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Across America, from big cities to small towns and rural hamlets, there are many stories of challenges, historic events, courageous people, tragedy, and success. Some of the best and most exciting tales may not be well known. Such is the case for the towns of Clifton and Morenci, Arizona. They survived labor strikes, rising and falling copper prices, devastating floods, outlaws and lawlessness, gambling houses, and saloons. All this added to the lore that these towns were some of the roughest communities in the West. Today, after 143 years of mining, Freeport-McMoRan's Morenci copper mine is the largest in North America. Expansion has required new homes in Clifton-Morenci, a modern library, and recreational facilities. Residents are proud of their communities.
Working with the premise that there are much meaning and value in the "repelling beauty" of mining landscapes, Richard Francaviglia identifies the visual clues that indicate an area has been mined and tells us how to read them, showing the interconnections among all of America's major mining districts. With a style as bold as the landscape he reads and with photographs to match, he interprets the major forces that have shaped the architecture, design, and topography of mining areas. Covering many different types of mining and mining locations, he concludes that mining landscapes have come to symbolize the turmoil between what our society elects to view as two opposing forces: culture and nature.
Undermining Race rewrites the history of race, immigration, and labor in the copper industry in Arizona. The book focuses on the case of Italian immigrants in their relationships with Anglo, Mexican, and Spanish miners (and at times with blacks, Asian Americans, and Native Americans), requiring a reinterpretation of the way race was formed and figured across place and time. Phylis Martinelli argues that the case of Italians in Arizona provides insight into “in between” racial and ethnic categories, demonstrating that the categorizing of Italians varied from camp to camp depending on local conditions—such as management practices in structuring labor markets and workers’ housing, and the choices made by immigrants in forging communities of language and mutual support. Italians—even light-skinned northern Italians—were not considered completely “white” in Arizona at this historical moment, yet neither were they consistently racialized as non-white, and tactics used to control them ranged from micro to macro level violence. To make her argument, Martinelli looks closely at two “white camps” in Globe and Bisbee and at the Mexican camp of Clifton-Morenci. Comparing and contrasting the placement of Italians in these three camps shows how the usual binary system of race relations became complicated, which in turn affected the existing race-based labor hierarchy, especially during strikes. The book provides additional case studies to argue that the biracial stratification system in the United States was in fact triracial at times. According to Martinelli, this system determined the nature of the associations among laborers as well as the way Americans came to construct “whiteness.”
Editors and scholars Kanellos (University of Houston) and Fabregat (University of Barcelona) have assembled a team of outstanding scholars to compile comprehensive studies on all aspects of U.S. Hispanic culture.
In 1950, Mexican American miners went on strike for fair working conditions in Hanover, New Mexico. When an injunction prohibited miners from picketing, their wives took over the picket lines--an unprecedented act that disrupted mining families but ultimately ensured the strikers' victory in 1952. In On Strike and on Film, Ellen Baker examines the building of a leftist union that linked class justice to ethnic equality. She shows how women's participation in union activities paved the way for their taking over the picket lines and thereby forcing their husbands, and the union, to face troubling questions about gender equality. Baker also explores the collaboration between mining families and blacklisted Hollywood filmmakers that resulted in the controversial 1954 film Salt of the Earth. She shows how this worker-artist alliance gave the mining families a unique chance to clarify the meanings of the strike in their own lives and allowed the filmmakers to create a progressive alternative to Hollywood productions. An inspiring story of working-class solidarity, Mexican American dignity, and women's liberation, Salt of the Earth was itself blacklisted by powerful anticommunists, yet the movie has endured as a vital contribution to American cinema.

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