16 de Septiembre, Pike Park, 1928
by Paula Bosse
Diez y Seis de Septiembre (the 16th of September) is the day Mexicans and Mexican-Americans celebrate Mexico’s rebellion against Spanish rule, a revolt that began in 1810. Mexican Independence Day has been celebrated in Dallas at Pike Park in the Little Mexico area of the city since the 1920s, an era when local newspapers devoted very little space to covering Dallas’ large Hispanic community. But when thousands of celebrants filled Pike Park each September 16th, the crowd and the fiesta were just too big to ignore. The Dallas dailies dutifully covered it, and their predominantly white readership was treated to reports of the annual celebration of Mexican pride and culture. The Pike Park celebration was a much-anticipated event every year, open to everyone. If you’re celebrating today, Feliz 16 de Septiembre!
The 1926 festivities were among the earliest large-scale Mexican Independence Day celebrations in Dallas; the mayor’s office, city officials, and community leaders were involved in its planning. More than 5,000 people attended. And what’s a big party without a beauty contest? The caption to the story below, “Mexican Colony to Select Queen of Beauty,” reads as follows:
For the first time in history, a Queen of Beauty, selected from among the most attractive young women in the Mexican colony of Dallas, will preside over the Mexican Independence Day celebration here Sept. 16, Mexican Consul R. Cantu Lara announced Wednesday.
The successful of five entrants in the beauty contest will be chosen through the democratic medium of the ballot, however. Those young ladies in the contest, four of whose pictures are shown [below] are Misses Guadalupe Mercado, Maria de Jesus Navarro, Marguerita Castenada, Paulina Salinas and Jesusita Zuniga.
Elaborate entertainments at Summit Play Park, both on Sept. 15 and 16, are planned by the local Mexican colony. Civil authorities have been invited to join the Mexican patriotic committee in observing this day sacred to the neighboring Republic, Senor Lara said.
DMN, Sept. 9, 1926 (click photos for larger images)
DMN, Sept. 17, 1927
Below, the report of the 1928 festivities (which would have involved the men and women pictured in the photograph at the top of this post). Even though the park had been re-named “Pike Park” in 1927, people were still referring to it by its original name, Summit Play Park:
DMN, Sept. 17, 1928
DMN, Sept, 17, 1930 (click photos and article for larger images)
Top photo appeared in the Dallas Morning News photo blog, here, crediting St. Ann’s Alumni and Friends of Little Mexico.
All other articles and photos from The Dallas Morning News.
More on Diez y Seis de Septiembre from The Handbook of Texas, here, and from diezyseis.org, here.
Click pictures for larger images.
Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.