By Julie Wiessner
Author, presenter and teacher Dr. Rosa Archibeque has finished writing the first of three books celebrating the people of Southside in Winslow, from 1885 to 1939. This celebration focuses at first on the complete history of Winslow; from its beginning, through its growth and development.
It also outlines the contributions, accomplishments and challenges experienced by those who lived there. It’s title? South Of The Tracks: 100 Years of Memories.
The second book will focus on Coopertown, the Roundhouse and Taylor Town, and the decades from 1940-1985, while book three will focus primarily on particular family lines.
Besides using information from a variety of historical sources such as newspaper articles, hospital, city and cemetery records, Archibeque continues her work on the next two books by working with more than 2,000 families.
The section on the families is organized around the decade in which they arrived. Some of the pioneering families, such as the Bacas, Cervantes, Durans, Garcias, Mattas and Nuanez, still live in Winslow today.
The trilogy of books on the history of Southside was born when Archibeque returned to Winslow three years ago for a class reunion.
“I saw almost none of my Chicano friends there, but did see them at other places,” she recalled. Her absence of 50 years from the town she was born and raised in was long enough for some dramatic changes to occur.
She continued, “I drove around Southside, and was shocked at the desolation, destruction, and abandonment. I stood on Washington Street near its intersection with Roberts, where my house once stood. The whole experience was paradoxical and troubling.”
It was then that Archibeque decided to record the legacy of the people who had lived there. “I was not willing to allow my history to be either forgotten or inconsequential,” she noted.
Of her books, she says, “Chicanos will understand our role in the growth and development of Winslow. They will know the hard work and sacrifices made by their ancestors so that the children of the future could walk in victory.”
Her message to those who helped build Winslow is to be proud of the legacy left behind for the generations to come.
“We succeeded against all odds. I am who I am because I come from a community that sustained, supported and believed in my potential. I am a true scholar, but I have not forgotten my rich cultural heritage,” she concluded.
Archibeque is a professor for the College of Education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Book readings and signings are scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at La Posada, from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, at Winslow High School and from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Winslow Public Library.
South Of The Tracks: 100 Years of Memories is available from the author for $20, plus $5 for shipping and handling. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Julie Wiessner