Ok, another incredibly frustrating conversation with a colleague over people of the Americas in the United States. When I asked her what she taught about Latin Americans in the US, she responded that she taught about Coronado, Cortes, Zoot Suit Riots, and the UFW. I was floored. So, here are a few books I think US historians need to read and incorporate into their survey US history courses.
- Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Say no to white gods that show up with no context and kill all the Indians.
- Empires of the Atlantic World. Say no to the ANGLO/franco focus of the imperial projects of the Americas.
- Ecological Imperialism or The Columbian Exchange. Say no to teaching kids that the "Columbian Exchange" is the old "triangular trade" of third grade, just with a new name.
- Neither Enemies nor Friends. Problematic at times, but helps say no to the 50s notion of simplistic racial US.
- Empire's Workshop and Empire and Revolution. Say no to US imperialism starting in 1898.
- True Tales and Delfino's Gun. Say no to simplistic ideas on immigration.
- Barrios Nortenos and Chicanos. Say no to lectures on Latino-free labor movements.
- Captives and Cousins and Comanche Empire. Say no to a West devoid of Mexico and Spain.
- Whitewashed Adobe. Say no to a California absent Mexicans until the summer of 1943.
- Tree of Hate. Say no to the reasons Latin America and Latinos disappear from US history survey courses.
Ok, so there are ten of my entries. For the three people that follow this blog and the two that will stumble on to it from google: What would you want a US historian to read and incorporate into their courses? Martinez? Anzaldua? M.T. Garcia? Who do you think they should be reading?
Final note: This frustrating conversation came just two days after a student came up to me after we did civil rights and thanked me because she thought only African Americans had a civil rights movement. She'd never heard of LULAC, AGIF, Bert Corona, Dolores Huerta...nada. Crazy, man.