The Prince of South Waco

The Prince of South Waco

The Prince of South Waco is the moving, turbulent rite of passage memoir of growing up Latino in Texas in mid-20th Century America. It is the true story of American journalist and historian Tony Castro — author of the landmark civil rights history Chicano Power — who luckily would be rescued from an elementary school class for mentally impaired chil


“A dozen years later I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard closing down the Faculty Club with celebrated author and Nieman alumnus Larry L. King. We were knee walking drunk almost through the snow in Harvard Yard in the direction of the Chauncy Street townhouse where I was living beyond the square and arguing over just which town in our distinguished native state of Texas had once been the home of an ignominious sign taking pride in its racism of the past.


“‘Welcome to Waco — Home of the Blackest Land and the Whitest People.’
 “I grew up in Waco, in the heart of the Bible Belt in mid 20th century America, bilingual, bi-cultural, and religiously bi-polar. I was both Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic. But I quoted too much Protestant scripture for a good Catholic, and I knew too many saints and too much Latin for an acceptable Baptist. I was also Hispanic at a time in segregated Texas when there were still three restroom facilities in public places — one for whites, one for blacks, and one for Mexicans. Perhaps it was an omen of my future that I could use the public toilets reserved for whites. I could pass. My English was impeccable. I was on the honor roll. My best friend was the son of the president of Baylor University, the college town’s pride and joy, and I could recite the prelude to The Odyssey — in ancient Greek. I was Mexican and Spaniard but with the luck of the Irish from a distant ancestor. I was the Third World, before we ever knew there was a Third World, living the American Dream deep in what we lovingly called “the heart of Texas” — which my distinguished fellow writer friend Mr. King was quick to say is proof that there’s nothing wrong with Texas that a coronary transplant couldn’t help correct.
 The Prince of South Waco: American Dreams and Great Expectations is author Tony Castro’s sensitive rite-of-passage memoir of growing up Latino in the segregated South in the age when being different in America often brought with it the cruel, hard reality of the time – and with it heartbreak and despair.



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