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Fronteras: Curanderos on the borderlands offered physical, spiritual and psychological healing; and El Pueblo — the bilingual voice of San Antonio’s West Side

Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo were curanderos, traditional faith healers, who served border communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Historian Jennifer Koshatka Seman wrote about them in her book “Borderlands Curanderos: The Worlds of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo.”

Norma Martinez, Texas Public Radio

She said they practiced at a precarious time in history.

“So this turn of the century, 1890s to the early 1900s and beyond…this is the era of the rise of eugenics, of segregation, of white supremacy,” said Seman. “You have the resurgence of the Klan in the United States. It's a period of danger, real danger. Danger to people's bodies, danger to people's identities based on not being a white person, basically.”

She says the healing provided by the two curanderos went beyond the laying of hands or prescribing liquid and herbal cures.

Hear last week’s conversation with Seman here.

El Pueblo: The nonprofit newspaper that fought against racism and injustice on San Antonio’s West Side

The El Pueblo newspaper was an independent publication (1979-82) that served San Antonio’s West Side — an underserved, mostly Mexican-American community — that lacked health care services, access to transportation, and living wages.

El Pueblo was created by a ragtag group of young Mexican American activists and students. The all-volunteer effort was printed out of a garage. Their ad-free bilingual publication focused on residents’ concerns like the shift of medical services away from the city center, and the loss of maternal care to around 5,000 mothers.

Article from El Pueblo, March 1979.
UTSA Libraries Special Collections
Article from El Pueblo, March 1979.

San Antonio historian Andrés Borunda has researched the role El Pueblo played in the community. He said the newspaper was part of a long tradition of small independent papers “that were being used by members of the community, not just sort of to talk about what's happening, but also to educate people on different things like their legal rights (and) health care availability.”

Find a link to every edition of El Pueblo here, courtesy of the UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1