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Guide to the Raul Salinas Papers, ca. 1950-1994
Special Collections M0774  
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Collection Overview
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The materials in the collection span from the late 1950s through 1994, and they consist of printed, visual and oral texts. Raul Salinas' writing and political activism reflect a multiplicity of interests and a hybrid of influences. His poetry is formally influenced by the Beat Movement in American literature but derives much of its force from Chicano culture and politics. His literary and political work also evidences his debt to, and influence upon, the American Indian movement and Latin American politics; in this way, Salinas' work typically crosses national traditions and generic forms. The content of the collection is extensive and varied. Series I houses the original manuscripts of Salinas' published and unpublished poetry, essays, and journalism. For example, the original manuscripts of poems which ultimately compose Un Trip Through the Mind Jail y Otras Excursions (Pocho Che, 1980) are herein preserved. Also included are unpublished works such as El Embruje de mi Tio Juan and Tu Mujer; a collection of poetry; and several other manuscripts at varying levels of completion. Recent works represented in the collection are East of the Freeway: Reflections de mi Pueblo and Indio Trails: A Chicano Odyssey through Indian Country. Series II gathers correspondence from the mid-1960s through 1994. These materials trace Salinas' literary and political development through debate and dialogue with such figures as Americo Paredes, Tomas Rivera, Luis Valdez, Jose Montoya, Ricardo Sanchez, Reimundo "Tigre" Perez, Alurista, Juan Felipe Herrera, Fernando Algeria, Francisco Alarcon, Javier Pacheco, Gary Soto, Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Nina Serrano, Roberto Vargas, Jose Angel Gutierrez, Jose Limon, Joseph Sommers, Stan Steiner, Carlota Cardenas Dwyer, Marcela Trujillo, Lauro Flores, Tom Parson, Juan Rodriguez, Juan Bruce-Novoa, Antonia Castaneda, Leonard Peltier, John Trudell, William Kunstler, and others, including many prisoners whom Salinas met during incarceration. Salinas' prison experiences, which date from 1957 through 1972, contributed significantly to his development as artist, activist, and scholar. Among other documents, Series III includes landmark litigation initiated by various prisoner-rights groups, of which Salinas was an active member. Salinas' activities with the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) and the International Indian Treaty Council, for which he served as a delegate, spokesperson, and translator, are documented in Series X. This portion of the Collection includes official reports and position papers, many of which he co-authored, as well as internal correspondence related to such cases as Wounded Knee and the Pine Ridge incident, which ultimately involved Leonard Peltier. The Collection contains Salinas' assortment of rare literary and political texts, journals, magazines, and newspapers in Series VIII. Among these are Fuego de Aztlan (1976); Corazon de Aztlan (1971), La Voz de Aztlan (Vol. 1, Nos. 1-2), Aztlan de Leavenworth (1970-71); New Era (1970-71); La Raza (Vol. 1, Nos. 1-12), El Travieso (1969); Miquiztli (de Estanfort) (1972-1977); Canto al Pueblo (1978); El Pocho Che (all editions); Rasca Tripas (1970); Regeneracion (1970); Magazin (Vol. 1, Nos. 1-9); Sin Fronteras (all editions); Tejidos (all editions); and Con Safos (all editions) Additionally, Salinas has preserved original copies of all the journals, magazines, and anthologies where his work first appeared. The Collection houses various personal documents, photographs, videos, recordings, and an assortment of miscellaneous items such as fliers, posters, buttons, and decals (for instance, those of Floricanto, Canto al Pueblo, and other festivals). Series V contains the only still photos of performers at the First Annual Floricanto Festival held at the University of Southern California Campus in 1973, as well as numerous photos from the Huntsville, Leavenworth, and Marion prisons.
Raul / Roy / "Tapon" Salinas was born in San Antonio, Texas on March 17, 1934. He was raised in Austin, Texas from 1936 to 1956, when he moved to Los Angeles. In 1957 he was sentenced to prison in Soledad State Prison in California. Over the span of the next 15 years, Salinas spent eleven years behind the walls of state and federal penitentiaries. It was during his incarceration in some of the nation's most brutal prison systems that Salinas' social and political consciousness was shaped. His prison years were prolific ones, including creative, political, and legal writings, as well as an abundance of correspondence. In 1963, while in Huntsville, he began writing a jazz column called "The Quarter Note" which ran for eighteen months. In Leavenworth he played a key role in founding and producing two important prison journals, Aztlan de Leavenworth and New Era Prison Magazine. It was in these journals that his poetry first circulated and gained recognition within and outside of the prison walls. As a spokesperson, ideologue, educator, and jailhouse lawyer of the prisoner-rights movement, Salinas also became an internationalist who saw the necessity of making alliances with others. This vision continues to inform his political and poetic practice. Initially published in the inaugural issue of Aztlan de Leavenworth, "Trip thru a Mind Jail" (1970) became the title piece for a book of poetry published by Editorial Pocho Che in 1980. With the assistance of several professors and students at the University of Washington -Seattle, Salinas obtained early release from Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1972. As a student at the University of Washington, Salinas worked in various community development projects and forged alliances with Native American groups in the Northwest, a relationship that was to intensify over the next fifteen years. Although Salinas writes of his experiences as a participant in the Native American Movement, it is a dimension of his life that has received scant attention. In the twenty-two years since his release from Marion, Salinas' involvement with various political movements has earned him an international reputation as an eloquent spokesman for justice. Salinas literary reputation in Austin has earned him recognition as the poet laureate of the East Side and the title of "maestro" from emerging poets who seek his advice and leadership. His literary work is perhaps most widely known for its street aesthetics and a sensibility which documents the interactions, hardships, and strife of barrio and prison life. The influence of jazz within his oeuvre connects it with the work of "Beat Generation" poets, musicians, and songwriters. His poetry collections include dedications, references, and responses to Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Charles Parker, Herschel Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, for example. This guide was written by Emmet Campos, Dana Maya Maynard, Louis Mendoza at the University of Texas at Austin in spring 1994. The Raul Salinas Collection was processed in spring 1998 by Scott Boehnen and Erika Beer of the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University.
ca. 20 linear ft.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.