Gregorio Cortez Lira, a ranchhand of Mexican parentage, was virtually unknown until one summer day in 1901 when he and a Texas sheriff, pistols in hand, blazed away at each other after a misunderstanding. The sheriff was killed and Gregorio fled immediately, realizing that in practice there was one law for Anglo-Texans, another for Texas-Mexicans. The chase, capture, and imprisonment of Cortez are high drama that cannot easily be forgotten. Even today, in the cantinas along both sides of the Rio Grande, Mexicans sing the praises of the great "sheriff-killer" in the ballad which they call "El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez." Ameacute;rico Paredes tells the story of Cortez, the man and the…
A distinguished senior scholar, the late Amï¿½rico Paredes was the Dickson, Allen, Anderson Centennial Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and English at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1990 he received the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor Mexico bestows on foreigners.