New Mexico's Moses
Reies López Tijerina and the Religious Origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement
In New Mexico's Moses, Ramón A. Gutiérrez dives deeply into Reies López Tijerina's religious formation during the 1940s and 1950s, illustrating how his Pentecostal foundation remained an integral part of his psyche even as he migrated toward social-movement politics. An Assemblies of God evangelist turned Pentecostal itinerant preacher, Tijerina used his secularized apocalyptic theology to inspire the dispossessed heirs of Spanish and Mexican land grants fighting to recuperate ancestral lands throughout northern New Mexico and the Southwest. Using Tijerina's collected sermons, Gutiérrez demonstrates the ways in which biblical prophecy influenced Tijerina throughout his life from his early days as a preacher to his leadership of the Alianza Federal de Mercedes. Tijerina sought justice for those who had lost their lands and was determined to eradicate the most egregious forms of racism and to valorize the language and culture of mexicanos. Translated into English for the first time here, Tijerina's sermons serve as a blueprint for the religious origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.