University Of North Texas Press (30)
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3. Work Experiences

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo various duties that trackmen performed: unloading rails, ties and tamping the roadbed. And, of course, it reflects the physical exhaustion and hard-core vernacular that often accompanied heavy masculine work. Indeed, the most salient issue emerging from this corrido is the collective experience of Mexican trackmen in cooperation with one another in one of the largest employment sectors in the country. And as such, these workers derived overwhelmingly from the Mexican working-class. According to the late Ernesto Galarza,

“as a group [the Mexican immigrant worker] they represent the most authentic transplant of Mexican working-class culture in the

United States.”2

This chapter examines the work experiences of Mexican track workers (primarily men) based upon both the attitudes of railroad managers about Mexicans and Mexican attitudes about their backbreaking work on el traque. It describes what they did off the job, i.e., during lunch, evenings, weekends, holidays, as well as how they coped during down-times, unemployment. Specifically this chapter discusses the concept of common labor, working conditions, the effects of Americanization and Taylorism. Finally, it reconstructs the recreational and casual activities of Mexican track workers. In so doing, this chapter shows how traqueros shaped the world of track work within the context and limitations of industrial capitalism through their bonds and relationships with one another as well as with the institution of the railroad.

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2. Labor Recruitment

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 2

Labor Recruitment



here was much work to do for the railroad,” former

traquero Jesús Ramírez recalled.1 Ramírez was born in Silao,

Guanajuato, in 1900, and left at the age of fifteen with his father to lay tracks in Kansas, working ten hours a day at ten cents an hour.

Because of the lack of work in Mexico, and the unsettled conditions resulting from the Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Mexican men and women decided to leave Mexico, at least temporarily in order to find work, peace, and to raise families in the United States.

Ramírez eventually remained with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe

Railroad in Emporia, Kansas, until he retired. When Ramírez arrived in 1916, annual Mexican immigration hovered around 18,000. By

1920 that figure had jumped to 54,000.2

This chapter examines the origins, growth, and diaspora of

Mexican railroad workers in the United States, especially on the

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Within the constraints presented by the growth of the railroad in the Southwest, Mexican track workers and their families made important decisions about the conditions of their employment, where they worked, where they lived, and how they determined the quality of their daily lives within the confines of a burgeoning extractive economy.

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5. Boxcar Communities

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 5

Boxcar Communities


leofas Calleros, an old-timer and retired Santa Fe

depot official in El Paso, recalled the numerous Mexican track workers and section hands “whose groups of houses dot the desert from here to Los Angeles.”1 Indeed, as this chapter shows, traquero houses dotted not only the southwestern desert, but the entire line from El

Paso to Chicago. These dwellings constituted the beginnings of many

Mexican immigrant communities in the United States. Community and family formation is clearly tied to Mexican industrial employment on the railroad.

This chapter examines the origins, variety, and social conditions of

Mexican boxcar settlements and community development. It argues that while Mexicans could be found throughout most of the railroad occupational hierarchy, most worked in seasonal track work. As such they lived in a variety of company-owned housing. Boxcar communities probably represented the most common form of housing for

Mexican workers and their families. It also demonstrates the linkage between this process and the rise of scientific management regarding

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4. Labor Struggles

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 4

Labor Struggles


n April 24, 1903, a dramatic scene took place on Main

Street in Los Angeles when more than thirty Mexican women

(primarily the wives of strikers) confronted several dozen esquiroles (scabs) imported from El Paso by the Pacific Electric Railway

Company (pe). Owned by Henry Huntington, the pe attempted to replace striking “cholo” laborers represented by a new Mexican union, La Union Federal Mexicana (ufm). Huntington arranged for police to arrest any picketing Mexicans. The mexicanas harangued the esquiroles to join the strike and marched boldly onto the grade site and wrestled shovels, picks and tamping irons away from the hands of the strikebreakers.1 The Los Angeles Times referred to the mexicanas as “Amazons” from various parts of “Sonoratown,” the principal Mexican settlement.2 Onlookers, mostly Mexicans and

Anglos, stepped over and around railroad ties, rails, wheelbarrows and mounds of dirt as they strained to watch the commotion. Within moments some esquiroles joined the strikers and others fled while a few others argued with the women and the striking traqueros and futilely tried to defend their actions.

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1. Railroads and the Socioeconomic Development of the Southwest

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 1

Railroads and the Socioeconomic

Development of the Southwest


n popular lore of the American West, only Chinese

and Irish workers built the railroads, laying track, digging tunnels, and building trestles and bridges. Indeed, this picture of track work in the West is true for the transcontinental railroad of 1869, but not for the decades to follow. During the late 1800s, virtually all types of native-born and immigrant labor worked on the tracks in this region at one time or another. However, by the turn of the century, Mexican immigrant labor far outnumbered all other groups of immigrant and or native-born labor on the tracks in the Southwest. In order to understand the twentieth-century experience of Jesús Ramírez, whose words opened this study, and of the hundreds of thousands of other people of Mexican background who found work on American railroads, we must first understand the prevailing social and economic conditions under which Mexicans lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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Solution Tree Press (19)
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7 - Think Big, Start Small

Gayle Gregory Solution Tree Press ePub

Think Big, Start Small

Think big, start small, act now.

—Barnabas Suebu

Good teachers take all they know about the brain, researched best practices, and student differences and creatively plan multiple opportunities for students to be successful. In addition, educators must acknowledge the differences in learners of the 21st century. With the daily use of technology, students’ brains are wiring in new and unique ways. By considering some of the major differences, we may be able to understand how this generation is changing how school must be done. In his book Grown Up Digital, Don Tapscott (2009) summarizes eight differentiating characteristics of our students:

1. They want freedom in everything they do, from freedom of choice to freedom of expression.

2. They love to customize, personalize.

3. They are the new scrutinizers.

4. They look for corporate integrity and openness when deciding what to buy and where to work.

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5 - Extending and Expanding Learning for Every Student

Gayle Gregory Solution Tree Press ePub

Extending and Expanding Learning for Every Student

The mission for a school of the future (or the present?) should be to optimally meet children's learning needs. That carries the implicit recognition that every child's brain is unique. And whereas most brains follow a normal developmental trajectory, each is also idiosyncratic in its strengths and weaknesses for learning particular types of information

—John Geake

This chapter will address some common strategies for modifying tasks and concepts for students who are working below the basic expectations or struggling with learning differences. Included are proven differentiated strategies that should be used at RTI Tier 1 every day. Teachers must also add to their bags of tricks a variety of ways to provide lateral enrichment opportunities for students as they meet the standards and expectations. To provide all students with a level of challenge appropriate for their abilities, teachers must learn how to raise the bar and extend the learning beyond the grade-level standards.

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4 - Exploring the Learning

Gayle Gregory Solution Tree Press ePub

Exploring the Learning

To take advantage of their engaged state of mind, students should have opportunities to interact with the information they need to learn. The goal is for them to actively discover, interpret, analyze, process, practice, and discuss the information so it will move beyond working memory and be processed in the frontal lobe regions devoted to executive function.

-Judy Willis

The five senses keep the body safe. The brain is constantly scanning the environment for interesting, novel, relevant things to pay attention to and ignoring everything else. In the previous chapter, we examined ways to engage learners, capturing their interest and attention so that they may participate in the learning process.

Once attention has been garnered, the information is moved to short-term, working memory. It doesn't have a very long shelf life there (perhaps seventeen to twenty seconds [Wolfe, 2001]), and if the learner is not actively involved in some task, the interest will wane quickly. Teachers are challenged with designing numerous rehearsal tasks that cause students to interact with a particular content or skill until it can move to long-term memory. It is during these rehearsal tasks that students explore and develop concepts and skills that will create lasting memory. With multiple interactions, the pathways that receive more use become stronger, smoother, and more efficient.

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3 - Engaging, Exciting, and Energizing the Learner

Gayle Gregory Solution Tree Press ePub

Engaging, Exciting, and Energizing the Learner

One principle that propels the digital revolution is our brain's craving for new, exciting, and different experiences…. Whether excessive or subtle, the instinct to pursue new and exciting experiences frequently drives our behavior.

—Gary Small

One of the more difficult aspects of teaching can be getting students’ attention so that they attend to and ultimately learn the lesson and task. Knowing what types of stimuli will engage the brain can help teachers plan strategies to get their students’ attention. When not involved in survival issues, such as reacting to perceived threats, our brains are most sensitive to novelty and changes that arouse curiosity. New and unexpected sensory input in the environment will immediately get our brains’ attention. Even slight changes in one's surroundings will create curiosity, and the brain will reorient toward the new information. Developing novel situations and using a variety of differentiated strategies can increase a teacher's chances of shifting students from disinterested to excited and energized!

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1 - Using Educational Neuroscience to Differentiate Instruction

Gayle Gregory Solution Tree Press ePub


Using Educational
Neuroscience to
Differentiate Instruction

The argument can be made that schools are again in a time of transition—a period in which it again seems evident that one-size-fits-all approaches to curriculum and instruction are a misfit for too many students, a period in which teachers are once more trying to understand what it means to calibrate instruction based on the varying needs of an increasingly diverse student population.

—Carol Ann Tomlinson

For centuries, teachers have been challenged to address the diverse needs of all learners. As educational neuroscience becomes available to us, we can begin to understand how our students’ unique brains are developing. We can use the emerging information about how learning and memory take place to inform our instructional practices on a daily basis in the classroom. Differentiation and educational neuroscience go hand in hand!

Differentiation in the General Education Classroom

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Indiana University Press (209)
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Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF






After a steep decline in activity during the years of the Great

Depression, the railroads of the United States were suddenly faced with an onslaught of traffic as the country prepared for, and entered, World

War II. Since passenger travel was still largely by rail during this period, the increase included dramatic expansions of freight and passenger traffic, the latter driven both by troop trains and by restrictions on civilian purchases of items such as tires and gasoline.1

Chicago, as the most important railroad interchange point in the

United States, was dramatically impacted by this upsurge in railway traffic. Roy Stryker, as ever the strategic thinker behind the FSA and

OWI photographers and their assignments, had long viewed the railroad as an important part of the American scene.2 In late 1942, Stryker sent Jack Delano to Chicago to conduct an extended project focused on documenting the railroad industry’s contribution to the US war effort.3

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PORTFOLIO FOUR: FSA/OWI: The American Railroad in Color, 1940–1943

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF



Kodachrome, introduced in the mid-1930s, proved to be one of the best and most durable color films used for the next seventy years.1 The film was used for both still and motion picture cameras, and was available in a variety of formats. The rise of so-called “E-6” films such as Ektachrome and Fujichrome and the widespread adoption of digital media, combined with the complex methods required to process

Kodachrome, led to its discontinuance in 2009. Kodachrome’s widespread use in the decades after its introduction, along with its relative resistance to color-format challenges such as color shifts, is a boon to those interested in period, color documentation of the American scene from 1935 through 2010.

The introduction of Kodachrome coincided with the opening of the Historical Section in 1935. Although the vast majority of FSA/OWI images were shot in black-and-white, a substantive number of images were recorded using color film. According to the Library of Congress website, about 1,600 color FSA/OWI images were made between 1939 and 1944. Most of the FSA color images are color slides shot on Kodachrome 35mm film; others are color transparencies in sizes as large as 4 × 5 inches. The OWI images, which include most of Delano’s railroad-subject FSA/OWI images, are color transparencies in sizes up to

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Appendix One: Notes on the Plate Captions and on the Plates

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF



Notes on the Photograph Titles in the Plate Captions

The captions are as the photographer prepared them. Generally, the only changes that have been made are minor corrections to capitalization (for example, “Union Station” for “Union station”), incorrect punctuation or character spacing (for example, “E. K. Hill” for “E.K. Hill”), and abbreviations (such as substituting names of states for their abbreviated forms). James E. Valle, in his groundbreaking 1977 book, The Iron

Horse at War, did not use Delano’s captions, but instead provided his own, extended captions. The design and photographic reproduction in his book does not reflect contemporary art-book standards, but these extended captions provide a wealth of information for those who desire more background on the subjects of the 272 Delano photographs included in the book. The Iron Horse at War covers only Delano’s blackand-white Chicago and Santa Fe photographs; it does not cover his FSA railroad-subject work, nor does it include any color photographs.

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Appendix Two: Roy Stryker’s FSA/OWI Shooting Scripts concerning American Railroads

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF



Historical Section head Roy Stryker prepared “shooting scripts,” also termed “assignments” or “outlines,” both for the photographers working for him generally, and also for named photographers being sent on specific assignments. A relatively large number of these shooting scripts – five are known to exist – concerned American railroads. They are both historically interesting and also of value for railroad-subject photographers today. All of the known railroad-subject shooting scripts are presented here together for the first time. They are reproduced as Stryker wrote them, with italics used here in place of his underlining.

A fascinating aspect of these scripts is the depth of railroad knowledge Stryker demonstrates; for example, his knowing the details of how men lived and ate in work trains at the time, and that there were hand-powered and motorized track inspection cars during this period.

Stryker also demonstrates a strong knowledge of existing photographic work concerning American railroads at the time; for example, see his mention in one of the scripts of the “wealth of material already in existence” depicting American locomotives.

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PORTFOLIO ONE: The Farm Security Administration Photos, 1940–1942

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF



Figure 1.1. Washington, DC. Portrait of

Jack Delano, Office of War Information photographer. September 1942. John Collier.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSAOWI Collection, Reproduction Number LC-USF34-014739-E.

In February 1940, Roy Stryker, chief of the FSA Historical Section, wrote to John R. Fischer, director of the Division of Information:

We are going to have to move fast to get a new man on the payroll to replace Arthur Rothstein. As you know, it is not going to be the easiest thing in the world to find a man to take hold of Arthur’s job and get into the swing of production in the manner of Lee, Rothstein, and

Post. . . . We have already found the man, Mr. Jack Delano. . . . We have an outstanding person. He is an artist by training, and has used the camera for several years. He did one of the finest jobs on the story of the coal miners in the anthracite region that I have ever seen. A man that can turn out as excellent a job is not to be lost.1

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