We started with the novel Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat. It led to readings that focused on bringing marginalized voices to the center. Chief Seattle helped us to look into family histories and students interviewed family members and shared their stories.
Danticat gave us words and the students used them to look into society's structure and they examined the word "patriarchy."
The students also wrote extensions to the novel and some students rewrote the ending.
It was a long tiresome trip and Eliza was often so tired and footsore at night that she found sleep impossible, but she was never heard to complain of her sad lot, always ready with a smile and cheer for those around her. Their trip was uneventful. Although, they were troubled by some wandering tribes of Indians and they often had to stop and repair bridges or build rafts to cross the swollen streams. All went well with them and they reached Salt Lake Valley which to them was indeed the "Land of Promise," September 18, 1851."
Since the 1820s, American settlers populated Texas, a land owned by Mexico, soon outnumbering the Texas-Mexicans themselves. Mexican dictator Antonio Opez de Santa Anna enforced new, strict laws to reduce the numbers of the colonized, including abolishing slavery. The American settlers rebelled against the new laws and began to seek independence beginning in October 1835, the month the Texas Revolution began. The most famous battle of the Texas Revolution was the battle of the Alamo. The siege is so famous because it is key to the creation of how Texas won its independence as a state.
My ancestry can be traced back to both Daniel Boone, the famous pioneer who explored and settled in what is now the state of Kentucky, and the monolithic battle of the Alamo in 1836. This story begins with Tabitha Callaway, the daughter of Jeremiah Boone and Flanders Callaway, was the paternal granddaughter of Daniel Boone. She married Abraham Darst.
Abraham and his brother Jacob Darst came to Texas while their seven siblings remained in Missouri. Abraham came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin’s second colony in 1829, while Jacob came with the DeWitt colony. Green DeWitt, of Missouri, had a contract to settle 400 families in an area west of Austin’s colony and west of San Antonio Road. The San Antonio Road was the route that connected Nacogdoches, Texas to San Antonio to Mexico City to more eastern parts of America. The DeWitt colony established the town of Gonzales, Texas. Jacob settled in this town and was one of the 32 volunteers from the town who fought and died in the Alamo.
Abraham and Tabitha begat five children, one of whom was named Lorena, born in 1811. Lorena married Samuel Damon in 1834 at Damon Mound, which became historically significant as the first white settlement in Texas. Together, they had six children. In 1873, Tyra Taylor Damon was born. He had two children: Bess Lucille Damon, and her brother, Leslie Damon who married Abby Coleman. Abby was later married a second time to Ernest Napoleon Malone. He was born in Provencal, Louisiana on March 28, 1892. This is my paternal great-grandfather.
My grandpa would tell me that how hard he worked for his family. He told me about a time when he was coming back from milking the cows that he almost got robbed. It was still dark out, when he was about 2 blocks from his house, when he spotted 2 suspicious men. I guess these men were criminals. My grandpa was on his horse, when these men pulled his legs, trying to pull him off his horse. He was frightened so he made the horse run as fast as he could all the way home. He also told me the story of how he met “La Llorona.” She was a ghost that would call for her children every night, crying her eyes out. My grandpa met my grandma, in the market one day, and they decided to run away to a nearby village. This was the village that my grandpa’s grandparents had grown up in. A few years later, my mom was born, the eldest of 5. It was the tradition that she had to help with the younger kids. My mom was born on a bed of hay in a village that they named “The infiernito,” “the little hell.” I imagine they called it the little hell for a reason.
Ten years after of the murdered, my grandmother got married again. Her mother in law gave her an advice to marry with her husband’s uncle who was also widow. She followed her advice and did it. With this marriage she had three children, on of they is my mom Rosa Isela she is the middle one; also she has my uncle Martin who is the oldest and my aunt Patricia who is the youngest. Their marriage last around eight years because my grandfather was so jealous and one day he beat her. She decided to leave him even though in that time it was not well seen. Marriage was suppose to last forever, until dead separated them. She moved to Tijuana because she got a job there. She left her three children in her town to send them money, but the oldest one, David, went with her to help her work. She worked out side cantinas selling chicken wings to people who were getting off of there.
There she obtained a passport to come to California to buy and sell chickens. One day, she came to California and decided not to come back to Mexico for better opportunities. She arrived to the city of Santa Barbara where she found a job in a house. There she cleaned, did the laundry, cooked, ironed, baby sit, etc. She did not have a day off and have to work all day with that family. She was like a slave. She stayed at the garage with her son. One day, the family she used to work, had some guests. One of them found that about my grandmother situation, and tall her that it was not okay the treatment she was receiving. She told her to get out of that place, and sent her with other people who could help her. Later, my grandmother found another job as a housekeeper with better payment and with days off. She stared to make more money to send their children back home.
Some years after, she paid someone to help her children come to the USA. She worked very hard in order to her children went to school. She did not want them to pass the same situation as her. She was illegal for several years. Fortunately, she met U.S citizen man who offered to help her to be legal in this country. However, they got married to start that process, he could not help her because he did not make the sufficient income immigration requires to support another person. He passed away. My grandmother sent an application to immigration and finally they accepted and became a US citizen. One of the reasons she could make it is because she was married with an American citizen. Another lost for her was her son David who was involved in a car accident, and died instantly. She has never recovered of that.
Nowadays, my grandmother is retired. She spent some months of her time in Mexico and some months here in California. She is really healthy and strong, she seems to have more energy than me, she never complains of anything. She likes to be very active. She likes to walk and go shopping. I can talk with her of whatever I want. That is the reason I admire her so much, I would like to be kind of her when I had her age.