Abstract This article explores photographic records that capture the cultural production of Mexican Pentecostals in the agricultural valleys of California. It begins by setting the historical context of farm labor and accounting for the photographs taken by government workers of Dust Bowl migrants, which quite intentionally created a standard narrative of rural poverty. This same photographic record portrayed Mexicans as mostly male and lacking cultural vibrancy. This article shows the sorts of religious narratives that are conveyed when we examine the photographs that were taken by Mexican farmworkers themselves. I use photographs and interviews as avenues of historical investigation to argue that even though Mexican Pentecostals of La Asamblea Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús (Apostólicos) occupied a peripheral social status as racialized and religious outsiders, beyond the frame of government photographs they actually produced a vibrant cultural-religious tradition in the same fields of exploitation. CALIFORNIA’S AGRICULTURAL HEARTLAND became the scene on which its various social agents cast their competing visions. After the Gold Rush, the earliest land speculators turned their gaze from the foothills and looked west towards the fecund valleys. They saw that money no longer came from deep within the mines, but that it now lay in the soil and grew from the ground up, first reaped as wheat and subsequently as crops that required intensive manual labor (e.g., strawberries, melons, and grapes). Soon after the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, agriculture and ranching became the main industries in California. The labor demands of agribusiness introduced an influx of low-wage workers. Prospective farmers with any aspirations of redeeming the Jeffersonian vision of an agrarian society were summarily blindsided by the large land grabs that in acreage mirrored the holdings of early nineteenth-century Mexican hacienda owners (McWilliams 1978, 11–27). Mexicans would return to the large tracts of lands in the early twentieth century, although not as hacienderos, but as hired laborers, giving them a new vision of a land they and their predecessors once knew as Alta California. Because of agriculture’s enormity in the state and seemingly endless growth at the turn of the twentieth century, it offers a panoptic economic and social lens through which to view the state itself. Inseparable from the representations of landscape was the massive pool of workers required by this industry. Prior to World War I, labor forces comprised of Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, African Americans, and Indian-Punjabis converged in the valleys. The Great War, however, caused a labor vacuum as workers departed for other jobs, prompting growers to plead for looser restrictions towards their war-torn neighbors south of the border. After their successful pleading, growers began to view Mexican workers as merely comprising pools of labor, a force to expand their agricultural empires. All the while, deracinated Mexican migrant workers viewed the landscape around them as a system of labor opportunity, financially fruitful—relative to the economics in war-torn Mexico—yet fraught with exploitation. Likewise, displaced Dust Bowl Okies pictured California to be a type of second Promised Land after dust storms, withered crops, recessive markets, and exacting bankers uprooted them from their family farms. Viewed collectively, these competing visions offer us an unsettling picture of California in which farming was no longer a way of life according to the anachronistic Jeffersonian vision of agrarian social development in which farmers were the chosen people of God (Wald 2016, 6–7; Daniel 1981, 15–39). Rather, agriculture was redefined as an industrial mode of profit and it entirely rearranged the social world of farming (Daniel 1981, 32). In this reconfiguration, the meaning of “farmer” faded, falling somewhere between the new categories of “farmworker” and “farm operator/grower/industrialist” (McWilliams 1976, 157). This article is concerned with the photographs of the religious practices of the former in an economic, political, and social situation dominated by the latter. If agriculture became a panoptic analytical lens through which to view California, its landscapes, and its workforce, what then do we glean by reflecting on the religious cultural productions in those landscapes? This article interrogates the nearsightedness of the photojournalism of the era, brings to the foreground the religious imaginary of Apostólico Mexican Pentecostal farmworkers, and offers ways of seeing a clearer picture of that vision through their photographic record that captured snapshots of their vibrant cultural production from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s in the crop-combed fields of the twentieth-century Imperial, Salinas, and Central valleys.1 This cultural production captured in the photographs offers us a hidden transcript. James Scott noted that subordinated groups under large-scale structures of domination also have a “fairly extensive offstage social existence, which, in principle, affords it the opportunity to develop a shared critique of power” (Scott 1992, 21). In this hidden transcript, Apostólico subaltern acts/subterfuges/reinterpretations are legible. My archive—comprised of personal holdings, unpublished biographies, and self-published denominational accounts—departs from two contradistinguished traditions of California representations: the first, a literary vision of an agrarian Eden; the second, a critical muckraking condemnation of the human anguish that accompanied industrial agriculture. With the exception of John Steinbeck (in his caricatural depiction of Mr. Casey, a Pentecostal preacher turned protesting-pugilist), the pantheon of California authors largely failed to capture the religious dimensions of California’s people; this omission is not unique to the state’s literary canon. Religion has eluded the work of many labor historians and economists who have examined the patterns of migratory workers in the state. A vigorous examination of religion has generally been an afterthought, yet we know that, when compared nationally, the state witnessed the largest population increase of all states and that religious institutions sprung up in the wake of these demographic shifts. Whither then can we locate “unwanted” ethnic othered groups comprised of socially unpalatable tongue talkers in the margins of the state and religious institutions? In the fallen garden, among the crops, and alongside the machines we find members of The Apostolic Assembly of Faith in Christ Jesus /La Asamblea Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús (AAFCJ). Their photographs allow us to peer through a window into a material religious imaginary of “ex-centric people and ex-centric knowing” to capture (only in part) mere snapshots of sacred space constructed in a racialized community of “lack” (Wimbush 2013, 1–19). Subaltern Pentecostals in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands are not absent from the historical record or the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR). In their respective JAAR articles, Gastón Espinosa (1999) and Daniel Ramírez (1999) make path-breaking interventions on the roots and routes of borderlands Pentecostalism, while León (1999) offers a hermeneutic to interpret the religiously diverse borderlands. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the guild has been introduced to the first full-length monographs on Latina/o Pentecostal history with particular attention given to Mexican adherents (Sánchez-Walsh 2003; Espinosa 2014; Ramírez 2015).2 The guild has also received scholarship on theoretical framings of the religion (which includes Pentecostalism) in the borderlands (León 2004) and investigations into related cultural thaumaturgical traditions (Hendrickson 2013, 2014). The research most germane to this article, Ramírez (2015), has challenged scholars of religion to hear historical voices with their ears by paying special attention to the soundscapes of the Pentecostal borderlands. In this article, I take the United States-Mexico borderlands as a site of dynamic religious poetics and Pentecostals as agents of cultural production while offering “farmworker frames” as a new lens (metaphorically and literally) through which we can see the florescence of a racialized religious people entrapped in a vicious system and opprobrious labor conditions. Secular and religious thinkers frequently weighed in on characteristics of Mexican workers placed into the matrix of racially stratified occupations, noting that they were “tractable,” “peaceable,” “industrious,” (Daniel 1981, 105–108; Guerin-Gonzalez 1994, 51–56; Mitchell 1996, 87–109), as well as “religious,” which was a euphemism to mean “Catholic” (McWilliams and Meier 1990, 194; García 2010, 114). Some even argued that “the principal institutional influence in the life of the Mexican-American, its main contribution to a solution of ‘the Mexican Problem’ has been a policy of religious nationalism” (McWilliams and Meier 1990, 247). The lion’s share of scholarship on Mexican religious history, beliefs, and cultural production has focused on Catholicism and especially Guadalupanismo, a “devotional labor” that Elaine Peña argues offers practitioners “devotional capital” (Peña 2011). Catholicism had long found a robust and consonant discursive alliance with Mexican cultural nationalism (Barba 2017), and this is no more readily apparent than in urban cities such as El Paso (García 2010), San Antonio (Matovina 2005), and Houston (Treviño 2006). In California, academic surveys signaled a higher degree of religious diversity within Mexican communities, especially urban ones even where Catholicism and cultural nationalism still dovetailed in public spheres (e.g., Los Angeles) (Sánchez 1995, 151–70; Holland 1974, 191–223).3 In the fields of California where a majority of farmworkers were, not surprisingly, Catholic, the advancement of Protestant home missions community-ministry programs kept Catholic social ministries on a competitive edge (Dolan and Hinojosa 1994, 129–22; Esquibel Tywoniak and García 2000; García 2010, 111–29; Watt 2010). Apostólicos found themselves in a cultural quandary, having in part built a collective identity as a racialized heterodox movement in opposition to larger cultural religious forces: they spurned Catholicism (especially its devotional practices of Guadalupanismo); vied against mainline missionaries who were building robust charitable programs to offer assistance to migrant workers; and, as a oneness denomination, they challenged the majority Pentecostal movement on matters of soteriology and the Trinity. Away from the urban centers and the politics of denominational respectability, Apostólicos’ seeds of piety germinated in the obscurity of agricultural valleys. In the late 1920s, Apostólicos organized into a denomination with its base of power largely in the Imperial Valley, a context that could not simultaneously be any more binational and rural. The growth of agriculture in California augured well for the rural-based denomination. In 1929, the Central Valley became the greatest agricultural-producing valley in California. As each new season of harvest came, so too did Apostólico workers, at times (especially during the summer months) accounting for as many as over two hundred members in a church service (Bracamontes 2014). Adherents came from Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and other valleys in California to find work. Where they found work, they constructed places of worship (Aniceto Ortiz 2013). COMPARATIVE FARMWORKER FRAMES The viability of using photographs as a method of historical inquiry became clear to me when I began to compare the photographs I collected to those of the same region and time taken by various government workers as projects of the Resettlement Administration, Farm Security Administration, and Office of Wartime Information. In contrast to these public representations, my interviewees’ photographs offer a glimpse into the world of the subaltern arts and hidden transcripts of an obscured and racialized religious community.4 To begin with a notable and iconic case, I query whether the photographs of Dorothea Lange were any more truth-telling than lower-grade photographs of Pentecostals breaking ground for a new temple. Lange’s photograph of Florence Thompson stood as the symbol of migration and poverty in Depression-era United States. The image of this “Migrant Mother” indeed resonated as a type of punctum, described by Roland Barthes as “a sting, speck, cut, little hole” that a photograph is able to have upon a spectator (Barthes 1981, 26–27). On a national scale, it gripped the hearts of Americans. James Gregory reminds us that Lange and Taylor “discovered the empathetic value of white skin. The news that old-stock white American families were joining Mexican and Asians in the fields had human interest potential” (Gregory 1989, 81). The larger immediate stage beyond the frame of the Migrant Mother photograph reveals social complexities. A tool we can use to deconstruct the social context is “space off theory,” defined by Marianne Hirsch as “the space not visible in the frame but inferable from what is visible in the frame” (Hirsch 1997, 198). Lange captured the photograph at a pea picking camp in Nipomo, California. The remaining unpublished photographs and the story as told by Lange reveal that at that camp the majority of migrant laborers were not Okies, but were in fact Mexican (Street 2004, 125).5 Mexican workers can be located in the “space off” of Lange’s frame, hidden deep in the narratives, and equally deeply in the fields, far off major highways. What we can infer with respect to space off is partly knowable in the photographic frames of Apostólico farmworkers, whose cameras, while aimed at similar subjects, took in rather different worlds. THE IMPERATIVES OF APOSTÓLICO PHOTOGRAPHY Photographs became the family’s (and, in my cases, the church family’s) primary medium for self-knowledge and representation. George Eastman’s invention of the Kodak camera in 1888 allowed amateur photographers to try their hand at an emerging form of art. The simplicity of “you snap and we do the rest” enticed amateurs to photograph what they knew best: everyday life. Consequently, photographs of the domestic sphere abounded (Hirsch 1997, 6). As a result of the widespread use of cameras, the dissemination of photographs created widely circulated and shared ideas of what everyday life should look like. In other words, the “everyday” came to comprise the ordinary, the expected, the status quo, which were all regulated by the arbiters of cultural taste—that is, the white middle class. Such cultural expectations and mass (re)production of the social, the domestic, and the family were laden with power. These ideas stand in stark contrast to the aesthetics and taste of borderlands religionists captured in the photos and accompanying oral histories. The internalization of what was normal conversely constituted a category of lack. Social problems and lack of success became the criticisms of familial representations that did not meet the standard of model white families from the late Victorian age and Progressive era. Laura Wexler describes this phenomenon as the regime of sentiment and defines it as “a private practice of representing family and domesticity that in turn became an aggressive popular social practice” (Wexler 1999, 256). She asserts that the culture of sentiment “aimed not only to establish itself as the gatekeeper of social existence, but also aimed at the same time to denigrate all other people whose style or conditions of domesticity did not conform to the sentimental model” (Wexler 1999, 256). Since the sentimental home was the model home, it followed that anyone else’s home was “lacking” or in need of reform. This category of lack is easily read into the farmworkers’ homes, the squalid conditions of which caught the attention of documentary photographers. Against middle-class standards of respectability, Apostólicos’ representation of their social world did not avoid the realities of photography; rather, they posited a new interpretive and sacred layer into their collective memory as a budding denomination. This practice of memory and preservation is encapsulated in the concept of “scriptualization” defined by Vincent Wimbush as “a semiosphere within which a structure of reality is created that produces and legitimates and maintains media of knowing and discourse and the corresponding power relations” (Wimbush 2012, 46). In 1965, the leaders of the Northern District (everything in California north of Bakersfield) of La Asamblea Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús published a commemorative church directory filled with pictures of rural churches; in the following year, leaders of the same denomination produced a semi-centennial history of the entire denomination, which, not coincidentally, emphasized in writing and by photographs the growth of the denomination in rural California. These commemorative volumes, now republished and translated, are often placed alongside family photo albums, mediating and legitimating the past. VAGRANT MALE WORKERS AND FAMILIES Men comprised the majority of the migrant labor force; however, the overwhelming number of male workers skews our memory of Mexican workers of this era, resulting in an eclipse of women and children in the historical record. Over 4.5 million work contracts were granted to Mexican nationals from 1942 to 1964 as part of the Bracero Program (Public Law 78) negotiated between the United States and Mexican governments initially to fill the labor vacuum created by World War II but later to meet the growing interest of agribusiness. Many of these male workers overstayed their contracts, and a steady supply of non-contracted (read: undocumented) workers sustained agribusiness and other low-wage labor (Cohen 2011, 21; Galarza 1964, 9). The preponderance of representations capturing male farmworkers in written and visual records seems to warrant little need for a revision. Unlike the representation of Okie family units (both extended and nuclear), “family” was hardly part of the broader representational world surrounding Mexican laborers. Growers did not expect Mexicans to permanently settle. Especially if they were never to be offered permanent work and if they did not put down roots with their families, the prospects of long-term settlement seemed bleak. They were thought of as “birds of passage.” The geographical proximity to Mexico and preponderance of short-term contracts gave flight to the avian trope. Growers argued that Mexicans would not stay in the United States for long but that they would simply return across the border after the completion of their work contract (Guerin-Gonzalez 1994, 24–27). Most field workers were males, but those demographics did not necessarily reflect the composition of church membership. We find throughout Apostólico narratives that families traveled together in the name of evangelism and to congregations that welcomed families into the larger church family. Figure 1 is one of many photographs that show Apostólicos (as family units) as part of intensive manual labor system in the 1940s. Their struggle was at once both religious and familial. Figure 1: View largeDownload slide Salinas Apostólicos harvesting. Members of the Salinas Apostolic Assembly church gather for a quasi-staged photo in the mid-1940s. Unlike the practice of not recording the names of stoop laborers in government photographs, the names of these laborers were kept by the extensive “church family” (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). Figure 1: View largeDownload slide Salinas Apostólicos harvesting. Members of the Salinas Apostolic Assembly church gather for a quasi-staged photo in the mid-1940s. Unlike the practice of not recording the names of stoop laborers in government photographs, the names of these laborers were kept by the extensive “church family” (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). In Figure 1, twenty members pose in the middle of an agricultural field. There are fourteen females and six males, with ages ranging from young children to adolescents to both younger and older adults. The low-cast shadows suggest that the photograph was taken around midday, and it appears to be hot. Despite the weather conditions they upheld and embodied prescribed standards of modesty (called “holiness” in their vernacular): all the adults are covered, with men in pants and long sleeves, and women in full dresses and covered arms; the youth wear short sleeve shirts, however. On the horizon—which is curiously angled—rest structures that suggest agricultural barns and farm homesteads. Telephone poles help date the image to the mid-1940s. In the background, the storehouse on the left and the smokestack on the right places the group squarely in the thick of industrial farming. The clear-cut agricultural plots exemplify how such an industrial farm would require year-round workers. The placement of the unutilized machinery immediately behind the harvested plot and the evidence of tools and boxes for hand-picking the crops (possibly tomatoes) reveals that they were intensive-labor crop harvesters. The group faces the camera; this is not a photograph of actual labor, but of a moment of respite in which individuals have come together, perhaps for a midday meal, or for the photographer. The image does not offer the aesthetically focused close-up and saturated look of Migrant Mother. Indeed, the group is framed by significant amounts of land and sky. They are distant from the camera, and some faces can be difficult to make out. The aesthetic is that of the snapshot, suggesting that the photographer was perhaps a member of the group and that the occasion was more the recording of a memory of quotidian practices than it was the formalist impulse of Lange, Taylor, or other documentarians. Set in the built environment of agriculture, this photograph captures constitutive (and alternative) interpretations of the same scene (Meinig 1979, 33–47). When landscape is viewed through the lens of an Apostólico ideology, we arrive at a more profound understanding of why women in the fields wore long dresses. Their collective understanding of “outward holiness” rested on modesty demonstrated by their clothes, which covered most of the body, and by gender distinctions in dress (men wore pants and women wore dresses). Aniceto Ortiz recalled that the distinctive comportment and appearance of Apostólicos piqued his interest in Patterson, California and reminded him of life on a small farm in Sinaloa: “platicaba con ellos, trabajabamos juntos…no tomaban, no fumaban nada de todo eso…las mujeres todas vestidas con vestido, no pantalon. En la iglesia no habia ni pintadas, muy modestas, no habia con anillos o aretes. Todo me gusto muy bien, mucho, mucho. / I talked with them, we worked together…they did not drink, smoke, nothing like that. The women all dressed in dresses, not with pants in the church. They did not wear rings or earrings, and I liked all that very, very much” (Aniceto Ortiz 2013). Such codifications of belief demanded a high level of participation from adherents, which resulted in tightly knit communities. These tightly knit communities engendered stabilization and permanency. In Salinas, where tomatoes, sugar beets, and lettuce grew in abundance, such workers were in demand year-round, so families could establish some permanency and congregations could grow. In this case, by the late 1940s, the Salinas congregation rose to prominence (respective to the denomination) under the direction of farmworker Juan Amaya (Perez 2015). Families fostered permanency and reliability for the church and labor contractors. In fact, some growers preferred Apostólicos and their large families, because they could pay the women and children less and they could count on dutiful abstemious men (Manzano 2013). Finally, space off theory reminds us that we can infer what is not in the frame based on what is in the frame. We can infer that these distinctly dressed farmworkers belonged to a congregation. What we do not see in the Figure 1 are the houses that surround the first temple built in the fields. Information beyond the frame (and time) of the photograph reveals that twenty years later, the man standing, Manuel Vizcarra, would be elected bishop over the northern California region while pastoring and laboring as a farmworker in Westley. This launched his lifelong career of serving various leadership roles within the denomination. While pastoring in San Jose in 1986, he assumed the highest-ranking office in the denomination as presiding bishop. Others pictured in the photograph assumed local leadership roles. MUSIC OF MIGRANTS Borderlands migrants mobilized a culture of folk music and disseminated it from one field to the next. Photographs of migrants offer us a picture of the complexity of the music they composed and performed. The belief that farmworkers had little to no active artistic expression while working in the fields is summarily falsified with respect to Apostólico farmworkers’ robust musical tradition. Government photographers occasionally captured one or a couple of Mexican laborers strumming their guitars, but beyond snapshots of seemingly isolated performances, Apostólicos in the space off of these frames created a rich musical tradition of hymns and ballads. Individual and bands of farmworkers converted California’s landscapes into Apostólico soundscapes. Indeed, the composition and performance of Apostólico music constituted a process of “scriptualization.” In acts of scriptualization (in this case textual and performative), minoritized communities engage and challenge the dominant norms of church practice and knowledge in the forms of mimicry, interruptions, and reorientations (Wimbush 2013, 1–3).6 In the sacred and profane soundscapes of the US-Mexico borderlands ballads about class, riots, strikes, and revolution, the various Apostólico farmworkers, who mostly lacked formal training, mimicked the “conventional-canonical” sounds of sacred music but did so on their own terms, rendering a new signifier: “Aleluyas.” The sonic elements of their services, such as collective singing, exuberant worship, guitar playing, percussive striking, hand clapping, and shouts of “aleluya,” traveled beyond the meeting space and well into the public (largely Catholic), and as a result the pejorative “Aleluyas” entered into the lexicon of the detractors of Apostólicos.7 Brent Plate reminds us that “hearing is a material process” (Plate 2014, 101), one that, in this case, operated as sacred sonic stimuli that in some ways compensated for the heavy visual/material world of pre-Vatican II Catholic spaces, be they in the mass or at one’s home altar. One groups’ cacophony is another’s euphony, and so on the contrary a common testimonial template begins with the curiosity of the convert piqued by such sonic transgression; eventually “aleluya” wistfully became a source of pride as it hearkened back to the experience of conversion. Concepción Ares recalled how back in the early 1930s she and her sister were drawn to Apostólico services because of the music: Un domingo que veníamos, oímos y estaban cantando entonces fuimos a asomarnos pues tenia una ventana y nos sumamos a ver que es esto. Nunca habíamos visto los protestantes, y nos dijeron que nos pasábamos y dije ‘no, nosotros somos católicas’; no entramos allí. Pero después cada vez que tenían servicios íbamos y nos parábamos en la ventana a oír los cantos. /One Sunday when we were coming, we could hear that they were singing, so we went to peep in since there was a window and we got close to see what this is. We had never seen the Protestants. And they invited us to enter and I said ‘no, we are Catholics.’ We did not go in there. But then every time that they had services we went and stopped at the window to hear the songs. (Ares 2013) Concepción and her sister’s prolonged Sunday trips to the panadería (in this context a Mexican bakery) raised the suspicion of their mother who soon inquired concerning their whereabouts. A few weeks later the mother and two daughters visited the church and eventually became lifelong members (Ares 2013). The most prolific Apostólico composer, Marcial de la Cruz, converted in the earliest circuits of farmworker revivals in San Diego and Los Angeles counties and carved out his ministry in the Imperial Valley (Cantú and Ortega 1966). De la Cruz composed over twenty-five of the hymns that appeared in Cantos de Consolación in the mid-1930s. Just as the Mexican “surge northward” was in full swing, De la Cruz’s counterpart in the north, Pedro Banderas, expanded the soundscapes of Apostólico music. Erstwhile elder of the Northern District of the AAFCJ, pastor in the farming town of Cutler, and founder of the churches in San Jose and Selma, Banderas wrote his share of songs, one of which was published in Cantos de Consolación. Although the date of its composition is uncertain, he mostly likely wrote “Mi Petición” (My Petition) while serving as pastor in the Central Valley. Mi Petición represents a cry for divine succor, reminiscent of Israel’s exilic period literature. These compositions enjoyed widespread acceptance in the Spanish-speaking Americas. In their offstage existence, in these ways Apostólico composers contributed new sacred sounds and to the material religion of the borderlands. The rise of grass roots bands such as the one pictured in Figure 2 was not entirely uncommon. The photograph presents us with a mix of instruments that includes horns (trumpet, saxophone, and trombone) and strings (violin, banjo, and dobro guitar), which would suggest a variation of genres within the band’s repertoire. The traditional (secular) Mexican genres of early hymns included: polka, ranchera, vals (waltz), huapango, marcial, canción romántica, bolero, and corrido, most of which were considered profane/worldly musical genres not sanctioned for performance in traditional Christian services (Ramírez 2015, 220–21). The vast and increasing repertoire appealed to the senses and had physical manifestations (e.g., shouts or tears of joy, prostrated repented bodies, laying on of hands) as is common to various religious groups where music can dictate bodily responses (Plate 2014, 113–14). Given the camera’s slightly tilted orientation, it is most likely that an amateur photographer from the group captured the image. The photograph captures fifty-eight individuals: sixteen women and forty-two men. The band’s total number is fewer than that, however, since seated in the front row are local and international leaders. One row of women singers stands behind the musicians and in front of two rows of male singers, perhaps suggesting that the choir sang in various equal parts. Unlike the previous photograph, everyone in this one is covered, exposing only faces and hands. Except the woman wearing a full-brimmed hat, all the women almost completely cover their heads with veils. Just slightly beyond the frame lie important details of location, which offer many details about the Apostólico soundscapes. Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Tulare orchestra. An orchestra from Tulare at their 1934 performance in Otay (border town), CA. The Tulare church rose to regional prominence under the pastorate of Epifanio Cota, an itinerant farm laborer and evangelist (migration made both occupations possible). Local church bands performed at regional services throughout the state. Several movement leaders occupy the second row (Cantú and Ortega 1966, 28c.). Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Tulare orchestra. An orchestra from Tulare at their 1934 performance in Otay (border town), CA. The Tulare church rose to regional prominence under the pastorate of Epifanio Cota, an itinerant farm laborer and evangelist (migration made both occupations possible). Local church bands performed at regional services throughout the state. Several movement leaders occupy the second row (Cantú and Ortega 1966, 28c.). This 1934 orchestra from Tulare posed for this picture at a performance in the temple that is slightly captured on the right side of the frame. The relatively large orchestra traveled over three hundred miles from the agricultural town of Tulare to the border town of Otay to provide the music for a revival. The orchestra hailed from Epifanio Cota’s church, which he founded seven years earlier during his time as a migratory farmworker/evangelist. The modesty (both in terms of covering and lack of ostentatiousness) and uniformity of their attire demonstrates the lengths (quite literally) to which they went to maintain their prescribed level of outward holiness. Another comparison to the previous photograph also shows how customs of dress differed from work activities to church ones. Based on a literal reading and application of First Corinthians chapter eleven, women wore head coverings: these included, full-brimmed hats (sombreros), headscarves, thick cotton veils, and, later, lace veils. The Tulare orchestra was one of many migrating music troupes. From one farm town to the next, bands of these sorts migrated, strumming and drumming. In the larger borderlands context of labor migration and musical production, musicians, lay leaders, and even clergy were known to make stops in fields to finance the next portions of their interstate and trans-border travel to church conferences and conventions (Ortega 1998). With saxophone and hymnal in hand, father-daughter duo Florencio and Eugenia Zuniga followed as labor demands dictated their trajectories. Eugenia recalls how church services served as venues to demonstrate her skills and also expand her network of friends. Eugenia’s father brought her along to provide the piano accompaniment to his saxophone performances. Together they traveled the migrant harvest route from Sanger, Huron, and Dos Palos (Central Valley towns) to Watsonville (Pajaro Valley) for work and worship, as the two occurred in tandem (Manzano 2013). Pentecostal composers deployed contextual metaphors. Songs such as “Trigo Soy” (I Am Wheat), “Vamos a la Siembra” (Let’s All Go to the Sowing), “El Sembrador” (The Sower), “Rosa de Saron (Rose of Sharon), and “Como La Primavera” (As the Springtime) all sprang up from a borderlands context of agricultural work (Ramírez 2015, 181). The migratory experience and oral culture allowed Apostólico soundscapes to spread, opening up new paths for doctrinal expression. Their Oneness Pentecostal heterodoxy called for the redaction of songs with references to the Trinity and thus enforced a need to compose their own songs. Musical production and lyrical composition provided a malleable canvas for individual actors to produce doxologies and reinforce heterodox doctrines. But unlike their Anglo counterparts, Apostólico musicians generally did not enjoy the benefit of honing their skills under paid-professional trainers and schools. This new musical heterodoxy grew into an organic cultural product easily distributed along migrant routes via an oral culture. In this oral culture, one did not need formal training (this was also the case with preachers). Lacking formal instruction, most learned how to play by ear. The earliest Apostólico musicians did not score their music. New members quickly learned parts in the abundant opportunities offered by lengthy services held multiple times per week. Apostólicos fine-tuned their music to the registers of the subaltern borderlands culture and identity, culminating in a material (quite literal) practice of scripturalization. The mid-1930s compilation of the movement’s first hymnal, Cantos de Consolación (songs of consolation), attests to this. As the first item that the denomination published with the intention of consumption by clergy and laity alike (on either side of the border), the hymnal played an important role in the material, textual, and collective life and memory of Apostólicos. Carried alongside a Bible, it accompanied the preaching of Apostolic (heterodox) doctrine. It also orchestrated a collective oral-musical culture and resonated within the broader hymnody of borderlands soundscapes. Since the composers did not score any of the hymns, it thereby provided a staff (figuratively) onto which Apostolic audiences could easily write and rewrite, modify and modulate, transpose and later translate their songs. The unscored hymnal traveled easily, and its theoretical musical simplicity allowed youths and adults to partake in and help create an emerging organic tradition. Musicians did not own the instruments they played in many cases; rather, members of local congregations bequeathed them to the church body with the expectation that the beneficiary would perform in the services, sometimes at least three times a week (Manzano 2013). The collective congregational participation in the hours of musical praise and the shared-ownership exchange allowed more participants to learn and showcase their talents. SANCTIFIED LANDSCAPES: BAPTISMS AND THE REINTERPRETATION OF SPACE The richness of the collective musical tradition is apparent in the songs that accompanied water baptism, a ceremony of “worldmaking” (Carrasco 2014, 27–30). Figure 3 is a farmworker frame that captures the solemnity and celebration at baptisms. In this frame, about thirty-five Apostólicos banded together to sing and witness baptisms where the congregation welcomed new converts into their ecclesial, albeit migrating, body. In this mid-1950s frame, pastor Miguel Marrufo is accompanied by his congregation of farmworkers to repurpose the use of the irrigation water near Patterson. Aniceto Ortiz recalled being baptized along with four others by fellow field worker and traveling evangelist Miguel Marrufo: Figure 3: View largeDownload slide Marrufo baptizes near Patterson. In this baptism near Patterson, Miguel Marrufo enabled forms of subaltern arts by repurposing the grower-controlled San Joaquin River ca. 1950s (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). Figure 3: View largeDownload slide Marrufo baptizes near Patterson. In this baptism near Patterson, Miguel Marrufo enabled forms of subaltern arts by repurposing the grower-controlled San Joaquin River ca. 1950s (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). En Patterson pa’ arriba por un cañón [Del Puerto Canyon]…quedaba corriendo, ese tiempo después de la lluvia, y hacía charcos y seguía como uno dice, ‘pilas,’ pilas como charcos de agua que llegaba como no más para tapar todo / Up in the canyon [Del Puerto Canyon] in Patterson, there was water running one time after the rain, and the water would make puddles and eventually make, as one would say, ‘troughs,’ troughs like puddles enough to cover everything [the body]. (Ortiz 2013) The performative language of the baptismal invocation formula and the requisite singing of hymns (El Nombre del Mesías and Yo Soy Bautizado) resulted in the sanctification of landscape and a practice. If we could ascribe any sort of hierarchy of sacraments to Oneness Pentecostalism, the baptismal by immersion has historically been the most preeminent ritual, requiring precise instruction and requirements. In the act of performing this sacrament in rivers and canals, we can see an interruption of the normal uses of grower-controlled landscape and a reorientation toward American religious rituals. Beyond the natural, Apostólicos perceived landscape as a holy place at the moment of baptism; the memories built around such ceremonies and sites had a longer (eternal according to adherents) life of their own (Gaxiola-Lopez 2007, 66, 75–79, 85–87). The subversion of disproportionate power structures in conditions of little to no respect set these baptisms apart from other river baptisms and distinguishes this means of photographing baptisms from the images of baptisms by the aspersion of holy water performed in Catholics churches, a well-documented public practice among Mexicans in the Central Valley. Water rituals span time and place across various religions (Eliade 1996, 188–212). By seeking to understand the theological headwaters that flowed in the Kings, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus rivers, we may begin to observe how Apostólicos saw that rituals, through the invocation of the divine, temporarily transformed the rivers from profane to sacred. In keeping with longstanding Christian soteriology, converts identified with the death and burial of Jesus Christ in the obedience and performance of full-immersion baptism (Eliade 1996, 196–97). In the absence of formal temples to house a baptistry, Apostólicos baptized for the cleansing of sins in the muddied (and pesticide polluted) rivers of the Central Valley. The invocation of the sacred offered an alternative view of landscape, a type of hidden transcript. Eliade proffers that “a thing becomes sacred insofar as it embodies (that is, reveals) something other than itself” (1996, 13). For adherents, the waters of the Central Valley rivers carried more than the life supply of the vineyards and the waters that made the arduous and exploitative “colonial labor system” possible (Mario Barrera, 1979); it also carried powers of sanctification that in turn washed and carried away their sins. In this ritual, there is a “clear-cut separation of this thing which manifests the sacred from everything else around it” (Eliade 1996, 13). When the minister and convert stepped foot into the river to perform a baptism, the waters stopped being a mere profane symbol of their exploitation and, at that moment, acquired a dimension of sacredness. During the descent down the riverbank, the dunking, and the returning ascent, they sang sacred hymns from collective memory in celebration of a new member being “baptized into the body.”8 The various levels of invoking the divine in these physically polluting, yet spiritually purifying, waters of baptism, show how counter narratives of Apostólicos offer a new interpretation of the landscape. A close reading of the significance of baptism allows us to dive into the waters of Oneness-Pentecostal soteriology where we can uncover a deeply hidden transcript at play. Chidester and Linenthal remind us that sacred space is inevitably contested space (15); in fact, farmworkers frames capture contestations regarding space and soteriology. The symbolic manipulation of the natural environment—water for crops was transformed into sanctified waters of baptism—allowed adherents power to read the supernatural (baptisms) in the natural (rivers). California’s fraught history over riparian rights tells us that ownership and access to agricultural waters was no trivial matter (Hundley 2001). Even if only for brief moments, the worldmaking engendered by the ceremony and mythic transformation of the tributaries, canals, and rivers gave Apostólicos a view of landscape known only in a hidden transcript. A convert’s own sanctification was at stake according to Pentecostal typology of baptism as death to sin. It was not unknown for Apostólicos to ask converts to undergo re-baptisms “in the name of Jesus” if they had been previously baptized “in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Apostólicos and their Anglophone counterparts took issue with those who performed baptism with the formula “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Baptismal orthodoxy shook early Pentecostalism at an organizational level, but it also proved significant in the lives of individual adherents who persisted in that faith.9 The biographical data gleaned from funeral programs and obituaries of the converts provide a glimpse into the premium placed on the act, date, and site of baptism. The following represents a basic template (not necessarily in this order) of significant dates in the life of an Apostólico: Born, Born of the Spirit, Born of the Water (place of baptism), Married, Ordained into the Ministry, Home with Jesus. This method of memory placed their otherworldy and thisworldly memory on the same social plane.10 At the moment of baptism, the landscape was sanctified by a verbal utterance; in the memory of converts, the landscape was forever sanctified as a site where they sealed their eternal salvation. The memory of this act was immortalized by the public record locating and dating the site of baptisms. To the degree that baptisms, the creation of sacred space, the manipulation of the natural environment, and the reinterpretations of the natural all reflect modes of worldmaking, the construction of carpas and temples signaled modes of worldcentering (Carrasco 2014, 27–30). In most Apostólico-built temples, the baptisteries occupied a central space behind the podium. In a similar fashion to how priests place the Eucharist in the center of the podium in Catholic masses, the pulpit and baptistery generally took center stage in Apostólico temples. Where no temples stood, Apostólicos baptized in the nearby waterways and hosted services in makeshift temples-tents they called carpas. TEMPLES MADE WITH HANDS: A BORDERLANDS AESTHETIC OF ARCHITECTURE Dirt floors and late-night shouting characterized Pentecostal tent revivals. Apostólicos knew these start-up tent churches as obras en carpas (works in tents) and saw these sites as respite from hard labor in the fields. To Apostólicos, carpas represented a repurposing of a profane symbol and site into sacred space. The carpa performance tradition arose in the 1920s during the early years of Mexico’s cinematic and circus production. Performances included satire, humor, romance, and music and created visual and physical experiences for spectators/participants. With low admission costs and with few mobility constraints, the carpa appealed to an economically diverse audience. The productions in these tents involved the most profane objects and carnivalesque societal manifestations; the carpa as place and phenomena indubitably embodied the paragon of profane cosas mundanas (worldly things). Tracing Mexican Pentecostalism through the carpa necessarily raises the question: could such profane artifacts be consecrated? Apostólicos saw beyond the most physical (arduous work, bodily sweat, stoop labor) aspects of California agriculture, viewing them also as seedbeds ripe with spiritual possibility. In the case of carpas, Apostólicos pruned the most profane or vice-ridden vines of society and grew them productively into culturally palatable items ready for picking by the church and use on the revivals along the “plate route.”11 In the same fields where one would bow over to work the harvest by day, by night—as was the performative custom of Apostólicos entering any temple— they would walk into the carpa and bow down in their seats to consecrate their bodies and space before engaging in any other form of worship (Gaxiola-Lopez 2007, 83). Plate reminds us that “walking into sacred spaces like temples, mosques, and churches, several sensual actions are often undertaken that mark the passage from profane space to sacred space…objects and spaces educate us” (Plate 2014, 64). A carpa may have appeared to be merely another housing tent, but as adherents entered therein they believed that they marked a passage in time, place, and purpose. Undergirding this purpose was urgency. “They wouldn’t waste time; they would get together and have church wherever they could” recalled Eugenia Manzano (Manzano 2013). The success of Pentecostalism, according to historian Grant Wacker, lay within Pentecostals’ ability to hold these two impulses in productive tension (Wacker 2001, 10). Mexican Pentecostals found this productive balance by successfully deploying carpa evangelism to found churches. These seemingly isolated churches were connected to a larger, vast network of borderlands obras. The carpa in Figure 4 is an example of such an edifice in a rural California; and though it may not appear to be so, it was indeed more elaborate than other carpas, as it was equipped with sturdy siding to uphold the canvas tent. The congregation that occupied it later migrated into their own temple in Modesto. Apostólicos always intended the carpa to be temporary and used as a means to garner the necessary constituent support to build a proper temple, the ultimate physical mark or legacy that carpas impressed upon a landscape. Figure 4: View largeDownload slide Carpa in Riverbank. The carpa in Riverbank (ca. 1948) offers a glimpse of a sturdier tent. The carpas in Patterson and Sanger match the description of tents suspended by guy ropes and anchored by stakes (photograph courtesy of Eugenia Manzano). Figure 4: View largeDownload slide Carpa in Riverbank. The carpa in Riverbank (ca. 1948) offers a glimpse of a sturdier tent. The carpas in Patterson and Sanger match the description of tents suspended by guy ropes and anchored by stakes (photograph courtesy of Eugenia Manzano). Where there were Apostólicos who found some semblance of permanency, there were more durable places to worship: temples, and these temples did not go without an aesthetic borderlands touch. A truism in southern California’s brickyards revealed racial dimensions of brickwork production and mastery: “the color of brickwork is brown” (Deverell 2004, 131). As congregations transitioned from carpas to temples the truism held true. Pulling creative impulses from south of the border while invoking the divine in a single place of consecration constituted a type of worldcentering. In this act, the body of adherents “celebrate[d] creativity and the construction of buildings that focused on ritual and daily life” (Carrasco 2014, 40). The celebration of constructing temples took on politically resistant dimensions among Apostólicos whose adobe churches they built on their own, upsetting the capitalistic convention of the alienation of labor (common to the brickyards of southern California) and asserting a growing architectural trend. Roberto Lint Sagarena further reminds us that “counterspaces can parody and undermine repressive spaces” as demonstrated in art and architectures of the US Southwest (Sagarena 2014, 8). Among Apostólicos, adobe brick buildings gained popularity as a Mexican aesthetic of the borderlands. Photographs taken (or made) in California’s rural agricultural towns offer ample opportunities to observe an offstage existence. We can observe how this offstage social existence operated at multiple levels within and outside of the temple in Sanger. Figure 5 captures the solemnity of the groundbreaking ceremony. A rereading of the congregation’s first meetings challenges how we reflect on subaltern modes of agency and the political forms of resistance that one dared not speak (especially during the mass repatriation of Mexicans). During a high tide of xenophobia in the mid-1930s, the church of grape harvesters (some of which were undocumented) broke ground for a new temple as pictured in Figure 5. Amid acres of vineyards in rural Sanger, the men and women of the congregation, led by Pastor Jesús Valdez, banded together to sanctify the ground they would break. But lacking the financial resources to finish the construction of their own edifice, members from the church dug a large rectangular pit in which to hold services. Eugenia Manzano came of age as a member of the church in Sanger. She recalls wistfully: Figure 5: View largeDownload slide Breaking US soil in Sanger. Epifanio Cota, Central Valley pioneering pastor and bishop of the Northern California district, led Valdez’s congregation in the groundbreaking ceremony ca. late 1930s. At a time of intense xenophobia towards Mexicans, Apostólicos built permanent structures using and on US soil. (60 Year Anniversary Sanger, photograph courtesy of Marta Bracamontes). Figure 5: View largeDownload slide Breaking US soil in Sanger. Epifanio Cota, Central Valley pioneering pastor and bishop of the Northern California district, led Valdez’s congregation in the groundbreaking ceremony ca. late 1930s. At a time of intense xenophobia towards Mexicans, Apostólicos built permanent structures using and on US soil. (60 Year Anniversary Sanger, photograph courtesy of Marta Bracamontes). They started, you know, making this hole and hauling the dirt with a wheelbarrow and making the adobe and then when the pit got bigger, you know, it got bigger, and we didn’t have no place to gather to have services, so they had the services in the pit, but the pit was deep…the more dirt they hauled out of there, the bigger the pit. And that’s how we started. And I heard someone say that the neighbors around there called us, los topos, the gophers. (Manzano 2013) The “Pit Church,” as it was called, could house from thirty to fifty sitting. The actual brick-and-mortar construction of adobe temples reflects dimensions of farmworker life and aesthetic expertise of minority groups paid meager wages to produce bricks. Against the wave of mass repatriation in the mid-1930s, the designer of the temple, Florencio Zuniga, boarded a train back into the US as an unwanted and undocumented ethnic Mexican. The design of the earliest Apostolic temples in the Central Valley therefore came from the genius of a newly converted lay member criminalized by the United States as “illegal,” as he headed back to work in the fields of the Central Valley. Thus, while some Mexican migrants then were being uprooted en masse, others put down roots in US soil. Some left lasting legacies. In the case of the Sanger congregation, this imprint came in the form of a permanent structure built with adobe bricks on US soil. The use of adobe bricks shows us how one could extract resources from the land cultivated under a “colonial labor system” (Barrera 1979) and, brick by brick, transform that same ground into something sacred, durable, and symbolic of political resistance to xenophobia. In the southern end of the Central Valley, trained architect Pilar Moreno oversaw the construction of the adobe brick temple in Delano. Prior to his conversion he had already built several churches and luxurious Spanish-style homes in Kern County.12 The workforce of church members in Delano was comprised mostly of agricultural workers from cotton fields and vineyards. The style of the completed temple was reminiscent of the Spanish mission revival, complete with a bell tower and a more sophisticated brick façade. At a time when leaders of small Pentecostal churches scoffed at the construction of elaborate temples and the ostensible misuse of funds, Moreno charged his members to build a temple that would be distinguished from others nearby. His adobe brick design spread to Phoenix, San Jose, Soledad, Otay, Bakersfield, and prominent Apostólico sites. The construction of the Delano temple enunciated an indubitable borderlands aesthetic, and so, too, did the adornment of the temple inside. TEMPLE DECORATIONS: BORDERLANDS ARTISANAL DECOR Photographs of church services inside an Apostólico temple offer a prima facie impression of male-dominated space. After all, male leaders of the movement codified the prohibitions against women preaching (and quoting passages of scripture during church service) by 1933 despite that women had set historical precedents as missionaries and deaconesses (Romana Carbajal de Valenzuela, for example, founded the Oneness-Pentecostal movement in Mexico and the movement ordained women as deaconesses in its early years) (Ramírez 2015, 53–54). Apostólicos codified a trend informally triggered by their many North American Pentecostal counterparts: the closer the movement moved towards organization into a denomination, the more they systematically or informally removed women from clerical roles (Poloma 1989). Within two decades of their binational beginnings, Apostólico leaders barred women from any pulpit or platform ministry when in the presence of men. But men did not occupy all the space in the fields or in the churches. Women made up a large portion of the members in farmworker churches. Many of them played leading roles in evangelizing and increasing the membership and constituted the earliest leaders of the married women’s department called Sociedad Feminil Dorcas. In some cases, women donated the properties on which members built temples (Perez 2015). In those temples, female representation took on different forms. Because the podium served as the site from which the preaching of the word was pronounced, it operated as a holy/sacred place and was even blocked off from all laypersons and women. Amid the sacred place, however, there was a silver lining for the creative genius of women; it was a white lining that came in the form of embroidery. Women visualized and produced a borderlands aesthetics in the making of tejidos (embroidered fabrics), which occupied the most sacred spaces in the temples and carpas.13Figure 6 offers a snapshot of the many layers of aesthetic productions. Six young girls and one boy stand in front of the pulpit that is covered with a tejido. Their position relative to the platform and arrangement suggest that they performed one of the many Apostólico hymns. The frame (and angle) suggest that the quick snapshot was meant to capture the young girls in the center of the frame looking back at the camera. Only two of the three young girls are wearing veils. Based on what we see in the frame, we could infer that, like the carpa in Figure 5, this one was semi-permanent. The unfinished wood panel and benches for the ministers on the sacred platform suggest that the structure was intended to be only temporary. We may also infer more based on the objects that are covered. Figure 6: View largeDownload slide Artisanal décor in the Grayson carpa. Women even decorated the pulpits with tejidos as shown in this late 1940s picture of a children’s choir. The congregation started here in a carpa and by the early 1960s moved into a temple in the neighboring farmworker community of Grayson. Apostólico photographs provide images of artistic and sacred spaces (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). Figure 6: View largeDownload slide Artisanal décor in the Grayson carpa. Women even decorated the pulpits with tejidos as shown in this late 1940s picture of a children’s choir. The congregation started here in a carpa and by the early 1960s moved into a temple in the neighboring farmworker community of Grayson. Apostólico photographs provide images of artistic and sacred spaces (photograph courtesy of Milca Montañez-Vizcarra). Preachers placed their Bibles and sermon notes on pulpits covered/beautified by handmade products, as demonstrated in Figure 6. The aesthetics of place did not come by their own accord. Even if only men occupied the pulpits, women covered them and aestheticized the sacred space of the platform by draping tejidos over pianos and altars of repentance (a type of worldrenewal) set immediately in front of the pulpit. Women also imported other Mexican practices by decorating the platform and altar area with fresh flowers usually grown at home or purchased at the market. When cleaning the churches and replacing the old flowers before night services or on Saturday nights before Sunday services, women stepped foot on the platform; in this openness and free time, they could pronounce blessings and pray. Other small hand-made tejidos covered the most holy objects of all in the temple: the bread and cup offered in La Santa Cena (The Holy Communion). Knowing that they would be used to cover holy objects, women designed these sacred objects with fastidious details and consecration.14 The privilege of weaving together a tejido that would be used for the Santa Cena came with the utmost honor. Apostólicos mobilized handmade temple aesthetics in their temples as well as in the public sphere. Handmade banners heralded the arrival of youth groups (Mensajeros de Paz/Messengers of Peace), the ladies’ auxiliary (Las Dorcas), and the men’s division (Los Varones) as these groups paraded their way into their own churches or visiting churches. Members recall how, upon arriving at youth services, each local church carried its own banner. The leader of each church would place the banner on the platform to declare his group had arrived; all in holy-jealously, they each tried to outdo one another. The competition extended beyond the production of banners. Members from youth groups in Central Valley towns recall how their counterparts from the more cosmopolitan Los Angeles district dressed more ostentatiously (very relatively speaking here) and overall wore better clothes and accessories than the modest white gowns donned by Central Valley youths (Manzano 2013; Ramirez 2015). In a fashion similar to the production of tejidos, their clothes were often handmade. Some power of aesthetic flexibility lay within all these handmade goods. The role of handmade goods and foods in funding the construction and maintenance of these temples adds another layer of complexity to this offstage narrative of resilience. Tejidos bolstered the finances of the church. Those not sanctified for use in the temple, but instead intended for aestheticizing domestic spheres, generated profits to supplement what farmworkers could contribute from their wages. The financial contributions of workers in a colonial labor system could hardly sustain a movement, so women also made and sold various handmade goods. In Figure 7, the congregation in Sanger chose to memorialize in their jubilee yearbook women making tamales. This speaks to the importance of the practice and its centrality in shared memory. Sometimes out of convenience, women chose to keep their veils on while making tamales; but many times, the kitchen, too, became a sacred space. As long as they wore veils, they could pray for each other. The kitchen provided a space of resistance for women to interact with each other in ways prohibited while in the sanctuary. While in the kitchen they could minister to each other and critically discuss decisions made by their male counterparts regarding church matters (Bracamontes 2014; Maria Ortiz 2013). This phenomenon resembles the “cannery culture” described by Vicki Ruiz in her landmark work on women in the cannery industries, who, after working alongside each other performing the same sort of work, developed an intricate system of social cohesion where one could broach critical life conversations about family, fashions, fads, church, and social events, even if it meant that this information was communicated in the form of chisme (gossip) (Ruiz 1987, 32–34). Looking back at Figure 5, we might consider then how the women standing around the groundbreaking ceremony were quite plausibly the main financial contributors. Generally speaking, since the 1920s, Apostólico congregations (especially in rural California) did not enjoy the benefit of bank loans or savings accounts but relied on donated labor, resulting in a debt-free temple (Holland 1974, 361). After they built temples, the funds from tamale sales sustained churches for special projects. Marta Bracamontes, the daughter of Jesús Valdez (pictured in Figure 5), remembered the extent to which churches relied on the work of women: “My dad always said, ‘we are the ministers but the women are the administrators’… because they are the ones that fund whatever projects are in the church” (Bracamontes 2014). For growers and women, money indeed grew from the ground and it came from ground corn for tamales. When members of the church attained better jobs (cannery work for women and construction or factory work for men), they relied less on the sales of handmade goods and foods as fundraisers for the temple. Jeffery Pilcher shows how the production and consumption of tamales and tortillas in twentieth-century Mexico came to symbolize resistance to a dominant Euro-culinary culture and the foods of the lower classes (Pilcher 1998). While the debates in Mexico over the use of wheat or corn were winnowed in winds of national discourse, on the US side, Apostólicos (among most Mexicans) forged a new mestizo identity whose cuisine was quite definitively based on corn. Tamaladas (tamale-making parties) became the staple fundraiser for Mexican-American fundraisers (done in Catholic churches as well), but the role of tamales among Apostólicos seems to occupy a unique place in the narrative of temple construction and maintenance. Figure 7: View largeDownload slide Church matriarchs are remembered for making tamales. That the congregation in Sanger chose to memorialize in their 60-year yearbook women making tamales speaks to the importance of the practice and its centrality in shared memory. Pictured here are women making tamales in the 1950s. (60 Year Anniversary Sanger, photograph courtesy of Marta Bracamontes). Figure 7: View largeDownload slide Church matriarchs are remembered for making tamales. That the congregation in Sanger chose to memorialize in their 60-year yearbook women making tamales speaks to the importance of the practice and its centrality in shared memory. Pictured here are women making tamales in the 1950s. (60 Year Anniversary Sanger, photograph courtesy of Marta Bracamontes). FITLY FRAMED: CONCLUSION The photographic record offers access to view what James Scott terms the “infrapolitics of subordinate groups,” which he defines as “a wide variety of low-profile forms of resistance that dare not speak in their own name” (Scott 1992, 19). In this article, we have explored just some of facets of Apostólico culture in the borderlands and how ethnic-cultural aesthetics came to influence an emerging religious movement. While the emergence may have eluded photographers and been shrouded by the shadow of looming national concerns, in the obscured margins a movement nevertheless flourished. As early as growers demanded laborers, Apostólico migrant workers lived on the periphery of society. Despite their outsider status, their religious poetics, especially in music, played out locally and globally—their music, for example, had far-reaching hemispheric influences. More locally, Spanish-language hymns about migratory routes sung during the Repatriation constituted a form of resistance; when sung in the seclusion of their own homes or temples, the performance acted as a hidden transcript. Other acts, such as undocumented Mexicans building an edifice on US soil and farmworker preachers baptizing converts in the river controlled by growers, were a public performance of the hidden transcript. Photographs of these performances that oriented the otherworldly in a very physically (read: thiswordly) trying environment enable us to compare “landscapes” as well as the public versus private transcripts at play in California. The legal and social categories denoted in pejorative terms played out as a public transcript and coerced a particular type of behavior between the growers and laborers. A nameless “vagrant,” however, was possibly a migrating convert with a letter of recommendation signed by his/her by a pastor commending the saint into the flock of another pastor; a faceless stoop laborer may very well have also been a musician by night at some point reaching over to fix a tejido laid on the altar by a fellow field hand. Inaccessible to the growers and to the larger public was this rich hidden transcript of Apostólico arts. The photographic archives offer us clues into the rich material history, arts, and modes of low-profile resistance lived out in the fields of California. In the rural fields—the very space off of published photographs of the time—they sowed the sacred, created axis mundi, and nurtured a vibrant artistic culture. Farmworker frames capture this religious and cultural florescence. I would like to thank Milca Montañez-Vizcarra and Manuel Ares for their generous effort in helping me secure interviews for me to conduct. The independent work of Herminia Martinez to track down historical records has proven invaluable. I also thank the interviewees for sharing their rich stories with me. Finally, thanks are in order to the reviewers of this article REFERENCES Barba , Lloyd . 2017 . “ More spirit in that little madera church: cesar chavez and religious landscapes, 1954–1962 .” California History 94 ( 1 ): 26 – 42 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Barrera , Mario . 1979 . Race and Class in the Southwest: A Theory of Racial Inequality . South Bend, IN : University of Notre Dame Press . Barthes , Roland . 1981 . 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Interview with author, Escondido, CA , June 2013 . Bracamontes , Marta. Interview with author, San Bernardino, CA , March 2014 . Manzano , Eugenia. Interview with author, Modesto, CA , November 16, 2013 . Ortiz , Aniceto. Interview with author, Ceres, CA , November 9, 2013 . Ortiz , Maria. Interview with author, Ceres, CA , November 9, 2013 . Perez , Manuel. Interview with author, Coral Gables, FL , March 2015 . Ramirez , Demetrio. Interview with author, Pinedale, CA , February 2015 . Footnotes 1 Mexican Oneness Pentecostals have preferred to use the term Apostólico instead of Pentecostal, as most understand the term Pentecostal to describe their non-Mexican Pentecostal counterparts. I use Apostólico(s) in keeping with their own historical signifier. 2 These works, however, were not the first academic surveys of Mexican Pentecostalism (Gill, 1994). Leaders of the Mexico-based denomination La Iglesia Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús had previously published book-length treatments intended for insider and outsider audiences (Gaxiola-Gaxiola 2007; Gaxiola-Lopez 1964). 3 Demographic data on Mexican populations and institutions are not completely reliable due to the shifting ethnic classifications and the flows of migrant labor (Sánchez 1995, 163; Holland 1974, 203–23), and Sánchez suspects that the estimates of 30% to 50% Protestant are too generous (Sánchez 1995, 306 fn 51). In urban areas the number of Apostólicos congregations was lowest (Cantú and Ortega 1966, 16–19; Holland 1974, 356–71). 4 The provenance of the seven photographs in this article differ (four sources), but the degree of continuity and a shared narrative between different congregations in the valley gives the impression that the photographs are from a single source, even from a single camera. All the photographs were taken by and largely for consumption within members of the denomination, La Asamblea Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús. 5 Lange and Taylor’s book An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion also obscures the agency and place of Mexican workers. In this “record of human erosion” we find only two references to Mexican workers. The first is of men performing “stoop labor,” a term that carries the belief that Mexicans and Asians, due to their shorter height, were naturally fit for such working conditions. In the second reference, even Lange and Taylor could not help but to notice how Okies seemed out of place in the fields side-by-side with ethnic minorities (Lange and Taylor 1939, 133). Photographs of Mexican Bracero workers using the infamous short-handed hoe while performing stoop labor became iconic of the era (Street 2004, xxi, 171). 6 Wimbush defines mimicry as “pressure to conform to conventional-canonical forms of communication, representation, and embodiment;” interruptions as “opportunities to speak back to, confront, and overturn conventionality in all domains;” and [re]orientations as “the need to experience ongoing meaningful relationship to the dominant or centering politics, practices, ideologies, and myths that define ‘America.’” 7 For documented examples of “aleluyas” interruptions, see Gamio 1931, 223; Deverell 2004, 153; Treviño 2006; 33). Ramírez argues that this term almost exclusively describes Mexican Pentecostals instead of their ethnic mainline counterparts (Ramírez 2015). 8 The African American Oneness Pentecostal founder, Garfield T. Haywood, wrote the upbeat chorus “Baptized into the Body” from which Antonio Nava loosely translated “El Nombre del Mesias,” one of such songs sung at baptisms (Ramírez 2015, 73–74). 9 Debates over baptismal formulas led to the volatile episode in early Pentecostal history dubbed the New Issue in which approximately one-third of the Assemblies of God defected and regrouped within the contemporaneous Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1916. Black and Mexican Pentecostals largely defected in favor of the “Jesus name” (the nomenclature preferred by Oneness proponents) or “Jesus only” (the epithet used by opponents) message. Apostólicos, like their black and white oneness counterparts, placed primal importance on baptism, but each ascribed varying degrees of soteriological significance (Fudge 2003). 10 I borrow the term otherworldly (emphasis in original) from Wacker as it pertains to the primitivist impulse common to early Pentecostals (Wacker 2001). 11 The “plate route” refers to migratory labor routes dictated by seasons of harvest and reaping (Taylor and Vasey 1936). 12 Various photographs and newspaper clips in author’s possession, courtesy of independent researcher Herminia Martinez. 13 As a borderlands aesthetic, embroideries were important to Catholic ceremonies in the Central Valley labor camps as evidenced in the photographs of the life of Francis Esquibel Tywoniak, who came of age in the Central Valley from the 1930s to 1950s (Esquibel Tywoniak and García 2000, 9, 55, 96f). 14 For a brief discussion on the difference between holy objects and sacred ones, see Plate 2014, 29–30. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Academy of Religion. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
Journal of the American Academy of Religion – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2018
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