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Fronteras: ‘The Chicana Lois Lane’ — Anthology collects works inspired by the life of activist and journalist Jovita Idár

Activist Jovita Idár was an educator, nurse, and outspoken journalist at a time that was dangerous for ethnic Mexicans.

Born in 1885 in Laredo, Idár worked for La Crónica, a Spanish-language newspaper run by her father.

The paper exposed racist violence against ethnic Mexicans in Texas, inequities in education, and shared overlooked history of Texas Mexicans.

Idár also served as nurse for the voluntary infirmary service, La Cruz Blanca, during the Mexican Revolution.

She later joined the Spanish-language newspaper, El Progreso, where she wrote a column critical of President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to interfere in the Mexican Revolution.

Idár bravely faced the Texas Rangers as they were sent to shut down the press in response to that article.

New efforts have come forth to recognize Idár’s life: documentaries have been made about her, and the U.S. Mint will release a quarter with her image in August.

Christopher Carmona and Isaac Chavarría are co-editors of a forthcoming anthology that will collect stories to pay tribute to Idár.

Carmona, an associate professor of English and Mexican American Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University, said while Idár’s story is one crucial to history, it’s often left on the sidelines.

“She’s barely starting to get the recognition that she deserves,” he said. “This anthology is one way to show how she’s influenced a lot of different people. ”

Artwork, poems, and different types of testimonials have already been submitted for inclusion in the anthology.

Chavarría, an instructor of English at South Texas College in McAllen, said the anthology is a way to highlight Idár.

“It gives a different understanding of the events compared to what is mostly known in Texas,” he said. “It’s important to find a way to promote all histories, and definitely Jovita is one of those.”

Click here to fill out a submission form or submit email entries to ccarmonawriter@gmail.com or tx.popper@gmail.com.

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