Rosaura was an authentic Revueltas.



Ivan Lopez

“This film is going to make History” are the words of a woman with fighter instinct, maybe She had it in her blood. A woman who has grown in a revolutionary artistic and cultural environment. She was born in the same year of which the history of the Mexican revolution dates. However, her big struggle was made it from United States and for the people of America with the film called “Salt of the earth” (1953), produced by blacklisted Hollywood filmmakers. Directed by Herbert Biberman, this film with Rosaura Revuelta as Esperanza as main character, was about to make history.

Esperanza was the name of the character of Rosaura Revueltas in Salt of the earth. “Esperanza” also, means “Hope” in Spanish. This woman full of hope always being attractive by the thirst of justice and the desires to transcend. All the Revueltas siblings were Influenced by the artistic flow of his family, specially of Silvestre, the older brother.

According to Maria Revueltas, one of the last siblings of the Revueltas Family, the artistic gifts came from her mother. A simple person who had not had much culture. They were a very close brothers. They grew up in a special cultural environment:

  “Las cosas artisticas de los Revueltas, creo yo, en primer lugar pueden venir de mi madre. Que mi madre, siendo una persona muy sencilla y que no habia tenido mucha cultura, era muy romantica, hacía versos … amaba el arte y queria que todos sus hijos que tuviera fueran artistas.”1

She says that her mother loved the art and wanted that all her sons were artist. She remembered that in her house, the brothers had to study piano as soon as they started walking:

“En mi casa se tenia que estudiar el piano en cuanto empezaba uno a andar (caminar).”1

She talks about a family without envy, without grudges. They respected each other:

“En mi familia no hubo envidias, no hubo rencores, no hubo ninguna de esas cosas. Sabiamos que Silvestre valia mucho, que Fermin pintaba muy bien, … pero nunca sentimos envidia uno de otro, ni rencores, ni nos peleabamos. Todos eramos bien recibidos unos por otros.” 1

Therefore, we can say that after the big problems that the film “salt of the earth” made, Rosaura always had the uncondinional support of his brothers, such as the case in which found in a letter of to Rosaura Revueltas from his brother Jose on November 16th 1955. When he talks about helping her to return to work in Mexico:

“Para el año entrante, creo firmemente que se nos compondrán las cosas. He repasado y reescrito en parte La Santa, porque se presentan posibilidades de que por fin la hagamos. Por lo pronto espero dirigir una pelicula los primeros meses del año para que de este modo a tu regreso ya tengamos una base mejor.”5

Actually it seems like He was trying to convince her to return to succeed in her country:

“Es preciso que me mandes toda clase de recortes de prensa, etcetera, de ser possible traducidos, sobre todo tu trabajo allá. No dejes de hacerlo. Debes comprender que para una actriz no es cosa de modestia, falta de modestia o lo que sea, si no que precisa forzosamente una cierta publicidad, legitima, honorable, pero que es necesaria en absolute. Aqui en Mexico – y sobre todo nuestro espantable medio cinematografico-, require que se le estéen recordando a las gentes. Yo podria meter informacion en los periódicos, para que se den cuenta de lo que haces y lleguen a comprender lo imbéciles que son al no aprovecharte en tu propio pais.” (“You need to send me all sorts of press clippings, etcetera, if possible translated, especially your work there. Do not stop doing it. You must understand that for an actress is not a thing of modesty, lack of modesty or whatever, but that it necessarily requires some publicity, legitimate, honorable, but that is absolutely necessary. Here in Mexico- and above all our frightening cinematic medium- requires that they be remembered by the people. I could put information in the newspapers, so that they realize what you do and come to understand how stupid they are to not appreciate you in your own country.”) 5

We can notice what her brother was trying to help her in this difficult situation. As well as her brothers, she was struck by the political situation of the moment. Rosaura wrote about she was learning a lot in the theater, however politics:

“ ….. estoy trabajando mucho, tratando de aprender lo mas possible en todos los sentidos, tambien politicamente, aprovechando todo lo que el teatro pone a nuestro alcance. Tenemos periodicamente asambleas donde se tratan y discuten los eventos del momento, que son de enorme importancia.” (“I am working hard, trying to learn as much as possible in every way, also politically, taking advantage of everuthing that the theater has within our reach. We have periodical assemblies where the events of the moment are discussed, which are of enourmous importance”).  6

Her brother Silvestre just like her always shows a desire to get ahead an excel by taking the pride of his people to places inconceivable:

“El artista, para ser verdaderamente fuerte, require en la actualidad no solo talento, técnica, ímpetu creador, sino también velar cuidadosamente porque estas cualidades estén al servicio exclusive de una causa social justa; la única: la de la liberación proletaria y a su cultura.”  (“ the artist, in order to be truly strong, nowadays requires not only talet, technique, creative momentum, but also to watch carefully because of a just social cause; the only one: that of proletarian liberation and its culture”) 2

It was no surprising that the great Silvestre and his brothers had that courage and constant claw in each of his works, his passions and even in his way of taking with his brothers. Silvestre says:

“Necesitamos trazarnos una linea recta de trabajo y arte, si somos honrados y jóvenes, y altaneros e independientes.“ (“We need to draw a straight line of work and art, if we are honest and young, and haughty and independent.”) 3

Something that identifies Rosaura in her work in the “salt of the earth” is the faith that she had in this film although she would know that there might be some problems. She always wanted to cross that line that divides justice and faith. She thought she would make history in this movie. Shae was moved by the desire to defend the bottom and change the destiny, as well as her brother Silvestre who said:

“Compañeros, debemos tener una enorme fe, una confianza ilimitada en el destino de la nueva humanidad, y ese destino esta próximo a cumplirse” (“Companions, we must have great faith, unlimited trust in the destiny of the new humanity, and that destiny is nearing completion.”) 4

The film “salt of the earth” reminds me the film ” Redes” and the music of her brother always accompanied to the desire to be revealed and seek justice. Wanting or unintentionally she got into a situation that would mark her forever in her artistic career. Despite being vetoed in Hollywood and nobody wanted to work with Her in Mexico, this left her marked in politics. Her hope did not disappoint. She was really making history. She was an authentic Revueltas.



1.Page of Olivia Revueltas, Grandaughter of Jose Revueltas.

“Entrevista a Maria Revueltas para el canal  de I.P. N. “

(Permiso otorgado por el I. P. N. Mexico, para la exibición de éste video.)

(accesed February 16,2017).

  1. Revueltas, Silvestre Revueltas por él mismo: apuntes autobiograficos, diarios, correspondencia y otros escritos de un agran músico. Page 187
  2. Revueltas, Silvestre Revueltas por él mismo: apuntes autobiograficos, diarios, correspondencia y otros escritos de un agran músico Page 183
  3. Revueltas, Silvestre Revueltas por él mismo: apuntes autobiograficos, diarios, correspondencia y otros escritos de un agran músico. Page 209


  1. Revueltas, José. Los Revueltas, 1987. Carta para Rosaura Revueltas. Mexico, D.F. 16 Nov. 1955

Los Revueltas 1987 v. II, 13- 14.

  1. Revueltas, Rosaura. Los Revueltas, 1987. Carta para José Revueltas. Berlín, Alemania. 12 Sept. 1956

Los Revueltas. Mexico: Grijalbo, 1979, P. 167.




Revolutionary artist, Rosaura Revueltas



Revolutionary: involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.

                During the Mexican revolution, artists blossomed their art around taught political-circumstances.  The Mexican ruling class was building highways and railways; in addition, the government intended to follow a European style as a model of art. Meanwhile, the Mexican lower class, which was most the population in Mexico, experienced injustice, inequality, and oppression.  Such conditions, inspired artist to take immense risks to portray what was truly happening not only in Mexico, but in surrounded areas near the border with the United States.

Actress, Rosaura Revueltas, it is an example of braveness and dedication for the arts. Her most important acting role took place in film called “Salt of the Earth (1954)”.  Prior to this engagement, Rosaura participated in three other Telenovela-style films.   However, these roles did not fulfill her as an artist.  One can speculate that Rosaura noticed the extreme poverty Mexico was experiencing, and Rosaura was determined to find an acting role that makes the world know about social issues in Mexico and surrounding areas.


As successive titles appear, each is matched by a view of the woman at her chores. Though at no time do see her face, we begin to gather that she is large with child. The woman carries the load of wood to an outdoor fire, staggering under its weight, the little girl following with a box of kindling . . . The woman feeds wood into the fire, on top of which is a washtub . . . She scrubs clothes in the tub, bowed to the work, the little girl watching. She wrings out articles of clothing, hangingthem on a clothesline, the little girl helping gravely” ~Salt of the Earth Script

                As it can be seen the script, the content of the movie is not necessarily what the audience would enjoy/feel comfortable to see; however, art is not about only creating positive sentiments. The beauty of art goes beyond that, making the audience deeply experience an emotion is a successful piece for an artist. Rosaura and “Salt of Earth” were winners in this matter, even the United States felt threatened by the film. Audiences do not only exist in a movie theater but also in any setting. Creating an emotion of fear outside a cinema, I would call that a success.

Portraying the Esperanza Quintero was an act of braveness for Rosaura. Her acting role meant her deportation from the United States, hate from Mexicans, and a “descending” point in her career. However, as her brother Silvestre Revueltas says “critics make a mediocre work – what do they know about art? ” While it seems acting in “Salt of the Earth” was catastrophe in that period of time, I would consider it a huge victory for the development of the arts.

On the side note, Rosaura Revueltas’ siblings also made significant revolution in different manifestation of arts – The question is:  What inspired several members of the Revueltas family to make a revolution in art? Was it their school, parents, or the surroundings they lived?  My guess is that the Revueltas were inspired by the circumstances they were living. As I show in the picture in the opening, it is heart breaking to see children in poverty and “someone” must do something about. I think the Revueltas siblings were the people to do something about it.


By Sandra Rivera


Biberman, Michael, and Michael Wilson. “CHARACTERS.” In Salt of the Earth (1954): Shooting Script. Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street, Array. Accessed February 28, 2017. .


López Orozco, Leticia. “The Revolution, Vanguard Artists and Mural Painting.” Third Text 28, no. 3 (May 2014): 256-268. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 1, 2017).

Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51.


Stevenson, Robert M. Notes 48, no. 4 (1992): 1267-268. doi:10.2307/942128.

Rosaura Revueltas: Dauntless Woman

Rosaura Revueltas, sister of Silvestre Revueltas, is possibly best known for her role in Salt of the Earth. Salt of the Earth was the only movie to ever be blacklisted during the “Communist Scare” of the 1950s. Rosaura was warned by a number of people that due to the political implications of the film that this might be the last movie she would make. The question is, why would Rosaura Revueltas chose to be in this film considering the potential backlash and the probable loss of her career?


Director Herbert J. Biberman faced a great amount of difficulty in finding an actress to play the role of Esperanza Quintero. The film was one of the first to advance the feminist social and political point of view. It centered on the strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico. Hispanic workers wanted equal treatment to that of the Anglo workers. In an interview with Cineaste, Rosaura reveals that she was recommended to Biberman by her dance instructor. Throughout the interview, Revueltas discloses her past knowledge of the films potential backlash, but she never reveals why she still chose to be a part of the project.

“Before making the film I was warned. The first person to warn me was my husband, who belonged to a rich German family. He told me, “You are now beginning your career and you have only made three films, but they have been prize winners. If you make this film you won’t make anything else.’ I said, ‘It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll make it even if I don’t work again, because I knew what was going to happen.”

What was happening in the United States at this time related to what was going on in various parts of the world. The Mexican Revolution was fought over equal rights and the rise of the common man. I believe it is very possible that this cause touched Rosaura’s heart because it so closely resembled what she had lived through in her native Mexico. It could also have been because of kinship, she was watching injustice being done to her people. It is also well known that this film was one of the first to advocate female rights. If Rosaura was anything like her brother, her views probably were more liberal. Regardless, it was something she was willing to lose her career over.

During the filming of Salt of the Earth, Rosaura Revueltas was arrested and deported on alleged passport violation. The director and others associated with the film ended up a part of the Hollywood Ten, blacklisting their careers in Hollywood. Rosaura Revueltas was an incredible woman for taking on a role many others refused. She showed courage in advocating female rights and the social injustices being done to minorities. I might never know her reasons behind willingly choosing to take on such a controversial role, however, it is apparent that Rosaura Revueltas was a dauntless woman.

– Jamille Brewster –


Sacks, Karen. “Salt of Earth by Paul Jarrico, Michael Wilson, Rosaura Revueltas”. American Anthropologist, New Series, 79/1 (March 1997): 205-206.

Riambau, Esteve. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas”. Cineaste, 19/2 (1992): 50-51.

Stevenson, Robert. “Silvestre Revueltas.” Grove Music Online (accessed February 27, 2017).

Taruskin, Richard. “Nationalism”. Grove Music Online (accessed February 27, 2017).

Rosaura Revultas and the Salt of the Earth

Born in 1910 and sister to Silvestre Revueltas, Rosaura Revueltas was a Mexican actress that starred in many a Mexican film. The film that she is most well-known for and highly controversial is called “salt of the earth”, this was also the film that led to a very significant change to Rosaura’s life. Being from the Revueltas family, Rosaura understood what civil rights were and how they needed to be protected and fought for. One main theme that is shown throughout the movie is women’s empowerment, the main female character, Esperanza who is wife to a Mexican American Miner in the United States, grows throughout the movie to show that she is much more than just a house wife. She shows her husband that she can be strong and work and help support her husband and way of living. Throughout the movie it is seen that Esperanza consistently goes against the word of her husband, who is concerned for their unborn child.image-w1280

This pro-woman, pro-labor film showed to be a very controversial peace in the eyes of the United States. It became the last significant work in Rosaura’s career. During this time of the Communist scare it was also labeled a pro-communist film period leading to many real-life arrests and hardships during filming. During this time in the 1950s some women were taught to stay at home and maintain the household while the men go off to war, even though we saw the opposite reaction of this during WWII with the feminist icon Rosie the Riveter in the United States. This was a grand step in the Civil Rights Movement for women in Mexico. It’s funny for me to see that even though we can see parallels between this film and the women’s Workforce movement during World War II, this movie and its ideas were seen as communist ideals. When in actuality it was just fighting for equal rights among Mexican American workers and their “Anglo” counterparts. Maybe seeing someone take a stand for what they believe in isn’t always a bad thing, even if it may not agree with your own morals.


-John Guevara



Biberman, Herbert J. Salt of the Earth: The Story of a Film. Harbor Electronic Publishing, New York (2nd edition, 2004): 1965.
Campbell. Women at war with America : private lives in a patriotic era. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1984.
Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51.
Sacks, Karen. American Anthropologist, New Series, 79, no. 1 (1977): 205-06.

Fermin Revueltas Sanchez

Most parents dream of not only seeing their children prosper on a personal level, but also within the professional world.  Romana Sanchez Arias and Gregorio Revueltas Gutierrez no doubt fell satisfied from their children’s professional success.  Four of their children, Silvestre Revueltas, Jose Revueltas, Rosaura Revueltas, and Fermin Revueltas Sanchez achieved very high levels of success within their professional fields.  We have already begun exploring the life and music of Silvestre Revueltas and it is curious as to how or if his siblings shared any artistic synergy with Silvestre.  To try and answer this question I will briefly explore the work and life of Fermin Revueltas Sanchez.

Fermin Revueltas was an artist who would become most well known for his work as a muralist.  His works fall into the category of stridentism, a form of painting that was a direct result of the Mexican Revolution.  It is a style that depicts current society as well as protests the elite class.  Apart from painting, Fermin also created stained glass windows and was an avid cartoonist, illustrator and photographer.  However, his most famous works remain the murals painted within various Mexican institutions such as the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria and the San Ildefonso College.

Upon examining whether or not Fermin and Silvestre Revueltas shared any artistic synergy, it is not their work that interests me, but their lives.  Apart from travelling and studying together they both had very similar political viewpoints.  Their father sent them to study in Texas and they both would eventually continue their studies in Chicago.  By the end of the 1920s the brothers returned to Mexico where they both would become involved in leftist political organizations.  Silvestre became affiliated with LEAR (Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios) while Fermin became a member of the Partido Comunista Mexicano.  Fermin Revueltas Sanchez died in 1935 at the age of 34.  Many of his works are unfinished.

It is clear that Silvestre and Fermin both created politically fueled works.  For me, I can no longer think of one of these men without the other, for both deliver the same message through different artistic mediums.  Their personal similarities cannot be ignored, as well as the disturbing fact that they both lived unnaturally short lives.

-Nathan Black


Candelaria, Lorenzo. “Silvestre Revueltas at the Dawn of His “American Period”: St. Edward’s College, Austin, Texas (1917-1918).” American Music 22, no. 4 (2004): 502-32. doi:10.2307/3592991.

Fernandez, Justino. Mexican Art / photographs by Constantino Reyes. London: Hamlyn, 1965.

Garnett, W. “Mural Painting Heart of the Artistic Rebirth of Mexico in the 20th Century.” Artes De México, no. 5/6 (1954): 133-39.

Reiman, Karen Cordero. “Revueltas, Fermin.” Oxford Art Online. September 27, 1999. Accessed February 27, 2017. revueltas&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit.



Rosaura Revueltas- Making political statements through film

Rosaura Revueltas was one of the four Revueltas siblings who became famous artists in Mexico. She was first involved in folkloric dancing that eventually developed into a passion for acting. Ironically, her most well-known role was not for a film in her native Mexico, but in the United States, during a time when your political views determined your amount of success. Her acting career didn’t go exactly as planned but she sacrificed it to produce a film that would have everlasting effects on an international level.

Revueltas was asked to play the lead role in a new film titled, Salt of the Earth, which premiered, after many obstacles, in 1954. It is important to understand what was happening in the United States and the world during the filming of Salt of the Earth, especially as it relates to politics. The world was in a state of political and military tension between the Soviet Union (Communist) and the United States (Democratic and capitalist), known as the Cold War (1947-1991). The United States was so afraid of communism and potential communists that they had a period known as the Second Red Scare, or McCarthyism. Through unfair investigations, the government would accuse artists of being communists without proper evidence. These alleged communist’s names would be put on a blacklist and were denied work or would lose their jobs, often ending their careers. This hostile environment was what Rosaura was walking into when she accepted the role of Esperanza Quintero, a miner’s wife who ended up going on strike in a small town in New Mexico. Before the film could be finished, she was deported back to Mexico with the government’s hopes that it would never be released. People genuinely believed that the film was a bad representation of the U.S. as it depicted working-class ethnic minorities and the discrimination they faced. More importantly, it was seen as communist because the writers, producers, and some actors had been blacklisted. When Rosaura returned to Mexico, she was not even welcomed by her own people. I don’t think she ever really cared about the politics surrounding the film but was more focused on representing the people she was portraying and the work she was able to do. Unfortunately, after the film finally premiered, she was put on the U.S. blacklist and would not be hired there or Mexico.

saltoftheearthIt’s sad to think that even her own people turned against her and she was punished in an unreasonable way. Imagine not being able to do what you love just because of a list created to taint your reputation simply based on your political opinion? Her decision to star in Salt of the Earth ultimately ruined her career, both in the U.S. and her home country of Mexico. However, whether she believed in communism or not, this film helped to exploit the international Cold War. They were able to approach it from a cultural stand-point and critique and bring to light its different flaws. Salt of the Earth was her most popular film, probably not due to her great acting, but because of the bold political statements it delivered. I took the time to watch it on YouTube (yes, the whole film is there!) and I can imagine that it definitely raised a lot of questions among the people of the world that lived during the Cold War. I like to think that Rosaura would have become an even more well-known actress had she not accepted that role, but she did it knowing the consequences. I think, to her, it was worth it.

-Katy Andrade


Balthaser, Benjamin. “Cold War Re-Visions: Representation and Resistance in the Unseen Salt of the Earth.” American Quarterly 60, no. 2 (2008): 347-71.

Miller, Tom. “Class Reunion: SALT OF THE EARTH REVISITED.” Cinéaste 13, no. 3 (1984): 30-36.

Pontikes, Elizabeth, Giacomo Negro, and Hayagreeva Rao. “Stained Red: A Study of Stigma by Association to Blacklisted Artists during the “Red Scare” in Hollywood, 1945 to 1960.” American Sociological Review 75, no. 3 (2010): 456-78.

Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51.

Rosaura Revueltas Plays More Than Just a Miner’s Wife

In today’s society the term feminism is not an uncommon term to be heard.  I can only imagine how “new” that word might have sounded to people during the 1940s and 1950s, though the concept is not new at all.  Some feminist philosophers date back as far as 14th century.  The United States has come a long way from those days when women were denied the right to vote or even the right to receive an education.  After viewing the film, “Salt of the Earth,” I can understand why some thought the movie was overtly feminist and how it could have been influenced by communist ideas.  But what is more inspiring is that the actress Rosaura Revueltas, sister of Silvestre Revueltas, felt determined to complete this film that could have possibly ruined her career.  In a culture where machismo ideals are common, this role brought to light feminist issues that were never talked about beforehand.

From a family of twelve children sprang out four artists: a composer, an actress, a writer and a painter.  The Revueltas family did their best to cultivate their children into being well-rounded individuals, even though the parents themselves did not have the highest of educations.  Silvestre Revueltas, the composer, has been our focal point for this graduate seminar but some of his siblings also contributed to the arts.  His sister Rosaura was an actress, his brother Jose was a writer and his brother Fermin was an artist.  Rosaura Revueltas’s stood out to me perhaps because she was the only female sibling that became famous.  Her most renowned role was in the 1954 film “Salt of the Earth.”  She plays the character Esperanza Quintero, who participates in an all-female picket line (in support of their husbands) to protest against a mining company that is discriminating against its Hispanic workers through lack of pay.  The film’s plot caused a massive uproar.  Rosaura ended up on Hollywood’s black list of actors.  Even after being arrested and deported back to Mexico, the film was completed and ultimately banned in the United States for its feminist tone and communist influence.  By association, Rosaura was accused of being a communist herself simply because her famous brothers were involved with the party.  Claims were made that the communists from Russia were helping pay for the making of the movie.  It was quite the Hollywood scandal.  picket

So what is feminism? According to the encyclopedia Britannica, feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.  Scenes from the “Salt of the Earth” illustrate typical gender roles such as the husband being the bread winner and the wife maintaining the household and raising the children.  What a plot twist when the men in the film have to take over the household duties because their wives are marching in the picket line.  For a culture that thrives on a machismo mentality, this type of gender role switch was unheard of at the time.  Though much has changed since the 1950s, in the 20th century this machismo attitude still exists (to some degree) within the Mexican culture: the men make the money and the women take care of the domestic responsibilities.  Perhaps things are still this way within the culture not because of some sort of oppression but because that’s just the way it is, the Mexican culture stills promotes this type of lifestyle.  In the Mexican society it is not an insult to be a house wife.  But thanks to the feminist movement some might think this is a primitive way of life.revuelt

As far as Rosaura Revueltas is concerned, was she considered a feminist?  Well, she did participate in the making of the “Salt of the Earth.” She knew that this would possibly hurt her career.  Even though she defended her actions, she was also interrogated, arrested and deported back to Mexico.  Basically, Rosaura stood up for what she believed in and regardless of her gender, this made her a courageous human being.

-Laura Aguirre


Britannica Academic, s.v. “Communism,” accessed February 26, 2017,

Britannica Academic, s.v. “Feminism,” accessed February 27, 2017,

Oliver, Myrna. “Rosaura Revueltas: Blacklisted Over Film.” Los Angeles Times May 3, 1996 Accessed February 26, 2017

Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51.


Weinberg, Carl R. “”Salt of the Earth”: Labor, Film, and the Cold War.” OAH Magazine of History 24, no. 4 (2010): 41-45.


Jose Revueltas, Family Lightning Rod


(Photo from the IMER website)

It seems that Jose Revueltas was the most revolutionary of the Revueltas siblings, though he was the youngest, and his activism came well after the 1910 revolution in Mexico. He also died well after Fermin and Silvestre, passing away in 1976 at the age of 62. Reading about his life, his work, and his repeated incarcerations at the hands of the Mexican government, I wondered if this gives some insight into the decision of the Revueltas parents to send Silvestre and Fermin to the United States for their education. Jose’s first incarceration was  at age 15 and inspired him to write a short story, ” El quebranto” about his experiences, published in the collecton Dios en la Tierra (1944), beginning a life long pattern of defining the struggles of the Mexican left through writings from the persepctive of the individual struggling artist. Ostensibly Silvestre and Fermin were sent to the U.S. to keep them safe and out of trouble during the years of political turmoil during and soon after the revolution. When one looks at the amount of trouble Jose, educated in Mexico City, got into, it seems like they may have had a point. In addition, there seems to have been something about the Revueltas family, the parents, their upbringing, that made them resonate with the ideals of the 1910 revolution. I can’t help wondering what it was exactly. Maybe it was just something “in the air” of that time among educated Mexicans. Maybe it had something to do with the family’s direct experiences, or the leanings and teachings of the Revueltas parents. Maybe there is information to be gleaned in Jose Revueltas papers, some of which are housed at the University of Texas in San Antonio, or by speaking to Revueltas descendants. It seems like a rich vein of historical information. Whatever it was, Jose seems to have been a “lightning rod” in that he conducted these views most strongly of all the siblings.

Another trait that several of the Revueltas siblings seem to have had in common is a certain intelligent outspokenness, and a need to share their opinions about cultural and political events, whether welcome or not. Jose exemplifies this in his dealings with the Mexican Communist party, from which he was kicked out twice due to his criticisms of their bureaucratic process, which  some also thought were “the best analysis of the left in Mexico”. The body of work that he created in his life was a continuous commentary on the Mexican Left and Mexican politics in general.

The best known of the Revueltas siblings went into artistic fields and there made memorable contributions, often establishing new schools of thought, philosophies, and leaving significant bodies of work. Jose exemplifies this in his contribution to Mexican literature. He is credited with being one of the early creators of the “Nuevo Narrativo” ( New Narrative) style in Mexican literature, combining two styles that had previously been separate streams, a non-realist imaginative stream, and a realist stream concerned with the revolution. Jose felt strongly that a left wing life should not only be defined in one’s writing and theory, but  lived fully, and his own life and the lives of the characters in his writing fleshed out this principle. On his tombstone a quote from Proust was inscribed: “All theory is grey, green is the golden tree of life.”, while in a letter published before his death he asked that after his death his literary works not be treated separately from his political aims, and that he not be canonized. The Revueltas brothers had a complicated relationship with canons, to say the least. Jose exemplified the combination of  the imaginative style with writing that was clearly also political in nature, documenting the struggle of left wing individuals within Mexican politics and within left wing political institutions, while pointing the way for new and future left wing movements in Mexico. In this he was relevant and effective to the point where the Mexican government perceived him as a threat, accusing him of being the “Intellectual author” of the 1968 Mexican student movement that culminated in the Tlatelco massacre, and jailing him once again.

-Flora Newberry


Crespi, Simon. “Jose Revueltas (1914-1976): A Political Biography”.Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 6, No. 3, (Summer, 1979), pp. 93-113.

Bosteels, Bruno. “Hegel in Mexico: Memory and Alienation in the Posthumous Writings by José Revueltas. South Central Review, Vol. 21, No. 3, Memory and Nation in Contemporary Mexico (Fall, 2004), pp. 46-69

Murad, Timothy.  “Before the Story: José Revueltas and the Beginnings of the New Narrative in Mexico”. Modern Language Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter, 1977-1978), pp. 57-64.

Karsen, Sonja. “Latin American Letters 1964”.  Books Abroad, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Spring, 1965), pp. 141-144.


Rosaura Revueltas


Reflection about Rosaura Revueltas

Rosaura Revueltas (was born in August 6, 1910 in Durango Mexico-April 30,1996 in Cuernavaca). The Mexican actress became famous and caused a large impact after acting in the movie “Salt of the Earth”progress-1352”. Revueltas has also appeared in others films such as “Islas Marias”, “Muchachas de uniforms”, and “US film Sombrero” but “Salt of the Earth” was the most polemic and changed her career and life forever after it.

“Salt of the Earth” was her most important film for many reasons starting with this film empowers women. The central character Esperanza who was interpreted by Rosaura was, an unsure, insecure and preoccupied woman who was married to Ramon. Ramon is an American-Mexican miner working for a miner company on New Mexico (USA) under unsafe work conditions. Esperanza can see the companies’ racism that her husband is so blind to. She decides to fight the companies herself by getting the other spouses together to create an oppression claiming for betting work conditions, woman`s rights, and fighting against the same enemies their men have. The protagonist changes and the women become very strong and confident. Esperanza teaches her husband what kind of a woman she has become and how their relationship will work from now on.

The movie was very important for showing new perspectives and becoming a political issue with the United States and Mexico. During the recording  Rosaura Revueltas had many problems   with different institutions, since the movie was very  revolutionary for the time, as for example she was arrested by U.S. immigration agents in United States because of  The conservative California congressman, Donald Jackson, he strongly insisted to say that the film was being made by a “bunch of communists” as a “new weapon for Russia.” She was then charged with illegal entry, and faced deportation to Mexico. Rosaura was compared to her three others brothers a musician, a painter and a writer who were tagged as communists and  with that she never more could come back to Unites States. She was also banned of acting in Mexico since the  Mexicans were angry because she caused troubles and for them she just wanted to became famous what determined the  ending of her career.

So to conclude can we  can definitely say three very important points explaining why the movie wasn`t accepted well and caused troubles to Rosaura, the  first one is because  it empowers women, in second it brings up controversy and during that time this kinds of things were too much , and in third it  helped to create new ways of thinking with the Mexican  revolution.

Johanny Barbosa

Sacks, Karen. American Anthropologist, New Series, 79, no. 1 (1977): 205-06.

Ceplair, Larry. “The Many 50th Anniversaries of “Salt of the Earth”” Cinéaste 29, no. 2 (2004): 8-9.

Riambau, Esteve, et. al. “This Film is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas”

Miller, Tom. Cinéaste 25, no. 3 (2000): 59-60.

Salt of the Earth

Love, Corina


     Rosaura Revueltas was an actress and, like her siblings, stood up for what they believe. What did they believe in, you ask? I’m glad because I’m going to tell you. From what I understand, generally, the family believed in equal rights for everyone. They believed in showing the truth to the people who didn’t live the life of Mexicans/Mexican-Americans during the Mexican Revolution and the process of fighting for civil rights especially in the 1950’s. The best example of this for Rosaura Revueltas is her performance in Salt of the Earth. 


Salt of the Earth is a movie that was made independently to depict the miners’ strike in New Mexico in the 1950’s. It was produced by Paul Jarrico with the intent of showing the struggles of the miners in the mines in New Mexico. This was in the heat of the Cold War (ha!) when everyone in the United States were afraid of communism. Mexico, dabbling and (then) on the way to communism, wasn’t exactly welcomed into the country. Paul, Rosaura, and some other people from the production were blacklisted in the U.S., which is why they had to make the film independently. So, what was so bad about showing the light? It comes down to a simple idea; control. The U.S. didn’t want communist ideas coming into the country.

Rosaura Revueltas

     On to the next question; why was this a big deal for Rosaura? Well we have to remember that at this time, the war in Mexico is settled a little, the Cold War is in progress, and civil rights in America is a big topic. Her brother, Silvestre, died about a decade ago and leaving the movement is hard and out of her hands. She used her talent as an actress to spread the word about the struggles of migrant (mostly) workers. She used her talents to stand up for civil rights for everyone especially by doing Salt of the Earth.


Ceplair, Larry. “The Many 50th Anniversaries of “Salt of the Earth”” Cinéaste 29, no. 2 (2004): 8-9.

LikeManyThingThings. “SALT OF THE EARTH (1954) FULL MOVIE.” YouTube. March 13, 2013. Accessed February 28, 2017.

Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51.

Sacks, Karen. American Anthropologist, New Series, 79, no. 1 (1977): 205-06.