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Américo Paredes: 1915-1999: Folklorist, Educator

Honored In Corrido By Folk Songstress

An honor of a different kind came from San Antonio-born folksinger Tish Hinojosa, who studied with Paredes and on her 1995 album Frontejas included a corrido, With His Pen in His Hand, that depicted the events of Paredes's life. Hinojosa, according to the All Music Guide, spoke lovingly of absorbing from Paredes corridos, love songs, and "anecdotes of the borderland where he was raised and where my family's roots lie deeply embedded. These sessions continue still and the knowledge I receive is a precious resource from which I'll always draw."

After his retirement, Paredes authored several more research studies and saw many of his early writings published. The stories he had written as a young journalist in Brownsville were collected and published as The Hammon and the Beans and Other Stories (1994) and a novel from the same period, George Washington Gómez, which several publishers had originally rejected, appeared in 1990. These writings realistically depicted the Texas of Paredes's youth from a Mexican-American perspective. George Washington Gómez depicted the Texas Rangers as violent racists and, noted the Texas Monthly, "touches on events usually overlooked in Texas history classes" such as the 19th-century Plan of San Diego, an abortive attempt to establish a Mexican-black-Japanese Republic of the Southwest. In 1998 he published a new book of fiction, The Shadow. Américo Paredes died on May 5, 1999, in Austin; the date was perhaps an appropriate one for a man who was in his way a modern-day hero of Mexican Americans.

Selected writings

Cantos de adolescencia (poetry), 1937.

With a Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero, University of Texas Press, 1958.

Folktales of Mexico (editor, with Richard M. Dorson), 1970.

A Texas-Mexican Cancionero, University of Illinois Press, 1976.

George Washington Gómez, 1990 (novel, written late 1930s).

The Hammon and the Beans and Other Stories, 1994 (mostly written 1940s).

The Shadow (novel), 1998.



Houston Chronicle, December 18, 1994, p. Zest-33.

New York Times, May 7, 1999, p. A25.

Publishers Weekly, June 6, 1994.

Texas Monthly, January 2000, p. 26.


"Americo Paredes," All Movie Guide, www.allmovie.com (March 19, 2003).

"Americo Paredes," American Decades CD-ROM, Gale, 1998; reproduced in Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (March 19, 2003).

"Americo Paredes," Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003; reproduced in Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (March 19, 2003).

"Américo Paredes Biography," Univeristy of Texas Library Association, www.lib.utexas.edu/benson/paredes/biography.html (March 19, 2003).

—James M. Manheim

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - CareerAmérico Paredes: 1915-1999: Folklorist, Educator Biography - Heard Songs And Folktales From Workers, Investigated Background And Development Of Corrido, Honored In Corrido By Folk Songstress