A savage song

Racist violence and armed resistance in the early twentieth-century U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

By Margarita Aragon

A savage song
Hardcover +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526121677
  • Publish Date: Jul 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526178749
  • Publish Date: Mar 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526121691
  • Publish Date: Jul 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2169-1
    • Published Date: July 2021


    This book examines key moments in which collective and state violence invigorated racialized social boundaries around Mexican and African Americans in the United States, and in which they violently contested them. Bringing anti-Mexican violence into a common analytical framework with anti-black violence, A savage song examines several focal points in this oft-ignored history, including the 1915 rebellion of ethnic Mexicans in South Texas, and its brutal repression by the Texas Rangers and the 1917 mutiny of black soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment in Houston, Texas, in response to police brutality.

    Aragon considers both the continuities and stark contrasts across these different moments: how were racialized constructions of masculinity differently employed? How did African and Mexican American men, including those in uniform, respond to the violence of racism? And how was their resistance, including their claims to manhood and nation, understood by law enforcement, politicians, and the press?

    Building on extensive archival research, the book examines how African and Mexican American men have been constructed as 'racial problems', investigating, in particular, their relationship with law enforcement and ideas about black and Mexican criminality.


    'A Savage Song is a welcome addition to studies on the borderlands in the Southwestern region of the United States and black-brown relations in the construction of white racial domination. Aragon's keen anthropological eye helps the reader identify the sociological structures sustaining the illogic of racial domination. By analyzing the uses of violence in settler colonialism, on the Western frontier,and in the borderlands, Aragon shows us recurring themes in the defense of legal and extra-legal violence.'
    Luis F. Nuño, Ethnic and Racial Studies


    Introduction: The twentieth century dawns in blood
    1 Imagining slaves and sovereigns
    2 This land of barbarians
    3 The Mexican has a country
    4 Without a tremor
    5 War to the knife



    Margarita Aragon is Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social Sciences at Birkbeck, University of London

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