Angel Rama’s concept of the letrado refers to Latin American lettered individuals who used writing to consolidate the nation. But what might it have meant to be a letrado in the geopolitical context of the US-Mexico border in the early twentieth century, one that combined territorial dispossession, migration, and revolution? This essay examines the contributions of border Mexicans to La crónica, an influential Laredo, Texas, newspaper that appeared at least from 1910 to 1914. These “borderlands letrados” engaged the Mexican nation from positions of opposition during the Mexican Revolution while contending with Anglo-American nativist imperatives, which shaped their cultivation of an ethnic identity in the United States. Mobilizing the concept of the letrado in the context of these borderlands writers makes them legible within larger Latin American currents while elucidating their place at the center of issues encompassing ethnic, national, and transnational concerns.

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