“In 1971, at the age of sixty-six, the labour activist, educator and scholar Ernesto Galarza (1905-1984) published Barrio Boy, a memoir of the long migration of his family from a small village in the Sierra Madre to California. Barrio Boy immediately became a classic of Chicano literature, and on its fortieth anniversary has now been published in a new edition with an introduction by the critic, biographer and short-story writer Ilan Stavans.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Galarza’s book is about growing up—first in Mexico, then in America. To this reader, it is on the same artistic level as Black Boy or Call It Sleep or even Huckleberry Finn. . . . As with Wright and Roth and Twain, we are given a near-perfect tale of rising from absolute poverty to middle-class security, but instead of a woeful recounting, it is filled with the joy of discovery: from living in the lively muddy streets of a small village in Nayarit to surviving, wide-eyed, in the lively and noisy barrios of Sacramento.” —RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities
“The 40th anniversary edition of Galarza’s book, now a standard text in high school and college classrooms, has become so popular that it has . . . achieved the dubious honor of being the subject of study guides and essays available for purchase online.” —Occidental College
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback
About the Author
Born in Jalcocotán, Nayarit, Mexico, ERNESTO GALARZA (19051984) was a civil rights and labor activist, a scholar, and a pioneer during the decades when Mexican Americans had few public advocates. When he was eight, he migrated to Sacramento, California, where he worked as a farm laborer. One of Stanford's first Chicano alumni, Galarza received an M.A. in 1929, and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1944. He returned to California where, during the 1950s, he joined the effort to create the first multiracial farm worker union, which set the foundation for the emergence of the United Farm Workers Union of the 1960s.
His books most notably include the 1964 Merchants of Labor, on the exploitation of Mexican contract workers, and the 1971 Barrio Boy. In 1979, Dr. Galarza was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.