San Antonio Papers’ Varied Portrayals of Depression Era Immigrants

San Antonio Papers’ Varied Portrayals of Depression Era Immigrants

Melita Garza
Melita Garza

An associate professor at Texas Christian University, Dr. Melita Marie Garza holds a Ph.D. in journalism from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed articles and contributed a chapter to the textbook, Cross-Cultural Communication. Dr. Melita Garza’s first book, They Came to Toil, hit bookstore shelves in February of 2018.

The book, They Came to Toil, focuses on the newspapers of San Antonio, Texas, during the Great Depression. In a misguided effort to save the jobs of Anglo-Americans, the Hoover administration instituted policies that led to roughly half-million deportations between 1930 and 1939.

They Came to Toil takes an in-depth look at the different ways that the three Depression era San Antonio newspapers represented Mexicans/immigrants and covered the issues that most concern them. In the end, the book presents the sympathetic coverage of the Spanish-language La Prensa in stark contrast to the two English-language papers, the San Antonio Express and the San Antonio Light, when it came to immigration issues. They Came to Toil goes on to investigate the implications of the English-language papers’ journalistic decisions in terms of the “othering” of Mexicans and Mexican Americans. This important book shows how much of the anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican language of today has roots in mediated tropes of days gone by.