Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity
In the American imagination, no figure is more central to national identity and the nation’s origin story than the cowboy. Yet the Americans and Europeans who settled the U.S. West learned virtually everything they knew about ranching from the indigenous and Mexican horsemen who already inhabited the region. The charro—a skilled, elite, and landowning horseman—was an especially powerful symbol of Mexican masculinity and nationalism. After the 1930s, Mexican Americans in cities across the U.S. West embraced the figure as a way to challenge their segregation, exploitation, and marginalization from core narratives of American identity. In this definitive history, Laura R. Barraclough shows how Mexican Americans have used the charro in the service of civil rights, cultural citizenship, and place-making. Focusing on a range of U.S. cities, Charros traces the evolution of the “original cowboy” through mixed triumphs and hostile backlashes, revealing him to be a crucial agent in the production of U.S., Mexican, and border cultures, as well as a guiding force for Mexican American identity and social movements.
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Lienzo charro arena used for Mexican rodeo
Jinete deyegua bronc riding
Claiming State Power in MidTwentiethCentury
Waiting for a parade in East Los Angeles 1951
Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz with his horse late 1950s
Building San Antonios Postwar Tourist Economy
Tailor making custom charro suits in San Antonio 1949
Creating Multicultural Public Institutions
Denver Charro Association 1972
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