Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed set out to right this wrong in Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path.
The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word revolutionary by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century and who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today. Eighteen portraits provide readers with a glimpse into each figure's life and place in history. At the heart of the portraits are the women of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920)—like the soldaderas who shadowed the Mexican armies, tasked with caring for and treating the wounded troops. Filling in the gaps are iconic godmothers like the Virgin of Guadalupe and La Malinche, whose stories are seamlessly woven into the collective history of Texas and Mexico. Portraits of artists Frida Kahlo and Nahui Olin and activists Emma Tenayuca and Genoveva Morales take readers from postrevolutionary Mexico into the present.
Each portrait includes a biography, an original pen-and-ink illustration, and a historical or literary piece by a contemporary writer who was inspired by their subject’s legacy. Sandra Cisneros, Laura Esquivel, Elena Poniatowska, Carmen Tafolla, and others bring their experience to bear in their pieces, and Jennifer Speed’s introduction contextualizes each woman in her cultural-historical moment. A foreword by civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and an afterword by scholar Norma Elia Cantú bookend this powerful celebration of women who revolutionized their worlds.