SALT OF THE EARTH

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Salt of the Earth

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salt of the earth, classic film, movie, latino, immigration

 Salt of the Earth was inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry when it was selected by
the Library of Congress, United States National Film Preservation Board
as historically and aesthetically significant in 1992.

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Rosaura Revueltas was born into an artistic family in Durango, Mexico. She studied acting and ballet in Mexico City and made her theatrical debut in "La Deconocida de Arras" (1946). Her Mexican films included "Islas Marias" and "Muchachas de Uniforme" ("Girls in Uniform"), both made in 1950. From 1957 to 1960 she worked with Bertolt Brecht's Berliner Ensemble in Germany and performed in Cuba during her senior years.


In "Salt of the Earth" (1954), Ms. Revueltas played the starring role of Esperanza Quintero, the wife of a Mexican American zinc worker, who becomes involved in the struggle for workers' and women's rights during a violent strike. Salt of the Earth was completed, even after powerful figures in Hollywood and the government began attacking it. Members of the miners' union received death threats from local vigilantes, who set fire to the union's headquarters in Silver City, New Mexico. Toward the end of filming, Ms. Revueltas was arrested by immigration officials and charged with entering the United States illegally. She was deported to Mexico and the film makers had to use a double for the remainder of the movie. Once in Mexico, she was banned from acting in Hollywood and never performed in another American film again. She passed away at her home in Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City at the age of 85.

Based on actual events, this landmark film depicts the strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico. Salt of the Earth deals with feminism, housework, child care, sanitation, immigration and prejudice against Mexican American workers, who go on strike to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by their employers. The film is an early treatment of feminism, because the wives of the miners play a pivotal role in the civil protest, against their husbands wishes. In the end, the women evolve from the men's subordinates into their allies and equals. This film was written, directed and produced by members of the original "Hollywood Ten," who were blacklisted for refusing to answer Congressional inquiries on First Amendment grounds.

“Among poor people, there's not any question about women being strong - even stronger than men
- they work in the fields right along with the men. When your survival is at stake,
you don't have these questions about yourself like middle-class women do.”


Dolores Huerta
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“Giving kids clothes and food is one thing but it's much more important to teach them that
other people besides themselves are important, and that the best thing they can do with their lives
is to use them in the service of other people.”


Dolores Huerta
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"Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures."

Cesar Chavez

Immigration