Although they are among the most important sources of the history of the American Southwest, the lives of ordinary immigrants from Mexico have rarely been recorded. Educated and hardworking, Luis G. Gómez came to Texas from Mexico as a young man in the mid-1880s. He made his way around much of South Texas, finding work on the railroad and in other businesses, observing the people and ways of the region and committing them to memory for later transcription.
Few of the 150,000 immigrants in the last half of the nineteenth century left written records of their experiences, but Gómez wrote his memoir and had it privately published in Spanish in 1935. Crossing the Rio Grande presents an English edition of that memoir, translated by the author’s grandson, Guadalupe Valdez Jr., with assistance from Javier Villarreal, a professor of Spanish at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. An introduction by Thomas H. Kreneck explains the book’s value to scholarship and describes what has been learned of the publication history of the original Spanish-language volume.
“Gómez says explicitly in the prologue to his memoirs that the purpose of recording the events of his life is to entertain; however, his memoirs accomplish much more than this as they fill a void in the history of the American Southwest of the late nineteenth century.”—Journal of the American Studies Association for Texas