Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca (HM1JE7)

Location: San Antonio, TX 78207 Bexar County
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Country: United States of America
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N 29° 25.55', W 98° 29.969'

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(December 21, 1916 - July 23, 1999)

During the 1930s, San Antonio native Emma Tenayuca was a prominent leader of a movement that fought deplorable working conditions, discrimination and unfair wages on behalf of the city's working poor. As a child, Tenayuca had often visited the Plaza Del Zacate (now Milam Park), where residents gathered to discuss politics and civil issues in the days before Spanish radio programming. These visits awakened in her awareness of injustice, and she converted her concern into action.

Tenayuca joined the Workers Alliance of America and other activist political organizations because of their philosophy in favor of workers' rights. As a gifted and compassionate orator, she organized and participated in many demonstrations in support of San Antonio workers.

In 1938, Tenayuca led thousands of pecan shellers, most of whom were Hispanic women, to walk off the job in protest of proposed pay cuts. San Antonio served as the center of the U.S. shelling industry, and typical salaries ranged from only two to three dollars per week. The strike was one of the first successful actions in the Mexican-American struggle for political and social justice.

Unable to find work in Texas in part because of her political activities, Tenayuca relocated to California in 1945, where she earned an undergraduate degree. She returned quietly to San Antonio in the late 1960s, and earned a master's degree and worked as a reading teacher at Harlandale I.S.D. in South Bexar County until her retirement in 1982. Tenayuca died in 1999, leaving behind a legacy of courage and compassion.
HM NumberHM1JE7
Marker Number16245
Year Placed2009
Placed ByTexas Historical Commisison
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 9:01am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14R E 548549 N 3255269
Decimal Degrees29.42583333, -98.49948333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 29° 25.55', W 98° 29.969'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds29° 25' 33" N, 98° 29' 58.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)210
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 514 W Commerce St, San Antonio TX 78207, US
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