“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Emma Tenayuca

(December 21, 1916 - July 23, 1999)

Emma Tenayuca Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Heinich, February 28, 2015
1. Emma Tenayuca Marker
Inscription. 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
Emma Tenayuca Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Heinich, February 28, 2015
2. Emma Tenayuca Marker
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.
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commisison. (Marker Number 16245.)
Location. 29° 25.55′ N, 98° 29.969′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West Commerce Street and North San Saba, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. This marker is located in Milam Park; on the North Side of the Jalisco Pavilion on a stone plinth. Marker is at or near this postal address: 501 W Commerce St, San Antonio TX 78207, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. O. Henry House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Spanish Governor's Palace (approx. mile away); Bexar County Under Nine Governments (approx. mile away); Moses Austin (approx. mile away); Barbed Wire (approx. mile away); Zero Milestone Old Spanish Trail (approx. 0.3 miles away); Plaza de Armas (approx. 0.3 miles away); T.C. Frost (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
Categories. AgricultureHispanic AmericansLabor UnionsPolitics
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 2, 2015, by Michael Heinich of Austin, Texas. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 2, 2015, by Michael Heinich of Austin, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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