of Spanish origin, having lost all their property, must henceforth be hod carriers. Unjust laws despoiled them, but what of this? Poor they are, but who is to care, or investigate the cause of their poverty? The thriving American says that the native Spaniards are lazy and stupid and thriftless, and as the prosperous know it all, and are almost infallible, the fiat has gone forth, and the Spaniards of California are not only despoiled of all their earthly possessions, but must also be bereft of sympathy, because the world says they do not deserve it. Only recently have these struggles been explored and described by Chicano historians. Yet here, in “fiction” almost 100 years old, they are clearly defined. How this part of the history of this country has been obscured, ignored by historians devoted to the “Westward-ho” school of U.S. history, and even lost, is an important part of the larger story, which includes the disappearance of even this indictment by fiction of a class that conquered in the name of business. The Squatter and the Don is the first publication of an Arte Pliblico Press project \(The the Rockefeller and Mellon Foundations. In this first national effort to reclaim the Hispanic literary heritage of the United States \(from works of Hispanic writers are being recovered. Ruiz de Burton’s novel was first published BY STEVEN G. KELLMAN BUILDING BOMBS: THE LEGACY Directed by Mark Mori and Susan Robinson THE BLACK SEA FLEET never did besiege Odessa, Texas. The greatest damage suffered by the United States during the Cold War was self-inflicted; billions of dollars were squandered on weaponry, and millions of lives were diverted from curing cancer and writing poetry. Joe McCarthy perpetrated more direct mischief against Americans than Joe Stalin did. Whom the gods would destroy they encourage to build bombs. Just when you thought it was safe to embrace peace, Building Bombs: The Legacy offers a reminder that the hazards of war outlast the warriors, that, according to narrator Susan Clark, we must contend with “a high-yield hangover from a 40-year binge of building bombs.” The hangover will be as brief as the half-life of Plutonium 242 500,000 years. An enemy who planted land mines outside every schoolyard in the United States would not have endangered the nation nearly as much or as long as the native patriots who, contriving devices to safeguard us against external foes, generated more than 200,000 pounds of extremely lethal plutonium. Building Bombs examines the Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility in South Carolina whose abiding haz Steven G. Kellman teaches comparative liter ature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. ards outlive the Soviet Union and every American administration that tries to neutralize the danger. The film is scheduled for an August 10 broadcast as part of PBS’s P.O. V. series, though air dates for affiliates may vary. Mark Mori and Susan Robinson begin their study with bucolic images of the Savannah River near Aiken, South Carolina. In 1950, one of the largest construction projects in modern times transformed the Savannah into the River Styx, what local resident Evelyn Couch calls “a damnation on earth.” The world’s first hydrogen bomb complex swallowed up 300 square miles in three South Carolina counties and obliterated four towns. It created more than 35,000 jobs, including one for Couch’s husband George, who worked for the Savannah River Site for 22 years, until he was dismissed with disturbing traces of tritium in his blood. The SRS pumped more than $30 billion into the state’s economy, boasts James Edwards, Secretary of Energy under Ronald Reagan. It also discharged contaminants into the vast Tuscaloosa Aquifer, which flows below four states. Building Bombs: The Legacy revises a 1990 version of the film. It brings the story up to date and focuses less on the antiquated dilemmas of deterrence than on what it calls “the bitter fruit of nuclear supremacy.” The Kremlin is no longer likely to try to eliminate Lubbock, but efforts to counter the Soviets have left us with more than 35 million gallons of radioactive and toxic wastes. It is estimated that the costs of cleaning all this up more than $200 billion will dwarf even the savings-and-loan Monsters in Savannah 20 JULY 16, 1993
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