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The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction

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The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction Cover

ISBN13: 9780674360419
ISBN10: 0674360419
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1904, New York nuns brought forty Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Catholic families. The Catholic families were Mexican, as was the majority of the population. Soon the town's Anglos, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children and nearly lynched the nuns and the local priest. The Catholic Church sued to get its wards back, but all the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the vigilantes.

The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction tells this disturbing and dramatic tale to illuminate the creation of racial boundaries along the Mexican border. Clifton/Morenci, Arizona, was a "wild West" boomtown, where the mines and smelters pulled in thousands of Mexican immigrant workers. Racial walls hardened as the mines became big business and whiteness became a marker of superiority. These already volatile race and class relations produced passions that erupted in the "orphan incident." To the Anglos of Clifton/Morenci, placing a white child with a Mexican family was tantamount to child abuse, and they saw their kidnapping as a rescue.

Women initiated both sides of this confrontation. Mexican women agreed to take in these orphans, both serving their church and asserting a maternal prerogative; Anglo women believed they had to "save" the orphans, and they organized a vigilante squad to do it. In retelling this nearly forgotten piece of American history, Linda Gordon brilliantly recreates and dissects the tangled intersection of family and racial values, in a gripping story that resonates with today's conflicts over the "best interests of the child."

Synopsis:

In 1904, New York nuns brought forty Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Catholic families. The Catholic families were Mexican, as was the majority of the population. Soon the town'sAnglos, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children and nearly lynched the nuns and the local priest. The Catholic Church sued to get its wards back, but all the courts, includingthe U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the vigilantes.

The Great Arizona Orphan Abductiontells this disturbing and dramatic tale to illuminate the creation ofracial boundaries along the Mexican border. Clifton/Morenci, Arizona, was a "wild West" boomtown, where the mines and smelters pulled in thousands of Mexican immigrant workers. Racial walls hardened as the mines became big business andwhiteness became a marker of superiority. These already volatile race and class relations produced passions that erupted in the "orphan incident." To the Anglos of Clifton/Morenci, placing a white child with a Mexican family wastantamount to child abuse, and they saw their kidnapping as a rescue.

Women initiated both sides of this confrontation. Mexican women agreed to take in these orphans, both serving their church andasserting a maternal prerogative; Anglo women believed they had to "save" the orphans, and they organized a vigilante squad to do it. In retelling this nearly forgotten piece of American history, Linda Gordon brilliantly recreates anddissects the tangled intersection of family and racial values, in a gripping story that resonates with today's conflicts over the "best interests of the child."

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [321]-404) and index.

About the Author

Linda Gordon is Professor of History at New York University. She is the author of the now classic history of birth control in America, Woman's Body, Woman's Right, and of Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence, winner of the Joan Kelly Prize for the best book in women's history.

Table of Contents

Preface

Cast of Principal Characters

October 2, 1904, Night: North Clifton, Arizona

September 25, 1904: Grand Central Station, New York City

1. King Copper
October 1, 1904, 6:30 p.m.: Clifton Railroad Station

2. Mexicans Come to the Mines
October 1, 1904, around 7:30 p.m.: Sacred Heart Church, Clifton

3. The Priest in the Mexican Camp
October 2, 1904, Afternoon: Morenci Square and Clifton Library Hall

4. The Mexican Mothers and the Mexican Town
October 2, 1904, Evening: The Hills of Clifton

5. The Anglo Mothers and the Company Town
October 2, 1904, Night: Clifton Hotel

6. The Strike
October 3-4, 1904: Clifton Drugstore and Library Hall, Morenci Hotel

7. Vigilantism
January 1905: Courtroom of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court, Phoenix

8. Family and Race

Epilogue

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Maps
Sonoran Highlands Mining Region in 1903
Old Clifton and Morenci

What Our Readers Are Saying

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m_russell14, April 6, 2006 (view all comments by m_russell14)
A great insight to a forgotten instance of Americanization
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674360419
Author:
Gordon, Linda
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
Inda
Author:
Gordon, L.
Location:
Cambridge, Mass. :
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Subject:
Mexican americans
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Arizona
Subject:
Minority Studies - Race Relations
Subject:
Orphans
Subject:
Kidnapping
Subject:
Whites
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
Subject:
Vigilantes
Subject:
Clifton
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
Clifton (Ariz.) - Race relations
Subject:
Orphans - Arizona - Clifton - History -
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
November 1999
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
36 halftones in one 24 page insert, 2 ma
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in 1.74 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Arizona
History and Social Science » Americana » Southwest
History and Social Science » Americana » Western States

The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction Used Hardcover
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$19.50 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674360419 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In 1904, New York nuns brought forty Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Catholic families. The Catholic families were Mexican, as was the majority of the population. Soon the town'sAnglos, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children and nearly lynched the nuns and the local priest. The Catholic Church sued to get its wards back, but all the courts, includingthe U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the vigilantes.

The Great Arizona Orphan Abductiontells this disturbing and dramatic tale to illuminate the creation ofracial boundaries along the Mexican border. Clifton/Morenci, Arizona, was a "wild West" boomtown, where the mines and smelters pulled in thousands of Mexican immigrant workers. Racial walls hardened as the mines became big business andwhiteness became a marker of superiority. These already volatile race and class relations produced passions that erupted in the "orphan incident." To the Anglos of Clifton/Morenci, placing a white child with a Mexican family wastantamount to child abuse, and they saw their kidnapping as a rescue.

Women initiated both sides of this confrontation. Mexican women agreed to take in these orphans, both serving their church andasserting a maternal prerogative; Anglo women believed they had to "save" the orphans, and they organized a vigilante squad to do it. In retelling this nearly forgotten piece of American history, Linda Gordon brilliantly recreates anddissects the tangled intersection of family and racial values, in a gripping story that resonates with today's conflicts over the "best interests of the child."

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