PRIMER CONGRESO FEMENINO

Wendy Thompson

PRIMER CONGRESO FEMENINO. The three-day conference Congreso Femenino took place on December 1–3, 1919, in San Antonio. The Pan American Round Table (PART) sponsored the conference in an effort to foster Pan Americanism. United States and Mexican government officials, academics, and members of the Mexican and Tejano communities attended sessions. Mexican women émigrés were among the participants from San Antonio, and city officials, including Mayor Sam Bell, also attended. The conference provided an opportunity to promote Mexican culture, which was especially important to the women. Topics on commercial relations and the state of education in Latin American countries were discussed within an overarching theme of the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Pan American countries. For example, Esther Pérez Carvajal, who chaired the Spanish department at Main Avenue High School, gave a presentation on the “teaching of language in the schools.” She also served as translator for the conference. Mrs. Muñoz Blanco, whose husband Manuel was an editor of La Prensa, urged the Mexican women to be active in the effort to promote friendly relations between the United States and Mexico. Conference attendees adopted a resolution to encourage the “exchange of students between universities in Latin American countries and those of the United States….” 

The promotion of the sharing of ideas and language between nations reflected the interests of the conference’s sponsor. PART, organized on October 16, 1916, by Florence Griswold, pursued two goals—to “promote mutual knowledge, understanding and friendship among the people of the Western Hemisphere,” and to “foster all movements leading to a higher civilization, especially those affecting the women and children” of Latin American countries. PART attracted women from the Mexican exile community desiring to maintain their language and heritage. Women from the exile community included Sara Madero, Angela Madero, Luz Corral de Villa, and Virginia Salinas Carranza. The women also took part in the Congreso Femenino. After the Congreso Femenino ended, PART continued to sponsor conferences and organize other clubs in Mexico and the United States.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Arnoldo De León, ed., War Along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012). La Prensa, December 2, 1919. San Antonio Evening News, December 1, 1919.

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Handbook of Texas Online, Wendy Thompson, "PRIMER CONGRESO FEMENINO," accessed November 15, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pwpcf.

Uploaded on December 17, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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