Raza of the Middling Status on the Chaparral, 1880-1900 By Arnoldo De Leon
In actuality, raza of middling status made up part of the Tejano community as early as the colonial era of Texas history, and such a cohort persisted past the 1836 war for independence in the form of small landowners able to retain old land grants, as merchants servicing segregated Hispanic communities. By 1935 Texas women had caught up with men in college attendance, but they remained clustered in a few fields, with education, business, and home economics leading the choice of majors. African American women struggled against both sexism and Jim Crow. Few held administrative positions, and they were the lowest paid of all teachers, earning less than black men and many less than white women (De León, p, 67).
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The estate deliberately underfunded black schools- in 1930 they received only 85 percent of the amount allotted for white schools-and districts often spent much less than the appropriation. As a consequence, African American teachers coped with large class sizes, short terms, and substandard facilities. Everything a black teacher had to work with, from textbooks to the building itself, was likely to be a worn- out discard from the white school system. Most of the schools were without libraries or playgrounds, and many had no books or toilets. School terms could end abruptly and without notice when funds ran out (Clinchy, p, 58). In small rural schools black teachers operated with little or no oversight.
Dorothy surmised that the relative autonomy stemmed from white indifference to what went on in African American classrooms; black children’s education, or lack of it, did not matter. No black woman could expect to be addressed as Mrs. or Miss, which would have been an acknowledgement of lady hood, and adult women had to endure being called “girl”. In stores a black woman was automatically last in line, never waited on until white customers had been helped, and she never knew when she might be insulted or refused service.
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