“We Live in a Valley Cut Off from the Outside World”

Kathleen Holscher

in Religious Lessons

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199781737
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979653 | DOI:
“We Live in a Valley Cut Off from the Outside World”

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This chapter goes deeper into the character of popular support for sister-taught public schools in New Mexico by focusing on the communities of Dixon and Peñasco, in the northern part of the state. Here the emphasis is on the relationships between Catholic sisters, nearly all of whom were Anglo transplants to New Mexico, and their Hispano students. When residents of the area discuss their approval of the sisters who taught them during the 1940s, reflections on the legality of the sisters’ employment take a back seat to descriptions of the respect those women inspired within the community. The chapter examines the psychology of local support for sisters and their schools by studying that respect children felt for their teachers. It explores the sentiment in light of the childhood experiences, both positive and negative, that provoked it. The chapter finishes by charting the emergence of a Hispano-Protestant minority in northern New Mexico during the twentieth century, and considering the separation platform its members first articulated in Dixon in the 1940s.

Keywords: Hispano; Hispanic; children; childhood; Catholic sisters; Protestant; New Mexico; public schools; respect

Chapter.  13536 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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