By Katherine Benton-Cohen
“Are you an American, or are you not?” This used to be the query Harry Wheeler, sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, used to settle on his pursuits in a single of the main extraordinary vigilante activities ever performed on U.S. soil. And this can be the query on the center of Katherine Benton-Cohen’s provocative historical past, which ties that possible distant nook of the rustic to 1 of America’s crucial matters: the ancient production of racial barriers.
It used to be in Cochise County that the Earps and Clantons fought, Geronimo surrendered, and Wheeler led the notorious Bisbee Deportation, and it's the place inner most militias patrol for undocumented migrants this present day. those dramatic occasions animate the wealthy tale of the Arizona borderlands, the place humans of approximately each nationality—drawn via “free” land or by means of jobs within the copper mines—grappled with questions of race and nationwide identification. Benton-Cohen explores the day-by-day lives and transferring racial barriers among teams as disparate as Apache resistance combatants, chinese language retailers, Mexican-American homesteaders, Midwestern dry farmers, Mormon polygamists, Serbian miners, ny mine managers, and Anglo girls reformers.
Racial different types as soon as blurry grew sharper as commercial mining ruled the zone. rules approximately domestic, kinfolk, paintings and wages, manhood and womanhood all formed how humans thought of race. Mexicans have been legally white, yet have been they appropriate marriage companions for “Americans”? Why have been Italian miners defined as residing “as no white guy can”? via exhibiting the a number of chances for racial meanings in the USA, Benton-Cohen’s insightful and informative paintings demanding situations our assumptions approximately race and nationwide identification.
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Additional info for Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands
K. Safford married two Mexican Â�women. Half of the Americans who founded the prestigious Arizona Â�Pioneers’ Historical Society in 1884 married Mexican Â�women, most from prominent Tucson families like those who had settled on the San Pedro River. Mark Aldrich served as the first Anglo alcalde (mayor) of Tucson. 57 These marriages at once demonstrated and perpetuated the slippery Â�racial boundaries of southern Arizona. In the United States, marriage law has been one of the most important ways to deÂ�fine and enforce racial difference.
77 Some people considered Tres Alamos too dangerous to live in. Eugenio Ruíz farmed in Tres Alamos, but left his young family in Tucson for safekeeping. Â€C. Long was not soÂ€lucky. Long farmed the land of his friend Samuel B. Wise, a Tucson resident who gained title to the ranch in exchange for paying a friend’s whiskey tab at a Tucson saloon. Wise never visited the property, but Long set out forÂ€“the San Pedro like a gentleman, with a hoe in the wagon,” to plant corn. On a visit to Tucson, Long asked Wise why he never visited his own ranch.
Wise, a Tucson resident who gained title to the ranch in exchange for paying a friend’s whiskey tab at a Tucson saloon. Wise never visited the property, but Long set out forÂ€“the San Pedro like a gentleman, with a hoe in the wagon,” to plant corn. On a visit to Tucson, Long asked Wise why he never visited his own ranch. ” Wise signed the ranch over to Long, who was killed by Apaches shortly after. ’”78 Soon after Long’s death, a Tucson posse perpetrated one of the nation’s most notorious attacks against Indian peoples.