Emma Tenayuca (2017)

Melanie Cervantes
6″ x 9″ and 13″ x 19″
Full color giclée print with white border, 100% cotton rag, 260gsm Archival Velvet Fine Art Paper, 2017, Open Edition

I drew this portrait of Emma Tenayuca around the end of 2013 but it took me three years to print it! A phenomenal Chicana who is best known as a fierce labor organizer. She started organizing after high school in the garment industry and later as an instrumental leader in the 1938 Pecan Shellers Strike in San Antonio, Tejas. She also organized protest against US Border Patrol agents over the beating of Mexican migrants. Later, after being attacked by a mob for being a Communist she was Blacklisted and forced to move out of San Antonio. She even attended San Francisco State to obtain a degree in Education. Emma went on to obtain a graduate degree and taught in Texas schools until the early 1980s. She passed away in 1999.