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By Ellen McCracken

New Mexico's first Franciscan priest, Fray Angélico Chávez (1910-1996) can be a prolific historian, a literary and creative determine, and an highbrow who performed an important position in Santa Fe's neighborhood of writers. the unique essays amassed the following discover his wide-ranging cultural creation: fiction, poetry, architectural recovery, journalism, family tree, translation, and portray and drawing. numerous essays talk about his method of background, his archival study, and how within which he re-centers ethnic identification within the established Anglo-American grasp old narrative. Others study how he used fiction to deliver heritage alive and mixed visible and verbal components to augment his narratives. essays discover Chávez's occupation as a friar. the gathering ends with reminiscences through Thomas E. Chávez, historian and Fray Angélico's nephew.

Readers familar with Chávez's paintings in addition to these studying approximately it for the 1st time will locate a lot that surprises and informs in those essays.

"A impressive tribute to an excellent man."--Rudolfo Anaya

"UNM Press is to be congratulated at the book of this long-awaited paintings on Fray Chávez. His fiction, his poetics, and his artwork are totally specific through a decide upon staff of either younger and pro scholars."--Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

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This is especially true of Padre Martínez. In the New Mexican priest, Chávez found a variety of admirable qualities. These include Martínez’s political liberalism, which he took from his own esteem for Padre Hidalgo and the movement for Mexican independence. Martínez supported los de abajo—the underdogs—in his society, such as the often-repressed Penitente brotherhood, and the santeros, whom both the Mexican hierarchy and the later American one frowned upon. Chávez further championed Martínez for his enlightened educational views.

By rediscovering the long and rich historical roots of Hispanos, their leadership in making history, and their development of a particular regional ethnic identity heavily influenced by their religious practices, Fray Angélico sought not only to combat prejudice but to provide testimony to his and his people’s being and self-worth. These contributions need to be recognized and his work integrated by those of us who desire to revise American history in the hope of making this country a more hospitable one for all who contribute to it.

No doubt Fray Angélico believed that in his own way, through his writings and art, he was following in the footsteps of Martínez and Gallegos, who practiced, one might suggest, a form of nineteenth-century theology of liberation. iv The third major theme in Fray Angélico’s historical writings concerns his stress on New Mexican Hispano regional identity. His research in colonial records had led him to the conclusion that despite military, commercial, and religious connections between New Mexico and the rest of New Spain, for the most part due to distance and hostile topography New Mexico remained isolated and out of the mainstream.

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