ESPARZA, FRANCISCA REYES
ESPARZA, FRANCISCA REYES (ca. 1901–ca. 1979). Francisca Reyes Esparza, early civil-rights activist, the daughter of Antonio and María (Reyes) Esparza and the granddaughter of Carlos Esparza, was born around 1901. By the 1920s she had become known for encouraging people to stand up for their rights. She worked with her friend Judge Dennis Bangs Chapin to establish the validity of Spanish and Mexican land grants that had been ignored or circumvented by landholders. From 1930 to 1937 Francisca Esparza worked as an aid to José T. Canales in Brownsville. She acquired several properties there and owned a secondhand store where Canales and other lawyers gave free counsel. In Mexico she researched titles and other documents on Texas land grants. She formed the Alliance of Land Grants to help get land rights restored to the original owners, who were to have been protected under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. She received funds from her followers for the alliance and support from Chapin, who also hired lawyers to help her pursue the issue. The effort received some attention in the press and courts during the 1940s, but by 1952 Chapin had died, and Francisca Esparza was accused of being a Communist and discredited. Her movement was destroyed, but others were inspired by her efforts, among them Reies López Tijerina, who became active in the restoration of New Mexico land grants. Francisca Esparza died around 1979.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Carlos M. Larralde, "Esparza, Francisca Reyes," accessed July 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fes18.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.