Civic Imagination

Guitar: The Instrument of Peace

A gaucho named, Martin Fierro, fled Argentina after the arrival of the Spanish. In 1956, he immigrated to the United States and settled in Mansfield, Texas. With nothing more than his guitar to his name, Martin searched everywhere in town for a job, but because he was a minority, no Texan would give him a job.

With no other option, Martin spent another day and night in the street, playing payada, as a comforting reminder of his home. Woken up by the music, the racist Mansfield Mayor, William "Bud" Halbert, poked his head out of his window to see a strangely dressed man playing the guitar on the sidewalk. Intrigued by the unfamiliar music, Bud stepped outside to better hear Martin.

By the end of the song, the Mayor's heart had changed. Through the beautiful melodies, Martin had forced kindness and humanity to awaken in the Mayor. Bud immediately felt compelled to invite Martin in and offer him a job at a local farm. Because of this Argentinian immigrant, fleeing the invaders of his home, racism was no longer tolerated in Mansfield, Texas and all minorities gained equal rights. 

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