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Boom, Bust, ExodusThe Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities$
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Chad Broughton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199765614.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Unrest in the Magic Valley

Unrest in the Magic Valley

(p.34) 2 Unrest in the Magic Valley
Boom, Bust, Exodus

Chad Broughton

Oxford University Press

One Evening in May 1967, in the parched border city of Mission, Texas, Ed Krueger had worked into the early evening on a painting and was late to the demonstration at the railroad crossing. He arrived there at 8:45 p.m. with his wife, Tina; his 18-year-old son, David; and Doug Adair, a young journalist writing for the magazine El Malcriado: The Voice of the Farm Worker. Just a few union members and bystanders were at the crossing when they arrived. Krueger, 36, a lanky and clean-cut minister, had been working with Local 2 of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFW) and had expected to see thirty or forty striking farmworkers and activists protesting the “scab melons” passing by on the next train. But they weren’t there, and Krueger was worried. They parked 75 feet south of the railroad crossing, on the west side of Conway Street. Krueger and his wife grabbed some hamburgers and sodas and leaned on their bumper to eat with their son. Adair went to talk to a reporter on the north side of the crossing. Joining Krueger was Magdaleno Dimas, an itinerant 29-year-old farmworker. A Mexico-born U.S. citizen, Dimas had a dragon tattoo on his right arm, a rose on his left, and an edgy zeal for the strike. They were waiting for a freight train carrying tens of thousands of recently harvested cantaloupes and honeydews loaded into thirty or so refrigerated cars. The melons had just been cut at La Casita ranch in Rio Grande City, thirty miles west of Mission. After a switch down-valley in Harlingen, the ranch’s melons would head north to San Antonio. La Casita, owned by a California company, operated nearly year round and employed 300 to 500 laborers on 2,700 acres of melons, peppers, carrots, cabbage, celery, and lettuce. The southern boundary of its well-ordered fruit and vegetable fields was the snaking Rio Grande River. All that separated La Casita from Mexico was a short swim across the slow-moving, greenish river that irrigated its fields.

Keywords:   Bracero Program, California grape boycott, Great Society, Migrant Ministries, New Deal, Public Law, Rio Grande Valley, Texas Observer, grape boycott, sharecroppers

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