The University of Texas at El Paso
Department of History
500 West University Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79968-0532
Yolanda Chávez Leyva is an associate professor of history at The University of Texas at El Paso. She has published numerous articles on Mexican American history with a special emphasis on women, children, and the Texas-Mexico border. She is the public historian at UTEP and has worked with museums as a consultant. She is also a published poet who has led community writing workshops. She is completing a manuscript titled “Cruzando la Linea: Mexican Children on the Texas-Mexico Border,” which investigates the ways in which the presence of children has shaped the border historically.
Mexican American children have been the subject of government studies, newspaper editorials, and school board policies. Early twentieth-century photographers documented their presence. Clearly, Mexican American children have been an important, yet often invisible, part of Texas history. This presentation surveys the significance of children in the development of border society, focusing on children in schools, as workers, as immigrants, and as members of families.
Mexican American women have been an integral part of the struggle for civil rights and equality throughout the past hundred years. This presentation surveys the work of Tejanas such as journalist Jovita Idar and labor organizer Emma Tenayuca, as well as more contemporary activists, to trace the movement for equality for Mexican Americans in Texas.
Neighborhoods embody often exciting and significant histories. With some investigative work, we can unearth these histories. This presentation explores techniques and methodologies, including oral history, to recover these stories. This workshop will also describe projects such as the “museum for a day” which can be used by schools to teach the importance of history.