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"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . of the characters and conduct of their rulers."  John Adams

Somos Primos

139th Online Issue

Editor: Mimi Lozano ©2000-2011

Dedicated to Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues

Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research

May 2, 2011 Bin Laden Killed
Orange County based United Mexican American Veterans Association Celebrates with Dignity.

Society of Hispanic Historical and
Ancestral Research   

P.O. 490
Midway City, CA 

Board Members:
Bea Armenta Dever
Gloria C. Oliver
Mimi Lozano
Pat Lozano
Cathy Trejo Luijt 
Viola R. Sadler
Tom Saenz
John P. Schmal


 Somos Primos staff   
Mimi Lozano, Editor
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Roberto Calderon, Ph,D.
Bill Carmena
Lila Guzman, Ph.D
John Inclan
Galal Kernahan
Juan Marinez
J.V. Martinez, Ph.D
Dorinda Moreno
Rafael Ojeda
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Tony Santiago
John P. Schmal

Submitters to this issue 
Ruth Abraham, Ph.D.
Luis Alejo
Alfonso Alvarez, Ed.D.
Dan Arellano
Bea Armenta Dever
Carl A. Arnesen
Jose Bacedoni
David Bacon 
Francisco Barragan
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Al Bermudez Pereira
Barbara A. Brannon
Antonio Miguel Campos-Perez 
Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.
Bill Carmena
Gus Chavez
William C. Davis 
Richard Duree
Charlie Erickson
Julie Filby
Lupe Fisher
Lorri Frain
Ellie Galvez, Ph.D.
Daisy Wanda Garcia
Eddie U. Garcia
James E. Garcia
Lino Garcia, Ph.D.
Ron Gonzales
Eddie Grijalva
Walter Herbeck
Sergio Hernandez
Steven F. Hernandez-Lopez
Sylvia Gonzalez-Hohenshelt 
Eddie Grijalva
Odell Hardwell
Walter Herbeck
Warren Antonio James
Galal Kernahan
Mimi Ko Cruz
Margot Kline
Claire Kluskens
Linda Laroche
Rick Leal 
Jose Lopez
Nancy Lopez-Hagan 
Gregorio Luke
Mary McCoy
David McDonald
Juan Marinez
Eloy Martinez
Henry Marquez
Dan Milligan
Art Moreno
Dorinda Moreno
Eddie Morin
Ryan J. Muccio
Janet Murguia
Paul Nauta
Patti Navarrette
Jeannie Navarro  
Paul Newfield III
Richard Palacios
Ricardo Raul Palmerin Cordero
Jose Pantojas

Francisco Parras
Maria Elena Laborde y Perez Trevino
Alex Mendoza Erickson
Rafael Ojeda
Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Ph.D. 
Paulina Rael Jaramillo
Juan Ramos
Angel Custodio Rebollo
Ángel Custodio Rebollo 
Crispin Rendon
Angel Custodio Rebollo
Lily Rivera, Ph.D.
Refugio Rochin, Ph.D.
Ben Romero
Emerita Romero-Anderson
Tom Saenz
Richard G. Santos
Sister Mary Sevilla
Cathy Trejo Luijt
Antonio Valencia
Mario Yanez
Marta Verdes Darby

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, Ph.D.

Letters to the Editor:

Mi Estimada Mimi, I am absolutely enthralled with your website and pore over it meticulously to read all the informative stories within.   I am never disappointed, however, I do have a minor correction to add to the most recent issue.  Under the heading, "Latinos Defending  American Soil", there is an incorrect source for obtaining the book "Among the Valiant".  It is available through,   and the same website also features "Valor and Discord"-a book that I wrote about Vietnam. My very best wishes to you.
Thank you for all your hard work in keeping us inform with all the latest news cornering our culture
Art Moreno
Good Evening Mimi, You are doing outstanding job and I am very proud of you.
God Bless, Aim High, Semper Fi and Mission Accomplished,
United Mexican American Veterans Association Chaplain, Board of Director and Honor Color Guard", 
3rd Term Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge-Orange County Chapter Chaplain,
 Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17, 
First Vice Commander and 2nd Term Marine Corps League Detachment 1347 
Chaplain" Francisco Parras, Jr. REVFBPARASJR@YAHOO.COM



   Memorial Cartoon by Sergio Hernandez
   Your turn: ‘A new celebratory day for America’
   The Letter by Daisy Wanda Garcia
    Letter from Pres. Clinton to Dr. Hector P. Garcia
    Letter from Martin Luther King to Dr. Hector P. Garcia
   Hispanics Breaking Barriers, Part XXIX  by Mercy Bautista-Olvera  
   Hispanic Values Are American Values by Janet Murguia
   US Census Bureau,  28 March 2011, Released for Cinco de Mayo


Francisco J. Barragan, commander of the United Mexican-American Veterans Association, served in the U.S. Marines and in the California Army National Guard. Here’s his reflection on 9/11, and the raid a week ago that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden:

On the tragic day of Sept. 11, 2001 I was driving back from San Diego in the early dawn, before most of those in the western U.S. had awoken, and I heard in the radio about hijacked planes being flown into the World Trade Center Towers. 

It was an eerie surreal feeling knowing that the rest of America would be waking up to a changed world, one caused by large-scale terrorism, pain, tragedy, and the consequences to our society as we would need to balance personal security against individual freedoms. 

The images, confusion and actions of the day are seared in my mind.  

I remember the frantic calls to-and-from the hijacked planes, and passengers helplessly looking out their windows and realizing too late they would die as they slammed into the Towers.  But then it was the bravery of those passengers that  stymied the terrorists from taking down another building. They chose to fight and took their destiny in their own hands with their call to action, “Let’s roll.” 

We later found out the end-goal of these criminals was to incite terror.  Their reason for destroying the twin towers, attacking the pentagon, killing innocent men, women, and children was to create fear. This was mass murder and a crime against humanity. 

Every now and then, days and years afterwards I would find myself in a fit of quiet rage and in tears of pain.  The pain from realizing that lives of innocent people had been taken away, and thinking, what if that was my then 12-year-old daughter having to choose between dying burned alive or jumping to her death, and as a parent never seeing my child again, or my child never seeing her parents again, and me a former US Marine and unable to protect them all, and prevent this atrocity.

And then late Sunday night, President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mass murder perpetrator. The realization was slow to sink in.  I stayed up late watching New Yorkers and others celebrating.  And I woke up feeling that I needed to do something and “celebrate”.  

And luckily this next morning Marine Cpl. Alex Madrigal called me early and said, “Barragan, you want to join me? I want to go and celebrate”.  For close to ten years, Madrigal has been attending the funeral services or visiting the families of the troops who we have lost in OC and LA from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and sometimes I join him. 

The toll to our society has been very high:  restrictions on our personal liberties; depletion of our national treasury; and most importantly the many injuries and the lives lost unwillingly by other innocent civilians, and willingly by those of our brave men and women who have selflessly sacrificed time from family and who have put themselves in harm’s way in our defense, and to restore our way of life, while they lose theirs.

So Madrigal and I, went to the firefighters memorial in front of the US Marine jet at 693 Broadway in Santa Ana, CA and did a quiet ceremony, which included bringing our U.S., California and KIA/WIA flags and banners; adorning the memorial in red-white-blue, and pacing back and forth for nine steps and standing at attention for 11 seconds; and rendering salutes for 9 seconds, then 1, then 1 second again.  We did this for about 6 hours, until we ran out of water in the 90-degree weather.

As a Christian or as a human being, the loss of every life pains me.  But I know that killing bin Laden was a necessary step to stop further large scale loss of human life.  I know we can all be forgiven for celebrating his death, and for thanking the brave Navy Seal Team 6 members for their bravery and their operation’s success, and for a great victory.

And although the fight will still continue, I know Bin Laden’s killing represents a new celebratory day for America because we know that with our quiet ceremony and with this victory, we can now replace the tears of pain, for tears of joy and rejoice in the knowledge that while thousands of innocents had their lives taken, they never took their spirit nor the Spirit of America!,

This week the Senate (May 6, 2011) passed a resolution honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden by a roll call vote of 97-0. (S.Res. 159) 
Sent by Elroy Martinez Eloy_Martinez@DSOC.SENATE.GOV  


by Daisy Wanda Garcia

One of the “gems” included in the Hector P. Garcia papers, Bell Library at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, is a three-page hand written note from future President Bill Clinton to Dr. Hector Garcia on December 1, 1972.[1]  Clinton wrote this letter in long hand because his typewriter was still in the shop.  
During the 1970ies after Clinton lost the election for Arkansas governor, he worked as advance man for the McGovern-Shriver Campaign. Clinton’s base of operations in South Texas was in Corpus Christi, Texas where he met my father. My father invited Clinton to work from his clinic. This was the beginning of a life long friendship between my father and Bill Clinton.  (“The Green Room”, Somos Primos, November 2007)
After McGovern was defeated, Clinton retreated to New Haven to sort things out and regroup. My father phoned Clinton the day after McGovern lost the presidential campaign.  Clinton wrote to my father to thank him for the phone call:
I have many things to thank you for…the call you and your family made to me the day after the election, which meant more to me than you can know…
In the days since I have been back in my quiet academic life in New Haven , I have thought a great deal about the election, about the American people, about the enormous and foolish errors made in the campaign, and about where we are going.
In the letter, Clinton’s assessment of the mistakes the George McGovern Campaign made was not to turn to the established leadership for help:
The flaw in McGovern’s campaign that bothered you so-his turning to young, inexperienced, rhetoric ridden ‘Chicanos” for leadership in the Mexican-American community-this was in many ways symbolic of the general malaise.  For in the end, McGovern seemed to the American people, including many Mexican-Americans someone alien, apart.
He should have turned throughout to men like you-men who are ‘established’ in the best sense; deeply patriotic, but determined foes of imperialist adventures and unnecessary killing; grateful participating member of the good like of economic and social success who are dedicated to the eradication of poverty and prejudice and afflictions that need not be.  That really is the kind of man McGovern is too, but he could not convey it.
Clinton ’ views about the civil rights movement:
Those of us who want to go on with the business of human needs have got to find a way to meet the valid needs of the white majority and enlist some of them in our cause, or we will be out of the White House and many state houses for a good time.
Clinton ’s view about the future:
I think this defeat is hardly determinative, and you and men like you give me hope that progress will not forever be a strain.  One central problem of course is that we are short of men like you.
In the summer before the end of the election, my father and I met with McGovern, Shriver and Clinton in at the Villa Capri Hotel, in Austin , Texas , at a strategy session. I felt that there was little energy on the part of both candidates and lost hope for a victory.
In 1980, Clinton returned again to Corpus Christi Texas as the advance man for the Jimmy Carter – Walter Mondale Presidential bid. He used my father’s clinic as his base of operations. Carter was successful in his Presidential bid.  In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for the Presidency.  I was not surprised by his decision because, Clinton told me he intended to run for the Presidency during one of our lunches.  During his campaigns, Clinton relied heavily on Papa for support and advice. The Clinton - Gore ticket won the election on November 1992 and in 1996, voters reelected Clinton - Gore to a second term.
Clinton remained a friend of my father’s until his death in 1996.  President Bill Clinton called Papa several times while he was in the hospital to wish him a speedy recovery. 
When President Clinton learned my father had died; he was one of the first to call to express condolences. Although Clinton could not attend the funeral in person, he sent Gil Coronado as his representative and Clinton eulogized my father. Clinton said about my father, (Hillary and the President) "We had both known him for more than 20 years and he was to us a real American hero…He was a clear voice for Hispanic civil rights, I just wanted to say to all of you we should honor him best by committing ourselves to continue the work of his life. He was a remarkable man." [2]
Political analysts theorize that Clinton’s campaign structure adopted an effective blend of informality with clear goal definition, which allowed for structured creativity. [3] This letter gives us insight into Clinton’s political philosophy and strategy. In retrospect, it is clear that Clinton learned from McGovern’s loss and used those lessons to succeed in his bid for the U.S. Presidency.  They were in the letter all this time.  

1 Clinton letter to Dr. Garcia, 12/1/1970, provided courtesy of Texas A&M University , Bell Library. 
2 Libby Averyt, " Clinton Honors Garcia in Call to Supporters", Corpus Christi Callers Times, 7/28/1996.
[3] Wikepedia, Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign.  

Editor:  I transcribed with some difficulty.  There were a few words that I could not make out.  Open to suggestions. 





Editor:  I transcribed with some difficulty.  There were a few words that I could not make out.  Open to suggestions. 
                                                            Dec 1, 1972
                                                            New Haven, Conn.

Dear Dr. Garcia,

         I apologize for not having written to you sooner, than now, for my illegible scrawl - my typewriter is being  
sent to me but has not arrived.

         I have many things to thank you for - the picture;
the complete expense statement, the call you, and your family made to me the day after the election, which 
meant more to me than you can know; and most of
all, the opportunity of working with you and getting 
to know you.

         In the days since I have been back in my quiet
academic life in New Haven, I have thought a great deal
about the election, about the American people, about 
the enormous and foolish errors made in the campaign,
and about where we are going.

        The flaw in McGovern's campaign that bothered 
you so - his turning to young, inexperienced rhetoric -
------ ------ for leadership in the Mexican-American
community - this was in many ways symbolic of the
general malaise  -  For in the end, McGovern seemed to the American people, including many Mexican-Americans another alien apart - Surely, Nixon was a crook, but a 'great American' crook,  One may recount (-to  use an analogy from my Baptist heritage) the preacher pilfering church funds and sleeping with the deacon's wife, but he will not drive the preacher from the pulpit if the only available replacement is an infidel.

                                            - 2 -

         He should have turned throughout  to men like you 
men who are 'established' in the best class: Deeply
patriotic, but determined foes of imperialist adventures
and unnecessary killings; grateful, participating members of the good life of economic and social success who are dedicated to the eradication of poverty and prejudice  and afflictions that need not be.  That really is the kind of man McGovern is too, but he could not convey it.

  Of course, it is more complicated than that. The violence and uncertainty and insecurity of recent years have turned the white middle class into a frightened, selfish, ungenerous lot, in the mood to carry on social reform.
--------- -----, which has so dominated your  concerns 
of  late, might have been enough to kill us, if everything else had gone right.

     Those of us who want to go on with the business
of human needs have got to find a way to meet the valid needs of the white majority and enlist some of them in our cause, or we will be out of the White House and 
many state houses for a good long time.  Their needs are largely psychic [?], though by no means completely so. And still they are dimly understood, their reality buried beneath layers of fear, pomposity and hackneyed phrases: the work ethnic, economic growth, strength before other nations, etc. etc.

     I did not mean to go on such length, but mainly 
to say, I think their defeat is hardly determinative, 
and you and men like you give me hope that progress will not forever be a sham.  One central problem
of course is that we are short of men like you - 

     Please give my best to your sister and your brother and your family and those in your office who were also so kind to me.  Especially the lovely pregnant Rovitz (?) 

I recommend to you Sen. Fulbright's latest book,
The Crippled Giant.





V351P    CST    MAR   6   68    NSA339  AA900
ALLY 392    LL224   LLZ2L   NL   PDS  ATLANTA, GA  6

(404) 522-1428






Mercy Bautista-Olvera


The 29th article in the series “Hispanics Breaking Barriers” focuses on contributions         of Hispanic leadership in United States government. Their contributions have improved not only the local community but the country as well. Their struggles, stories, and accomplishments will by example; illustrate to our youth and to future generations that everything and anything is possible.    

Dianna J. Duran: Secretary of State, New Mexico
Harvey Santana:
State Representative, Michigan , 10th District    
Robert Ramirez:
State Representative, Colorado 29th District      
Ruben Kihuen:
State Senator, Nevada , 10th District   
Dr. Luis Arreaga:
U. S. Ambassador, Republic of Iceland  

Dianna J. Duran

Dianna J. Duran, formerly a New Mexico State Senator, who served as Caucus Chair of the Senate Republicans of New Mexico, is the newly elected New Mexico Secretary of State. Duran is the first Republican elected to serve as New

Mexico ’s Secretary of State since 1928. Duran is New Mexico ’s 12th Secretary of State of Hispanic descent.   

Dianna J. Duran was born on July 26, 1955, in Tularosa , New Mexico . She is married to Leo Barraza, and together they have 5 children; 13 grandchildren; and one, great-grandchild.  

In 1973, Dianna J. Duran graduated from Tularosa High School . She later   attended New Mexico State University at Alamogordo .  

In 1988, Duran was first elected as Otero County Clerk, in New Mexico ; she served two-year terms.      

In 1992, Duran was first elected to her senate seat. She served five terms in State Senate, District 40th, which encompasses a large portion of Otero County . As a State Senator, she updated the election code, and modernized and reformed the electoral process. She pursued ways to cut wasteful spending and eliminated “red tape” and supported small business growth, she also preserved waters resources and promoted educational achievement.  

Duran was involved in election issues especially working on issues related to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a Unites States Law, requiring that all states and localities upgrade voting procedures, including voting machines, registration processes and poll worker training.  

She served as a member of the Senate Rules and Senate Corporations and Transportations Committees. She has served on numerous interim committees including Legislative Council and Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committees to name a few.   Senator Duran has worked in elections for over 30 years; she has served previously on the Redistricting Committee following the 2000 census and a number of interim committees relating to elections.    

Harvey Santana

Harvey Santana is the State Representative of the Michigan House of Representatives for the10th District.  

Harvey Santana was born on July 10, 1972, in Detroit , Michigan . He is the son of Ernesto Santana, and Evelyn Perez-Santana, his father was born and raised in Juncos, Puerto Rico . Santana’s father moved to Detroit in 1966, he worked at a local Chrysler plant. His mother grew up in Oakland , California and later settled in Detroit , Michigan . She worked as a nurse. He has one sister Clarissa Marie Santana.  He is married to Sylvia Anjel-Santana; the couple have one daughter, Sofia.    


In 1990, Harvey Santana graduated from Chadsey High School , two weeks after graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy. Santana fought in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Bosnia , Somalia , and Haiti . Santana served onboard the USS Guadalcanal, the USS Spartanburg County, and the USS Enterprise. Harvey Santana was released from active duty with an Honorable Discharge.  

After completing his enlistment, he returned to Detroit , Michigan worked at a local hotel during the day, and enrolled at Henry Ford Community College where he attended classes at night.  

In 1999, Santana earned his Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Eastern Michigan University , where he was involved with student organizations, and in 2005,   Santana earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration.  

Santana began his involvement in politics by working for Councilman Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. at the Detroit City Council as a Legislative Assistant. He later applied to the Michigan Political Leadership Program where he could become better prepared to understand Michigan ’s issues and Detroit ’s importance to the world. In 2009, Santana completed the political training series sponsored by the Center for Progressive Leadership.  Santana has also worked on Detroit Mayoral, City Council, and Detroit School Board campaigns.  

He has been in the private sector for the last 10 years.  Santana has worked on three of Michigan largest transportation projects; the Detroit River International Crossing Study, Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal study, and the I-75

Environmental Assessment. His work has involved demographic and analysis, traffic studies, and preparation of reports for several projects.  Santana has a high level of understanding of Michigan ’s transportation needs and believes Michigan ’s future will require a sophisticated vision with correct planning and a diverse economy.  

As a community leader, Santana served as the President of the Warrendale Community Organization, volunteered his time in support of the organization’s goals of neighborhood revitalization and clean up efforts.  

Santana is a mentor to neighborhood youth and spends his time mentoring teenagers by sharing his experiences at local high schools and working with at-risk youth in summer programs.

Robert   Ramirez

Robert Ramirez is the Colorado State Representative for the 29th District. 

Robert Ramirez was born in New Jersey to a father who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the 1960’s, and an American mother. His parents divorced when he was an eight years old. His single mother raised him and his two siblings. His mother worked as a Survey Engineer. He is married to Suzanne Stone-Ramirez, an elementary school teacher who has worked in Jefferson County schools since 2001. They have one daughter, Lauren.    

Robert earned an Associate’s Degree in Business and is currently working on a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration Management.  Robert Ramirez served in the United States Navy and was honorable discharged in 1988.   

In 2002, the family moved to Arvada , Colorado and then moved to his current home in Westminster, Colorado .  

Ramirez says he is motivated by his deep commitment to his local community and hopes to continue that commitment by serving as a State Representative.  Ramirez has helped with numerous charities in Westminster and throughout the community. Some highlights include serving as a Delegate to the Board of Directors for a local retirement community, as a member of a local middle school PTA.  

Ramirez has dedicated himself to giving back to his community in every way that he can. He has learned to respect the hard work and the struggles many families live with everyday.

Ruben Kihuen: Nevada State Senator Extraordinaire
Ruben J. Kihuen

Ruben J. Kihuen is a Nevada State Senator, 10th District. He is the first Hispanic immigrant and one of the youngest in Nevada history to be elected to a political office. He ran for an open Senate District 10th left vacant by Senator Bob Coffin.    

Ruben Kihuen was born on April 25, 1980, in Guadalajara , Jalisco , Mexico . He is the son of Armando Kihuen and Blanca Bernal-Kihuen. He has two older brothers, Omar and Jorge, and a younger sister Mariana. His family immigrated to United States settling in Las Vegas , Nevada where he grew up and attended school.  


Ruben J. Kihuen attended Rancho High school ; he graduated from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas , where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education. He is currently seeking a Masters Degree in Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma- Nellis Air Force Base Campus .  

Kihuen is a community organizer and activist. He has worked on several political campaigns, his characteristics are described as a natural leader and very intelligent.

Kihuen has served on several political campaigns, such as Regional Representative to Senator Harry Reid. He has been a recruiter, academic advisor and served as community liaison at the College of Southern Nevada .  

Prior to serving the 10th District, Ruben Kihuen was elected to the Nevada Legislature for District 11th in 2006, defeating incumbent Bob McCleary. He served two full terms as State Assemblyman. During his terms in office, he voted to increase penalties for domestic violence, for more money and higher standards for schools and teachers, and to give small business low-interest loans to expand their workforce.  

Kihuen was awarded with the Rising Star Award and John F. Kennedy Award by the Nevada State Democratic Party; Hispanic of the Year by the Latin Chamber of Commerce; and the Outstanding Political Activist by the City of Las Vegas.


Dr. Luis E. Arreaga-Rodas


Luis E. Arreaga, served as a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is the current U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland in the U.S. State Department.  

Arreaga was born and raised in Guatemala , before immigrating to the United States . He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with a Master’s Degree in Management and a PhD in Economics.  

Arreaga is married to Mary F. Kelsey-Arreaga; the couple have one daughter; Melania and two sons, Juan Carlos and Luis Mikel.   

Luis E. Arreaga, served as a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is the current U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland in the U.S. State Department.  

Arreaga was born and raised in Guatemala , before immigrating to the United States . He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with a Master’s Degree in Management and a PhD in Economics.  

Arreaga is married to Mary F. Kelsey-Arreaga; the couple have one daughter; Melania and two sons, Juan Carlos and Luis Mikel.   

He served as the Director of the Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment in the Bureau of Human Resources. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Panama , U.S. Consul General in Vancouver , Canada , and as director of the Executive Secretariat Staff at the U.S. State Department in Washington , D.C.    

Arreaga served as Deputy Director of the State Department’s Operations Center and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.  Other overseas postings include United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva , the United States Embassy in Spain , and the Agency for International Development Missions in Peru , El Salvador , and Honduras  

From 1999 to 2000, Arreaga   served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs in the State Department   He served as Deputy Director of the State Department’s Operations Center from 2000-2001.  

Prior to being selected for the Iceland Ambassadorship, he led State Department efforts to recruit and hire the largest increase in Foreign Service personnel in U.S. State Department history. The office is responsible for the recruitment and hiring of all Foreign Service personnel and the recruitment of civil service employees.    



Dear Friends,

The National Museum of the American Latino Commission submitted its final report to Congress and President Barack Obama on its findings and recommendations regarding the potential creation of a national museum of the American Latino. Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and author of the museum commission legislation (Public Law 110-229) released the following statement:

“We are now a few steps closer to opening the doors to the National Museum of the American Latino—a museum that will share all its treasures and rich cultural history that Latinos have contributed to the American story.  I commend my colleagues on the commission for meeting the challenge and putting together a comprehensive report that will guide Congress and the President in creating a museum that all Americans can be proud of.

It’s fitting that today, Cinco de Mayo, we celebrate the contributions and importance of the American Latino community, and recognize the significance in providing an opportunity for all Americans to learn about our history.”

Click here to see a video of Rep. Becerra's remarks at yesterday's press conference. [May 5th]

The bipartisan effort to create the Commission began in 2003 during Hispanic Heritage month and the Commission bill was signed into law by President Bush in 2008. One year later, the 23-member bipartisan Commission began its task of creating a study and plan of action for the establishment and maintenance of a museum focused on American Latino art, history and culture in Washington, D.C. Today’s report details the Commission’s recommendation that Congress authorize the creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum on the National Mall.

Delivered months ahead of schedule, the Commission’s historic report is based on extensive public input and research involving eight public forums, the Smithsonian Institution, National Capital Planning Commission, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Department of Interior, cultural institutions and organizations nationwide. Similar to the process that led to the creation of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, it will now be up to Congress to consider and act upon the Commission’s recommendations.

Click here now to Download the final report to the President and Congress of the United States titled “To Illuminate the American Story for All”.

With much gratitude, Henry R. Munoz III, Chairman

PS. Become a Fan on Facebook. It's easy, all you have to do is click here and go to our Facebook page and click the like button.

 Sent by Tom Saenz  


Hispanic Values Are American Values 

By Janet Murguía 
Opinion: The Wall Street Journal (4/22/11) 
One out of every four children in America is Latino, and 92% of those children are U.S. citizens. 

There's a lot of buzz these days about a finding in the 2010 Census that confirms what the Latino community has long known: The Hispanic population in this country has grown dramatically over the last decade. What was once the province of a few states has now become an integral part of our national community. 

Although recent news reports about the Census express "surprise" about the size of the Hispanic population, it is important to remember that Latinos have always been a vibrant part of American history and culture. For generations, Latino soldiers have fought and died for this country with valor and distinction. The first Medal of Honor given to a Hispanic soldier was during the Civil War. Latino workers helped build America's railroads and highways. They rebuilt the Pentagon after 9/11. And they have helped raise our children and take care of our elderly. 

Still, it's not surprising that the size of the Hispanic population has drawn a great deal of attention. There are now more than 50 million Hispanics in the country. In other words, one out of every six people in America is Hispanic. Moreover, one out of every four children in America is Latino, and 92% of those children are U.S. citizens. 

Like others who brought demographic change to America, our presence has stirred anxiety among some of our fellow Americans. A century ago, people expressed the same concerns about waves of immigrants from Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe. It was understandable-but it also turned out to be unfounded. As the number of Latinos grows, our fellow Americans need to overcome the natural human anxiety that accompanies change and look for common ground. 

Every issue that Americans care about-whether education, health care, Social Security or the economy-involves the Latino community. "One out of every four children" means that those who are interested in ensuring that children receive the highest quality education possible should also worry about Hispanic achievement levels. Those working to get our economy back on track need to address high unemployment levels, especially among young Latinos. Now more than ever, with baby boomers reaching retirement age, we need all Americans working and contributing to Social Security and Medicare. 
It's time for people to stop thinking about Latinos as "foreigners," "aliens," or "others" and start thinking of us as their fellow workers, classmates, colleagues, worshippers, neighbors, friends and family. 

Like other large demographic shifts in our nation's history, the growth of the Latino community will benefit America. Latinos reinforce traditional American values of faith, family and love of country. And they will reinvigorate the economy with a much-needed influx of younger workers committed to hard work, entrepreneurship and service to our nation. 
Ms. Murguía is president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.

Sent by Wanda Garcia




US Census Bureau,  28 March 2011
Released for Cinco de Mayo

Source for the following statements: 2009 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Selected Population Profile in the United States: Mexican

31.7 million: Number of U.S. residents of Mexican origin in 2009. These residents constituted 10 percent of the nation’s total population and 66 percent of the Hispanic population.

52.4%:  Percent of Mexican-origin people who were male.

19.6 million: Number of people of Mexican origin who lived in California (11.5 million) or Texas (8.04 million). People of Mexican origin made up nearly one-third of the residents of these two states.

25.6: Median age of people in the US of Mexican descent. This compared with 36.8 years for the population as a whole.

673,000: Number of Mexican-Americans who were U.S. military veterans.

1.5 million:  Number of people of Mexican descent 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. This included about 404,000 who had a graduate or professional degree.

34.7%:  Among households where a householder was of Mexican origin, the percentage of married-couple families with own children younger than 18. For all households, the corresponding percentage was 21 percent.

4.2 people:  Average size of families with a householder of Mexican origin. The average size of all families was 3.2 people.

15.8%:  Percentage of employed civilians 16 and older of Mexican heritage who worked in managerial, professional or related occupations. In addition, 27 percent worked in service occupations; 21 percent in sales and office occupations; 15 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations; and 18 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations.

$39,115:  Median income in 2009 for households with a householder of Mexican origin.  For the population as a whole, the corresponding amount was $50,221.

25.1%:  Poverty rate in 2009 for all people of Mexican heritage. For the population as a whole, the corresponding rate was 14.3 percent.

69.0%:  Percentage of civilians 16 and older of Mexican origin in the labor force.  The percentage was 65 percent for the population as a whole. There were 14.5 million people of Mexican heritage in the labor force, comprising 9 percent of the total.

49.7%:  Percentage of householders of Mexican origin in occupied housing units who owned the home in which they lived. This compared with 65.9 percent for the population as a whole.

11.4 million or 36.0%:  Number and percentage of Mexican-origin people who were foreign-born; 2.6 million of them were naturalized citizens. Among the population as a whole, 12.5 percent were foreign-born.

76%:  Percentage of Mexican-origin people who spoke a language other than English at home; among these people, 37 percent spoke English less than “very well.” Among the population as a whole, the corresponding figures were 20 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Trade With Mexico

$393.0 billion
The value of total goods traded between the United States and Mexico in 2010. Mexico was our nation’s third-leading trading partner, after Canada and China. The leading U.S. export commodity to Mexico in 2010 was unleaded gasoline ($5.9 billion); the leading U.S. import commodity from Mexico in 2010 was crude petroleum ($22.6 billion). Source: Foreign Trade Statistics and

Source for statements in this section: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2007

1.0 million
Number of firms owned by people of Mexican origin in 2007. They accounted for 45.8 percent of all Hispanic-owned firms. Mexicans led all Hispanic subgroups.

$155.5 billion 
Sales and receipts for firms owned by people of Mexican origin in 2007, 45.1 percent of all Hispanic-owned firm receipts.

Percentage increase in the number of businesses owned by people of Mexican origin between 2002 and 2007.

Percent of all Mexican-owned U.S. businesses located in either California or Texas. California had the most Mexican-owned U.S. firms (36.1 percent), followed by Texas (34.4 percent) and Arizona (4.1 percent).

Ratio of Mexican-owned firms to all firms in Texas, which led all states.  New Mexico was next (15.1 percent), followed by California (10.9 percent), Arizona (8.6 percent) and Nevada (4.9 percent).

Percentage of Mexican-owned U.S. firms in the construction and repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors. Mexican-owned firms accounted for 5.1 percent of all U.S. businesses in these sectors.

Mexican Food

$100.4 million 
Product shipment value of tamales and other Mexican food specialties (not frozen or canned) produced in the US in 2002.
Source: 2002 Economic Census

$48.9 million 
Product shipment value of frozen enchiladas produced in the United States in 2002. Frozen tortilla shipments were valued even higher, at $156 million.  Source: 2002 Economic Census

Number of U.S. tortilla manufacturing establishments in 2008. The establishments that produce this unleavened flat bread employed 16,311 people. Tortillas, the principal food of the Aztecs, are known as the “bread of Mexico.” One in three of these establishments was in Texas.  Source: County Business Patterns: 2008

The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.  Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail:

Sent by Juan Marinez

U.S. Hispanic Population Facts Summary:
50.5 million (April 2010 Census)
16.3 percent of the nation's total population.
• There were
15 million Hispanics added to
the population in the decade. 43 percent growth.

• Total U.S. population grew by
9.7 percent
Sent by 



  Help El Segundo Barrio, El Paso to be Declared an Historic District
  Lawsuit planned over Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio
  This year seemed to attract more questions concerning El Cinco de Mayo. 

(1) Hispanic Link Weekly Report, Charlie Erickson
  (2) Cinco de Mayo in Mexican American Life by Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
  (3) American Connection to Cinco de Mayo by Dan Arellano
  (4) Cinco de Mayo, a Battle for Recognition by   Dr. Lily Rivera
  (5) 16 de septiembre 1810 is part of Spanish Southwest History, Lino Garcia, Ph.D.
Help El Segundo Barrio, El Paso to be Declared an Historic District

WHY: El Segundo is the largest, oldest barrio in the contiguous forty-eight states which directly borders on Mexico. Although often overlooked, is forms the third leg of the immigration tripod through which the people who have forged this country have passed.

Ellis Island, European immigration. Angel Island, off the coast of California, Asiatic immigration. El Segundo Barrio, in El Paso, Texas, the portal to immigration from Mexico and points south. Not to mention the fact that it was once Mexico, before Mexico lost huge hunks of her territory to the United States.

Ellis Island, on the east coast, is on the National Register of Historic Sites. So is Angel Island, on the west coast. El Segundo is not. And before we can get it on the National Register, we have to have it declared a local historic site, and then a state historic site.

The effort is a noble one. The barrio has been home to some of the giants of the Chicano Nation. Anthony Quinn, Gilbert Roland, Bert Corona, Corky’s grandparents, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Carlos Montes, all came from Chihuahua, Juárez, with stops in El Paso on their way to California.

Austin, Texas, with a population of approximately 19% Latinos, has a brand spanking new Mexican- American Cultural Center. San Antonio has one.

Albuquerque boasts a National Hispanic Cultural Center. We have a convention center, named after a nondescript Republican mayor named Judson Williams (who escaped military service during World War II by successfully playing the “educator” deferment) . All efforts to have it renamed the El Paso Mexican-American Centro Culutral have failed, as have our efforts with el Segundo Barrio.

And this in a city that with an estimated 82% Chicano-Mexican-American population continues being one of the most racist cities in Texas, governed by a cabal of gueros and Tios and Tias Taco wannabe whites that recently succeeded in having El Paso recognized as an All-American city. Money, as usual, succeeded in covering up our many warts and moles.

Nonetheless, our efforts have gathered some national attention. But the battle is a hard one, and we really need your help. Consider: Debbie Hamlyn, an aging guera, is best rememberd for turning away millions of dollars around thirty years ago - federal dollars targeted for affordable housing in el Segundo. She is now in charge of - and makes around $130,00 yearly - quality of life - and not a brown face among her department heads.

And we are up front with our efforts. Not a single little hidden agenda. Here is a long read, but you can see the odds, when the City orders its Historic Preservation Officer not to work with the people in their efforts.

On Monday, December 16, 2009, the group responsible for the Resolution held a public meeting at the Houchen Center in El Segundo Barrio. Because the meeting had been publicized, City of El Paso employees were present. Among them were Dr. Troy Ainswoth, the Historic Sites Preservation Officer and his assistant, Tony Ponce, and Ms. Olivia T. Montalvo, a Planner in the Neighborhood Services Division Department of Community and Human Development.

It was at this meeting that the concept of El Segundo Barrio as the Ellis Island of the border was first embraced and publicized by the group. On Monday, February 1, the City held a public meeting at the Armijo Center in El Segundo Barrio. Among those invited by Mark Weber, a Senior Planner with the Community and Human Development division of Neighborhood Services, were Daryl Fields and Gerardo Payan of the United States Department of Justice; Jose Gonzalez and Debra Kanof, Assistant United States Attorneys; David Sanchez, Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Jerry Flood, National Parks Service; Adrian E. Lopez, United States Army, and James Parker, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One is left with a sense of wonder at the necessity of inviting so many people in law enforcement. Mark Alvarado of the Neighborhood Services Division of the Department of Community and Human Development presided over the 13th community meeting held by the City in its attempt to convince El Segundo residents that the revitalization plan of the City, born of the ill-fated plan sponsored by the “Paso del Norte Group ” - read multi millionaire developers and far right political figures from both sides of the border - was in fact a good thing.

As in prior meetings, residents were outnumbered by City employees and supporters from “La Fe”, the community health clinic headed by Salvador Balcorta who earns somewhere between $225,000 - $300,000 plus expenses for his efforts, which include summarily firing any employee who does not support the City's plan, charging more to low income residents of El Segundo known to oppose the City's plan, and denying space to service programs for area residents for the same reasons.

After a repetitive power point presentation, Alvarado opened the floor to questions. Having explained a slide showing the City improving education by "partnering with the El Paso Independent School District, the Community College, and other groups involved in education", Alvarado was repeatedly asked for specific examples by Minnie Peña - the widow of my old pal District Judge Henry Peña, both of whom lived and were raised in El Segundo - and he could provide none.

It quickly became obvious that Minnie was making him lose his temper. William Lilly, Alvarado's supervisor, came to his aid by recognizing a young man who was given the microphone when he stepped to the front. Rather than ask a question, the young man finished a lengthy speech bordering on tirade as he concluded by telling the few residents that they had no choice but to support the City's plan.

I asked both Alvarado and Lilly if they were aware that back in the day, Debbie Hamlyn had been responsible for returning tens of millions of dollars to the Federal Government that it had provided for low income housing in El Segundo Barrio rather than spend the money. They both were ignorant of the fact. Hamlyn, who heads the Quality of Life Department and who is their boss, has somehow survived after a career of some thirty plus years filled with spectacular botches.

Time back, the Homeless Coalition lost considerable federal funding because Andrew Hair, one of Hamlin's people, neglected to submit an important report to HUD. She hedged on that report and was ultimately obliged to answer for it. She survived, but Hair no longer works for the city. Currently, Debbie Hamlyn is on the committee that is developing a Regional Health Care Program for "Hispanics." Be still, my heart. And as has been described to me, among all of the women heading up this thing, there is not one Hispanic, let alone a Mexican-American or Chicano woman professional involved in this committee.

Not even a token one, even with all of the Mexican-American female physicians and health care professionals who are qualified in El Paso in either health care and/or management. Surely that is pretty much in line with all the names in the graphic showing the names under "Management" in Hamlyn's "Quality of Life" graphic shown above. And this in a city that is 82+% Mexican-American Latino Chicano. By any account, Hamlyn is a disaster.

Yet, in tandem with City Manager Joyce Wilson, the pair run the City and there is no accountability, since the City Council has long ago reduced itself to rubber stamp status.

And Then I Asked the Question - After savoring the nods of agreement from several old ladies when I commented that barrio residents could not trust anything done by Hamlyn given her history, I told Lilly that late Sunday, I had received a call from a young lady friend employee of the city, and the information she gave me when I asked her to meet me personally was disturbing.

I then asked him if it was true, as she had told me, that the personnel from the historic preservation department had been ordered not to involve themselves with historic sites in the barrio as these were too politically charged - and with a straight face he smoothly said no, and that he seriously doubted that such a thing was possible. He said that in fact, if this was true, then the City would not have scheduled an appearance before the Historic Landmark Commission of the El Paso County for Wednesday, at 4 p.m., at the second floor of City Hall.

Having gained this information and bearing in mind a clergyman's observations about a prior City meeting to the effect that "Mark Alvarado showed his short fuse again . . . Bill Lilly, too, has a short fuse. They don't like negative criticism of that sacred plan of theirs. And no matter what they have said needed fixing, they keep serving up the same tired old plan" - my companion and I left.

My daughter accompanied me to the County Historic Landmark Commission meeting on Wednesday. We showed up at the appointed time. Shortly, Alvarado entered, we shook hands, and then Lilly came in. He too came over, saw the Notre Dame logo on my hoodie, told me he lived some few miles from South Bend, and asked me what we college kids used to do on the weekends.

I told him we would drive 15 miles or so across the border to Niles, Michigan, which we had found to be more convivial than South Bend. He agreed, and we briefly discussed the state of discrimination in Indiana, which, we agreed, was and is dismal.

The Commission personnel entered, and the chairman called for public comment on matters not on the agenda. When my quick witted daughter jabbed me in the ribs, I went to the podium, asked permission to speak, identified myself, and told the Commissioners about our group, that what we were doing was a matter of public record, spoke to the history of El Segundo Barrio, the culture of its people, the contributions made by the first to join, first to be called, first to die youth - Marcelino Serna, who died a few years ago, the “illegal immigrant:” hero, the Audie Murphy of WWI, Sylvestre Herrera, Medal of Honor, WW2, a former farmworker from the barrio who moved to Arizona, and Ambrosio (Mocho) Guillen, Bowie High School pal of Paul Moreno, both of whom fought side by side in Korea, with Mocho being posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor. Shamefully, I neglected to include Marcos Armijo, posthumously decorated with the nation's second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in WWI.

I told the Commissioners that we felt the barrio deserved the honor of being recognized as the third leg of the tripod of immigration to this country: Ellis Island for Euroepan immigrants, Angel Island, for Asian immigrants, both of which are on the National Register, and El Segundo Barrio, for Mexican immigrants who have contributed so much to their adopted country.

I concluded by sharing with the Commissioners the words of an old WW2 friend, who had told me, in tears, that El Segundo Barrio deserves to be right up there with Ellis Island and Angel Island because we have paid for it with our blood and with our lives, given when we were young and when we answered - here! - when our county called.

As I left the podium, one of the Commissioners said "we applaud your efforts." The old Alamo School in the barrio, an on again off again candidate for demolition by the EPISD, and which we are fighting to save, was next on the agenda.

Dr. Troy Ainsworth, Historic Preservation Officer of the City, spoke to the necessity of preserving the school and how the EPISD had not replied to his inquiries regarding inspecting the school. He told the Commission, however, that he and his assistant were directed weeks ago not to actively support historic designations of buildings in the Segundo Barrio, since the issue was politically charged.

He stated that although there is an item on the agenda regarding the Segundo Barrio Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy plan developed by the Department of Community Development, which includes a goal to identify historically significant buildings, the City's historic preservation staff was not included in the preparation of that document.

He went on to say that although he was in a difficult position, he could still “assist” people in their efforts to preserve such buildings in Segundo Barrio through forthright efforts when working with City staff. But, he said, he could not be pro-active in such assistance.

He also felt, he said, that the public was free to express its concerns about the potential fate of both Alamo School and the Segundo Barrio to EPISD officials and City officials. The members of the Commission were obviously stunned. One member stated "oh yes, we hear you."

I asked permission to speak, and I reminded the Commissioners about the unnecessary razing of the Alamito Public Housing Projects, built in the 1930s, the removal of hundreds of longtime residents - the classic definition of gentrification - the classic old brick buildings replaced with modern architectural atrocities.

I reminded them of the unnecessary destruction of the old Aoy school, monument to its founder Olives Aoy, the great hearted Mormon who embraced the Mexican children, and who agreed to have his school named the "Mexican Preparatory School" so he could obtain funding from the racist school board back in the day. I offered the assistance of our group to the Commission's efforts to inspect the school.

It was not necessary. Led by an enthusiastic woman member, the Commission voted unanimously to begin the process of naming Alamo School an historic building. A stunning response both to the City and the EPISD. As we were leaving, my daughter collared - there is no other word - a member of the Commission, who after a long chat, told her not to be misled by Alvarado's "we can work together" attitude. He told her, and me, that the City would probably do all it could do to deny us the recogniton for El Segundo Barrio that we are seeking.

But, we holler out loud and clear, because we speak for our culture and the blood of our veterans, ¡¡Si se puede!!

That is, with your help. Please call, fax or e-mail the members of city government. If you are displeased with them, let them know. But above all, let them know that El Segundo deserves to be on a par with Ellis Island and Angel Island.  Their contact information appears below. And please copy

Gracis mil, hermanos y hermanas - Jesus B. Ochoa

John Cook:   Phone: (915)541-4145  Fax: (915)541-4501
Ann Morgan Lilly :   Phone: 915-541-4151  Fax: 915-541-4380
Susie Byrd : 
  Phone: 915-541-4416  Fax: 915-541-4348
Emma Acosta:   Phone: 915-541-4515  Fax: 915-541-4258
Carl L.Robinson:   Phone: 915-541-4140  Fax: 915-541-4213
Rachel Quintana:   Phone: 915-541-4701  Fax: 915-541-4360
Eddie Holguin Jr.:   Phone: 915-541-4182  Fax: 915-541-4262
Steve Ortega:   Phone: 915-541-4108  Fax: 915-541-4134
Robert O'Rourke:   Phone: 915-541-4123  Fax: 915-541-4300


Lawsuit planned over Municipal Auditorium
San Antonio attorney Sharyll Teneyuca, niece of the legendary labor activist Emma Tenayuca, is spearheading a legal challenge against San Antonio and Bexar County for its demotion of the Municipal Auditorium and building of the $200 million Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, calling it “wasteful and wrong.”
She is especially critical of the governments’ ”lack of disclosure surrounding the plan, not to mention the idea of destroying an important part of our city’s history, character and landscape.” She charges officials of selling the Tobin Center project as a renovation rather than what it really is – a demolition. It’s ”actually a plan to raze the entire structure behind its entry and facade,” she says in an e-mail to friends, hoping to raise $20,000 for lawsuit costs.

“Even the words ‘Municipal Auditorium’ on the facade and the stately doors are slated for removal,” she writes. “It is not even a gutting of the interior that is planned: everything, including the beautiful dome ceiling and roof, the walls, stage, auditorium, every part of it behind the front, will be leveled and excavated in the current plan.”

The historic landmark is of special significance to Teneyuca’s family. It was there in 1939 that her aunt (who spelled her name differently) spoke on behalf of workers rights at a Communist Party meeting that turned into a riot.

Teneyuca has set up a Municipal Auditorium Legal Fund and is asking that donations be sent to her office at 111 Soledad, Suite 110, San Antonio, Texas  78205.  Read more about Emma Tenayuca here, here and here.

Latino Life
Elaine Ayala comments on Latino news, cultura y más. Posted on


The whole May 9th, 2011 issue of the Hispanic Link Weekly Report is dedicated to understanding the historic relevance of  El Cinco de Mayo.  It was extremely satisfying to see that our intellectual leaders are viewing the importance of history with passion.  I had already gathered some articles on El Cinco de Mayo for this the June issue of Somos Primos. The  Hispanic Link Weekly May 9th Report reinforced the importance of history and in particular the May 5, 1862 event - - in our present lives. 

We are invited to Check for de la Isla’s commentary on the issue, plus other coverage on Cinco de Mayo and President Obama’s visit to El Paso. 

Titles and authors of the series of articles in Hispanic Link Weekly Report: CINCO DE MAYO: Celebrations with Political Vibrations By Charlie Ericksen
Author sets the Battle of Puebla in a global frame
by Carlos B. Gil
May 5 celebration lays bare a school girl’s secret
by Elisa Rocha
Neighbors Benito and Abe — a powerful tandem
by Joe Olvera
So what did France leave behind in Mexico? A lot!
by José Antonio Burciaga
The holiday’s significance to Mexican Americans
by Elisa Martínez
It’s so much more than
margaritas and
by Andy Porras

To obtain a copy of the May 9th newsletter, contact Hispanic Link directly at: 
or contact: 
Hispanic Link
1420 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 234-0280

The week  (May 6, 2011)  the Senate passed a resolution recognizing the historical significance of the Mexican holiday of Cinco De Mayo. (S.Res. 167) Sent by Elroy Martinez  Eloy_Martinez@DSOC.SENATE.GOV
 From The Alpine Avalanche, May 4, 1995  

By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

Scholar in Residence and Chair, Department of Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University; Professor Emeritus of English, Texas State University System—Sul Ross; Editor-in-Chief, ABC-CLIO Greenwood Encyclopedia of Latin Issues Today 



inco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) com­memorates the trium­phant victory of Mexi­can for­ces over French interventionists in 1862 at Pueb­la, Mexico, a city just East of the na­tion’s capital. Outnum­bered Mexican for­ces acquit­ted them­selves vali­antly against highly trained and equipped French forces led by veteran General Char­les Ferdi­nand Latrille de Lo­rencz. Hence, el Cinco de mayo was added to the calendar of na­tional Mex­ican holidays and is cele­brated with festivity, mili­tary parades, and official events at­tended by the Mex­ican pub­lic.

But why is a Mexican holiday like Cinco de Mayo im-portant to Mexican Americans? Perhaps not to all Mexican Americans; but, in the main, Cinco de Mayo is regarded by most Mexican Americans as a day of commemoration sym-bollizing the strength of the human spi­rit in the face of overwhelming adver­sity. That’s really a universal quality, not unique just to those Mexicans who as a rag-tag army led by Igna­cio Zarago­za and great­ly outnumbered by an inva-ding French army de­feated a militia of the great­est power in Europe then on May 5, 1862, at Puebla, Mexico.

Like Hernan Cortez, perhaps, the overconfident French figured on an easy march from the port city of Vera­cruz to Mex­ico City. However, Mexican forc­es com­manded by General Ignacio Zarago­sa and Brigadier General Porfirio Di­az, who later would be­come Mexico’s dictator, out-maneuvered the stunn­ed French army, humiliatingly defeating it in the forti­fied city of Puebla, just east of the capital city of Mexico.

General Zaragosa managed his troops with aplomb that day. However, the decisive maneuver of the battle at Puebla was car­ried out by Brigadier Gen­eral Diaz who repelled a determined assault on General Zaragosa’s right flank. The startled French invaders, many of them vetera­ns of other French cam­paigns, retreated to the city of Orizaba near­by where they regrouped and eventually occupied Mexico.  


ut why did the French invade Mexico? Under the wayward presidencies of Santa Anna and beset by years of turmoil in pursuit of de­mocracy which seem­ed always ephe­meral, like an ignis fatuus always beyond the pale of reality, Mexi­co had amass­ed huge foreign debts, especially with France which de­manded immediate repayment and would not re­structure that burden. Instead, Napoleon III dis­patched French for­ces to claim the nation of Mexico in payment. The Monroe Doctrine was busy with a civil war, however much President Lin­coln may have wanted to help his neigh­bor to the south. Beni­to Jua­rez, a Zapo­tec Indian and first presi­dent of the Mexican republic truly elected by the people, fled north, planning liberation of his coun­try from Ameri­can cities like El Paso, San Antonio, and San Diego.

Juarez’s government remained in exile almost five years, during which time Napoleon installed under French aegis the Austrians Maximi­lian and Carlotta as emperors upon “the cactus throne” of Mexico. Not until 1867 was Juarez able to field a military force suffi­ciently strong to reclaim Mexico, execute Maximilian and pack Carlot­ta back to Europe.  


here’s a Mexican saying: “No hay mal que por bien no venga!” (even an ill wind blows some good). Despite anathema heaped upon the French by Mexicans, that period of occu­pation left its mark on Mexico. Though in dispute, the word “mariachis” which seems so “Mexican”--according to some scholars--came from the French word marriage for wedding, during which the French assembled musicians to fête the bridal couple. Thus mariachis became the Mexican word for a group of musicians who played at wed­dings and, later, for other festivities.

That notwithstanding, Mexico’s most noble mo­ment of the 19th century occurred on May 5, 1862. Facing over-whelming odds, like the defenders of Masada or Gallippoli or the Warsaw Ghetto or Ku­wait City, Mexicans banded together in defense of their homes. Though they lost the war, Cinco de Mayo was not a hollow victory, for they gained a place in history, giving rise later to Emiliano Zapa­ta’s famed comment from Jose Marti during another struggle for de­mocracy, that “It is better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees.”

Like Mexicans, Mexican Americans are legatees of that victory and that history. For it is that spirit, infused in Doña Marina’s children (mother of the Mexican people and consort to Cortez), that has sus­tained them in their historical journeys across the Americas and beyond. It is the same spirit mani­fested at Concord Bridge and La Bastille and Corregi­dor and Pusan and Saigon and Tienemen Square.

That’s why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by Mex­ican Americans not just as a Mexican holiday but as a day of universal reverence for the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In that regard, then, it ought to be a universal day of hom­age.


Copyright © 1995 by the author. All rights reserved.


The real reason Tejanos celebrate "Cinco de Mayo" 
On May 5th 1862 in the city of Puebla the invading forces of Napoleon III, Maximilliano the Archduke of Austria, his puppet Emperor, would encounter a force of Mexican troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza. We have all heard the story of how General Zaragoza who was born in Goliad, Texas would successfully defeat the French invaders at the Battle of Puebla, but that is only half of the story. 

While the United States was busy with the American Civil War, Napoleon decided that he would be as great a conqueror as his famous uncle, Napoleon I and it would be an opportune time to conquer Mexico and stop America’s expansion. We know now that Napoleon intended entering the United States and joining the Confederates. 

However, what is little known is that General Zaragoza would recruit Captain Porfirio Zamora from Palito Blanco in south Texas and in turn he would recruit 500 Tejano’s. Together as a cavalry unit they would join the Mexican Army and fight to defend Mexico from the French invasion. These Tejano’s, although still Mexicans at heart, were American citizens. After the invasion of Mexico in 1846, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo(1848) would guarantee these former Mexican citizens full American citizenship. These American citizen volunteers came from as far as Corpus Christi to Brownsville and all along the Rio Grande Valley.

According to Dr Andres Tijerina, author, historian and professor of Texas History, the Tejano Cavalry that fought under the leadership of Captain Porfirio Zamora, would defeat the French infantry and this decisive charge would end the Battle of Puebla. 

After the French were driven out of Mexico the surviving Tejanos returned and started the celebrations in south Texas. Dr Tijerina says that if it had not been for the 500 Tejanos the war may have had a different outcome. These Tejanos considered the Battle of Puebla as their victory and their contribution in saving Mexico from French domination. After the war, Porfirio Zamora would be promoted to Major, and for his bravery and valor, would be awarded Mexico’s second highest military medal, “ La Condecoracion de Segunda Clase.” This medal and citation were personally signed by President Benito Juarez.

So powerful in Mexican politics was Zamora that after Benito Juarez died, General Porfirio Diaz, candidate for Mexican President rode all the way to Alice Texas to seek the endorsement of Major Porfirio Zamora. And now you know the rest of the story.

Ref: El Mesquite, Elena Zamora O’ Shea Texas A & M Univ originally published 1935 by Mathis Publishing Co., Dallas, TX 
Dan Arellano Author/Historian Also on Facebook


Cinco de Mayo:  
A Battle for Recognition

By Dr. Lily Rivera

Speech first given May 3, 2001 
San Bernardino Hispanic Employees Alliance

Forget all the articles you've ever read that purport to explain why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. They've got it all wrong.  It's not about celebrating a victory in a battle on the Fifth of May in 1862, in the City of Puebla, in the country of Mexico. It's not about honoring poor and untrained peasants who, though far out-numbered, defeated soldiers from what was then the greatest military force in the world, the French army.  

No, it is not about that, and it is not about recent immigrants, either. It is about those of us who were born here, whose parents, grandparents, and great grandparents came to this country long, long ago. It is about us as American citizens who have been marginalized socially and economically, a people who have had to wrench their rights and privileges from an unwilling populace through the force of law. It is about those of us who, until only the most recent of times, were not included in this country's history books.  

We celebrate the Cinco de Mayo, not in recognition of a battle in another nation, but to battle for recognition in this nation—recognition that we are equal to all others in intellect and goodness, that we represent a positive element in American Society. We seek recognition so that our children's potential will be allowed to flourish, that we will be given equal opportunity in the workforce and leadership of this nation, goals that statistics confirm we have not yet achieved. Finally, we connect to a battle in the history of our forefathers because we need appreciation for the contribution we have made to this country.  

For cxample, when we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, our local newspaper observed that day by publishing four full pages of stories about men who served in Vietnam. I read names like Kimball, White, Stenzler, Russell, Kaufman, Lockwood. I didn't find a single Sanchez, Lopez, Gonzales.  

We are all familiar with the Vietnam War Statistics, that nearly 60,000 men and women lost their lives in the battlefields of that country, that nearly one in every five of those combatants was a Hispanic soldier. Recognition of the Hispanic contribution to the Vietnam War would have taken nothing from the recognition given to other war heroes. Yet, not one, not one Garcia, Rodriguez, or Nuñez was mentioned in our local newspaper's four pages of coverage.  

This matters. What is reported in today's press is significant because today's newspaper article is tomorrow's historical document. If today's periodicals mention only the crimes Hispanics commit and the failures they experience, that is all that the world will know about us. If our deeds are not applauded, if our achievements are not celebrated, if our contribution to this nation is not lauded today, our grandchildren will have nothing to honor about us tomorrow.  

We celebrate Cinco de Mayo because we have a need for heroes, not just because heroes do great and glorious things, but because we see them as people like us. In finding commonalties with them, we draw courage, inspiration, and a belief in ourselves as worthy human beings. So, we reach back a century and a half. We reach south 2,000 miles, south to the heroes of another nation, of another time. We connect to the weak and the brave in a place far away in a moment long ago, for we see in their struggle and in their victory something within us, the potential for victory against great odds, the potential to contribute historically, significantly to this nation.  

Our battle for recognition is not easy. There are those who suggest that Hispanics are unpatriotic, that we are not loyal Americans because on this day, we wave a flag from another country. Such people must be reminded that there is no disloyalty to this nation in honoring our roots in the same way Irish Americans do on St. Patrick's Day and that German Americans do during Octoberfest. All Americans must recognize that what makes this nation great is that it is, and we are, red, white, blue—and brown, and that no group's loyalty to this country is minimized by celebrating its heritage.  

Part of the battle for recognition involves the fact that to many people in this nation, we are not “real” Americans. It is a sad fact that while many of us are generations removed from being immigrants, too many Hispanics are still generations away from being seen as “real” Americans.  

My family, like yours, exemplifies this. My husband, Tom Rivera, was born 71 years ago. In the same house in which his father was born. In Colton. In California. In the United States. Yet, to many of our neighbors, we are and always will be their "Mexican"' neighbors. I ask, and we should all ask, how many generations must we produce in order for our people to be considered real, full Americans? As long as we are not viewed as such, we will neither be the neighbor of choice nor the coveted employee.  

If Hispanics are to achieve recognition in this nation, I believe that we must achieve three goals.  

First, we must learn to like ourselves. People who do not like themselves, who have no respect for their own kind, allow themselves to be trampled. America has a history of giving disenfranchised people equal treatment only as a result of being forced to do so by this nation's courts. Unless we respect ourselves enough to speak up for ourselves, we will not fully enjoy the fruits of American citizenship.  

Self-love begins by touching our past. We should learn how our forefathers came to this nation, the struggles they endured, the sacrifices they made. We would be wise to visit the land of our ancestors, plant our feet where they once walked, bathe in the rivers that watered their crops. We should stand before the pyramids built by the Aztecs and the temples created by the Mayans and marvel at their spectacular engineering feats. It is through the touching of our past that we acquire the knowledge that leads to self-esteem.  

Secondly, we must pledge to move ourselves beyond the “firsts.” We take great pride in having a first Hispanic doctor, a first Hispanic mayor, a first Hispanic congressman. These are commendable achievements. I agree. But, we should also be ashamed. Our forefathers founded this entire region and many of the major cities in California more than 200 years ago. Yet, it is only in the very recent past that we have been able to celebrate the first mayor, the first… We should be ashamed that we have not worked harder to improve our lot, have not pushed ourselves to greater achievements.  

In our push for progress, we must be prepared to make sacrifices, just as our forefathers did. We, too, must risk. We must get involved in the social, educational and political processes of this nation, no matter how much failure and resentment we encounter. We may not succeed, but our failure, our experience, will become a stepping stone for the path that others can follow.  

Thirdly, if we are to gain recognition and assure our full participation in this land, we must speak out against injustice and inequality. When people are arrested, they are reminded that they have the right to remain silent. But the American Civil Liberties Union reminds us of a far greater right—the right not to remain silent. We must exercise that right and not hesitate to address loudly and frequently the issues that prohibit us from developing our full potential and sharing our talents with this great nation.  

One hundred forty-nine years ago, at the end of what we now call the Cinco do Mayo battle, its leader, General Ignacio Zaragoza, wrote to the Minister of Defense in Mexico City to report his soldiers’ victory. He wrote:  

“Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria…puedo afirmar con orgullo que ni un momento volvio la espalda al enemigo el ejcrcito mexicano.”  

“I delight,” he wrote, “in informing you that the armies of this country have covered themselves in glory. I can confirm with pride that not for one second did any soldier retreat; not for a moment did our military turn its back to the enemy to run away in defeat.” And neither must we ... whether the enemy is ourselves or an unjust system.  

True victory in this battle for recognition lies not just in our personal academic and financial success. A minority of successful Hispanics is not proof that we have achieved parity as a people. The battle will only be won when Hispanics no longer remain at the top of the dropout list, the prison population, and the unemployment lines. We must continue to celebrate Cinco de Mayo without apologies until the day when Hispanic Americans stand truly equal to all other Americans.                           

Dr. Lily Rivera, a retired educator was born in San Jose, California and now lives in Grand Terrace California. Text of speech revised 2011to reflect my husband’s current age and the number of years since the Battle of Puebla.                                                                    

Sent by Juan Marinez


16 de septiembre 1810 
is part of 
Spanish Southwest History

I might add . . . . While we Hispanics in the USA celebrate the " Cinco de Mayo"-1862, historically it does not tie in with our USA history, since by that time all of the American Southwest, once a proud land of Spain and then México , had already joined the USA Union. On the other hand the " 16 de septiembre- 1810"  is part of the history of the Spanish Southwest, given that the " Grito" proclaimed by Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810, helped liberate thousands of Hispanics who made their home in the southwest at that time, with some of them residing in this land since the 16th. century ( this lays to rest the Hollywood version of the Westward Movement or How the West Was Won ). People already lived here then, so how was it won? 

Lino García,Jr., Ph.D
Professor Emeritus
May 1, 2011




By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

Scholar in Residence/Chair, Department of Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University; Professor Emeritus, Texas State University System—Sul Ross

To quote: Black Legend, Spanish Leyenda Negra, term indicating an unfavourable image of Spain and Spaniards, accusing them of cruelty and intolerance, formerly prevalent in the works of many non-Spanish, and especially Protestant, historians. Primarily associated with criticism of 16th-century Spain and the anti-Protestant policies of King Philip II (reigned 1556–98), the term was popularized by the Spanish historian Julián Juderías in his book La Leyenda Negra (1914; “The Black Legend”).

Sent by Dr. Refugio Rochin 


n Spanish there’s an expression: “buscando moros con tranchetes,” loosely meaning “looking for Moors carrying spears” or “looking for shadows armed with spears.” In other words, “on guard for trouble because there’s always trouble everywhere.” This is the posture of the dominant American mainstream: Where there are Latinos there’s going to be trouble. So, let’s get them before they get us. In Brick, New Jersey, on October 20, 1010, Vincent Johnson sent a series of threatening emails to employees of five civil right organizations that challenge discrimination against Latinos in the United States and work to improve opportunities for them. At his sentencing, Johnson admitted that his threats were motivated by race and national origin, with language like: “I’m giving you fair warning, if you don’t desist in your help to Latinos you are dead meat.” And “there can be absolutely no argument against the fact that Mexicans are scum as all they know is how to [expletive] and kill.” Johnson was sentenced to 50 months in prison and 3 years supervised release, tantamount to a slap on the wrist, at best, despite Johnson’s acts being described by the U.S. Attorney General’s office as a “hate-fueled campaign of fear to intimidate and terrorize the victims.”

      In Arizona, the hullabaloo over Senate Bill 1070 (immigration control) has spilled over into efforts to curtail instruction of Mexican American history and literature by eliminating the Mexican American Studies Program at the Tucson Unified School District on grounds that the program is subversive and teaches hatred of the United States. At a meeting of the school board at the Tucson Unified School District on May 4, 2011, the conference room walls were lined with Tucson police, armed and with riot gear, and a wall of police (5 deep) between the audience and the board members. Police were in the lobby and outside barricading the building. To get inside the conference room, entrants had to go through a full pat down and metal detectors. From the sky, helicopters patrolled the grounds of the building. In his report of the event, Rudy Acuña concluded that the police were not there to protect the Mexican American community but to arrest the Mexican American community. In fact, John Pedicone, Superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District ordered the arrest of Lupe Castillo, an elderly and disabled woman on two crutches, for reading a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. She was wrestled to the ground by police. In the heat of anti-Mexican sentiment in Arizona, Pedicone, Vice President of the Southern Arizona Leadership Conference, a right-wing organization, won the superintendence of the Tucson Unified School District with the help of the Southern Arizona Leadership Conference and Raytheon money.                    

      According to Acuña, Pedicone considered the Mexican Americans attending the school board meeting as “a bunch of thugs that need a hundred cops with guns and riot gear because there is nothing more dangerous than educating Latinos to the current power structure, which includes the conservative and rich businessmen of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.” Moreover, Mark Stegeman, a University of Arizona Economics Professor and TUSD board president has proposed a resolution to strip Mexican-American History courses of their graduation credit because it does not fulfill an American history credit whereas a European History course does. Protesting Dr. Stegeman’s proposal in solidarity with the TUSD Mexican American high school students, a group of University of Arizona Mexican American students staged a walkout of Stegeman’s Economics lecture class at the U of A. Mexican American educators think that though wrong in defying federal law, Stegeman is stubborn in his opposition to Mexican American Studies at TUSD, characteristic that will bring him down. This stubborn characteristic is the hallmark of rightwing antagonism toward American Latinos especially Mexican Americans.

      In Arizona we see the legacy of the Black Legend at its most virulent. Latino students fill nearly half the classroom seats in Arizona's public schools, but HB 2281 signed by Governor Jan Brewer makes it illegal for these students to learn about their Mexican American heritage in the schools. HB 2281 prohibits “schools from offering courses at any grade level that advocate ethnic solidarity, promote overthrow of the US government, or cater to specific ethnic groups.” Per the Acosta et. al. lawsuit, a Judge will rule this summer on the constitutionality of HB2281; the first issue the judge is asked to rule on is a challenge to the vagueness of the statue, specifically that it does not pass the standard required by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. HB 2281 was passed because of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne's personal distaste for the TUSC’s Chicano studies program, in which 3 percent of the district's 55,000 students participate. “He has been hell-bent on squashing the program ever since learning several years ago that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson High School students that Republicans hate Latinos" (Jessica Calefati, Mother Jones, May 12, 2010).

      Given the vitriol against Latinos present in the public arena these days by Republicans, more and more signs are emerging that lend credence to the conclusion: “That Republicans hate Latinos.” In one recent town-hall meeting which Congressman Paul Ryan held in Wisconsin, he told his audience that “anchor babies cost money” which was likened by one Latin@ to saying that while children born to non-Latin@ U.S. citizens cost money it’s worse when they’re Latino children. Then, commenting on border security, Ryan asserted that the past philosophy of “catch and release” by the border patrol didn’t work, he was challenged by a woman in the audience asking him if he was talking about people or fish, a description she considered racist, to which Ryan responded that it was “free speech.” Sara Inés Calderón put that encounter into perspective by explaining that “when people with prejudice want to talk it’s called ‘free speech’ but when DREAMers want to [talk], they’re arrested or escorted out by police” (Twitter @SaraChicaD).

      The Georgia legislature has just passed House Bill 87 which Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the law which David Zirin described as “shredding the Civil Rights of the state’s Latino population” (Newsletter of the William C. Velasquez Institute May 17, 2011). Latinos in Georgia are concerned that the law will raise the level of anti-Latino sentiment in the state. News Taco: the Latino Daily reports a rise in racially profiling Latinos in Georgia. Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Georgia  Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), asserts that “there’s open discrimination all over the place” in Georgia, adding that “It’s an extremely hostile environment for . . . Latinos in Georgia” (New 5-17-11). The battle cry for law enforcement officers in Georgia is: “Let’s go Hispanic hunting,” all of this driven principally by Republicans in Georgia.

      In Arizona, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter (52nd District) and member of the House Armed Services Committee lashed out against the Navy’ initiative to name a U.S. cargo ship after Cesar Chavez (U.S. farmworker leader who was a World War II Navy veteran). Despite Cesar Chavez’ national standing, according to Hunter, Cesar Chavez is “unworthy as an American to have a U.S. ship named after him.” Gus Chavez, co-founder of the Latino Defend the Honor initiative and a Navy veteran, decries Duncan Hunter’s diatribe against Cesar Chavez, calling for all Latinos to defend the honor.
[Editor:  Please go to Action Item for more on this subject.]

      In equally lamentable fashion, Santana was booed at the Civil Rights baseball game in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, May 15, when he took the microphone ostensibly to accept a civil rights honor, chastising instead Georgians for the anti-Latino bill signed into law by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Santana started by saying that he was representing all immigrants, continuing with “The people of Arizona and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” Cheers turned to boos! Later, in impromptu comments in the Press Box, Santana continued: “Who’s going to change sheets and clean toilets? I invite all Latinos to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible” Dave Zirin, the sports commentator, described Santana’s courage as “one hell of an object lesson.” For U.S. Latinos the object lesson is that all Latinos must have the courage to speak up in the face of racism and discrimination.    



Ben de Leon, Veteran activist  dies at 91
Lena Lovato Archuleta  Educator and Community Activist, dies at 90

Ben de Leon, Veteran activist

De Leon, Ben, 91, a long time resident of Santa Ana passed away on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Formerly, of Santa Paula, CA, he was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Helen, and is survived by his three children, daughters, Maria Elena, Susana, and, son, Martin; 5 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Also, friend Zena Propst. Private services have been held. All had the gift of his unconditional love and will be greatly missed. Brown Colonial Mortuary, Santa Ana, assisting the family.

Editor:  I have very fond memories of Ben.  In 2007, Ben was interviewed in my home by Richard Gonzales, Public Radio broadcaster.  Prior to that audio interview, with the help of LULAC member Lupe Trujillo Fisher, we arranged for three members of UMAVA, United Mexican America Veterans Association to be videotaped through the facilities of the Westminster City Cable system.  Ben de Leon, Tony Mendez, and Frank Ramirez were interviewed individually by Lupe under the direction of  LaVada Cordesco.  Each interview resulted in a full hour interview. These interviews were run repeatedly throughout Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mr. De Leon entered the service as a private in 1942, but by 1946 was serving as Infantry Unit Commander. Upon returning home, Mr. De Leon found a job with the County of Orange.  He began in an entry level position.  He moved to the Claims Division of the Orange county Veterans Service Office.  Thirty-five years later, he retired as Director of the Orange County Veterans Service Office, an accomplishment that identifies Mr. De Leon as the very first Latino to serve in an executive management position for the County of Orange, California.

  • Somos Primos: Dedicated to Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues

    GO TO click on Richard Gonzales for full series. Left Richard Gonzales, National Correspondent with National Public Radio interviewed WW II Army ... is recording a few parting comments by Orange County resident, Ben De Leon. ... 


Pearl Harbor: When the Japanese attacked, the patriotic went to war.
by Lily Eng, LA Times, December 7, 1989

Ben de Leon, now 69 and a former director for the county's Veteran Service Office, heard about Pearl Harbor while he was playing touch football at the corner of Katella Avenue and Los Alamitos Boulevard.

"I didn't know what Pearl Harbor was. I envisioned a place full of pearls. I thought war was like a fairy tale. You push a whole bunch of buttons and the war would be over," said de Leon, who served as a second lieutenant in the 104th infantry in France and Germany.

Like other young men, de Leon didn't think the war would last long. A grain mixer for Dr. Ross' Dog and Cat Food Co., de Leon also didn't think he had to serve.

"I thought, 'Why should I have to go.' I didn't own any property, not an inch. I was young. I thought nothing could touch me. But little by little, reality crept up on me. My friends started going," de Leon said.

As a 23-year-old, de Leon went from mostly rural Orange County to the battle lines in France and Germany, where his infantry unit was constantly under fire. In battle, even the ordinary things in life, such as watching a movie, became quite extraordinary.

Once, he remembers, as the United Service Organizations was showing the Western "Saratoga Trunk" to soldiers in a farmhouse, the Germans began firing artillery rounds. Although the screen shook and the walls and ceiling threatened to collapse, the soldiers were determined to see their weekly movie.

"We yelled out to the USO, 'Don't you stop that movie.' They wouldn't dare shut the movie down. We ended up watching the whole movie. It was great," de Leon said.


Subject: Re: Ben De Leon WW II veteran - UMAVA Board Member - former VSO Director for OC

Dear Lou,

Sorry for the delay in responding to you.  I only found out about Ben De Leon's passing from you. Ben was 91, and still drove himself to our monthly UMAVA Board and General meetings and our other civic/patriotic activities.

Apparently Ben's wishes were that members of the community be notified AFTER his burial. 

A humble soldier to the end, it seems he did not want to create a huge "inconvenience" for us. His smile, friendship and wise counsel will be greatly missed!

He continued to have a great positive impact for our veterans, after his WWII service, in his role of Director of Veterans Services Office for Orange County for about 35 years, from where he retired. Ben was also a long-time resident of Santa Ana.

You can visit Ben De Leon's Guest book to leave a comment for the family at: 

Most recently, Ben was honored in absentia (as he fell ill that weekend), by CA Senator Lou Correa, Chairman of Veteran Affairs; and Assemblymember Jose Solorio at the Annual Cesar Chavez celebration. And UMAVA is grateful for this recognition! We are also most proud of Ben for having earned a WWII battlefield commission, which is extremely rare.

Please continue to keep Ben and his family in your thoughts and prayers!

Most respectfully,  Francisco J. Barragan
Commander, UMAVA
United Mexican-American Veterans Association
714.605.2544 cell

In Memory of Ben De Leon, I have attached a link to a short You Tube video from an interview I conducted in 2005 as part of the UMAVA Veterans Oral History Project.  Ben was the former Orange County Veterans Service Officer, as well as a member of the United Mexican American Veterans Association, American GI Forum (Guadalupe Hidalgo/Rudy Escalante Chapter), Mexican American Golf Association, and many other organizations.
I have the full interview available, Ben refused to request a Purple Heart for his injuries in combat, he received a battlefield commission, and he returned to Orange County after WWII, to eventually become the Orange County Veteran Service Officer.  Ben was a true inspiration to us and he will be missed.
Alfonso Alvarez, Ed.D.
Commander, Rudy Escalante Chapter
American GI Forum of the US
(714) 309-4072

Lena Lovato Archuleta  
Educator and Community Activist, 
July 25, 1900 - April 3, 2011




                                   Hispanic leader Lena Archuleta dies at 90

By Julie Filby

Lena Lovato Archuleta—a long-time educator and administrator in Denver Public Schools, community activist, and dedicated supporter of the Catholic community—died April 3. She was 90.

Lena Lovato was born in Clapham, N.M., July 25, 1920, to Eusebio and Dominguita Lovato. She graduated from Raton High School in Raton, N.M., and the University of Denver with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in library science.

In 1943 she married Juan U. Archuleta. The couple had been married 55 years when he died in 1998.

Archuleta taught in New Mexico and Colorado for more than 30 years. The teacher, librarian and administrator attained many noteworthy “firsts” in her career including: first Hispanic female principal in the Denver Public School system; and first Hispanic president of the Denver Classroom Teachers’ Association, Colorado Library Association and Latin American Educational Foundation. In 2002 she became the first Hispanic woman to have a DPS elementary school named after her: the Lena Lovato Archuleta Elementary School in Montbello.

Following retirement from DPS in 1979, she volunteered with many organizations including the Latin American Research and Service Agency, Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, American Association of Retired Persons, and Centro San Juan Diego—the archdiocese’s ministry responding to spiritual, economic and social concerns in the Hispanic community.

“Lena was very active in helping Centro San Juan Diego with her volunteer efforts,” said Franciscan Sister Alicia Cuarón, director of the Bienstar Family Services Program of Centro San Juan Diego. “She was very committed and dedicated to our community and spent a lot of time volunteering at Centro.”

In 2005 she was honored by the group for her service with an inaugural Las Madrinas (Spanish for godmother) award.

“Lena was a gracious, caring, spirit-filled woman,” Sister Cuarón said. “We were lucky to have known her and to have been graced by her presence.”

Archuleta, a longtime parishioner of Good Shepherd Church in Denver, was dedicated to her parish community as well. In a past interview with the Denver Catholic Register, Deacon George Morin described her as “kind, gracious, humble, and delightful and a great model for the rest of us.”

Other honors given to Archuleta were Regis University’s Civis Princeps (First Citizen) Citation in Humanitarianism, Bernie Valdez Award for Community Service, Hispanic Annual Salute, Women’s Bank Education Award, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce “Famous Firsts” Award and the National Achievement Award from Mortar Board, Inc. In 1986 she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

In 2001 she received the regional Mujer Award from the National Hispana Leadership Institute. The same year, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb included her in a tribute to “Mile High Legend Unsung Heroes.” In 2002 the Denver Public Library Commission created the Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award.


Archuleta is survived by several nephews and nieces. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. April 30 at Good Shepherd Church at 2626 E. Seventh Parkway in Denver.

Editor: Beautiful interview:

Lena L. Archuleta was married for fifty-five years to Juan U. Archuleta. He passed away November 3, 1992.
  Photo added by Dr Andree "In Jackson to the website:




  Valenzuela Brothers and Stop the Deportation of Military Veterans
  Daily Newspapers Becoming Irrelevant to Young Generation of Latinos
  Harvest of Loneliness, the Bracero Program
  Will Public Workers & Immigrants March Together May Day? David Bacon
  UFW Marches in Salinas, Watsonville & Sacramento by Alejo Family
  Hispanic and women farmers closer to resolving discrimination claims
  Ghost Town, Cuidad Mier
  New Study, Finds Shariah Law Involved in Court Cases in 23 US States


Valente and Manuela Valenzuela will be at the NCLR  Annual Conference which will take place at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on July 23–26 in Washington, DC. They are guest of the Medal of Honor Society and will be available for interviews at the booth. 

Brothers Who Served in Vietnam Fight Deportation

by Alex DiBranco · September 24, 2010
At 62, Valente Valenzuela faces deportation back to a country he left as a child. Wounded in Vietnam, issued a Bronze Star for bravery, and a sufferer of post traumatic stress disorder, Valente cannot believe that the country he served with honor now wants to turn its back on him. His brother, Manuel, who also fought in the Vietnam war, has also been ordered out of the country.

The way our nation treats immigrants who have fought under the American flag shows a deep disrespect for the sacrifice our service members make. The Valenzuelas are not the first immigrant veterans to find that this country attaches little value to the shedding of their blood. "I have been dealing with post traumatic stress disorder for 42 years. I have Agent Orange on my hands," Valente told the Texas Insider. "My skin is discolored from Agent Orange from burying the canisters. I have bullet burns on my belly and have undergone three surgeries."

The Department of Homeland Security: yawn.

As children, the Valenzuela brothers, whose mother was an American-born citizen, moved to the United States as legal permanent residents. After serving in the Vietnam war, both got into trouble with the law, which they believe was a result of their war-related PTSD. Though these crimes were committed years ago and have already been dealt with by the criminal justice system, this triggered removal proceedings against the brothers.

When it comes to immigrant veterans committing crimes, nobody argues that they shouldn't face the penalties of the criminal justice system, just like any American citizen would. But to add deportation to this punishment? That is both disproportionate to the crime and ignores the fact that once an immigrant has fought for the red, white, and blue, he or she has pledged allegiance to the United States and belongs here no matter what they do, even if the servicemember is not considered a citizen. They served America: now American has a responsibility to them.

Furthermore, the Valenzuelas' offenses, like many crimes committed by war veterans, are most likely related to PTSD received in the line of duty. Both brothers have taken the right step in now attending counseling to deal with their PTSD — but, conveniently, should they be deported, the U.S. government is absolved of all responsibility to provide counseling or any other veterans service to them.

Supporters have set up a Facebook page against the deportation of Vietnam vets. To tell the Department of Homeland Security to stop the deportation of Valente and Manuela Valenzuela in recognition of their service to this country, please sign the petition here. You can also ask Congress to recognize all veterans as non-citizen nationals who can never be deported from the land they fought for.


Daily Newspapers Are Becoming Irrelevant to Young Generation of Latinos

by Julio Moran

Hispanic Link Weekly Report April 28, 2011
Vol. 29, No. 8

For the third consecutive year, the number of journalists of color in U.S. newsrooms declined, this time by nearly half a
percentage point, to 12.79%. While the number of all professional journalists increased by about 100 to 41,600 in 2010, the number of journalists of color dropped by 200 to 5,300. Simple math indicates a net increase of 300 white journalists.

Those numbers are estimates because only about 60% of all U.S. print and online newspapers responded to the annual survey by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). Still, of the newspapers that did, nearly a third, 441, reported they had no journalists of color on their full-time staffs.

Meanwhile, the 2010 Census reported that people of color now comprise 35% of the population and by 2042 are expected to make up more than half. It estimates that as early as 2020, they will comprise more than half of this country’s children.

In 1978 ASNE set a goal of having journalists of color working for the country’s daily newspapers equal their percentage in the
U.S. population by 2000. By 1998, near stagnant at 11.5%, it was barely a third of the way there, so it shifted its target date forward a quarter of a century to 2025.

The industry has given itself nearly a half century to reach a moving parity target  Not even keeping pace with population growth,  it is further distancing itself from this growing young population by failing to respond to its interests or needs.

The problem is worse in California. At 22.3 million, 14 million of them Latino, it has the nation’s largest population of people of color, 60% of the state’s 37.2 million residents. Yet in the newsrooms of its largest daily papers, Latinos are nearly invisible, particularly as top editors. At the San Diego Union- Tribune, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee, their newsroom presence ranges from 6.8% (Los Angeles Times) to 14.2% (Orange County Register), according to ASNE.
The Chronicle and the Union-Tribune declined to participate in the survey, but are believed to fall within that range. The real dearth is in top editors. Of these papers, only one Latino name is on the masthead: John Díaz, Chronicle editorial  page editor. (Although Tom Negrete is managing editor for production at the Sacramento Bee, his name is not on the masthead.) Real diversity has to start at the top. Latinos not only have to be in the decision-making process on stories, but have a say in hiring.
The most diverse newsrooms nationally are nearly 140 million by 2050. Its share of the nation’s people is projected to double, from 16% to about 32%. That means nearly one of every three U.S. residents will be Latino.

Latino numbers increased by 15.2 million, or 43%, between 2000 and 2010, accounting for more than half of the 27.3 million
total population gain. Latinos are part of this country’s landscape, like it or not. The biggest threat to the demise of newspapers
is not just the Internet. Newspapers are becoming irrelevant to a young and growing population of people of color who don’t
see their reflections in them.

I hope it doesn’t take Internet websites a half-century to understand the importance and value of diversity.
(Julio Morán, executive director of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, teaches journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. He’s a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times and a member of three teams that won the Pulitzer Prize, including the Public Service Award for a series on Latinos in Southern California in 1984.)

Charlie Erickson
Source: Hispanic Link
1420 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 234-0280


By David Bacon
Working In These Times, 4/28/11 

One sign carried in almost every May Day march of the last few years says it all: "We are Workers, not Criminals!" Often it was held in the calloused hands of men and women who looked as though they'd just come from work in a factory, cleaning an office building, or picking grapes.

The sign stated an obvious truth. Millions of people have come to the United States to work, not to break its laws. Some have come with visas, and others without them. But they are all contributors to the society they've found here.

This year, those marchers will be joined by the public workers we saw in the state capitol in Madison, whose message was the same: we all work, we all contribute to our communities and we all have the right to a job, a union and a decent life. Past May Day protests have responded to a wave of draconian proposals to criminalize immigration status, and work itself, for undocumented people. The defenders of these proposals have used a brutal logic: if people cannot legally work, they will leave.

But undocumented people are part of the communities they live in. They cannot simply go, nor should they. They seek the same goals of equality and opportunity that working people in the United States have historically fought to achieve. In addition, for most immigrants, there are no jobs to return to in the countries from which they've come. The North American Free Trade Agreement alone deepened poverty in Mexico so greatly that, since it took effect, 6 million people came to the United States to work because they had no alternative.

Instead of recognizing this reality, the U.S. government has attempted to make holding a job a criminal act. Thousands of workers have already been fired, with many more to come. We have seen workers sent to prison for inventing a Social Security number just to get a job. Yet they stole nothing and the money they've paid into Social Security funds now subsidizes every Social Security pension or disability payment.

Undocumented workers deserve legal status because of that labor-their inherent contribution to society. Past years' marches have supported legalization for the 12 million undocumented people in the United States. In addition, immigrants, unions and community groups have called for repealing the law making work a crime, ending guest worker programs, and guaranteeing human rights in communities along the U.S./Mexico border.

The truth is that undocumented workers and public workers in Wisconsin have a lot in common. In this year's May Day marches, they could all hold the same signs. With unemployment at almost 9%, all working families need the Federal government to set up jobs programs, like those Roosevelt pushed through Congress in the 1930s. If General Electric alone paid its fair share of taxes, and if the troops came home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we could put to work every person wanting a job. Our roads, schools, hospitals and communities would all benefit.

At the same time, immigrants and public workers need strong unions that can push wages up, and guarantee pensions for seniors and healthcare for the sick and disabled. A street cleaner whose job is outsourced, and an undocumented worker fired from a fast food restaurant both need protection for their right to work and support their families.

Instead, some states like Arizona, and now Georgia, have passed measures allowing police to stop any "foreign looking" person on the street, and question their immigration status. Arizona passed a law requiring employers to fire workers whose names are flagged by Social Security. In Mississippi an undocumented worker accused of holding a job can get jail time of 1-5 years, and fines of up to $10,000.

The states and politicians that go after immigrants are the same ones calling for firing public workers and eliminating their union rights. Now a teacher educating our children has no more secure future in her job than an immigrant cleaning an office building at night. The difference between their problems is just one of degree.

But going after workers has produced a huge popular response. We saw it in Madison in the capitol building. We saw it in the May Day marches when millions of immigrants walked peacefully through the streets. Working people are not asleep. Helped by networks like May Day United, they remember that this holiday itself was born in the fight for the 8-hour day in Chicago more than a century ago.

In those tumultuous events, immigrants and the native born saw they needed the same thing, and reached out to each other. This May Day, will we see them walking together in the streets again?

For information about where May Day marches are scheduled to take place this Sunday, visit the May Day United website:
In California, visit the California Labor Federation site:

Apprehensions along the Southwest border overall dropped more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2010, from 1.6 million to 448,000, and almost every region has lonely posts where agents sit for hours staring at the barrier, watching the "fence rust" as some put it.

L.A. Times, April 21, 2011 Richard Marosi
UFW Marches in Salinas, Watsonville & Sacramento by Alejo Family
This video shows footage of the early United Farm Worker (UFW) marches, then UFWOC, in Salinas, Watsonville & Sacramento (State Capitol). This footage was taken by my grandfather & the Alejo Family of Watsonville, California. Old reels had no sound and music was added in the background. Some footage of the Alejo Family returning from some of the marches.
1. March from Castroville to Salinas on Sunday, August 2, 1970
2. March on Main Street in Watsonville on June 13, 1971 (rally at Watsonville High School field).
3. Rally in Sacramento at the State Capitol - Support AB 964 (1971).
(c) Luis Alejo. All Rights Reserved.
Category:  This youtube video on Cesar Chávez documents one of Chávez’ marches in support of farm workers’ rights.  This was forwarded to me by my son, Rudy Jr. and his friend, Juan Carlos Sánchez, both Dallas lawyers.  At the young age of 5, Juan Carlos, along with his father, joined in one of the early California protest rallies.

For more articles and images on the lives of immigrants and farm workers, please see 
See also Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants  (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008 

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006) 

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004) .

Sent David Bacon dbacon@IGC.ORG



Hispanic and women farmers closer
to resolving discrimination claims

As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations of past discrimination at USDA, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos held an outreach meeting in Phoenix today with farmers and ranchers to talk about the process that has been put in place to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations of past discrimination at USDA, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos held an outreach meeting in Phoenix today with farmers and ranchers to talk about the process that has been put in place to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

"The administration is committed to resolving all claims of past discrimination at USDA, so we can close this sad chapter in the department's history," said Avalos. "We want to make sure that any Hispanic or women farmer or rancher who alleges discrimination is aware of this option to come forward, to have his or her claims heard and to participate in a process to receive compensation."

The program USDA announced earlier this year with the Department of Justice provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. This claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. Hispanic or women farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program. Participation is voluntary, and individuals who decide not to participate may choose to file a complaint in court. However, USDA cannot provide legal advice to potential claimants, and persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.

Today’s event is part of a series of outreach meetings that are being held across the country to let Hispanic and women farmers or ranchers know about this process. Potential claimants who were unable to attend today’s event, can register to receive a claims package by calling the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429 or visiting

Under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades and through these outreach meetings, we are taking steps towards achieving that goal. USDA is committed to resolving allegations of past discrimination and ushering in "a new era of civil rights" for the Department. In February 2010, the Secretary announced the Pigford II settlement with African American farmers, and in October 2010, he announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers.

Audio and video public service announcements in English and Spanish from Secretary Vilsack and downloadable print and web banner ads on the Hispanic and women farmer claims process are available at:

Source URL:



Ghost Town

Just a few miles across the Rio Grande, the residents of Ciudad Mier lived in terror, forgotten by their government and at the mercy of drug cartels. Could anyone survive this nightmare?

By Cecilia Ballí

Source: Texas Monthly, 
February 2011


YEAR OF FEAR: After last February, when a war broke out between two rival cartels, Ciudad Mier descended into chao


The Bad Ones came to town around eight o’clock on a cold February evening, and no one was prepared. When the gunfire and the explosions began, panic coursed through the narrow streets and spilled into the small cement and cinder-block homes where families were warming their dinners. Children cried, doors and windows slammed shut, people dropped to the ground. They closed their eyes and felt their hearts race. Outside they could hear the ceaseless spitting of AK-47’s and .50-caliber sniper rifles, the thunder of blasting grenades. Just three miles south of the Rio Grande, the Mexican town of Ciudad Mier would never be the same.

It’s not like the Bad Ones—this is what the Mierenses would come to call them—hadn’t been there already. It’s not like they hadn’t been running their operations out of Mier and the surrounding towns, carrying their loads of cocaine and marijuana through the surrounding brushland and up to the lip of the river, where they placed them on boats or rafts or inner tubes and floated them across into Texas. Even if no one spoke of them by name, they were already deeply woven into the social fabric. But on this day, they came like an invading army. 

The following morning, on February 23, the onslaught resumed before the sun had even risen. Forty SUVs swarmed the local police station. Armed to the teeth, dozens of men descended and forced their way in, taking every one of the officers, confiscating files, radios, and weapons. Then they scattered about town, setting houses on fire. Word spread that they were kidnapping dozens of people, perhaps entire families. It took more than three hours for the military to respond, and when soldiers finally confronted the men, bodies fell on both sides.

As people would come to tell it, that was the day, one year ago this month, “when the war began.” Thirty-five days before, 63 miles away, one man had killed another in the border city of Reynosa, and now it was raining fire. The murder was the culmination of more than a year of tension between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas. Although the Zetas, originally a group of deserters from the Mexican army’s special forces, had begun as the enforcement arm of the Gulf, they gradually gained clout after 2003, when the Gulf’s leader, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, was arrested. By 2008, they were an organization in their own right, operating alongside the Gulf in an alliance known as the Company. While both groups held ground in the larger cities, the area around Mier became more tightly controlled by the Zetas. Then the tension exploded. The man who had been killed in Reynosa was a plaza boss for the Zetas, managing the flow of drugs through the city. The Zetas demanded the killer, but the Gulf refused. That is how the war began.

After the explosions subsided, Mayor José Iván Mancillas Hinojosa phoned the governor of Tamaulipas and begged for help. But the reinforcements would take nine months to arrive. The state had been embroiled in conflict ever since President Felipe Calderón, who had declared war on the cartels immediately following his inauguration, in 2006, had unleashed the marines on the Gulf and the Zetas. But now it became a three-way battle that would bring Tamaulipas to its knees. The same days that Mier was attacked by the Gulf last February, the cities of Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo and the towns of Valle Hermoso, Díaz Ordaz, Camargo, and Miguel Alemán all experienced terrifying gun battles. Over the next months, decapitated and dismembered bodies appeared hanging from trees and utility poles. The severed head of a state police commander was delivered to a military post. Banners were strung in which the Gulf cartel exhorted the government to step aside and allow them to wipe out the Zetas, since “poison can only be combated with poison.”

For the average resident in Mier whose life was not directly touched by the drug trade, the Zetas and the Gulf cartel were one and the same: Los Malos, “the Bad Ones.” But now Mier became a battleground between the two. Throughout that spring, summer, and fall, the townspeople would have to withstand more gunfights, each lasting six, seven, eight hours at a time. The police station was bombed. The buildings became so severely scarred by repeated rounds from AK-47’s and heavy-caliber rifles that they began to look like sieves. Then, on November 5, in Matamoros, marines tracked down one of the Gulf’s top leaders, Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, a.k.a. Tony Tormenta, and killed him. The Zetas saw an opportunity to regain the upper hand in Mier. The same day that Cárdenas fell, word spread that the Bad Ones were out in the streets, shouting for all Mierenses to leave town or be killed. Of the families who remained, hundreds panicked and fled, leaving behind only those who were too frail to move.

Those who had visas crossed into Texas. Others crowded in with friends in nearby Miguel Alemán, where the mayor set up a temporary shelter in the Lions Club for some five hundred people who had no place to go. Relief aid trickled in. Then the journalists came, Mexican and American, and wrote stories that described the shelter as the first for drug war “refugees” in Mexico. On November 20 the Wall Street Journal suggested that Tamaulipas was a failed state.

This was a public relations disaster for the federal government, which was still reveling in the killing of Cárdenas. Its strategy of targeting cartel leaders had once again unleashed a wave of violence, and it had no plan for containing the resulting unrest in Mier and across Tamaulipas. So four days later, officials announced a new mission, dubbed Coordinated Operation Northeast, which would finally send additional troops and federal police to the state (and to neighboring Nuevo León, where the Gulf and Zetas were also fighting). It had taken them three weeks to respond to the mass exodus of Mier, a town of 6,500 citizens. But just five days after the reinforcements arrived, a spokesman for Calderón declared that crime in Tamaulipas was down by almost half. Then came the order to shut down the shelter, since, according to the government, it was safe for the Mierenses to go home.

Although Mier is a few miles from the Rio Grande, it has no “twin city” on the Texas side and no international bridge. To get there, you cross upriver at Falcon Dam or downriver at the Roma toll bridge and proceed along Mexican Federal Highway 2, which parallels the border. The drive takes less than fifteen minutes from the crossings, but it can quickly feel desolate. They call this region La Ribereña, “land of the river,” a long, narrow strip of territory bound by the highway and the Rio Grande and running from Nuevo Laredo down to Matamoros and the Gulf of Mexico. The 150-mile stretch between Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa is more affectionately known as La Frontera Chica, “the small frontier.” The four towns along it—Guerrero, Mier, Miguel Alemán, and Camargo—are small in population but rich in history. Along with Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, they form the cradle of the borderlands: More than 250 years ago, when the river was not yet an international boundary, Spanish colonizers founded three of the towns (Miguel Alemán came later), and the newly landed families dispersed north and south. Today all the longtime Mexican American families of South Texas can trace their roots to one of these settlements. Yet the vastness of the area, its proximity to the international line, and the rugged and desolate terrain make it a prime spot for drug smuggling. Most of the drugs that enter South Texas come through here; once on American soil, they get transported up to Laredo or down to McAllen, then stuffed into hidden compartments in cars and trucks or mingled with legitimate goods in tractor-trailers and rolled out north to an insatiable market.

In early December, a day after the shelter had been shuttered and the families had supposedly returned to Mier, I visited the town with a friend whose ancestors were from there. I had already looked at photos of the scorched buildings, the pockmarked walls, the charred hulks of trucks, the shattered windows everywhere. But seeing the entire landscape of devastation in person left me speechless. I had reported from Nuevo Laredo in 2005 and Ciudad Juárez in 2009, when each border city was considered the most unstable in Mexico due to drug violence. Yet Mier was the first place I’d seen that embodied the true meaning of “war.” As we drove into town, dozens of soldiers stood guard at a checkpoint, some of them hiding behind piles of sandbags with mounted rifles. No signs of normal life remained, even on a sunny Saturday at noon: On the surface, Mier appeared all but empty. Occasionally a car or pickup truck rattled down the desolate streets, breaking the silence. Up ahead of us, two soldiers waded through knee-high weeds that had sprouted in a lot where only the blackened skeleton of a building remained.

Turning down a side street, I glimpsed a flash of life. Two older women were hunched over, vigorously sweeping the ground outside their house, which stood between buildings that had been ravaged by fire. I rolled down my window and asked for directions to the main plaza and whether it was safe to drive there. “I can’t assure you of anything right now,” one of them replied. I told her that we were looking for a friend of a friend who lived there; the woman recognized the name, but she informed us that the person had left town months before. I said that we were journalists and asked if she might let us inside her home to chat. She seemed to frown, so I started to explain that I didn’t want to be seen with my notebook, but a military convoy rolled by just then and slowed to a crawl, the soldiers eyeing us suspiciously. The woman motioned for us to park and follow her inside.

She was in her fifties and had a solemn, self-restrained presence. I’ll call her Romelia. She quickly offered me a chair and a glass of water. The other woman turned out to be her older sister, Lupita. Lupita’s daughter, Marta, also joined us, and then Lupita’s husband, Lorenzo, and their son. The five adults sat or stood around the kitchen and studied us quietly. The room was small and immaculate, its brown floor tiles shining. On the white plastic dining table, a corner altar remembered a niece and nephew who had died too soon.

“We don’t have anything to say,” Romelia began, evidently fearful and distrusting. “The facts speak for themselves.” Lupita agreed. She was dressed in brown, knitted short pants, and her gray hair was pulled back in a tiny ponytail. “Words aren’t necessary,” she said, in a deep, commanding voice that belied her wiry frame. “You’ve seen the images. The houses burned, the streets emptied out, the people leaving? Whatever we have to say is irrelevant.”

Despite their initial hesitance to talk, a story gradually unfolded. This particular family’s misfortunes had begun when five SUVs pulled up outside their home and the Bad Ones started to torch the house next door. The family panicked, but the criminals stayed outside, leaving them no escape route. Their only alternative was to hide and pray. They crammed Lorenzo, the oldest family member, into a small closet. They could hear the laughter of the men outside as the building was engulfed in flames. Why had the house been targeted? The second floor was being expanded and the garage sported an elaborate wrought-iron gate—maybe its owners were involved in the trade and had ended up on the wrong side of the war. If so, Romelia’s family didn’t care, and they certainly didn’t ask. That was a commandment in border towns like Mier.

Hiding soon became their way of life. Whenever shooting would erupt, everyone hit the floor. The gunfire sometimes lasted for hours. The local police were gone and the state police had pulled out—the city was defenseless. Although soldiers from a nearby regiment occasionally patrolled the streets, the criminals would return as soon as they left. And so Romelia, Lupita, Lorenzo, and their families began to live with the rituals of war. They locked themselves in by six every evening, having gathered enough water to last through the night, because they knew the city’s water pump was too dangerous for work crews to get to after dark. The violence always felt as if it were inching closer. “Even the dogs don’t bark anymore when they hear the shots,” Romelia said. “The animals hide.”

More than 100 people, perhaps as many as 140, had disappeared. (One story told of a young woman who had been dating a trafficker; when the Bad Ones came to get her, her parents clung to her in desperation and all three were whisked away.) Both roads that led out of town—Highway 2, along the border, and Highway 54, heading to the industrial and commercial capital of Monterrey—were impassable: The criminals hijacked cars, sacked tractor-trailers, and ambushed one another. The local economy was dead. Americans had always come in the fall and winter to hunt doves and white-tailed deer, but this year they had stayed home. Many of the ranches, the region’s largest industry, had been appropriated by the cartels. (Statewide some five hundred ranches had ceased to operate.) Cows were left to die; some of the ranchers who had risked visiting their properties had never made it back home. Pemex, the government-owned petroleum company that had reliably propped up the local economy with its natural gas exploration, had pulled out all of its workers after some were kidnapped. And dozens of businesses were shuttered: restaurants, hotels, money exchanges, grocery stores, travel agencies, pharmacies, building supply stores, phone companies, gas stations, health clinics, auto repair shops—all of them had closed, having been ransacked, burned, or damaged from gunfire. On the day I visited, only two small grocery stores and a boot shop remained in business.

Families watched their income dissolve. Marta had earned a living making cakes and tamales for family banquets, but who was having parties anymore? Her husband had worked as a welder, but who could afford security bars these days? Jobless, she had sold her car so she’d have enough money to move temporarily to Matamoros, where she hoped to find employment. After she’d spent six weeks there, however, her father-in-law went missing when he visited a ranch to sell some cows. Marta had returned to Mier to be near her mother-in-law, who was slowly losing the will to live. “We’ve been unemployed for nine months,” she told me, exasperated. She had hazel eyes and fair skin and was dressed in aqua-blue sweatpants—the same sweatpants she wore every day, she told me. When I asked what the family was living off of, her mother chimed in, “From the food provided by the DIF [a federal assistance program] and our relatives in the United States.”

Lupita had spent thirteen days in the shelter in Miguel Alemán, but she had felt depression taking hold, and a doctor had diagnosed her with nervous colitis. So she had gone back home to Mier. The family didn’t have the wherewithal to leave for another Mexican city, and crossing the border to join their relatives in Texas would have required renewing their border-crossing visas, which would mean proving their financial solvency to the U.S. consulate and coughing up almost $200. It might as well have been $2 million. “They changed our life,” Marta said, her eyes growing wet. “They changed our whole life.”

Two days later, safety would return, if only temporarily, when the streets of Mier were flooded with one thousand federal police and army and navy troops. They did not come to stay but to protect the governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernández Flores, and the Mexican minister of the interior, Francisco Blake Mora, who were visiting to determine what kinds of interventions were needed. Although the population was down to about one thousand, more than a hundred families lined the cobblestone streets near the main plaza, which is graced on the south by the Church of the Most Pure Conception, a gorgeous structure built in 1755, with a handsome carved sandstone facade. The church had been one of the main reasons that, in 2007, the Mexican tourism department had named Mier a pueblo mágico, a “magical town,” because of its rich history and culture. These days the joke was that the town was magical because of how easily people disappeared.

After a six-hour wait, the townspeople finally spotted a helicopter preparing to land. The distinguished visitors boarded an armored SUV and took a short tour of the wreckage before arriving at the main plaza. Handsome, blue-eyed, smiling widely, and dressed smartly in a white shirt and black designer jacket, the governor acknowledged the crowd. Behind him, in a white windbreaker, the minister appeared somber, more reserved. The townspeople contemplated the men respectfully for a brief moment. Then, one by one, the voices that had been silent since February began to rise from the crowd.

“Every family has a relative that’s disappeared. Why did it take you nine months to get here?” “My son was killed and my husband is disappeared!” “We want military vigilance!” “We want the soldiers to stay, but we want them to defend us, not to hide in their barracks like they do every time the shooting starts!” “There’s no security, but we also want work. There are no jobs!”

One woman’s voice grew so hoarse from screaming that it was hard to make out what she was saying: “ . . . living in terror during the night! . . . We haven’t had water!” The governor seemed unmoved by her cries; he glanced at someone else and smirked. Minutes later, an elderly woman in a pink shawl politely attempted to get his attention. “My grandson,” she told him in a small voice. “His pharmacy is closed. He doesn’t have any work.” The governor scanned the crowd distractedly and said, “Yes, I can imagine.”

A local online news columnist would later describe the promises made that afternoon with a penetrating world-weariness: “Security as long as necessary, credits for business owners, temporary jobs, ranching subsidies, thorough investigation of disappearances, rule of law, the full weight of authority, cooperation among the three levels of government, frontal attack on organized crime, blah, blah, blah.”

Romelia and her family wanted these things too, and they hoped the government would deliver this time. On the day I visited Mier, as we sat shuttered in their small home, I had turned to Lupita and asked how long she and Lorenzo had been married. Fifty years, she had replied proudly. They had celebrated their anniversary on September 15, the same night that Mexico had marked two hundred years of independence. She recounted how she and Lorenzo had met in singing contests when they were young, how they had fallen for each other’s voices. Then she offered to sing us the tune her husband had performed the day he had won her heart.

She grabbed a green plastic chair and pulled it up close to her old man, who was resting his hand on a cane. He grinned broadly as she began the melody, then immediately jumped in with a harmony, his raspy voice melding perfectly with hers, as if they had never stopped singing. It was a classic by José Alfredo Jiménez. As they sang, their voices filled the room and spilled out onto the quiet street, and their grandchildren, who had been playing outside, gathered around the screen door to listen.

What a beautiful love
What a beautiful sky
What a beautiful moon
What a beautiful sun.

What a beautiful love
I hold it dearly
Because it feels
Everything that I feel.

Copyright © 1973-2011 Emmis Publishing LP dba Texas Monthly. All rights reserved.


New Study, Finds Shariah Law Involved in Court Cases in 23 US States Washington, DC, May 17, 2011 - The Center for Security Policy today released an in-depth study-- Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases. The study evaluates 50 appellate court cases from 23 states that involve conflicts between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law. The analysis finds that Shariah has been applied or formally recognized in state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. [628 pages] 

Some commentators have tried to minimize this problem, claiming, as an editorial in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times put it that, “…There is scant evidence that American judges are resolving cases on the basis of shariah.” To the contrary, our study identified 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate court published cases.

Others have asserted with certainty that state court judges will always reject any foreign law, including Shariah law, when it conflicts with the Constitution or state public policy. The Center’s analysis, however, found 15 trial court cases, and 12 appellate court cases, where Shariah was found to be applicable in these particular cases.

The facts are the facts: some judges are making decisions deferring to Shariah law even when those decisions conflict with constitutional protections.

On the releasing the study, the Center for Security Policy’s President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., observed:
"These cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which America was founded."

Key Findings:
  • At the trial court level, 22 decisions were found that refused to apply Shariah; 15 were found to have utilized or recognized Shariah; 9 were indeterminate; and in 4 cases Shariah was not applicable to the decision at this level, but was applicable at the appellate level.
  • At the appellate Court level: 23 decisions were found that refused to apply Shariah; 12 were found to have utilized or recognized Shariah; 8 were indeterminate; and in 7 cases Shariah was not applicable to the decision, but had been applicable at the trial court level.
  • The 50 cases were classified into seven distinct “Categories” of dispute: 21 cases dealt with “Shariah Marriage Law”; 17 cases involved “Child Custody”; 5 dealt with “Shariah Contract Law”; 3 dealt with general “Shariah Doctrine”; 2 were concerned with “Shariah Property Law”; 1 dealt with “Due Process/Equal Protection” and 1 dealt with the combined “Shariah Marriage Law/Child Custody.”
  • The 50 cases were based in 23 different states: 6 cases were found in New Jersey; 5 in California; 4 each in Florida, Massachusetts and Washington; 3 each in Maryland, Texas and Virginia; 2 each in Louisiana and Nebraska; and 1 each in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and South Carolina.
Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases includes summaries of a sample of twenty cases, as well as the full published texts for all fifty cases. Mr. Gaffney added:

“This study represents a timely contribution to the debate developing around the country: To what extent is the Islamic politico-military-legal doctrine of Shariah being insinuated into the United States? The analysis complements and powerfully reinforces the warnings contained in the Center’s bestselling 2010 “Team B II” Report, Shariah: The Threat to America. It confirms that Shariah’s adherents are making a concerted effort to bring their anti-constitutional code to this country.

“Together with follow-on analyses now in preparation, we hope to equip those who share the Center’s commitment to the Constitution of the United States, to the liberties it guarantees and to the democratic government it mandates to thwart those like the Muslim Brotherhood who would supplant freedom with Shariah law. Clearly, we must work to keep America Shariah-free, or risk inexorably losing the country we love.”

The full text of the study, including text from the court cases and tables displaying the findings, can be found at

The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.  For more information visit

For more information and to schedule an interview, contact
Travis Korson (202)-719-2421 or
David Reaboi (202) 431-1948



Navy Names Ship for Labor Leader Despite Protest
Gus Chavez Defend the Honor suggests action
Congressman Presses Navy to Name Next Ship After Fallen Marine
Editor Mimi suggests restrain and unity
Community Reaction
History on Congressional attempts to recognize Peralta
2008, letter to the United States Congress by 8 Elected officials
Letter by Rick Leal to Office of Duncan D. Hunter, Jr.
We Latinos Will Honor Both, Cesar Chavez and Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta

Navy Names Ship for Labor Leader Despite Protest

Sent by Bill Carmena


To all concerned members of the Latino/a community, 

Please read the following article on Congressman Hunter's intent to file legislation that calls on the Secretary of the Navy to name the next new Navy ship the USNS Sgt. Rafael Peralta. 

We should be prepared to support such legislation so long as the language in the proposed bill does not make negative reference to the latest naming of a naval ship in honor of Cesar Chavez . More important, we must be cautious and not let Congressman Hunter pit Latinos against Latinos in the process.  We know the long term damage these kinds of divisive tactics have on individuals and organizations. 

Support to name a ship after American hero Sgt. Rafael Peralta a resounding YES!! 

Support to name a ship after American hero Sgt. Rafael Peralta while disparaging Cesar Chavez, another  American hero, a resounding NO!! 

I suspect Cong. Hunter will soon be seeking the support of local, state and national Latino and Latina organizations for passage of his legislation. I urge serious review of the language in his proposed legislation prior to responding to any request for support.   

Gus Chavez   




Editor:  This was my response to Gus. . .

Dear Gus . .
Thank you for your message on this issue.  When Rick Leal called with the news,  I too wondered if was a divisive strategy, splitting Latino farm activists against Latino military activists.  
However, Rick also sent along the attached file which shows that Robert Filner had been lobbying since 2004 for Peralta to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Hunter and six others joined their effort in 2008.  That is probably why Duncan reacted so strongly . . .  plain frustration.
If we stand behind both selections for naming . .  we could work this to our benefit, unifying our community with issues, instead of focusing on partisans. 

May we as leaders be wise, welcoming the support of either party who shows genuine concern for us.    
God bless America. hugs . . .  Mimi

Gus,  May 21st response to me:  Mimi, Excellent feedback. Aver como sigue la cosa. I just felt we needed to be vigilant and not be taken as people who don't know what is going on.  Gus   

For more information on this effort to award Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor, please go to Somos Primos. Somos Primos has included 18 items/articles on Sgt. Peralta Click here: "Rafael Peralta" - Google Search..  



Congressman Presses Navy to Name Next Ship After Fallen Marine
Published May 20, 2011

 A California congressman who blasted the Navy this week for naming a new cargo ship after labor activist Cesar Chavez  is now preparing to file legislation that will direct the Navy to name the next available ship after a military war hero. 

Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, wants the next ship to be named after Marine Corps. Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who died in 2004 and was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Iraq. 

Peralta was posthumously offered the Navy Cross, the second highest honor, but his family declined to accept it.

"Sgt. Peralta gave his life for this country," Hunter said in a statement Friday, adding that Peralta should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

"It's a shame that the secretary of Defense refuses to re-examine the case, so it's only right that the Navy name its next ship after Sgt. Peralta," he said. "It's an honor that Sgt. Peralta deserves." 

Icela Donald, Peralta's sister, said in a statement on behalf of her family, "We are truly thankful and honored. This is a way to keep my brother's legacy alive. After everything we've been through, this means so much to the entire family." 

Peralta was 25 when he died in a battle in Fallujah, Iraq. After he was shot in the head by friendly fire, he pulled a grenade lobbed by an insurgent under his body before it detonated, saving the lives of several of his fellow comrades. 

Chavez this week became the first Mexican American to have one of the last 14 Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships built by NASSCO for the Navy named after him. Other ships have been named after explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, civil rights activist Medgar Evers and pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart.



We should take a strong position to support Congressman Bob Filner  in his long time efforts to recognize Sgt.  Rafael Peralta. Rafael Peralta lived in Congressman Filner’s District not Hunter’s!
I suppose it would help Bob Filner recognize Rafael Peralta which he really deserved; he fought for all of us and the USA. But there must be other Navy Ships that have pass their time in history, maybe it's time to start a new chapter.  
Hasta Pronto,  Chacon


Mimi, Rick & Paul
For future reference and your files on Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Two excellent Letters to the Editor of the San Diego Union Tribune that were published today. Gus

Chávez, Peralta are both heroes

In response to “Navy names ship to honor Chávez,” (May 18): As a former migrant worker who did backbreaking, stoop labor under the hot sun in the fields of Colorado during the summers of my elementary school years, I respect and appreciate the very challenging task that César Chávez embraced to help make life more amenable for the financially challenged.

His effort is forever chiseled in the hearts and souls of those who have labored in the agricultural fields of this great country.

Rafael Peralta, my former Advanced Spanish student at Samuel F.B. Morse High School, is equally worthy. It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to interact with an individual who was always available and willing to tutor those in need. He was quite unselfish of his free time in school and very popular among peers.

When I read how he had sacrificed his life to save his fellow Marines, it didn’t surprise me. It was “Rafa” giving of himself once again. As we say at Morse High, “Once a tiger, always a tiger.” 

Paul Chávez, César Chávez’s son, stated that we were fortunate to have two representatives from the Latino community who were deserving of the honor bestowed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Nabus at Wednesday’s ship-naming ceremony. He was correct. -- Antonio Valencia, Bonita

I am surprised and annoyed that Rep. Duncan Hunter has continued to comment on his objection to naming the newly completed Lewis and Clark Class cargo ship after César Chávez. Setting aside the deserved recognition of a great man such as Chávez, Hunter should know that the ships in the class are named after famous American explorers and pioneers. 

Being a Marine veteran, I too was upset the Sgt. Rafael Peralta’s medal was downgraded in the way that it was. I also strongly believe that Peralta should receive further recognition such as the naming of a warship after him, but I cannot understand why Hunter would slight Chavez and go against Navy tradition. -- Carl A. Arnesen, Spring Valley

I believe both the Democrats and Republicans have betrayed us. What do we do?  Above all examine the party's track record.  Don't listen to what they say but rely on what they have accomplished.  In this case there is  only vested interest.  Vote your interests!  I believe that Mimi's advice is correct, If we stand behind both selections for naming . .  we could work this to our benefit, unifying our community with issues, instead of focusing on partisans. 

Daisy Wanda Garcia 


(Medal of Honor - Nominee)
Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta
In December 2004, Congressman Bob Filner introduces legislation to award Sgt. Peralta the Medal of Honor. Also, in 2004 Marine Corps Commandant Lt. General Richard Natouski recommends the Medal of Honor be awarded to Sgt. Peralta,based on the eye-witness accounts of his fellow rifle platoon squad. In September 19, 2008 a letter was addressed to President Bush and was signed by Congressman Bob Filner, Congressman Duncan Hunter and other six elected officials,  urging President Bush to award the nation's highest honor, the same medal he awarded Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who was killed in 2004 after covering a grenade with his helmet.

The sacrifice of Sgt. Peralta manifests the same devotion to one's comrade's and country as that displayed by Cpl. Jason Dunham. Sgt. Peralta was credited for saving the lives of at least four of his fellow Marines. Peralta joined the Marine Corps the day after he received his "Green Card" and became a United States Citizen while in uniform. Before he set out to Fallujah, Iraq, he wrote his 14 yr. old brother Ricardo, he said; "Be Proud of Me...and be Proud of being an American." He served his adopted country the United States of America with enthusiasm and patriotism. In his parents bedroom walls hung only three items:
1. A Copy of the United States Constitution
2. A Copy of the Bill of Rights
3. A Copy of his Boot Camp Certificate




September 19, 2008

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our extreme disappointment with the decision to
posthumously award Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta with the Navy Cross instead
of the Medal of Honor. Sergeant Peralta was killed during combat operations in Iraq
when he deliberately used his body to protect his fellow Marines from a grenade blast.

As you know, Sergeant Peralta was awarded the Navy Cross after the Department
of Defense conducted a lengthy review of the circumstances surrounding his death and
determined his actions are not deserving of the Medal of Honor. It is our understanding
that the review panel could not confirm whether Sergeant Peralta's actions were
deliberate, despite the fact that several eye witness accounts verify that he knowingly
picked up the grenade and absorbed the full explosion with his body.

The selflessness and combat heroism of Sergeant Peralta is also recognized by the
Navy Cross citation itself. According to the citation, Sergeant Peralta used his body to
shield his comrades, who were only feet away from the grenade, "without hesitation and
complete disregard for his own persona] safety." Clearly, Sergeant Peralta, as confirmed
by the award citation, made a deliberate decision to absorb the grenade blast in order to
protect the lives of the Marines fighting directly by his side.

Mr. President. last year, you posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to 
Corporal Jason Dunham for the same act of heroism in Anbar province. Intentionally
absorbing a grenade blast to protect one's comrades in arms has been traditionally
recognized by awarding the Medal of Honor. The sacrifice of Sergeant Peralta manifests
the same devotion to one's comrades and country as that displayed by Jason Dunham.

We therefore request that a review of Sergeant Peralta's case be undertaken and
that, unless a strong distinction is drawn between his actions and those of Corporal
Dunham, Sergeant Peralta be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. We thank you
for your attention to this request and look forward to your response.




Editor: * I could not capture the letter and signatures on the letter, but the last four are:

Letter by Rick Leal to the office of Duncan D. Hunter, Jr.

Mr. Jimmy Thomas

Military Legislature Asst.

Congressman Duncan Hunter

223 Cannon House Office Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20515

Regarding: Legislation Introduced to name Ship after Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta and a request to continue pursuing the Medal of Honor for Sgt. Peralta


Dear Mr. Thomas:


My chief of staff, Mimi Lozano and I were both very pleased with the conference call with you yesterday. 


Our organization, the Hispanic Medal of Honor Society is pleased to hear the great news that Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. is continuing in the campaign and effort to recognized Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta, which his father, the senior Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, Sr. was involved with in 2004.  We are touched and pleased that it has become a family mission.


We understand that Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. has taken the first steps by formally introducing legislation directing the Secretary of the Navy to name the next available US Navy Ship after Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta.


We hope that the Congressional Members that signed the September 19, 2008 letter to President of the United States come together again address and both issues now: 

(1.) Awarding Medal of Honor to Sgt. Peralta and
(2.) Requesting President Obama to direct the Secretary of Navy to name the next available ship after Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta. 

I am sure that the Peralta family will be overjoyed to hear the news.  Also, you as a former Marine will undoubtedly react warmly to the news that Sgt. Peralta's younger brother Ricardo has followed his brother's footsteps and has joined the Marine Corps.  Marine Corps Private Ricardo Peralta is proudly serving and is presently stationed in Libya.


Brief Historic Overview:

November 2004:
On the basis of the eye-witness account of the five Marines who reported and gave testimony of what happened, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Lt. General Richard F. Natonski and the took immediate steps to nominate Peralta for the Medal of Honor.


December 2004: U.S. Congressman Rep. Bob Filner of California introduced legislature to award Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor. 

September 17, 2008: DENIED.  Instead he was awarded the Navy Cross
[ Of the seven servicemembers nominations for the Medal of Honor that have reached the Secretary of Defense, Peralta's is the only nomination that has not been approved]
September 19, 2008:  LETTER Rep. Bob Filner joined by Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, Sr. and six other members of Congress addressed a letter to President Bush, questioning the denial and asking that the case be reviewed.  
January 29, 2009, son, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr. takes up the cause.  A letter was sent to President Obama, questioning the forensic medical conclusion decision which questioned whether Sgt.Rafael Peralta in November 2004 acted in full consciousness when he covered a live grenade, with his body to protect his men during house-to-house fighting in Iraq.    
However, a medical team headed by a forensic pathologist, who had never served in the field of combat reached surprising conclusions, contrary to the eye-witness accounts of the soldiers.  They stepped into Peralta's state of mind, and decided that Peralta acted instinctively, and not consciously, in pulling the grenade under his body.  This is an outrageous conclusion.   
Peralta should be honored and join the ranks of other soldiers that gave their lives by physically covering a grenade to save their comrades: Marine Corp. Jason L. Dunham, Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis, Navy Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, Pfs. James LaBelle, and Lance Corporal Richard A. Anderson.

Why was Peralta penalized for acting instinctively, but the other men were honored for doing so?. It is an injustice, which should be corrected.

I concur with Rep. Duncan Hunter when he said, " I am very concerned that the criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor, which has been historically based on eyewitness accounts, has now been replaced by modern forensic science. I firmly believe that eye-witness accounts of the event should take precedent through the entire chain of command review process because heroic actions in combat cannot always be explained by science alone." 


If, there is something else we can do in supporting Congressman Hunter's efforts please advice.  We want to support Rep. Hunter in his goal of honoring the bravery of Sgt. Peralta who made the ultimate sacrifice and deserves both recognitions, the MOH award and a ship to be named after him.



Rick Leal, President

Hispanic Medal of Honor Society

210 Church Street, Suite #4

San Francisco, CA. 94114

Tel. (415) 310-0138 cell.





We Latinos Will Honor Both

Cesar Chavez 
Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta

The following action by the U.S. House of Representatives refers to passage of H.R. 1540 (The National Defense Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2012) which includes Amendment No. 36 re: Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Please read and share with your membership.  The specific language in the legislation does not  make negative reference to Cesar Chavez, another great American. Thanks.
Gus Chavez
 Digest for H.R. 1540 Amendments, 112th Congress, 1st Session

H.R. 1540 Amendments

Amendments to H.R. 1540—National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the House began consideration of H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, under a rule providing for general debate.  The initial rule for consideration of H.R. 1540 (H.Res. 269) provided for one hour of general debate, equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Armed Services.  On May 25, 2011, a subsequent rule was approved to provide for complete consideration of the bill.  The rule makes 152 amendments in order and provides for one motion to recommit with or without instructions. The bill was introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) on April 14, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.  The committee held a mark-up on May 11, 2011 and reported the bill as amended by a vote of 60-1. 

Amendment No. 36—Rep. Hunter (R-CA):  The amendment would “strongly encourage” the Secretary of the Navy to the name the next available naval vessel after U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta.  According to the sponsor’s office, Sergeant Peralta, who grew up in Southeast San Diego, was nominated for the Medal of Honor for smothering a grenade with his body during combat in Fallujah, Iraq.  He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross instead.  A team of specialists, which included pathologists and other experts, conducted an investigation at the direction of the Secretary of Defense and determined that Peralta did not consciously pull the grenade into his body.  This conclusion contradicts the eye-witness accounts of the Marines fighting alongside Peralta, as well as the recommendation put forward by Marine Corps leadership. There have been 11 instances, going back to 1989, where Congress has included in legislation that was signed into law how a Navy ship should be named.


The effort to honor Peralta is and should be a collaboration of all Americans.  This is a cause for each of us to support.  It can be done simply by contacting your state and district elected representatives.  Although the impetus and leadership in seeking the Medal of Honor for Peralta were Californians, these are national decisions, not state decisions.  

Even though Peralta was not from your state. you have the right to make the request to  your home representatives office, to support Peralta for the Medal of Honor. The same logic exists for the naming of a US Navy ship, Peralta.  It is a national effort and you can lobby for him through your contact with your senators and representatives.  

Contacting the Congress, via the office of your elected officials:
This website gives you the contact for your two Senators and list of Representatives.  It includes their telephone and fax number.   All telephone calls and fax received by their office is recorded and compiled.  They are usually not too responsive to out of state calls.  They prefer to respond to the requests of their constituents.   

If you call and the staff is not familiar with the Peralta case, insist that your representative and senator log the fact that you want your elected officers to know that you are in favor of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta receiving the Medal of Honor, and having US Navy ship named after him.

10 minutes of your time  . .  is all that is required . . .   PLEASE Do it NOW . . .  call or send an email . . .






Johnny Hernandez named McCormick spokesman
National Hispanic Business Women Association  2011 Women of the Year Honorees
SABEResPODER and Wells Fargo & Company

Johnny Hernandez named McCormick spokesman




Johnny Hernandez, chef and owner of La Gloria Ice House restaurant on the San Antonio River, is about to embark on a six-city Southwestern tour as a spokesman for McCormick, a company that has been making spices since 1889. In an announcement that came from both McCormick and on Hernandez’s Facebook page, the celebrated chef is set to make 28 stops over two months on McCormick’s “Asando Sabroso” tour promoting the use of its products in the preparation of Latin-inspired dishes.

The company’s press materials say the campaign is following national Latino food trends 
and, no doubt, a growing Latino consumer base. Hernandez’s tour comes just in time for summer grilling and what it says is increased demand for the layering of flavors and combining various chiles with grilled meats, vegetables and even fruits.

Hernandez kicks off the tour in San Antonio on Cinco de Mayo with an appearance from 4-7 p.m. at the H-E-B store on Zarzarmora. That evening, he’ll also appear at an invitation-only event. He will be aboard a ”tripped out” food truck, serving ”special recipe tacos developed by McCormick kitchens and inspired by the most popular Latino flavor trends.”

The event will help “support the next generation of Latino cooking stars. The tacos will be served for a $1 donation that will be matched by McCormick to provide more opportunities for Latinos wanting to pursue a career in the culinary field,” a press release says.

What are some of the recipes the company is promoting? Yucatan Adobo Pork with red bell pepper and orange salad and Ancho Adobo Bistec Tacos with roasted corn and tomatillo salsa.

Hernandez, who co-founded True Flavors Culinary Planners, is a rising star in the culinary world. In addition to running his instantaneously popular La Gloria, which specializes in Mexican street foods, Hernandez was named caterer of the year by the National Association of Catering Executives and a celebrated chef by the National Pork Board. The Culinary Institute of America graduate was awarded the San Pasqual Award of Culinary Excellence by the New World Wine and Food Festival and superior chef by the National Taste of Elegance.

Here’s a link to a story in the Express-News about him.




Hispanic Business Women Association  
2024 N. Broadway, Suite 100, Santa Ana, CA 92706-714-836-4042

2011 Women of the Year Honorees –May 19, 2011

Small Business: Angelica Navarro-Sigala, Esq.
Mrs. Angelica N. Sigala, Esq. is a native of Orange County and is an attorney at the Law Offices of John R. Alcorn. NHBWA is pleased to recognize her dedication to helping people solve U.S. immigration problems by honoring her with the Small Business Award. She entered into the challenging field of immigration law in the U.S. despite all of the political movements and most recently all of the anti-immigration initiatives. In her years of service, she has made it a point to reach out to her local community and has allowed her local community to get to know her. She joined the Law Offices of John R. Alcorn in March of 2001 as a Paralegal. While working as a Paralegal, Mrs. Sigala attended Whittier Law School in the evenings and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in May of 2006.

Community Service: Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff
The National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA) is proud to honor Sheriff Sandra Hutchens as the recipient of the Community Service Award. In her time as Sheriff of Orange County, Sheriff Hutchens has made numerous changes to the department with the goal of restoring honor to the department. New leadership staff has been added and policies have been revised all with a commitment to the department’s core values: “Integrity without compromise; Service above self; Professionalism in the performance of duty; Vigilance in safeguarding our community.”
May 2011
Volume 4–Issue 5
2024 N. Broadway, Suite 100, Santa Ana, CA 92706-714-836-4042
Join Us!

Milly Lugo, Santa Ana Public Library
Ms. Milly Lugo is a public reference librarian and instructor at the Santa Ana Public Library (SAPL). NHBWA will recognize her more than 24 years of experience in both the private sector and the SAPL as the recipient of the Education Award.
At the Santa Ana Public Library, Ms. Lugo provides reference assistance to English-and Spanish-speaking library users. As part of the city-side English language learning campaign she has written and received a grant from the California State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) which provided state of the industry workforce English language learning kits for the community.


ATLANTA, GA – SABEResPODER and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) have joined forces to provide financial education to the underbanked in 13 cities through July 1, 2011. The educational campaign includes the introduction to financial literacy and to banking products and services that will help the underbanked succeed financially, ranging from opening a bank account to remitting money overseas to family and friends. Campaign includes financial education guides, video and events, opt-in mobile text message tips and community events across the U.S. 

Source: The Latino Journal, soon to be called The Journal on Latino Americans



Proud Act introduced  by Congressman Baca
Report: Hispanic Success in Education: key to American's future
El Tintero: CCHS Newsletter, Vol 2, No 5 April 2011

Source of visual. . . May Issue of Heritage Makers, 

Proud Act 

Introduced  by Congressman Baca

On January 11, 2011, Congressman Baca introduced HR 218, legislation that promises to stem Latino dropout rates and Latino gang violence, while achieving immigration reform in the same simple strategy. Both Latino dropout rates and gang violence have vexed Latino families for decades.
Baca, a UCLA trained social worker turned politician, proposes using immigration reform as a societal tool for positive change. Employing the logic of Occam's razor, Baca's HR 218 opens a path for citizenship to immigrant youth who finish high school and stay out of trouble for six years, attend the sixth to the twelfth grade in the United States, apply for residency between the ages of 18 and twenty five, and have "completed a curriculum that reflects knowledge of United States history, government and civics." The criteria seem simple enough, but implanted within each criterion are partial cures for severe maladies plaguing the Hispanic community.

Comparing the Proud Act to the more famous Dream Act, Congressman Baca explained that "college isn't for everybody. The Proud Act extends hope to those students who become good working people like beauticians, care givers, waitresses, day care givers, mechanics, drivers, plumbers, electricians, who graduate from high school and stay out of trouble. They deserve an opportunity."

Rep. Joe Baca has served in Congress since winning his election in 1999. He represents the 43rd District of California, which consists of the cities of San Bernardino, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, and Ontario. Because his Congressional District is over populated, Congressman Baca's District is not likely to change with decennial redistricting.

Sitting across the breakfast table from Congressman Baca, the Superintendent of Rialto Schools, Dr. Harold L. Cebrun Jr., and his Deputy Superintendent, Dr. James Wallace, observed that the Proud Act would be a powerful tool to transform the schools by encouraging good behavior and good performance in school. The Proud Act may eventually prove to be a tool of social change that extends far beyond immigration and deep into education.

Source: The Latino Journal, soon to be called The Journal on Latino Americans



Senior Administration Officials, Community Leaders and Educators Meet at Miami-Dade College to Discuss New Report and Improving Education Excellence for the Hispanic Community and All Americans

On April 27, the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics released a new report at a community conversation at Miami-Dade College entitled, "Winning the Future: Improving Latino Education." The report highlights how the success of Hispanic students is key to our nation's future.  Click here to view the blog post on the report and here for an electronic version of the report. 



MIAMI – Hispanic success in education and in the labor market is of immediate and longterm importance to America’s economy, according to a new report released today by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the U.S. Department of Education. The report shows that Hispanics have the lowest education attainment level overall of any group in the U.S.


Hispanics are by far the largest minority group in today’s American public education system, numbering more than 12.4 million in the country’s elementary, middle and high schools. Nearly 22 percent, or slightly more than 1 in 5, of all preK-12 students enrolled in America’s public schools is Hispanic, but they face persistent obstacles to educational attainment. Less than half are enrolled in any early learning program. Only about half earn their high school diploma on time; those who do complete high school are only half as likely as their peers to be prepared for college and only 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs. 


Senior Obama Administration officials met with dozens of educators and community leaders at Miami Dade College today to release the report and to outline strategies to meet President Obama’s goal for the nation to have the best-educated workforce in the world by 2020.


White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics director Juan Sepúlveda said Latino education attainment is important in the global contest for jobs and industries.


“Hispanic students have graduated at lower rates than the rest of the population for years, making America’s progress impossible if they continue to lag behind,” said Sepúlveda. “Strengthening and improving educational excellence in this community isn’t just a Hispanic problem. It’s a challenge to the entire country.”


The nation’s Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million in the last decade, accounting for more than half of the nation’s total population growth. The report shows that Hispanics will drive the growth of the labor force over the next several decades, accounting for 60 percent of the nation’s growth between 2005 and 2050.


Sent by Juan Ramos 




                            Sent by Eddie U Garcia 



HBO Announces 2011 HBO-NALIP Documentary Contest!
Commission recommends museum honoring U.S. Latinos
Viewers Ethnicity Impacts On ‘Addiction’ to TV, By Melissa Macaya
Murrieta folklorico students dance to keep culture alive
Pedro Oliveres Top Hits, Music Publisher 
HBO Announces 2011 HBO-NALIP Documentary Contest!  HBO has teamed with NALIP to find the next great Latino documentary film. They will award $10,000 to the winner of their 2011 Documentary grant. Applications are now online. Deadline is June 10 to submit. 

The idea of this grant is for HBO to focus its lens on the Latino experience, and to support the growth of social commentary by Latino documentarians. Films will be judged based on the uniqueness of their topic/subject matter, the professional quality of the film, and the structure, tone and style planned for presenting the topic to an audience. Films may be works-in-progress, rough cuts, or completed features. Details for submitting available in the application. Winner and finalists to be announced in fall 2011.  Applications are now available at  to submit your documentary project. One Latino Filmmaker will win $10,000.  Deadline is June 10, 2011

Musician and producer Emilio Estefan, left, actress Eva Longoria and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) attend a Washington news conference on the final report on the National Museum of the American Latino proposal. 
(Kris Connor, Getty Images)

Commission recommends museum honoring U.S. Latinos
by Julie Mianecki,
 L.A. Times Washington Bureau, May 06, 2011

A federal commission has recommended construction of a museum on the National Mall honoring the history of American Latinos.

The commission submitted a report to Congress and the White House on Thursday outlining the details of the proposed $600-million National Museum of the American Latino, which has been endorsed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

It would be part of the Smithsonian Institution, which already has a museum dedicated to American Indians and is planning another focusing on African Americans.

"Part of America's story that has not been told completely — that has deep missing gaps — has been the story of the Latino contribution to this country," Salazar said in an interview.

Under the proposal, half of the $600 million for the American Latino museum would come from private fundraising, and the rest would be provided by Congress.

The museum would highlight contributions of Spanish-speaking people to more than 500 years of American history. The report points out that the Spanish were the first Europeans to interact with Native Americans and that they founded St. Augustine, Fla., 42 years before Jamestown was established. Latinos explored the American West before Lewis and Clark and founded many U.S. cities.

Its collections would also acknowledge the presence of Latinos in the military in addition to featuring Latino contributions to art, culture and society. Labor activist Cesar Chavez, Baseball Hall of Fame member Roberto Clemente and former Coca-Cola Chief Executive Roberto Goizueta would likely be featured.

The most recent census data shows that Latinos, at 15.8% of the population, are the largest minority group in America.

In 1994, a report to the Smithsonian titled "Willful Neglect" criticized the institution for failing to represent Latinos in museum collections and in hiring practices.

One possible reason for the under representation is a stereotypical view of Latinos as foreigners, said Allert Brown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

"Even though Latinos are one of the oldest population groups in the United States, because of immigration in the last couple of decades, they're seen as being all newcomers," Brown-Gort said. "This country has had a long history of Latinos — otherwise we wouldn't have places called Los Angeles."

But not everyone is happy about the proposed site of the museum, at Pennsylvania Avenue near the Reflecting Pool and the Capitol.

Judy Scott Feldman, president of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, a group that advocates for the protection of the National Mall, says that she is in favor of efforts to better tell the story of American history, but that adding more buildings to the mall isn't always a positive move.

"The concept of the mall is rooted in the founding of the nation and the Constitution," Feldman said. "You've got the Capitol and the White House, and what's in the middle? The public promenade. The mall was the great public space, the expression of the power of the people in American democracy. But what's happening is we're building all over it."

Sent by Sister Mary Sevilla

Editor:  In 1995, I was in DC for a Hispanic Task Force meeting.  The discussion came up about the need for a Hispanic /Latino museum in the National Mall..  Those who worked in DC said that efforts had been made in that direction, but responsible agencies said that there was no room for any more museums on the mall, so the subject was dropped.   

In December 1999, The National Capital Planning Commission and The Commission of Fine Arts approved the site location 
for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. December 1999.  In September 21, 2004, the National Museum of the American Indian opened.


Viewers Ethnicity Impacts On Their ‘Addiction’ to TV, By Melissa Macaya
Hispanic Link, April 28, 2011

Hispanics watched television 4 hours and 35 minutes daily, under the white viewers average of 5 hours, 2 minutes and that of U.S. viewers overall, 5 hours,11 minutes. African Americans (7.12) watched four hours more a day than did Asian Americans (3.14).

Report online at: is online:


Murrieta folklorico students dance to keep culture alive
By Tiffany Austin-Suniga 
Special to The Press-Enterprise

For members of Murrieta Valley schools' Ballet Folklorico Club, celebrating Hispanic heritage is not just reserved for Cinco de Mayo. The club was founded in 1998 by Murrieta Valley High School students. Through the efforts of Murrieta Mesa High School counselor Adriana Alarcon, it went districtwide two years ago, Murrieta Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Karen Parris said. 

When she was a child, Alarcon's parents would take her to Mexico City and Guadalajara to see ballet folklorico shows. When her own daughters entered high school, she decided to get involved in hopes of sharing with the community the cultural and artistic heritage that had been instilled in her. 

Murrieta Valley Unified School District's Ballet Folklorico Club danced at Murrieta Mesa High's performing arts center for Cinco de Mayo. The club has 32 members: 12 from Murrieta Valley High, 12 from Vista Murrieta High and eight from Murrieta Mesa High, where rehearsals are held twice a week. 

While nearly all dancers in the club are Hispanic, the group is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, school officials said. 

The club performs throughout the community, most recently at the Murrieta Mesa High School performing arts center to commemorate Cinco de Mayo. The evening was filled with dancing, music and celebration, but the club's aim to share Hispanic culture outside of the holiday remained strong. 

"By imparting an understanding of the beauty of the culture through dance, music and song to the community, we are helping to keep our traditions strong in the community all year long," Alarcon said. 

Murrieta Mesa High School student Justina Posadas, 17, joined the club three years ago in hopes of expressing her culture in different ways. 

"We want to be involved in celebrations and events that do not revolve around Cinco de Mayo alone," Justina said. "We are glad that we get to perform around the community and at pep rallies to show the beautiful things our club can do." 

Murrieta Valley High senior Gaby Rincon, 18, got involved with the club to "find something fun to do after school," but he quickly found a greater purpose. 

"It has taught me so much about Hispanic culture and how important it is to share it," Gaby said. "Hispanic culture is something we live and celebrate every single day." 

Alarcon said the club performs 10 dances to show the "varied beauty" that regions such as Chihuahua, Puebla, Vera Cruz, as well as historical periods like the Aztec and Revolution eras possess. 

"We are sharing a beautiful cultural and traditional heritage with the community through all of these different dances and the music," Alarcon said. "We want to be a resource to our community, but most importantly we want diversity embraced." 

Murrieta folklorico students dance to keep culture alive

Pedro Oliveres Top Hits 

Music Publisher


The website was developed to assist songwriters and others in the Music Business.
The music in the Home Page is only an example of the things to come:
English: R&B, Blues, Rock and Roll, Ballads, Holiday music, Country, etc...
In Spanish: Corridos, Cumbias, Baladas, Nortenas, Rancheras, y Baladas

Any questions direct your E-Mails to 

Editor:  This new technology is SO much fun.  Check it out.


Columbian Poet: Argent Maloof

Canto de pescadores,
de olas estremecidas por el viento,
de sombras entrelazadas. ¡Cuánto siento
que tú no estás! Me adormecen tus olores.

Si es de día, el sol calienta mi piel;
si de noche, aspiro en nuestra alcoba
tu olor hechizante que como ahora,
se entremezcla con seda de caricias
mecidas en los brazos de las brisas.

El eco de tu risa es puñado de ceniza
que esparcida por el viento navega mar adentro.

Corrí... corrí para alcanzarte,
mas sólo ví remolinos... entonces destrozaste
la ilusión que como un a gota,
temblaba ansiosa por caer en tu boca.

Olor... playa... pescado
que se mezclan con el pasado.
Olas que se rompen furiosas
en la arena cansada, silenciosa,
sin tocar una huella que se fue.

Argent Maloof.
Flushing, NY, junio 11 de 2001.


Invitación al Recital en International Center en Reno, NV. Alegría con coco y aní:  uno de mis poemas declamados en el recital de la Universidad Simón Bolívar,  aludiendo a una costumbre típica de la cultura negra de Palenque, en la Costa Norte de Colombia.

Ahora déjeme decirle más acerca de mí.  Nací en la ciudad de Cartagena, Colombia, me crié o crecí en la ciudad de Barranquilla, Colombia. Hace algunos años me vine a los Estados Unidos, viví en Nueva York, actualmente resido en la ciudad de Reno, Nevada.  Mi madre, es de Colombia, mi padre, del Líbano ( Lebanon)

Escribo desde niña, mi pasión es escribir poemas. Publiqué mi primer libro de poemas en marzo de 2008 en la ciudad ded Barranquilla, Colombia, en donde hice dos recitales: teatro Amira de la Rosa y el otro en la Universidad Simón Bolívar.

Hice otros recitales a finales del 2009: En Latin Civic Center, ( Centro Civico latino) de la ciudad de Nueva York, en la Biblioteca de Brooklyn, NY., en casa de mi amiga Mariela Perez, en NY..  Luego hice un recital en Northern Nevada International Center ( anexo de la Universidad de Reno, NV).

 El Rector de la Universidad Simón Bolívar, Dr. José Consuegra, yo, el cónsul de Panamá, mi hija Salua.


La poetisa colombo libanesa, Meira del Mar,

 (fallecida en el año 2010) y yo.

Doña Alicia Echeverría, directora del Colegio La Medalla Milagrosa, ella fue mi profesora en Bachillerato, y Srta. Olga Echeverría, la vicerectora del plantel.

Arturo Zamudio,  Maestro de Ceremonia; Adriana Avila, Propietaria de la Casa Editorial Las Antillas donde edité el libro Alas de Cristal, yo y mi hija Salua.

Parte del público asistente al recital.

Ha sido una maravillosa experiencia. Pero ahí no termina todo, sigo aprendiendo y enriqueciendo mi talento como escritora y poeta.
Ha sido una maravillosa experiencia. Pero ahí no termina todo, sigo aprendiendo y enriqueciendo mi talento como escritora y poeta.

Mi próximo libro de poemas ROSAS BLANCAS ya está en manos de la Editorial Antillas, en Barranquilla,, Colombia.  Ahora estoy buscando patrocinadores que me ayuden económicamente, para pagar mi proyecto literario:  el libro y un DVD con mis poemas declamados por mí misma.
No quiero dejar esta vida mortal sin antes compartir con la humanidad mi talento poético. Necesitamos apoyar nuestra cultura literaria, poética, para que nuestros niños y jóvenes sigan nuestras huellas y no dejen morir la poesía. No importa en qué país hayamos nacido, só sé que somos hispanos, unidos por una misma cultura hispanoamericana/ latinoamericana.  Me encantaría visitar escuelas, hablarles de lo sublime que es escribir poemas, ayudarlos a desarrollar sus talentos de escritores que seguramente lo tienen pero aún no lo han descubierto.  Este es mi más grande anhelo, sólo que mis medios económicos me lo impiden.  Esta es la radiografía actual de mi vida, de mis proyectos. Todo gira alrededor de la poesía.


Jose Antonio Navarro by David McDonald 

The American Southwest by Paulina Rael Jaramillo
Ruins of Society and the Honorable b
y Al Bermudez Pereira

Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot by Emerita Romero-Anderson
The Rogue Republic by William C. Davis

San Antonio Students get personalized lesson in history of Tejano Patriot from descendants

Texas State Historical Association's recently published biography of San Antonio native Jose¢ Antonio Navarro (1795-1871) is being donated to Texas schools in personal presentations by descendants of the Texas Tejano patriot, reaching over 1,200 educators and students in 2011, according to Sylvia Navarro Tillotson, a descendant and President of the support group for the Casa Navarro State Historic Site located in downtown San Antonio.  

“Especially this year with current school budget reductions, we want to ensure that San Antonio area students have access to the rich diversity of early Texas history.  Our goal is to present a Navarro biography to every school district in Texas spreading the word about Navarro and his true role in Texas history.  

Presentations have been made to over 30 San Antonio schools including Central Catholic, Providence, IWHS, Holy Cross, St. Gerard’s, Atonement, Saints Cecilia, Paul John Bosco, John Berchmans, Leo, Margaret Mary, Matthew, Philip, Anthony, Luke James, Gregory, Thomas More, Peter and public schools in San Marcos, Blanco, Wimberley, Luling and Pleasanton," stated Tillotson.  

"The title of the Navarro biography Jose¢ Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in Nineteenth Century Texas (Oct 2010) reflects the desire of early Texans, both Tejanos and Anglos, to seek the American Dream of prosperity, civil liberties, security and justice from their government and an opportunity to improve their lives", states E. Jeannie Navarro who spearheaded the Navarro Book Project.   

"As we all know, Texas was the only Republic to join the Union, thereby distinguishing it from all the other States in the Union.  What is not as well known is that early Texas history is a story of two diverse cultures united by a common goal, bringing Navarro together with people like Stephen F. Austin, Juan Seguin, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, Maverick and others to work together and fight for the American Dream," states Ms. Navarro.  

Navarro, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was a steadfast defender of Tejano rights, successfully arguing in 1836 at the creation of the Republic and in 1845 at the State Constitutional Convention, that political rights should not be restricted solely to those with white skin or pure European ancestry, according to author David McDonald, who studied Navarro’s original writings and speeches in Spanish.     

Navarro was a Texas Republic Representative, a State Senator and published the first Tejano Historical Notes in 1869 as well as being a successful rancher and merchant, often called upon to supply goods and merchandise to the military, especially the Texas Revolutionary militia. A self-educated man, Navarro was a strong proponent of education and his son, Angel, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1849, according to the biography.   

Beginning with the oldest school in San Antonio, Central Catholic established in 1852, the biography was presented to Texas History students.  Over 30 other schools followed with more schools scheduled for Fall presentations.  “We want to make as many book presentations as possible this year in celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence", stated Tillotson.   

"Research of the primary sources in Spanish, including Navarro's extensive writings and historical notes published in 1869, demonstrate how Navarro shaped the significant events under 5 of the 6 flags over Texas.  Winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts award for the best history of the Texas Republic, McDonald's biography of Navarro fills one of the most glaring gaps in the historical literature of Texas, according to the Texas State Historical Association, which reports the Navarro biography as one of its best-sellers.     

Local leaders and Navarro descendants who made presentations to schools in San Antonio this year include Rueben Perez, Robert and Oscar Alvarado, Troy and Sandy Salinas, Vera and Brenda Kahlig, Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Dr. Betty Barrett Garza, Rosemary and Jerry Geyer, Ella Dunavant, Mark Melchor and David McDonald, author of the biography.     

Casa Navarro, the State Historic Site, is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in the Fall with extensive educational exhibits. The site itself was one of Navarro's residences and probably his mercantile shop, states McDonald, who was curator of the site for over 20 years.  The site is visited by thousands of visitors annually who infuse revenue into the central downtown area, states Tillotson, originally from San Antonio and now residing in Dallas.   

E. Jeannie Navarro                                                                Sylvia Navarro Tillotson, President
                                              Friends of Casa Navarro
(800) 338-9417                                                                      228 South Laredo Street
(512) 301-1928                                                                      San Antonio, Texas 78207
(512) 301-1979 (Fax)                                                             (214) 841-1018


Paulina Rael Jaramillo, author of New Book Delves into Immigration Issues in the Southwest.

Immigration has been the backbone of the United States since the very beginning. Nevertheless, fear that the nation cannot continue to sustain the impact of new arrivals causes immigration laws to be enacted. Paulina Rael Jaramillo’s new book, "The American Southwest: Pride~Prejudice~Perseverance," gives reasons why Arizona’s SB1070 law is not the answer and explains why many fear the "browning of America. "The book also examines the educational attainment gap that exists among Latino students and includes studies and surveys. A report released in 2011 by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education states the following. "Nearly 22 percent, or slightly more than  1 in 5 of all pre K-12 students enrolled in America’s public school is Latino. Yet, over all Latinos have the lowest educational attainment level of any group in the U.S." 

"The American Southwest: Pride~Prejudice~Perseverance" is capturing the attention of educators and students interested in immigration, education and the issues surrounding the controversial Arizona law. The book has been endorsed by Dr. Tom Rivera, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at California State University who states the following, "an excellent resource for those who seek a better understanding of the historical events that shaped the regions cultures, communities and peoples."

Although most of Jaramillo’s adult life has been spent in California, her family history goes back over 400 years in New Mexico. She is currently speaking at colleges, universities and other venues on "Immigration and Education. Her book is in circulation at various university and public libraries and is available for purchase on To schedule a book signing or speaking engagement or to purchase an autographed copy visit .

Paulina Rael Jaramillo
Phone: 909-337-7032 Cell 909-723-2054
P.O. Box 225, Rim Forest, CA, 92378




By Al Bermudez Pereira


"Winner of Literary Award for 2009 Best Autobiography/Biography"

—Multicultural Literature Advocacy Group, Living in Color Literary Awards, March 20, 2010.


 "Thank you for thinking of me"

—Sonia Sotomayor, United States Supreme Court Justice, February 23, 2010.


 "A Prison Story/Autobiography like you have never read before"

—Michael Levine, WBAI 99.5 FM. Expert Witness Radio, March 22, 2010.


“Nominated as Finalist for the 12th Annual International Latino Book Awards”

 —Jim Sullivan, Executive Director, May 28, 2010.


The book, ISBN: 978-0578043432, can be purchased at this link:


My book, "Ruins of a Society and the Honorable," is an autobiography and a story based on real life circumstances as I lived it and remember it to the best of his knowledge and recollection. Names have been changed to protect sources from reprisals and legalities. Real names contained in this book were either approved by the individuals personally; were part of a publication made available to the public and encrypted in citations or were spoken of me in honorability; while others are based on personal opinions. The book contains incidents which took place in one day and a half while at a prison where I worked and outside the prisons environment. It then sidetracks to speak of other stories, voice opinions and reflects on my life as a young Latino growing up in Brooklyn and abroad. It honors many who crossed paths with me during his lifetime, who inspired me and whose recognition is well deserved. Although 75 percent of this book is based on prison experiences, other parts of this book relates to the many life encounters we've all experienced in our own lives. Throughout this book the actual story stops with an asterisk, (*) to voice an opinion or explain a different set of circumstances; then it continues onto the actual story with the words. (STORY CONT) 

Sincerely, Al Bermudez Pereira 



Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot
by Emerita Romero-Anderson

illustrated by Randall Pijoan

Hardcover, $18.95, 128 pgs., 15 color illustrations | 978-0-89672-681-9

For ages 10 and up
In the San Luis Cultural Center in her southern Colorado hometown, author and retired schoolteacher Emerita Romero-Anderson recognized two bean pots as belonging to the Spanish colonial pottery tradition of her ancestors. Inspired to convey that little-known aspect of culture to young readers, she crafted a story set in an earlier era that resonates with themes of tolerance and cooperation today. “My intent in writing this book was to delve deeper into the lives of our Spanish colonial forebears,” said Romero-Anderson. “As I conducted my research I found that these people came here with very little and created lives that have sustained generations.”
About the book: In the 1790s, in a tiny Spanish Colonial village in the Kingdom of New Mexico, pottery is as crucial to starving villagers as the rains that might save their scorched bean fields. But Native potters are sending their wares south to markets in Chihuahua. When his widowed mother’s only bean pot cracks, eleven-year-old Raymundo knows his family’s last hope lies with Clay Woman, a Genízaro outcast and quite possibly a powerful witch.

In addition to drought and famine, Raymundo faces the return of Comanche raiders and his mother’s failing health as he risks all to learn Clay Woman’s secrets. Even as he prays for a miracle, he knows he must summon the wherewithal to save his family—and his people.

About the author: Emerita Romero-Anderson is a sixth-generation Hispana born and raised in San Luis, Colorado, and is a descendant of the town's earliest settlers in 1851. Retired from teaching, she is the author of two previous books for children, “Grandpa’s Tarima” and “José Dario Gallegos: Merchant of the Santa Fe Trail.” She lives in San Luis, where she writes and is active in community and civic work. 

Artist and illustrator Randall Pijoan is a resident of Amalia in northern New Mexico.

Marketing Manager, Texas Tech University Press
Mail: Box 41037, Lubbock TX 79409-1037
Location: 2903 4th Street, Lubbock TX 79415
Phone 806.742.2982 x 315 or 800.832.4042 Fax 806.742.2979
Sent by Barbara A. Brannon


On March 11, 1811, a few forlorn loyalists to a forgotten republic placed its lone-star flag in a coffin that was lowered into a grave in the plantation country of present-day Louisiana. That night, someone opened the grave and stole the flag. There was something appropriate about the brevity of its peaceful rest: The Republic of West Florida, after all, had lasted all of 79 days. 

William C. Davis's "The Rogue Republic" takes readers back to 1810, when events in the Gulf Coast region, from Baton Rouge to Mobile, threatened to touch off a war involving some combination of Spain, France, Britain and the U.S. Keeping track of the diplomatic maneuvering involved in resolving the conflict might cause migraines even at the Council on Foreign Relations, but luckily Mr. Davis's story is balanced with colorful characters and vivid incidents. 

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 400 pages, $28)

The future state of Florida was an innocent bystander in this affair. In the 18th century it was known as East Florida; the lands along the coast, from southern Alabama to the Mississippi River, were called West Florida. The region, with rich soil and warm climate, was a magnet for land-hungry American settlers, runaway slaves, British loyalists exiled after the Revolutionary War and French adventurers. With rivers flowing into it from the north, and with its access to the Caribbean, West Florida was coveted by competing nations for its trading advantages.

And no one quite knew who owned it. The U.S. thought that West Florida was included in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It is true that the French sold the land, but Spain felt that it had never officially handed over Louisiana to the French back in the 1760s. Spain now pretended that the sale had changed nothing and continued to govern the parishes north of New Orleans. The tangle of authority sowed the seeds of rebellion and the desire for independence. 

A central character in the tale is Reuben Kemper, who came down the Mississippi from the Ohio Territory in a merchandise-laden flatboat, accompanied by a business partner, John Smith. The men opened a store in a settlement called Bayou Sara, which "sat beside a leisurely stream once known as Bayou Gonorrhea, the origin of that name mercifully forgotten," Mr. Davis writes. The store struggled, and Smith decamped for Ohio, leaving Kemper to manage on his own. Joined by his brothers, Nathan and Samuel, Kemper began speculating in land. 

.Dismayed that his partner was neglecting the store, Smith sued the Kempers through the Spanish courts. In August 1803, the Spanish commandant at Baton Rouge deputized a militia of transplanted Americans—who now made up 90% of West Florida's population—to take possession of the Kemper-Smith store and the Kemper land holdings. Thus began the Kemper brothers' outlaw years: They gave up on Bayou Sara but embarked on a series of raids, with a small band of followers, against Spanish interests, including an attack on Fort San Carlos, a Spanish garrison near Baton Rouge. 

The rebels issued a declaration of independence in 1804, citing "the despotism under which we have long groaned." Not quite Jeffersonian, and the rebellion didn't exactly inspire thoughts of Saratoga. The U.S. governor of the Orleans Territory, west of the Mississippi, looked on with amusement at the brouhaha across the river, ridiculing the revolt as "Kemper's riot, for it cannot fairly be called an insurrection."

Still, the confrontations with the Spanish helped fuel six years of turbulence in West Florida, culminating in the capture of Fort San Carlos on Sept. 22, 1810, as 75 rebels shouting "Hurrah! Washington!" rushed through its gates. By then the independence movement had been taken over by more substantial West Floridians: cotton planters, lawyers, businessmen.

They appointed a "committee of safety," petitioned for redress of grievances and complained of growing anarchy in the province. As Mr. Davis puts it: "By 1810 Spain stood in the way of West Floridians' realizing the prosperity they presumed was their American birthright." Some of the newly independent inhabitants were prepared to storm other Spanish garrisons, perhaps starting a full-out war.

Inevitably, the Republic of West Florida was not eager to keep its independence once it had thrown off the Spanish. For a brief period, though, when the region was in play, it wasn't clear where West Florida might ally itself. Most of its inhabitants were Americans, but the young nation, still no military powerhouse, was wary of asserting a claim. An adviser cautioned President James Madison that if the U.S. occupied West Florida, the move would invite the wrath of Britain, Spain and France, possibly touching off "not a triangular, but a quadrangular contest."

But then the republic petitioned President Madison for annexation. He happily complied, claiming outright, at last, that West Florida was included in the Louisiana Purchase. Britain did not protest—it had other points of conflict looming with the U.S. that would come to a head in the War of 1812. The French, already fighting the British, were disinclined to open a new conflict. Spain conceded, being "too weak to hold on," as Mr. Davis observes near the end of his fascinating account. The riverbanks of the Mississippi on both sides became entirely American. As for Reuben Kemper, he and John Smith kept suing each other. Both died poor. There is a lesson in there somewhere about knowing when to stop fighting.

NCLR 2008 Conference, San Diego, seated, Lft.- Rt.  
WWII Jet Pilot, Lt. Col. Henry Cervantes,
Medal of Honor Recipient, Rudy Hernandez,
Rick Leal, Pres, Hispanic Medal of Honor Society 


 North Platte, Nebraska Canteen
 World War II 
 Documentary: A Direction Home: Nick Aguilar
  National Museum of the USAF 

 Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez
 War Dog by Rebecca Frankel, May 4, 2011
North Platte, Nebraska Canteen, a train stop for WW II soldiers. Marvelous story about the support of town people for soldiers passing through their town.  Do watch it.  It will touch your heart. 

Thank you to Campus Crusade for Christ for producing it.
Sent by Juan Marinez

Show Your Thanks to World War II Vets by Watching This 2-min video. 

This story is incredible. Send this touching two-minute video about World War II veterans to FIVE friends and family to remind them that every day alive in this great, free country is truly a bonus. Show these living heroes, one last time, just how grateful we are for their unbelievable sacrifice. The video is a trailer to a documentary that will come out in November. The more we can show interest in the trailer (i.e. views), the more Americans will get to see the film. Time is running out: 1,000 WWII vets die every day. We are free today because of these men and women. The least we can do is watch a web video and send it to five people. Let’s get this mission done!
Sent by Lorri Frain
and Juan Marinez

ON the AVERAGE 6,600 American service men died per month during WWII (about 220 a day).

New Documentary "A Direction Home: Nick Aguilar" 
Premiered showing of a 1 hour documentary on Chicano Vietnam War veteran Nick Aguilar. Produced by Dr. Robert G. Summers, Owner of Shoestring Educational Productions and Professor Emeritus, SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Sommers resides in San Diego.

Nick Aguilar a Airborne veteran, became an influential administrator/attorney at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), a elected trustee for a local high school district, San Diego County Board of Education and Southwestern College.  Documentary recounts Nick's youth,  military service, career at UCSD and tireless service to the San Diego community, despite his continuing struggles with PTSD.  For more Information:
  or call 858-405-6038

Sent by Gus Chavez, Co-founder Defend The Honor

For anyone who hasn't made it to the National Museum of the USAF yet, technology has now brought the Museum to you. This is a fantastic site with a unique capability. Enjoy it ....! 

Let us remember: If it weren't for the United States military,
there'd be NO United States of America.


Hispanic Americans 
in the U.S. Army
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez


Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez speaks to a crowd during a Latino Leaders Network luncheon Sept. 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Sanchez, the first coalition forces commander in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, urged youths to take control of their own destiny. 
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 24, 2010) -- The combatant commander who led coalition forces in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein encouraged Hispanic youths to take control of their futures Sept. 22. 

"You can control your destiny, but it requires unrelenting perseverance and a never-accept-defeat approach to life," said retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as he addressed a crowd during a Latino Leaders Network luncheon. 

The Hispanic population is underrepresented in the Army, making up only 11 percent of the enlisted force in 2009. Latinos have a higher high school drop-out rate than any other ethnicity in the U.S. In 2008, for example, 18.3 percent of Hispanic high school students walked away from their studies -- which may be why Latino enlistments are lagging. 

Sanchez highlighted his own struggle to defy this statistic by describing his meager upbringing in Texas and how, as a Hispanic teenager, he didn't receive support from teachers or other role models to reach his full potential. He explained that when he asked a high school guidance counselor for help applying to military academies he was told not to try -- he should become a welder like his father. 

The retired general wasn't swayed. He received help from his Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructors, and was awarded both Army and Air Force ROTC scholarships, as well as nominations to West Point and the Naval Academy. 

Sanchez eventually chose the University of Texas, and later graduated from Texas A&I University (now called Texas A&M University). He went on to hold commands in South Korea, Panama and Germany, and prior to heading the invasion into Iraq, he led troops during Operation Desert Storm and in Kosovo. 

"You have achieved what so many of us want to see our young people achieve -- you are a role model," said California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of the retired general. 

Despite successfully earning three-star rank, Sanchez said that during most of his career in the military, he didn't have a Hispanic mentor -- someone of similar background who he could look up to. 

"Considering my beginnings, the odds have surely been against me," Sanchez said. "I had to prove wrong those who had very low expectations of me." 

Currently, Hispanics make up only six percent of the active-duty officer corps, but when Sanchez enlisted, that number was even smaller. Sanchez explained that his superiors and peers at first didn't believe in him, simply because of his ethnicity. 

"Nobody expected Hispanics to succeed in the officer corps," he noted. 

Since then, Sanchez said, the climate for Latino servicemembers has changed -- no other organization has embraced equal opportunity like the military, he said. 

However, Sanchez would like to see more Latino young people improve their lives by considering the military as a career. 

The retired general stressed the importance of moral courage, and for advice offered, "only you can compromise your integrity." 

Sent by Delia Gonzalez Huffman

War Dog by Rebecca Frankel, May 4, 2011


Hispanics in the American Civil War By: Tony (The Marine) Santiago 
Admiral Farragut Birthplace receive funding for a Civil War Trail Marker

Hispanics in the American Civil War

Tony (The Marine) Santiago

Notable Military Personnel


*Admiral David Farragut - Farragut was promoted to vice admiral on December 21, 1864, and to full admiral on July 25, 1866, after the war, thereby becoming the first person to be named full admiral in the Navy's history. Farragut's greatest victory was the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. Mobile, Alabama at the time was the Confederacy's last major port open on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay was heavily mined with tethered naval mines, also known as ''torpedoes''. When the USS ''Tecumseh'', one of the ships under his command, struck a mine and went down, Farragut shouted through a trumpet from his flagship to the USS Brooklyn|, "What's the trouble?" "Torpedoes!" was the reply, to which Farragut then shouted his now famous words "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" The fleet succeeded in entering the bay. Farragut then triumphed over the opposition of heavy batteries in Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines to defeat the squadron of Admiral Franklin Buchanan.                                        

Farragut was promoted to vice admiral on December 21, 1864, and to full admiral on July 25, 1866, after the war, thereby becoming the first person to be named full admiral in the Navy's history.

Battle of Mobile Bay by Louis Prang


*Colonel Carlos de la Mesa - Grandfather of Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr. commanding general of the First Infantry Division in North Africa and Sicily, and later the commander of the 104th Infantry Division during World War II. Colonel Carlos de la Mesa was a Spanish national who fought at Gettysburg for the Union Army in the Spanish Company of the "Garibaldi Guard" of the 39th New York State Volunteers.

*Colonel Miguel E. Pino - Commanded the 2nd Regiment of New Mexico Volunteers, which fought at the Battle of Valverde in February and the Battle of Glorieta Pass and helped defeat the attempted invasion of New Mexico by the Confederate Army.

*Colonel Federico Fernandez Cavada - Cuban born Cavada Commanded the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer infantry regiment when it took the field in the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. Because of his artistic talents, he was assigned to the Hot Air Balloon unit of the Union Army. From the air he sketched what he observed of the enemy movements. On April 19, 1862, Federico sketched enemy positions from Thaddeus Lowe's Constitution balloon during the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia. Cavada was captured during the Battle of Gettysburg and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Cavada was released in 1864 and later published a book titled "Libby Life", which told about the cruel treatment which he received in the Confederate prison.

Sketch made by Col.Federico Fernandez Cavada 
From Thaddeus Lowe's Constitution balloon

*Lieutenant Colonel Julius Peter Garesché
- When the American Civil War broke out, he declined a commission as Brigadier General of volunteers, and was made chief of staff, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the regular army, to Major General William S. Rosecrans. In this capacity he participated in the operations of the Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Stones River.  Riding with General Rosecrans toward the Round Forest, Garescé was decapitated by a cannonball.


*Major Manuel Chaves' - was in charge of Fort Fauntleroy in northwestern New Mexico. On March 28, 1862, Chaves led 490 New Mexico volunteers on a daring raid. As the main Union troops fought the Confederates, Chaves's men lowered themselves down a 200 foot slope, taking a small Taxan guard completely by surprise and capturing the Confederates' supply train. They destroyed the wagons and burned all the supplies.  

*Major Salvador Vallejo - Officer in one of the California units which served with the Union Army in the West.  

*Captain Adolfo Fernández Cavada  -  Served in the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg with his brother  Colonel Federico Fernandez Cavada.  

*Captain Roman Anthony Baca - Member of the Union forces in the New Mexico Volunteers. He also served as a spy for the Union Army in Texas.                                                                 


*Captain Luis F. Emilio
- The son of a Spanish immigrant, was among the group of original officers of the 54th selected by Massachusetts War Governor John Albion Andrew.  Captain Emilio emerged from the ferocious assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863 as the regiment's acting commander, since all of the other ranking officers had been killed or wounded. He fought with the 54th for over three years of dangerous combat.


*Lieutenant Augusto Rodriguez
- A Puerto Rican native who served as an officer in the 15th Connecticut Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, of the Union Army. Rodríguez served in the defenses of Washington, D.C. and led his men in the Battles of Fredericksburg and Wyse Fork.



*Colonel Santos Benavides - Commanded his own regiment, the "Benavides Regiment." He was the highest ranking Mexican-American in the Confederate Army. On March 19, 1864, he defended Laredo against the Union's First Texas Cavalry, whose commander was Colonel Edmund J. Davis, a Florida native who had previously offered Benavides a Union generalship, and defeated the Union forces. Probably his greatest contribution to the Confederacy was securing passage of Confederate cotton to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in 1863. On March 18, 1864, Major Alfred Holt led a force of about two hundred men from the command of Col. Davis near Brownsville, Texas to destroy five thousand bales of cotton stacked at the San Agustín Plaza. Colonel Santos Benavides commanded forty-two men and repelled three Union attacks at the Zacate Creek in what is known as the Battle of Laredo.

*Colonel A.J. Gonzales - Gonzales became U.S. Citizen in 1849 and he settled in Beaufort, South Carolina. Gonzales was active during the bombardment of Fort Sumter and because of his actions appointed Lt. Colonel of artillery and assigned to duty as Chief of Artillery in the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Gonzales, who served as a special aide to the governor of South Carolina, submitted plans for the defense of the coastal areas of his homeland state. According to Major D. Leadbetter in a letter to the Secretary of War:

"The project of auxiliary coast defense herewith, as submitted by Col. A. J. Gonzales, though not thought to be everywhere applicable, is believed to be of great value under special circumstances. In the example assumed at Edisto Island, where the movable batteries rest on defensive works and are themselves scarcely exposed to surprise and capture, a rifled 24-pounder, with two small guns, rallying and reconnoitering from each of the fixed batteries, would prove invaluable. A lighter gun than the 24-pounder, and quite as efficient, might be devised for such service, but this is probably the best now available. Colonel Gonzales' proposed arrangements for re-enforcing certain exposed and threatened maritime Posts seem to be judicious and to merit attention."

Gonzales was able to fend off Union gunboat attempts to destroy railroads and other important points on the Carolina coast by placing his heavy artillery on special carriages for increased mobility.


*Lola Sanchez - A Cuban born woman, who was upset when her father was accused of being a Confederate spy by the Union Forces and sent to prison, was a Confederate spy by the Union Army and sent to prison. This event angered her and she decided to become a Confederate spy.  The Union Army had occuppied her residence in Palatka, Florida and Sanchez overheard the officers plans of a raid. She alerted the Confederates and as a result the Confederate soldiers surprised the Uniion troops and captured them.                                     


*Loreta Janeta Velazquez a.k.a. "Lieutenant Harry Buford" - A Cuban woman who masqueraded as a male Confederate soldier during the Civil War. She enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, without her soldier-husband's knowledge. She fought at Bull Run, Ball's Bluff and Fort Donelson, but her gender was discovered while in New Orleans and she was discharged. Undeterred, she reenlisted and fought at Shiloh, until unmasked once more. She then became a spy, working in both male and female guises.





*Corporal Joseph H. De Castro - Served in Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry and was the first Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipient". During the battle, De Castro attacked a confederate flag bearer from the 19th Virginia Infantry regiment, with the staff of his own colors and seized the opposing regiment's flag, handing the prize over to General Alexander S. Webb.  General Webb is quoted as saying, "At the instant a man broke through my lines and thrust a rebel battle flag into my hands.  He never said a word and darted back.  It was Corporal Joseph H. De Castro, one of my color bearers.  He had knocked down a color bearer in the enemy's line with the staff of the Massachusetts State colors, seized the falling flag and dashed it to me".  

*Seaman Philip Bazaar - was a resident of Massachusetts, who joined the Union Navy at New Bedford. He was assigned to the USS Santiago de Cuba, a wooden, brigantine-rigged, side-wheel steamship under the command of Rear Admiral David D. Porter. In the latter part of 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an assault on Fort Fisher, a Confederate stronghold.  which protected the vital trading routes of Wilmington's port, at North Carolina. On January 12, 1865, both ground and naval Union forces attempted a second land assault, after the failure of the first. During the land assault, Bazaar and 5 other crew members carried dispatches from Rear Admiral Porter to Major General Alfred Terry, while under heavy fire from the Confederates to Major General Alfred Terry. Bazaar was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.  

*Seaman John Ortega -  was a resident of Pennsylvania who joined the Union Navy in his adopted hometown in Pennsylvania. Ortega was assigned to the USS Saratoga during the Civil War. The USS Saratoga was ordered to proceed to Charleston, South Carolina for duty in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Ortega was a member of the landing parties from the ship who made several raids in August and September in 1864, which resulted in the capture of many prisoners and the taking or destruction of substantial quantities of ordnance, ammunition, and supplies. A number of buildings, bridges, and salt works were destroyed during the expedition. For his actions Seaman John Ortega was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to acting master's mate.  

Admiral Farragut Birthplace receive funding for a Civil War Trail Marker Hi Mimi,  It has been a while since I've been in touch, but I have been busy! The Admiral Farragut Birthplace has been officially acknowledged by Knox County, TN, and by the Town of Farragut, TN. It will receive funding for a Civil War Trail Marker and directional signs from the TN Department of Tourism, the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department, and the Farragut Folklife Museum, and the annual maintenance fee will be paid by the local Hispanic Heritage nonprofit group HoLa Hora Latina Organization!  

The marker is scheduled to be placed on public land on the riverfront adjacent to the birthplace sometime in June, and HoLa’s director, Coral Getino, and I will do our best to make it a big event... Carroll Van West, PhD, who is in charge of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, was a huge advocate. He plans to be here and wants to have the TN Tourism Commissioner and Tennessee’s governor also attend. Dr. West is Editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture web site and director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, the only National Heritage Area in the United States that takes in an entire state; he is also director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University (the only historic preservation degree program at any Tennessee university).

I will get you more information about the placement and unveiling of the sign as soon as I have a specific date, but here is the preliminary information.  On the left is what the trail markers look like, and on the right is what directional signs look like:


This is copy that I sent to the Trail Marker people.

Birthplace of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut

David Glasgow Farragut led the naval battle of Mobile Bay, which was one of the great turning points of the Civil War. In recognition of his role in history he was named the first Admiral of the United States.  

Farragut had humble beginnings. He was the son of an immigrant and was born in a log cabin in what was then a sparsely inhabited wilderness.  

Farragut’s father, George, had come to the American colonies in 1776 from Spain as a merchant sea captain. During the Revolutionary War he fought on the side of the American colonies and received land grants for his military service. He married Elizabeth Shine from North Carolina and settled in Knox County.

George Farragut was a cavalry officer in the Tennessee militia at nearby Campbell’s Station, and in 1796 he bought 640 acres along this riverfront and began operating a ferry. On July 5, 1801, the future admiral was born in the family home, which was on the promontory just across the cove from where you are standing.

The Farraguts moved to New Orleans when David was 6 years old because his father had been commissioned to serve as a Navy gunboat captain on the Mississippi River. Less than a year later, his mother died of yellow fever, and David’s childhood essentially ended.

Farragut was commissioned a midshipman in the United States Navy on December 17, 1810, at the age of nine and a half, and he was involved in his first battle at sea during the War of 1812. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1822, commander in 1844, and captain in 1855.

Despite strong ties to the South and his self-professed identity as a Tennessean, when forced to choose between the Union and the Confederacy in 1860, he remained with the U.S. Navy.

Farragut was known as a brave and capable officer, but he did not have a particularly noteworthy career until the last years of his life. He was 63 years old at the Battle of Mobile Bay, where he spoke the famous words “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” He was promoted to full admiral on July 25, 1866, at the age of 65.



The resolution below was signed by the Knox County Commissioners, Mayor, and Law Director, so all that’s left is for the sign to be fabricated and placed at the site:

Thank you for your help!!!!


Margot Kline

Editor: I asked Margot to give readers a history of her sequence of action to accomplish saving Farragut's birthplace.  As Hispanics we have the right to have a sense of pride, that the first Admiral of the United States Navy was in fact of Hispanic lineage.

What actually got me interested in preservation of the Admiral Farragut site is the research that I had been doing into the Bluegrass/Ebenezer area of Knoxville, Tennessee, where I live. And what got me started on that was the hope that instead of continually fighting developers one rezoning battle at a time, my HOA and others in the Bluegrass/Ebenezer area could get community and county support for planned development that would preserve the area’s heritage. I am not against development. I am just against ugly strip malls and development that destroys or blights parks, 200-year-old historic homes, etc. and damages rather than enhances the quality of life of the people who live in neighborhoods.

During the past 2 years I have gotten more and more involved in community organizations, and I am now the president of the Council of West Knox County Homeowners (as of April 5, 2011).  

The Bluegrass/Ebenezer area was mostly farmland until about 15 years ago, but since then it has been one of the fastest-growing parts of town. Recently released census data indicates that this area has the highest per-household income of anyplace in Knox County other than the Town of Farragut. It is a very old area with incredible history that goes back to the mid-1700s, but much of its heritage has been lost in the process of development. Even the name of the community is a little vague at this point. I’m calling Bluegrass/Ebenezer pretty much anyplace that is zoned to West Valley Middle School, but it’s variously called Statesview, South Cedar Bluff, Cedar Springs, and Bluegrass, but seldom Ebenezer.  

I have tons of information you would not believe—the predecessor to Cedar Springs Church used to be located next to Maple Grove Inn on Westland; on the hillside across from Kroger’s Marketplace on Kingston Pike there was once a highly esteemed school called Mount Ebenezer Academy that was founded by The Rev. Samuel Ramsey, one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church in Tennessee and brother of Francis Ramsey (Ramsey House). Knoxville’s founding families sent their sons to this school and sent their daughters to a school for girls that his wife ran.  

Ebenezer is named for Ebenezer Byram, who was a descendent of John Alden, who came over on the Mayflower; Ebenezer had a train station and a post office in the middle 1800s until sometime in the middle of the 20th century; Statesview House, the home of Charles McClung (Knoxville’s city planner and the surveyor of Kingston Pike as well as James White’s son-in-law), is still standing at the corner of S. Peters Rd. and George Williams Rd.; Ebenezer Mill, one of the oldest grist mills still in existence in Knox County, is located on Old Ebenezer Rd. The Cedar Springs graveyard, founded in 1796, is located next to Maple Grove Inn on the grounds of the first Cedar Springs Church, and it contains the graves of Samuel Ramsey as well as many other of Knox County’s earliest settlers along with many who fought in the Revolution and the War of 1812.  

Even Bluegrass School is historically significant—the county bought the land it is on in 1923 and there has been a grade school in continuous operation there since that time. The first school building burned, but the main building there today dates back to 1936. [This local history would probably be boring to anybody not from here]  

Jan. 23, 2010—my husband’s birthday—is when I found out the exact location where Admiral Farragut was born. We had been at my step-daughter’s house which is in Northshore Landing subdivision directly across from the birthplace. I have driven down that stretch of Northshore for 30 years and never even noticed the farm that was there because for years it was very overgrown. That day was the first time it caught my attention because I noticed two tall stacked-stone pillars at the entrance to a new subdivision called Stoney Point Farm.  

I was curious and picked up a flyer, which read, “Welcome to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of history! A portion of the beautiful farm in West Knox county where Admiral David Farragut (the first admiral in the United States Navy) was born, is being developed into a small, gated community. Five acres of gently rolling farmland have been carefully subdivided into nine unique lots of varying sizes.”  

I kind of felt like throwing up to tell you the truth. My dad served in the Navy during World War II and survived the battle of Okinawa. My husband was in the Navy during the Viet Nam War, and my nephew did two tours of duty on a Navy aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. In my world, Admiral Farragut is an American hero up there with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and the thought that his birthplace and the 205-year-old farm where he was born were about to be plowed up for a gated subdivision seemed beyond comprehension to me. (Discussion of blocking the rezoning came up two years ago, but that’s another story—I looked into county legislative records to determine how this plot of land was approved for rezoning and found that earlier efforts to acknowledge this as Farragut’s birthplace had been more or less ignored).  

A little more history:

When it was first surveyed in 1792, Kingston Pike ran from downtown Knoxville to Campbell’s Station. Four miles west of town, it branched off to the south at what is now called Lyon’s View Pike, turned left at what is now Northshore Drive, and ran westward until it got to the area that is now intersected by Pellissippi Parkway. It continued on for a mile and then crossed the river at Lowe’s Ferry Landing. Knox County records show that Admiral Farragut’s father, George (Jorge) Mesquida Farragut, bought 640 acres at Stoney Point and started the ferry that came to be known as Lowe’s Ferry (the farm was called Stoney Point even then).  

The land was heavily forested and still used as hunting ground by Cherokees. George Farragut was the first person to obtain a license to run a ferry between Knox and Blount in this southwest part of the county. It is important to note that this was at the farthest reaches of civilization at that time. Campbell’s Station, about 5 miles to the northwest, was a frontier fort, and it was the closest place with a post office. George Farragut was an adventurer, a land speculator, and a militia captain in the area. He was reported to be a good friend of John Sevier, who he had met during the Revolutionary War when both were soldiers. He bought and sold several tracts of land from James White and Stockley Donaldson between 1791 and 1805.  

In West Knox County there was also Wright’s Ferry on Toole’s Bend, and Bond’s Ferry (Louisville Ferry) on Keller Bend, but the ferry at Stoney Point was one of the most accessible places to cross the river. It was hard to put a boat in along much of the river because there were high bluffs on one side of the river or the other for much of the way between Sequoyah Hills and the Farragut’s farm. And sometimes Indians shot down from those bluffs.  

Lowe’s Ferry Pike was sometimes called the Knoxville Road in the 1790s and early 1800s, but in the early 1800s, after David Farragut had moved with his family to New Orleans (September 1807), after his mother had died of yellow fever (June 1808), and after young David had joined the Navy—at age 9 ½ (December 1810)—the ferry was bought by Abraham Lowe and the road became known as Lowe’s Ferry Pike. The ferry ran between Knox and Blount Counties from 1797 until the mid 1940s, when TVA flooded the lake, and it is a significant historical site in itself as an example of the earliest colonial settlement of this area. Old Lowe’s Ferry Road still exists on the Blount County side of the river.  

Mr. Lowe bought Stoney Point farm  not long after the Farraguts had left, and members of the Lowe family ran it for several generations. Both Lyon’s View Pike and Northshore Drive were for decades known as Lowe’s Ferry Pike. I have a Knoxville map dated 1895 that shows no Lyon’s View Pike—it is still known as Lowe’s Ferry Road at that time. Northshore Drive is also part of Lowe’s Ferry Pike/Road until at least until 1949 according to TVA records.  Most of the earliest records are in Rule's Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1900.  

Not getting to the library enough and relying on internet searches kept me from doing as much verification of research as I would have liked early on. But I’ve found some incredible stuff in unlikely places, such as the Army Corps of Engineers website and The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).  

For a month or two after I found out about Farragut’s birthplace I lobbied national associations and government offices to make people aware of the plight of this nationally significant site. I immediately got tremendous support from Hispanic Heritage groups, because they are very proud that Admiral Farragut’s father, who was Spanish, was a Revolutionary War Hero and one of the area’s first settlers. Dr. Refugio Rochin, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and Founding Director of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, was the first person I contacted for advice. I got his email from Linkdin and was completely blown away when he not only responded but forwarded my request for help and networking support to about 100 people. Two of the people I met through him were Mimi Lozano, Director of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research; and Tanya Bowers, Director for Diversity, Office of the President National Trust for Historic Preservation. Locally, Ethiel Garlington, Ann Bennett, and the other people at Knox Heritage and the MPC Historic Zoning Commission have also been fantastic.  

I eventually got emails and phone calls from hundreds of people around the country—In March 2010 I even got a call from Paul Loether, who is the director of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Division of the Park Service in DC. He was amazingly friendly and made phone calls to state level historic preservation people, which I’m sure helped early on.  

With Mimi Lozano as a liaison, I got a request from Tanya Bowers to write an article about the birthplace for the National Register’s website

I also created a blog about the preservation efforts in March 2010 

After learning from people in D.C. that TVA was the best place to seek help, I requested “mitigation” from TVA in the form of an archaeological site evaluation. They were not at all helpful. I was hoping they would determine that significant historic artifacts are on the Lowe’s Ferry public land and on the 50-foot shoreline area that’s under their jurisdiction. TVA admitted to me that if there are important historic artifacts on the land then the federal government is legally obligated to protect them, and it is a federal offense to damage or remove them, but they said this site is not a high priority for them and that they wouldn’t get involved until/unless the shoreline was going to be disturbed in the immediate future. The final subdivision approval was scheduled before the MPC on April 8, 2010, and I asked for the approval to be delayed until a TVA site study could be completed, but the attorney for the property owner removed the item from consideration at the last minute. Zoning permission had already been given, and the private land owner was only asking for a new variance for utilities underneath one of the entrance walls. If the MPC had denied the variance the owner would have been delayed, but without the variance
, development could go on even if they had to tear down a section of wall. They opted not to risk the delay.  

I didn’t take this as defeat. By this time a lot of people were starting to get interested in helping save this site.  

About 10 people locally offered a lot of encouragement early on, talked to people they know to drum up support, and shared information with me. Most of these people are professionals who didn’t want their names in the news at first. (People have been more openly involved since Knox Heritage and the Knox County Parks and Recreation department became affiliated early last summer.) This situation has been described to me as touchy, explosive, a firestorm, etc. by people who previously tried to halt the rezoning of this land from agricultural to planned residential. The privately owned property that lies immediately adjacent to Lowe’s Ferry has a long history of land swaps with TVA—as recently as 12 years ago, when land swaps were done—and it involves a Limited Partnership with members who have chosen to remain unknown to the public. Stoney Point’s owner of record is a widow in her 60s who lives in a very small, rusted out mobile home on the property, yet the attorney who represents her is one of Knoxville most expensive and well-known real estate experts, and he frequently represents large developers.  

There has already been a good amount of money spent on a new road into the property, an electric entrance gate, a large stone wall, and landscaping at the entrance. In addition, the lots have been graded, a new survey was done, the water and sewer lines were put in, and 4-page full-color ads were placed in real estate listing magazines. I believe that the owner did not have the resources to do all of this work and has had the backing of silent partners. I also believe that she owes a great deal of money to them now… there is a rollback deed on her land… so negotiating with her has been very difficult. I spoke with her three times during the spring of 2010, and she was very curt. Since then, Doug Bataille (director of Knox County Parks and Recreation) has attempted to work out a plan to preserve the public part of the birthplace and possibly get an easement to a small section of her land that contains a 1900 birth monument. This monument was placed there by the Bonny Kate Chapter of the DAR and was dedicated by Admiral George Dewey during a highly publicized celebration that took place May 15, 1900. There has even been discussion of the county paying to move the monument the 10 feet or that it would have to go to be on county land.

This is what became a sort of creed for me:
Be sure that your project or mission is something that 99% of people will see as a worthy and just cause. Know that you will still look like a kook sometimes. If you really still want to work to save a famous birthplace, an irreplaceable historic building, a Civil War battlefield, or whatever, start with a simple internet search of the person or thing you are interested in. Get on Google books and and search there too. Many older books have been digitized and you can download the full text. Read everything you can find at the library, on genealogy sites, in the local courthouse. Google every association or special interest group that you think has any possible chance of joining your effort. Find the names of their boards of directors and patrons. Do reverse white pages searches, facebook searches, Linkdin searches, etc. to get email addresses, and create a mailing list. Send out a statement of your purpose and identify the people who want to help. Ask them for occasional, limited advice or assistance. Send updates. Be positive. Don’t be afraid to email anybody. ANYBODY. The President, the Chairman of the Board of the Fortune 500 companies. The Ambassador to Spain. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t expect anything, and be happy with every small step in the right direction.  

Lowe’s Ferry Landing is in one sense geographic coordinates on the map. Farragut wasn’t of course born on the dock, but people also say he was born at “Lowe’s Ferry” the way you might say you are from a neighborhood or a crossroads. Farragut was America’s first Admiral and was extremely important to the Union’s efforts to keep the country from dividing into two nations. He is probably the most famous person to have been born in Knoxville.  

I wrote most of the above before May 2010 to give a writer who was doing a newspaper story. Between May and January 2011 I worked on developing more local affiliations. I contacted Finnbarr Saunders, who was at that time the County Commissioner of the 4th District (where the birthplace is located). I also talked at length with Ethiel Garlington of Knox Heritage, who helped me make a proposal to the Tennessee Historical Commission to consider nominating the birthplace to the National Register of Historic Place. Ethiel then brought in representatives from Hola Hora Latina and Centro Hispanico de East Tennessee. Knox Heritage named the birthplace one of Knoxville’s Fragile Fifteen sites in mid May 2010 and also recommended the Tennessee Preservation Trust to name it one of Tennessee’s top 10 endangered places. The 2010 Ten in Tennessee list, which includes Farragut’s Birthplace, was announced at a press conference on Thursday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.  

I also approached the Farragut Folklife Museum board, the Admiral Farragut Academy Alumni Association, a noted Bluegrass/Ebenezer area developer named Chuck Pilgrim, and the Council of West Knox County Homeowners to join the Preserve Farragut cause. With the help of the developer, who set up a meeting, I spoke with then-mayor Mike Ragsdale, who put me in touch with Doug Bataille, head of Knox County Parks and Recreation. This last endorsement from Bataille was probably the single most important step toward recognizing the birthplace and improving public access to the birthsite. Doug Bataille recommended that the county develop a boardwalk and greenway to connect the birthplace side of Admiral Farragut Park to the side of the existing park that has a parking lot… there is currently no public access to the exact birthplace, and archaeology needs to be done to remove any artifacts before any development of the public land takes place.  

In late spring 2010, with Mimi Lozano’s help, I also got in touch with Admiral Jay DeLoach, who is the director of U.S. Naval Museums. He was visiting Knoxville for the unveiling of a new Farragut statue in the Town of Farragut, and while he was here he also visited the birthplace. Doug had members of the park maintenance crew cut the barbed wire fence to allow us access. While we were on the site, we noticed that several mature cedar trees had been freshly cut on what appeared to be public land. We alerted Doug, and he went out to the land and witnessed the private property owner’s employees in the process of cutting trees. He talked to the owner and she disputed the boundary. Doug had a new survey done which showed that the trees were in fact on Knox County land that also that Knox County, through a deed from TVA, owns ALL of the shoreline at Farragut’s Birthplace. This created a new negotiation environment with the owner of the private land that is planned for development.  

Kim Trent, the head of Knox Heritage; Coral Getino, the head of Hola Hora Latina; and I, as the head of the newly formed group we named Preserve Farragut’s Birthplace, got together to host a fundraiser dinner in September 2010, and this helped raise more awareness.  

The owner of the private land put her lots on the market with a realtor, and the sales flyers and MLS listings indicated that the lots had water access. I filed a complaint with the Knoxville Board of Realtors to have the promotional materials amended because the lots do not have water access. The wording was changed. Soon afterward the owner took the lots off the market for about 3 months. In February 2011 she put them back on the market for sale by owner, at a greatly reduced price. Doug Bataille continues trying to negotiate with her attorney.  

During the fall of 2010 I developed more contacts with various Civil War Sesquicentennial groups and with local organizations like Legacy Parks and The Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation. I went to Nashville for the kickoff of the Tennessee Sesquicentennial events November 12 and met Dr. Carroll Van West, who is one of the state’s leading authorities on preservation and public history. He in turn put me in contact with the Tennessee Tourism Commission, which is running a new Civil War Trails Program.


First row, from from left to right:

Don’t know; Dr. Van West, director of MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission; State Tourism Commissioner Susan Whittaker; Terena Boone of Knoxville Sightseeing Tours; Charlotte Brothers, sales manager at Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation; Governor Phil Bredesen; me; Cherel Henderson, director of the East TN History Center; don’t know; don’t know; don’t know  

Second row, from left to right:

Wes Cate of Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation; Norman Shaw of Knoxville Civil War Roundtable; Joan Markel, head of education outreach at UT's McClung Museum; Ethiel Garlington of Knox Heritage; Lisa Oakley, curator of education for the East Tennessee Historical Society; Kim Davis, communications manager of Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation; don’t know; and Randall Grimsley of Knoxville Civil War Roundtable  


In August the Knoxville/Knox County Historic Zoning Commission had sent a grant proposal to the State Historical Commission asking for funding to do archaeological research at Lowe’s Ferry. This grant proposal contained wording that was out of date… based on information that was known in 2008 but not updated to include new research that verified the exact birthplace of Farragut.  

I didn’t know how the proposal was worded until late November, and at that time I realized there was still a great deal of confusion about whether Farragut was actually born at Lowe’s Ferry or at Campbell’s Station, which is often listed as his birthplace as well.  

I wrote the info below in January 2011:  

·         Over the Christmas break I did a lot of research at the McClung Collection of the East TN History Center and transcribed the deed for Admiral Farragut Park from TVA to Knox County. Knox County is legally obligated to maintain this land as a public park. If they don’t, the U.S. Government has the authority to revoke the deed.

·         I also got a copy of the 1797 permit that Knox County gave to George Farragut allowing him to run a ferry “on his own land at Stoney Point on the Holston.”

·         I made copies of newspaper articles from April and May 1900 from microfilm in the East TN History Center and have started transcribing them. These give details about legislative committees that were formed and investigations that took place in April 1900. The county leaders determined the exact location of the Farragut home based on first-hand knowledge and eye witness accounts from people who had seen the main dwelling cabin at Lowe’s Ferry before it was demolished in 1895. The cabin is described in great detail in the writings of Marshall DeLancey Haywood, a noted author of North Carolina history and the librarian of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1918-1933. The cabin was sited exactly where the monument now is. UT Professor emeritus Charlie Faulkner’s preliminary investigation in the late summer/early fall of 2008 also confirmed this, because he found artifacts around the monument that he dates to the late 1700s.

·         I found out this is the third time in 110 years that people have wanted to make this site a national park or at least give it proper protection….

·         Dr. Carroll Van West recommended to me that efforts to preserve the birthplace should be divided—with funding sought for only the public land and this being the primary focus since there is federal money for Civil War sites that are on public land but not for preservation on private property.

·         I made presentations of my new finding to the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission on Jan. 20. They voted unanimously to continue seeking funds from more sources and to focus on getting grants to develop, restore, and improve the public  land. These funding sources include the Tennessee Historical  Commission, the TN Dept. of Transportation, the TN Civil War National Heritage Area fund, Legacy Parks Foundation, National Humanities Foundations, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of the Interior, private foundation funds, etc.

·         Charlie Faulkner, who is a member of the Knoxville/Knox County Historic Zoning Commission, was concerned about the possible damage or destruction to artifacts at the original cabin site and urged that we should continue trying to find and preserve any artifacts around the monument, although these are on private land. He offered to do the archaeology on the private property area for FREE. He will do this on the condition that the county obtains permission for him—he doesn’t want to do anything to hurt the trust that property owner, Lylan Shepherd Fitzgerald, has in him up to now, so he doesn’t want any part of negotiations with her. He said he’ll be taking names of volunteers to help dig J

·         I let Doug Bataille and Dr. West know about Charlie’s offer. Doug responded that he will continue trying to get permission from the property owner’s attorney and feels like Charlie’s offer is a really good bargaining chip. Dr. West responded that he is very glad we’re moving forward because Nashville public television is doing a series about important Civil War sites and they will want to film the Farragut birthplace while they are doing a segment on Knoxville.

·         I spoke to the Farragut Folklife board on Jan. 25 and gave them the information above. Sue Stuhl, who is the Town of Farragut director of parks and recreation, said that she and Doug Bataille have been talking and that they want to work together to put a marker on the accessible side of the park as soon as possible, so that people who visit the park know it is Farragut’s Birthplace. She said they have been talking about putting this close to the water’s edge below the parking area, where there is a nice view across the cove to the birthplace. She said they have discussed also putting in a bench and other small improvements.

·         I spoke with Dr. Van West in person in Murfreesboro Feb. 2, and he gave me the paperwork to fill out to get the Civil War Trail marker placed at Farragut park. He agreed to fast-track the application and explained that the state would pay $4,400 of the total cost and Knox County/Town of Farragut would only have to pay a match of $1,100.

·         I got the information about the trail marker to Doug Bataille and then he, Mul Wyman of the Farragut Folklife Museum, and Coral Getino of Hola Hora Latina met the third week of February and made plans for getting the final authorizations signed. Doug determined that it had to be approved by the county law director and the County Commission.

·         On March 28 the Civil  War Trail Marker was approved. The Town of Farragut has agreed to pay half with Knox County payng the other half.

·          I sent the resolution that the County Commission voted unanimously to pass. It took another few weeks for the paperwork to go through all the various offices and then get sent to the Tennessee State Tourism office. I also sent the Tourism Office images and captions to go on the trail marker.




Pérez de Zamora

A description of the Pérez de Zamora shield is described in Diccionario Heraldico de Apellidos. The Pérez de Zamora shield is also divided into 4 parts.  On the left side of the upper half of the shield is a tree, on the right side, an arm holds a sword. On the bottom half of the shield, a lion is on the left side and a tiger on the right.  The predominant colors are blue and silver.  

The research data of  Álvaro Pérez [de Zamora] I and Catalina Dominguez is the result of the collaboration of  Antonio Miguel Campos-Perez and Steven Francisco Hernandez-Lopez, both from Southern California and descendants of  Álvaro Pérez [de Zamora].  This is part 2 of 3 parts.  Part I is in the May issue, under Mexico.   

For further information, please contact Henry Marquez at 

First Generation

Conquistador Álvaro Pérez [de Zamora] I and Catalina Dominguez

The progenitors of our Perez de Zamora were from Santa Marta, in the province Zamora, located in the western-central part of Spain. Alvaro Perez, as he was called by his two sons, although he may have called himself Alvaro Perez de Zamora for all we know, ventured to the New World in 1519, where he landed in Cuba. He brought with him his two sons, Alonso Perez de Zamora and Alvaro de Zamora, as they called themselves in 1547, when they gave their biographical data, as conquistadores, to Francisco de Icaza, the biographer of conquistadores, encomenderos, and pobladores.

Alvaro Perez left his wife, Catalina Dominguez, back in Spain, and never saw her again, as he was killed during the siege and capture of Tenochtitlan, sometime in 1521. As far as we know, Catalina never came to the New World. We do not know if Alvaro and Catalina had other children besides Alonso and Alvaro, but we are assuming that they probably did. If so, these other children probably remained in Spain, since we have not read anything to the contrary.

After arriving in Cuba in 1519, Alvaro Perez and his two sons joined an expeditionary group headed by Heman (Hemando) Medel. Medel was part of the original Panfilo de Narvaez expedition, but Model's ship was damaged and had to remain in Cuba for repairs. By the time Medel arrived in Veracruz, Panfilo de Narvaez had been detained by Hernan Cortes two weeks prior, on 20 April 1520. They then became an integral part oi the Cortes expedition and took part in the campaign against the Aztecs.

We have speculated that Alvaro Perez was born circa 1456 to 1461, and would have been 60 to 65 years old when he was killed in battle during the Conquest of Tenochtitlan. sometime between May and August of 1521. Thus, Alvaro would have been a 60- to 65-year old warrior in 1521. Is this possible? Yes, it is. We must remember that a prominent conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, was also the same age as our Alvaro, when he conquered Peru in the mid-1530s. We were made aware of the age of Alvaro Perez from data contained in a document presented by one of his numerous grandsons, Diego Pere2 de Zamora, the son of Alonso Perez de Zamora. This declaration was made on 14 Jul 1584. In this declaration, Diego Perez de Zamora implied that his grandfather, Alvaro Perez, was age 65, more or less, during the conquest of Mexico. We are taking this at its face value.

To repeat, Alvaro Perez was born about 1456 to 1461, and was about age 29 to 34 when he married Catalina Dominguez, probably around 1490. We are speculating that Catalina was probably born around 1470, and would have been about age 20 when she married Alvaro. At this point, we are assuming that Alvaro and Catalina were born and married in Santa Marta, Zamora, Spain. We simply do not know when Catalina died, but it is possible that she may have died sometime before Alvaro Perez departed for the New World. Catalina left a legacy in that her name, Catalina, was used by some of her


female descendants in later generations.  Incidentally, at this point we do not know the names of the parents of either Alvaro Perez or Catalina Dominguez.

We have obtained some of the above information on Alvaro Perez and Catalina Dominguez from two historical sources. Their names were given by their two sons, Alonso Perez de Zamora and Alvaro de Zamora, in the information that was presented by them to Francisco de Icaza in Mexico City, in 1547. This data can be found in Icaza's Diccionario Autobiografico de Conquistadores y Pobladores de Nueva Espana, Vol. 1 & 2, Madrid, 1923 (Guadalajara, JaL, Mexico, 1969). See Volume 1, pages 85 and 86. The other source is The Encomenderos of New Spain, 1521-1555, by Robert Himmerich y Valencia (University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 1991). See pages 215 and 264.

Children of Alvaro Perez [de Zamora] & Catalina Dominguez.

This couple had only two known children. They are (1) Alonso Perez de Zamora and (2) Alvaro de Zamora. They thus comprise the Second Generation. We shall treat each one of these two sons fully.

1. Conquistador Alonso Perez de Zamora (1) Angelina Perez (2) Catalina Gomez [aka Catalina Gomez de Moscoso]
Since this is one of the lines that we are following, we will discuss Alonso, his two marriages, and the children of each marriage, in much greater detail in the Second Generation (A).

2. Conquistador Alvaro de Zamora  & N. de Ortega [daughter of poblador Alonso de Ortega] We will also discuss Alvaro de Zamora, his wife, and their three children in greater detail in the Second Generation (B). Our primary line of descent is through one of the daughters of Alvaro de Zamora.

Note: In the very early Mexico City baptisms, there appears a Pedro de Zamora and his wife, Isabel Rodnguez or Isabel Zamora. This couple had three recorded baptisms, on 13 Nov 1541, 8 Feb 1544, and 9 Mar 1544. Also, there is a Diego de Zamora and his wife Isabel de la Torre, who had four recorded baptisms. These were on 22 Aug 1545, 28 Jan 1547, 21 Oct 1552, and 28 Jul 1562. It is our opinion that neither of these Zamora families are related to our Perez de Zamora family. They are not mentioned by any of the Perez de Zamora family members in any of their archival records. Further, none of the padinos in the baptisms are members of the Perez de Zamora family.

Second Generation (A)

Conquistador Alonso Perez de Zamora

As is already known, Alonso Perez de Zamora arrived in Cuba in 1519, in the company of his father, Alvaro Perez, and his brother, Alvaro de Zamora. The three of them came over from Cuba with Heman Medel, and joined the forces of Heman Cortes sometime in 1520. They participated in the conquest of Mexico from May to August of 1521, where the father, Alvaro Perez, died. During the latter part of the siege, Alonso was assigned to duty on a brigantine (brigantina), a small naval ship constructed exclusively for use or the siege of Tenochtitlan. It should be noted, that the Aztecs had built their capital city Tenochtitlan, on an island in the center of Lake Texcoco. When Alonso presented his "meritos y servicios" in 1559, he himself mentioned that he had been aboard i "vrigantina." Afterward, he engaged in four different pacification campaigns, one with Pedro de Alvarado.

Sometime after the fall of Tenochtitlan, Alonso Perez de Zamora received the encomienda of Tolcayuca (40 miles northeast of Mexico City near Pachuca). Don Alonso states "que tiene en encomyenda la mytad de un pueblo, e que trato pleyto sobre la otra mytad, por que se lo quitaron, el qual se rremitio a Spana (see Icaza, pg. 85)." Half of  encomienda was taken for the crown in 1525.

In contrast to his brother, Alvaro de Zamora, Alonso Perez de Zamora had numerous progeny from two marriages. As best as we can determine, he and his two wives had a least 16 children, seven from the first wife, and nine from the second. We do note that Alonso told Icaza in 1547, that he was a married man "e que tiene honze hijos, legitimos las cinco hijas de hedad para casar; e que por estar pobre, no tiene para casarias....' Obviously, he engendered five more children after 1547.

Alonso Perez de Zamora and Angelina Perez, his first wife

Alonso Perez de Zamora married his wife, Angelina Perez, about 1521. We are not sun whether or not they married before or after the fall of Tenochtitlan, on 21 August 1521 We have estimated that Alonso was born around 1592, so he was about 29 years ol( when he married Angelina in 1521. Angelina must have been a young and attractive Indian maiden of about 15 to 20 years old, thus born circa 1501 to 1506. Alonso and Angelina were married for about 15 years, when Angelina died about 1535.  She was probably around 29 to 34 years old when she died. Alonso was left a widower at the age of 43.

We know from testimony given by one of their sons, and other witnesses, that they were married legitimately. All references to Angelina Perez, mention that she was an "india. We are speculating that she was either a TIaxcalteca or Mexica (Aztec) Indian, although she could have been from some other Native American tribe.

The seven (7) children of Alonso and Angelina were: (1) Diego Perez de Zamora; (2) Alonso Perez de Zamora; (3) Juan de Zamora; (4) Maria de Zamora; (5) Isabel de Zamora; (6) Catalina de Zamora; and (7) Francisca de Zamora. Each will be covered individually below.

1. Diego Perez de Zamora & Anna de Olvera [aka Diego de Zamora]

We have estimated that Diego Perez de Zamora was the oldest, thus born about 1522. Diego appears the most articulate of Alonso and Angelina's children. Diego was an escribano publico, and it is possible that he helped his father in 1540 when Alonso petitioned the Crown, via the Real Audiencia of Mexico City, in regards to his "meritos y servicios" as a conquistador. Diego also petitioned the Crown, in regard to his father, Alonso Perez de Zamora, in 1583-1584. After a careful review of the 1583/1584 petition, the authors discovered that part of the 1540 petition was incorporated as part of the latter petition.

Diego was married to dona Anna de Olvera, the daughter of deceased conqueror Juan Ruiz, a native of Alanis, Seville. Anna de Olvera was the widow of Juan Cermeno, a native of Palos, a "first conqueror" who joined Cortes in 1519. Anna de Olvera inherited Juan Cermeno's encomienda. (See Himmerich y Valencia, pg. 140.) Therefore, when Diego Perez de Zamora married Anna de Olvera, she was in possession of an encomienda, which consisted of Coatlan, near present-day Taxco, Guerrero, and Acuitlapan. Further, according to Peter Gerhard in A Guide to the Historical Geography of New Spain, Revised Edition (Norman and London, University of Oklahoma Press, 1993), the widow, Anna de Olvera, inherited the encomienda from Cermeno around 1550. Thus, it appears that Diego married Anna de Olvera sometime between 1551 and 24 June 1553, and Alvaro was still living in 1597 according to Gerhard (op. cit., pg. 253). At that time he would have been about age 75. Anna de Olvera according to Baltasar Dorantes Carranza, died before Diego and he inherited her encomienda.

We have not been able to locate any recorded baptisms for Diego and Anna, nor has our research uncovered the names of any of their children. Thus, we cannot make a definitive statement if they had any children or not, but we are speculating that they did not have any children. However, Diego and Anna appeared six times as padrinos in Mexico City, from 24 June 1553 to 8 October 1558. In three of these instances they appeared as a married couple, and in the other three their relationship is simply not defined. Diego and Anna were compadres to other members of the Perez de Zamora family five out six times.

2. Alonso de Zamora  & Maria (or Mariana) de Cerpa [aka Alonso Perez de Zamora] [Serpa]


Alonso de Zamora appears to have been the second oldest ot the children 01 Alonso Perez de Zamora and Angelina Perez, and we have estimated that he was born circa 1524, very likely in Mexico City.  

Francisco de Icaza interviewed Alonso de Zamora in 1547 and mentioned that Alonso was "hijo de Alonso Perez de Camora, vezino e conquistador desta ciudad." In this same statement, Alonso also mentions that he was already married to "Maria de Serpa, asi mesmo hija de Joan rruyz [Juan Ruiz], conquistador que dize me de mucha parte desta Nueua Spana; e que sus padres han seruido a Su Magestad; piden rremunera9ion como hijos de conquistadores." (See Icaza, pg. 238) Obviously, Alonso and Maria were married before 1547; we estimate that they were probably married between 1544 and 1547. We again note that they were both children of conquistadores. We have tried to identify Juan Ruiz, the father of Maria de Serpa, but we not been able to accurately ascertain which one of several Juan Ruizes he could have been.

Alonso and Maria had three recorded baptisms, ALL in Mexico City. They were: A) Juan; B) Maria; and C) Diego. We do not know if they had any additional children.

A. Juan "hijo de Alonso de Zamora y Maria de Serpa" was baptized on 24June 1553. The "compadres fueron Alonso Perez de Zamora, y su mujer,Catalina Gomez, y Diego de Zamora y Anna de Olvera [conyuges]." 
B. Maria "hija de Al.° P.7 de Zamora y Mariana de Serpa, su legitimamujer," was baptized on 6 April 1557. The padrinos were "Geronimo deMedina y su mujer [dona Maria de Meneses]." 
C. Diego "hijo de Alonso de Zamora y su mujer, Maria (Mariana) de Serpa"was baptized 17 July 1558. The padrinos were "Geronimo de Medina y dona Maria de Meneses, su mujer."

We do not know if any of the known children of Alonso and Mariana married or not. However, we are speculating that Diego, born in 1558, was married, had children, and that he was one of the earliest settlers of Zamora, Michoacan, sometime between 1574 and 1580.

3. Juan de Zamora  If married, wife Unknown

Juan de Zamora was born circa 1526, most likely in Mexico City. We have placed him as the third child because he was listed in that order by Catalina Gomez, the widowed second wife of Alonso Perez de Zamora, when she petitioned in 1571. In 1571, Juan de Zamora would have been about 45 years old. Although we know he lived to adulthood, we do not know if he married or not. We note that Catalina, his stepmother, did not indicate his marital status in her 1571 petition. We have no further information or data on him at this point.

4. Maria de Zamora  [aka Maria Perez] & Adrian de Benavente

Maria de Zamora was born circa 1528, most likely in Mexico City. We have placed Maria as the fourth child because she was listed in that order by her stepmother, Catalina Gomez, in 1561.

"Maria de Camera" was interviewed by Francisco de Icaza in 1547. Icaza writes: "Que es hija legftima de Alonso Perez de Camera, conquistador que me desta ciudad de Mexico y Nueua Spana, y muger de Adrian de Benavente, el qual al presente esta absente desta 9iudad, del qual tiene hijos, y esta muy pobre y padesce necesidad; y el dicho su marido no tiene officio, a cuya causa es ydo a buscar algun rremedio para su sustenta9i6n." (see Icaza, VoL 1, pg. 141)

We speculate that Maria and Adrian were married circa 1544, when Maria was about 16 years of age. We are assuming that she had at least two children by 1547, even though the precise number was never stated in Maria's interview with . Francisco de Icaza. Before 1547, we were able to locate only one single recorded baptism in the Mexico City archive, that of Alonso, who will be listed below. Additionally, we found two other baptisms in the late 1550's. The gap between 1546/1547 and 1555 could possibly be explained by the absence of Adrian de Benavente who in 1547 was "absente desta ciudad." We do not know when he returned to Mexico City.

A. Alonso, "hijo de Adrian de Benavente y de Marya Perez, su mujer," was baptized 7 March 1545, in Mexico City. The padrinos were "Juan Cermeno" and "Gonzalo de Segovia y su legftima mujer." As can be seen, Juan Cermeno, the first husband of Anna de Olvera, wife of Diego Perez de Zamora, was still alive in 1545. We were unable to find any recorded baptisms for Juan Cermeno and Anna de Olvera.

B. Unknown child, born circa 1546 or 1547.

C. Andrea, bom circa 1555, in Mexico City. As "Andrea de Pineda, h.l de Adrian de Venavente y Maria de ^amora," she married Luis Fernandez on 6 October 1579, in La Asuncion, Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, Mexico. /

D. Melchora, "hija de Adrian de Venavente, y su legftima mujer [Maria de Zamora]," on 13 December 1557. The "compadres fueron Diego de Zamora, y su mujer [Anna de Olvera]; y Alexo de Maturana y su mujer [Francisca de Zamora]."

"Melchora de Pineda, h.l. de Adrian de Benabente y Maria de Zamora," married Francisco Martinez on 13 December 1579,  in La Asuncion, Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, Mexico.

E. Francisco, "hijo de Adrian de Benavente y su mujer, Maria de Zamora," baptized on 22 January 1559. The "compadres fueron Alonso Perez de Zamora y .................. y .................."

The Benavente family name originated in the town of Benavente,  the province of Zamora, Spain. Due to the use of the surname Pineda by both Andrea and Melchora when they married, we assume it is an ancestral name of Adrian de Benavente and his family.

5. Isabel de Zamora & Alonso de Aranda

Isabel de Zamora was born circa 1530, most likely in Mexico City. We have placed Isabel as the fifth child because she was listed in that order by her stepmother, Catalina Gomez, in 1571. Catalina Gomez also stated that Isabel was married to Alonso de Aranda.

We have located only one baptism to date:

A) Alonso—"al.° hijo de al.o de aranda y de su ligítima muger Ysabel de çamora," who was baptized on 8 October 1558, in Mexico City. "[Fjueron sus conpadres al.° peres de camora y di.° de camora y su muger ana de olvera." The padrinos are father and son, and the mother, Isabel, is Alonso's daughter.\

We do not have any further information regarding this family.

6. Catalina de Zamora & Alonso Montes

Catalina de Zamora was bom circa 1532, most likely in Mexico City. We have placed Catalina as the sixth child because she was listed in that order by her stepmother, Catalina Gomez, in 1571. Catalina Gomez also stated that Catalina de Zamora was married to Alonso Montes.

We do not have any further information on this couple.

7. Francisca de Zamora Alejo Maturana

Francisca de Zamora was bom circa 1534, most likely in Mexico City. We have placed Francisca as the seventh child because she was listed in that order by her stepmother, Catalina Gomez, in 1571. In 4 May 1562, Catalina Gomez stated that Francisca was already married to Alejo Maturana. Therefore, we believe that Alejo Maturana and Francisca de Zamora were married sometime between 1550 and early 1553.

Thus far we have located two recorded baptisms in Mexico City for this couple. We have also found one other child on the International Genealogical Index on www. familysearch. org. This makes a total of three known children for Alejo and Francisca.

A. Pedro—"pedro, hijo de alexo de matura y ssu m. fran.a de camora", was baptized on 19 December 1553. "Fueron compadres diego de camera y ana de olvera [conyuges]."

In 13 July 1576, Pedro de Maturana appears as a testigo in a document concerning Diego Perez de Zamora and Ana de Olvera, Pedro's carnal uncle and aunt, as well as baptismal padrinos. Pedro was then 23 years old.

B. Bias de Maturana was born circa 1555, in Mexico City, and died before 1665, according to the International Genealogical Index. Obviously, we have not located his baptismal entry in Mexico City, but will continue to search for it.

C. Juan—"Ju.° hijo de alexo de maturana y fran.8 de zamora, su mujer", was baptized on 25 August 1560. "[F]ueron sus conpadres aLo. perez de zamora y adrian de venavente y catalina perez."

We do not know if any of the three known children married or not.


If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb by Linda LaRoche
Hair Washing Blues by Ben Romero
Tribute to Abuelas by Marta Verdés Darby
A Mother’s Heart: Remembering Mother on Mother’s Day  
       By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca  

If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb

Today is my father’s birthday and if he were alive to celebrate, we’d be figuring out how to place colorful candles atop his cake, a cake he wouldn’t eat. But he died in 1987, freed from his body on July 4th, a few months after his 62st birthday.

I’m certain my father would not have chosen to succumb to a debilitating massive stroke at 51, but I do know he never wanted to be “old.” And something about him was youthful, in touch with his inner child. His traits comprised of high energy, fiery, bold, and he was full of surprises and excitement.

We started out with a love affair that grew into a ouchy relationship by the time I was a teen. He loved me, and I felt it; but in my mind, I never measured up. I always thought I wasn’t practical enough, didn’t excel in math as he expected, wasn’t as proficient in languages as he was, didn’t play the piano with finesse and basically was not good enough to please him.

I often wonder how my father would critique his only daughter today–would be proud of me or not? Would he see my persistence as a reflection of his persistence.  For his part, he was successful but he earned it, a born leader, confident and competitive he always had a goal, and the drive and determination to see it through. He never worked for anyone but himself, took risks and wanted to win to prove something to the world, with a sense of fair play- he wasn’t interested in envy, deceit or cheating. No time spent frustrated, moping, just go, go, go.

Today I realize I know very little about what he was thinking or feeling, I never asked him what was in his head before he got sick because he was always so busy. Maybe he intuited that his time was short and sickness would be long so he tried to do as much as he could.

My father did not live long enough to see me become a writer or my brother a civil engineer.

Sometimes I wonder if he reincarnated, where and who he is? Or if he entered the Gates of Heaven.   As he surely reads my words from his special balcony seat, I can almost hear him asking, “What’s happening with your writing?”

I have conversations in my head with him. “Listen, Papi,” I say. “I have to apologize. I think I was too hard on you in my book.”

“You think?” he repeats. The tone sharp, but he would smile. His gray eyes twinkle confirming that he is kidding.

“Writers embellish,” he says. He tosses a hand upward, as if to fling my apology away. “That’s what I tell the angeles here.”   

He had to have conflict, drama. And of course, he gives the orders.

“What kind of author would my daughter be, if the book didn’t have sadness to contrast joy and it would be blah, with no fights.”

“Whew, I’m glad to hear that,” I add. “I’ve been worried about your reaction. By the way, you look wonderful as always,” I say.

I’m telling the truth. In all the 62 years of his life, I doubt if he had a less than polished minute. Impeccably groomed, tall and slender, even when he lay in the hospital, up to the day before he drew his last breath, he remained one of the handsomest men I had ever seen.

I like to imagine that wherever he is, all the good deeds and caring for others that he demonstrated gives him a pay-back in either a healthy life or a sunny existence. And that he holds onto his good looks and the child in him.

Happy Birthday Daddy! 

Linda LaRoche is an author and editor.  She teaches Creative Writing at College of Southern Nevada.  I'm working on a blog to help build my writer's platform.  Your comments and friendly criticism would be appreciated.  Thanks.


My daughter, Rebecca, has straight dark hair. Her husband had wavy hair before he started shaving his head. My three-year-old granddaughter has light, wavy locks. Sunday morning, her mommy gave her a bath, dressed her and combed her hair so we could all go to church together. She did a lot of yelling while she was in the tub, but when she was all dressed, she looked like a little doll.

"What pretty curls, Dahlia. Did you get your hair from your daddy?" I asked.

Dahlia looked at me like I was asking a dumb question. "My daddy doesn't have hair. He just has a head."

“Why were you screaming when your mommy was giving you a bath?” I inquired.

She sniffled and wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “I didn’t like her to wash my hair.”

“How come?” I persisted.

She pouted and looked away in embarrassment. I dropped the subject. 

I wash my hair daily, but I can't stand for anyone to wash it for me. In Fresno, I get my haircuts at a place that cuts men's and women's hair. I'm often asked if I want my hair washed and the answer is always no. 

When I was a child, living in Nambé, New Mexico, we took baths in the kitchen in a round, tin washtub. Water would be heated in pots on top of the kitchen stove. Being the youngest at the time, the water I bathed in had already been used to wash several bodies before it was my turn. 

My mother used to come in and wash my hair - and I hated it. Her otherwise kind fingers dug deep into my scalp as she methodically lathered my head with whatever kind of soap we had handy and scrubbed it until I felt like every square inch of my scalp had been plowed and terraced for planting. After that, she'd take a pot of hot water from the stovetop and pour it over my head, rinsing it until it was squeaky clean. Although the ritual occurred only once a week and the baths themselves were somewhat enjoyable, the memories of scalp mistreatments linger.

On Monday, while I babysat Dahlia for a couple of hours, we played Fireman outside. Our game consisted of her sitting in a Red Ryder wagon wearing a fire chief helmet and a Dalmatian t-shirt. My job was to pull her up and down the block while wailing like a siren. Afterwards, we sat on the driveway and had snacks of crackers, boiled eggs, and Pepsi.

Hoping she was tired enough to go inside, I put the wagon and fire helmet away. But she was one step ahead of me. She brought out a pail of sidewalk chalk and insisted on us drawing her driving a fire truck on the driveway.

As her eyes started drooping, she lay down on the concrete to rest.

“You’re going to get your hair all dirty and your mommy’s going to have to wash it again,” I warned.

That was all it took to get her up and back into the house to take a nap by the television.

As she arranged her blanket on the sofa, she picked up her dolly, put a hat on the doll’s head, and lay her on the pillow next to her.   

“Go to sleep, Dolly. Don’t get your hair dirty.”

Ben Romero
Author of Chicken Beaks Book Series

Author Ben is the boy in arms with his mother and sister Virginia. 
 I have thoroughly enjoyed Ben's little mini-stories.  He seems to find humor in crossing the street, or buying a pair of shoes.  Life is a delight to Ben and it comes across in his writings.
Thank you Ben for reminding us to remember the joys of life.



Tributes to Abuelas
Celebrating AbuelaE-Book design and production by: Marta Verdés Darby
founding editor
Tiki Tiki Blog and My big, fat, Cuban family

For you, we have gathered seven essays by talented writers who honor their Latin grandmothers — Puerto Rican, Colombian, Cuban and Mexican — through beautiful words of tribute.

Issa M. Mas writes “The Horror of Mealtime” recounting funny and dramatic childhood dinner-time struggles with Abuela.

Alexandra Rosas Schultze writes “The Reach of a Small Moment” about the sweet compliment Abuela delivered to the 4-year-old Alexandra, a moment that has carried Alexandra through a lifetime.

Jennifer Ramón-Dover’s grandmother used to wait outside for Jennifer each day as she got off the bus after school. Jennifer used to roll her eyes at the over-protectiveness. Now, she misses it. Her essay, The White Butterfly. Cuban author and playwright Teresa Dovalpage shares an excerpt from her book Habanera: Portrait of a Cuban Family. The passage is about "An Abuela Called Muñeca," a beautiful grandma who carried on an affair in front of her young granddaughter.

Lydia P. Harris writes “Searching for Abuelita in the Kitchen,” an essay on her desire to learn her deceased grandmother’s easy way in the kitchen, before the lesson becomes forever unavailable. 

Lisa Quinones-Fontanez in "My Mother As Abuela,"   marvels at seeing her mother patient and tender as a grandmother, far different from the woman she was as a mother. Her mother as grandmother allows Lisa to see and understand her mother better.

Maria Aquilino had a Cuban grandmother and a Mexican grandmother -- Guantanamera and La Curandera -- each strong and spiritual. In "Mis Abuelas," Maria writes of the gift these women passed on to her.

This delightful collection is free. You are invited to share.

Celebrating Abuela By Carrie Ferguson Weir Stories of love, angst, laughs and memory from the Tiki Tiki Blog as told by our editors and contributors. A few years ago, I learned a science fact that has really stuck with me: Because a female baby is born with all of the eggs, or ova, she’s ever going to need, her future children were, in a sense, also created and carried in the womb of their grandmother.

That kind of blew my mind, to imagine that the cell that would become me, was once contained inside my grandmother’s body as she grew my mother’s body. Imagine it.

Also, fascinating to me is the fact that our mothers, and their mothers, and their mothers before them, gave us an exact copy of their mitochondrial DNA, the structure in our cells that creates energy and power.

If that isn’t maternal and grandma-like, to give us energy and power even down to the cellular level, I don’t know what is.

And so, these facts are appropriate tidbits as the lead-in to this book, a celebration of abuelas, the source of power in so many of our familias Latinas.

Many of the contributed essays and ideas that come to the Tiki Tiki have to do with las Abuelas, las Titas, las Mimas. While it is human phenom that our grandmothers leave a lifelong impression on us, it feels especially emphasized in our Latin culture to revere, and even fear, our grandmas.

My own maternal grandmother, whom I called Mama, has been gone for a decade, but her spirit and essence is a constant companion. I can so easily recall the softness of her skin, the sound of her chanclas on the terrazzo floor, the clink of gold medallions on her necklace.

When she hugged me, she literally squeezed the air out of my lungs. She made me believe I was magical and she was at turns delightful and impossible.

My other Cuban grandmother was an easier spirit, a funny and frenetic little woman who didn’t stay still for long. She gave me the nickname “Carucho” and to me represents complete motherly selflessness and devotion. She was a woman who lived for her children — even when they were senior citizens themselves — but still enjoyed the zest of her own life.

I imagine my daughter will forever remember her own Abuelita’s penchant for gold bangles, her Coco Mademoiselle perfume, her hearty laugh and the no B.S.-approach to grandmothering.

Sent by Mercy Bautista-Olvera



A Mother’s Heart: Remembering Mother on Mother’s Day

By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

Scholar in Residence/Chair, Department of Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University

In his French novel La Glu, one of Jean Richepin’s characters sings the song “The Mother’s Heart,” about a mistress who demands of her lover his mother’s heart. Considered one of the most heart-wrenching songs of motherly love, it came to be known in French cabaret circles as La chanson de Marie des Anges. The poignancy of the song springs from the end when the lover is rushing to his inamorata with his mother’s heart in hand, trips and falls, and the heart asks: did you hurt yourself, my son? In 1907, the Irish poet Herbert Trench translated Richepin’s song into English, published in New Poems and later in the Anthology of Modern Poetry, 1939.

That kind of “motherly love” is what one expects of a mother, despite the fact that “tis a consummation devoutly to be wished” as Hamlet would say. Still, no hay como una madre, as the Spanish expression puts it, “there is nothing like a mother.”

Now in the twilight of my years, I am remembering my mother who today (had she lived) would be 110 years old. She died when I was 10. She was just 35. Of course, I remembered her in those days of yore, but now after almost three score and ten years I seem to remember her more. Why that should be I’m not sure.

With eidetic clarity I can see her in my mind’s eye, a small diminutive woman with green piercing eyes, rolling out well-rounded tortillas with a small rolling pin barely the length of her two hands, singing a paean to the god of the tortilla as she rolled out tortilla after tortilla. She loved to sing, especially the old songs of the old days of Mexico, songs she taught me and which I still remember. Next to my father she was tiny at 4’ 11”; he was 6’ tall, wiry and muscular. But he had no sense of rhythm or music. He was content to hear my mother sing, admired by all for her prowess of song.

My job was to turn the tortillas over on the comal for which I was rewarded with a hot well-buttered tortilla with a sprinkle of salt. It’s not just her cooking that I’ve missed over the years; I’ve missed her mirth and radiant smile. I’m pained by the fact that she wasn’t present in my life when I graduated from college—I was the first of her children to get that far. How I wish she could have been there to see me capped and hooded when I received the Ph.D. in English. I wish she had been present when my musical play Elsinore (with Mark Medoff) premiered, when my play Madre del Sol was staged in Mexico City, when my play Voces de Mujeres was mounted at the University of Costa Rica at San Juan.

My mother was my first teacher. She taught me to read and write in Spanish. More importantly, she imbued in me the spirit of inquiry. By the time I started first grade I was literate in Spanish. My greatest obstacle would be learning the English language of the American curriculum. Spanish was the language of our home, though a branch of my mother’s family had settled in Texas in 1731 as Canary Island founders of La Villita which would become San Antonio. I mention this because there are those who think that with such deep roots in what is now American soil that English would have been the language of our home.

But that is not the case in thousands of Mexican American homes throughout the Hispanic Southwest. To survive the American occupation of the Mexican Cession after the U.S.-Mexico War (1846-1848), Mexicans (now Mexican Americans) sought comfort and refuge in their traditional language and culture. The apodictic measures of Americanization did not speed us toward that goal. As best she could, my mother shielded us from the slings and arrows of that harsh process.

As we approach Mother’s Day this year, I’m more aware of the discord that attends so many relations between mothers and their children. It seems to me that in part, that discord is driven when children don’t let mother be mother.

No matter the divergences of mothers, at the core, a mother’s heart will invariably ask if we have hurt ourselves when we trip and fall. It’s in the nature of being mother. How I envy those who have long-lived mothers.


Copyright © 2011 by the author. All rights reserved.



  Complete 1930 Mexico Census Now Available Online for Free!
  NARA Tightens Security to Prevent Thefts, Mutilation by David S. Ferriero
  Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals at El Paso, Texas 

Civil War Buffs & Volunteers Enlist to Publish Millions of Historic Records Online  
  New Historic Brazil and Honduras Records Online  

Complete 1930 Mexico Census Now Available Online for Free!
25Million New Records and Images for 19 U.S. States and 16 Countries  

The FamilySearch volunteers did it! With the completion of the state of Veracruz, they indexed the entire 1930 Mexico Census—almost 13 million records. Add the census to the millions of Mexico church records FamilySearch also has online for free, and FamilySearch patrons now have a phenomenal, fundamental asset for their Mexico ancestral research. There were 59 collections updated in this release, comprising 25 million new images and records for 19 U.S. states and 16 countries. See the table below for more details. You can search all of these updated collections now for free at

If you are enjoying the steady stream of free records added weekly, please consider “giving back” as a FamilySearch volunteer. You can start and stop volunteering at any time. Find out more at

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Paul Nauta 
May 23, 2011

Mexico Census, 1930



Added the state of Veracruz. This completes the 1930 Mexico Census!

Mexico, Jalisco, Catholic Church Records



New browsable image collection.

Mexico, Morelos, Catholic Church Records, 1598-1969



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Mexico, State of Mexico, Catholic Church Records



New browsable image collection.

Mexico, Tabasco, Catholic Church Records



New browsable image collection.



Ferriero Archivist

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the US

NARA Tightens Security to Prevent Thefts, Mutilation by David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero is the 10th Archivist of the United States. Prior to his confirmation on November 6, 2009, Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries.


Over the years, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has faced many physical and environmental threats to its holdings including fire, water, insects, and mold. We have been open about these risks and forthcoming about our efforts to combat them. However, there’s another risk to our collection: the risk of theft and intentional mutilation or destruction of our holdings. Since becoming Archivist of the United States, I have recognized this risk and have taken strong measures to deal with it.

Trevor Plante, a senior archivist at NARA, recently contacted our Office of Inspector General to report that a document—pardoning a Union soldier in the Civil War and signed by President Abraham Lincoln—appeared to have been altered.

Officials in the Office of Inspector General (OIG) obtained a full and willing written confession from a historian stating that he had changed the date on the pardon to read April 14, 1865, instead of 1864. The change to 1865 made the document appear to be one of President Lincoln's last official actions on the day he was assassinated.

Based upon the historical importance subsequently assigned to this pardon, it had gained a certain amount of fame. The historian wrote a book about it and raised his profile in the history community.

This case is unusual. The statute of limitations is expired so the researcher could not be prosecuted, but he will never again be allowed into the National Archives. However, it’s another reminder that our holdings are at risk from unconscionable acts by researchers who have sought to steal or mutilate documents that belong to the American people.

And we have not only experienced theft and damage by those from outside our agency, but also by those we trust the most: our very own staff. I moved to mitigate this real threat by instituting a new policy in our Washington, DC, and College Park, MD, facilities of searching bags being taken out by staff—including me—as we leave the building. In these facilities, researchers’ belongings are searched by research room staff and security guards when they leave both the research room and the building. This policy will be extended to other NARA facilities.

Over the past decade, several individuals have stolen documents and attempted to sell them to trustworthy collectors, or to place them for sale online. Sharp-eyed researchers familiar with those records quickly alerted us. Those individuals who stole from our holdings went to prison. Sadly, one of them was an Archives employee.

As a result of thefts, we installed video cameras in all public research rooms in Washington and College Park, as well as in most research rooms nationwide. And we strictly limit what researchers can take with them when they are in those rooms reviewing records.

In addition to these specific actions, we have elevated holdings security among our many missions. Late last year we formed a Holdings Protection Team to develop policies not only for protecting our holdings, but to educate NARA staff on how to do so. This past fall, the team took over full responsibility for the movement of records between NARA facilities and affiliated agencies for exhibit, loan, or permanent storage. They also performed site inspections at many NARA facilities to support and foster holdings protection and to monitor policy compliance. The team works closely with OIG staff, which has demonstrated expertise in investigating and recovering lost or stolen holdings. Through their energies, many records and artifacts have been recovered, and thieves have been successfully prosecuted.

The OIG’s own Archival Recovery Team (ART) can assist those who think they may be in possession of a lost or stolen document or have knowledge of others who possess or are attempting to sell them. The ART publicizes items that have been lost or stolen, and asks citizens to contact them if they have seen any of them. These items are then listed online at and its Facebook page at

We are not alone in facing risks to our collections. Officials from both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution joined NARA to discuss archival theft and measures to prevent it. This challenge faces many institutions charged with preserving our heritage, and their needs to balance access to and protection of their holdings.

I take theft and mutilation of documents very seriously, and the security of our holdings is my highest priority. Unfortunately, some theft is perpetrated by employees, and that is especially disheartening. These individuals have lost sight of their responsibilities as caretakers.

I know the Organization of American Historians and its members share our concern about the theft and mutilation of priceless documents, and I ask your help by reporting instances in which it appears that holdings might have been stolen from the National Archives. To report a document you believe is lost or stolen from NARA holdings, please contact us at, or call 1-800-786-2551. You may also write to: Missing Documents, Office of the Inspector General, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.

Source: The Organization of American Historians News (OAH News)

Posted: Apr. 17, 2011
Tag(s): From the Archivist, News of the Profession

Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals at El Paso, Texas, April 1924-September 1954 
The National Archives and Records Administration recently published a new microfilm publication of interest to your readers.  NARA Microfilm Publication A3455, Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals at El Paso, Texas, April 1924-September 1954 (89 rolls) contains over 210,000 manifests documenting alien arrivals. The records are arranged chronologically by date then by manifest number.  To obtain the date of arrival and manifest number, researchers need to consult two other NARA microfilm publications (released several years ago), namely:  A3396, Index to Manifests of Permanent and Statistical Alien Arrivals at El Paso, Texas, July 1924-July 1952 (19 rolls) and by A3406, Nonstatistical Manifests and Statistical Index Cards of Aliens Arriving at El Paso, Texas, 1905–1927 (129 rolls).
A3455 is not online but can be viewed at the National Archives Building, Washington, DC; and at National Archives regional facilities at Fort Worth, Texas; San Francisco, California; Riverside (Perris), California; and Chicago, Illinois.
For a complete roll list for A3455 as well as information about other Mexican border crossing immigration records, visit
Claire Kluskens
microfilm projects archivist
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408


Civil War Buffs and Volunteers Enlist in Campaign to Publish Millions of Historic Records Online  

Find this news release online at FamlySearch News and Press. 11 May 2011  

SALT LAKE CITY—As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, people who had ancestors involved in the conflict can access millions of historical records recently published on the website. And millions more records are coming, as Civil War volunteers enlist in an epoch online campaign over the next five years to provide access to the highly desirable historic documents.

FamilySearch announced the release today of hundreds of millions of online records at the National Genealogical Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. The collections include service records for both the Confederate and Union armies, pension records, and more. Some of these records have been available for some time but are now being added to as part of this project. Here is just a sampling of what is available:

·       Arizona, Service Records of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863

·       Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929

·       Civil War Pension Index

·       Louisiana Confederate Pensions 1898-1950

·       Missouri Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers’ Home Admission Applications

·       South Carolina Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers (NARA M267)

·       South Carolina Probate 1671-1977

·       South Carolina Probate Records, Files, and Loose Papers, 1732-1964

·       United States, 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows

·       United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904

·       United States, Union Provost Marshall Files of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866

·       United States, Union Provost Marshall's File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861-1866

·       U.S. Civil War Soldiers Index 1855-1865

·       U.S. Navy Widows’ Certificates, 1861-1910 (NARA M1279)

·       U.S., Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914U.S., Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933

·       Vermont Enrolled Militia, 1861-1867


“These records are significant because nearly every family in the United States at that time was impacted either directly or indirectly by the war,” FamilySearch project manager Ken Nelson said.

“Each soldier has a story to tell based on what his unique experience was during the war. Each family has their own story to tell. This is the paper trail that tells the stories about that period in our nation’s history,” Nelson said.

Many of the records are specific to the war itself, such as enlistment or pension records. These documents can provide key family data, including age, place of birth, or the name of a spouse. Other collections, such as census records, tell the story of ordinary civilians who lived during that turbulent time. Even a local or state death record far away from the battlefront may contain death information on a soldier that was submitted by a family member back home. 

FamilySearch’s chief genealogical officer, David Rencher, said many people can benefit from the records.

“With the wealth of records created by the Civil War, I am inspired by the plan laid out by FamilySearch to make a substantial amount of this material available on their website over the next four to five years. This growing collection will be one that will serve the needs of the numerous descendants of the participants on both sides of the conflict,” Rencher said.

About 10 million of FamilySearch’s Civil War records are already indexed, so they can be easily searched by a specific name. However, there are many more records that need to be indexed, and that’s where FamilySearch indexing volunteers come in. These volunteers view a digital image online of the record and enter in important information such as names, dates, and places.

FamilySearch project manager Jim Ericson said this data will be used to create free searchable indexes that enable people to more easily find records about their Civil War ancestors.

“Once these records are indexed and published online, anyone can search for the name of an ancestor and link to a digital image of the original record, if the image is also available online,” Ericson said. “Indexing helps people save time when finding records and enables a more powerful, engaging search experience.”

Ericson said that more than 130,000 people helped with other FamilySearch indexing projects in the last year, but more volunteers are needed for the multi-year Civil War era project.

“We expect to maintain some focus on indexing records from the U.S. Civil War for the next three or four years to make the collection of Civil War era records extremely robust,” Ericson said.

For those who want to learn more about their Civil War ancestors, there is also additional help on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. This includes information about each regiment that fought in the conflict and records created by each state that participated in the war. There is also information for beginners who are just getting started learning about their ancestors who lived during the Civil War.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah

Sent by Paul Nauta

New Historic Brazil and Honduras Records Online

Six Additional Country Collections Also Updated  
Find this e-announcement online at May 2011


More digital images poured out of the FamilySearch pipeline this week—over 2 million, in fact. Historic record collections for 8 countries were updated: Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Switzerland, U.S., and Wales. The biggest winners were Brazil and Honduras. More than 1.7 million images were added to the Brazil Civil Registration collection, with records from 1870 to 2009. And 346,000 church records were added for Honduras. These birth, marriage, death, and church records are very valuable because they usually include multiple generations in a single document. See the table below for details of all the updates this week. You can search all of the record collections now for free at

If you are enjoying the steady stream of free records added weekly, please consider “giving back” as a FamilySearch volunteer. You can start and stop volunteering at any time. Find out more at

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.






Argentina, Catholic Church Records



Added images and index to existing collection.

Brazil, Catholic Church Records



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Colombia, Catholic Church Records



Added index records to existing collection.

Jamaica, Civil Birth Registration



Added images and index to existing collection.

Mexico Census, 1930



Added the state of Oaxaca.

Mexico, Chiapas, Catholic Church Records, 1558-1978



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Mexico, Nayarit, Catholic Church Records, 1596-1967



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Catholic Church Records, 1586-1970



New browsable image collection.

Peru, Catholic Church Records



New browsable image collection.

Spain, Cádiz, Passports, 1810-1866



New browsable image collection.

U.S., California, County Marriages, 1850-1952



Added Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter Counties to existing collection.

U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856-1967



Added browsable images to existing collection.

U.S., Texas, Eastland County Records, 1868-1949



Added browsable images to existing collection.

Virgin Islands US, Church Records



New browsable image collection.




Sent by Paul Nauta



DNA Research 

George Lopez
George Lopez (born April 23, 1961) is an American comedian, actor, and talk show host.  He is mostly known for starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George Lopez.  His stand-up comedy examines race and ethnic relations, including his own Mexican American culture.

Lopez, a Mexican-American, was born in Mission Hills, California.  He was deserted by his father at birth, but was raised by his maternal grandmother, Benita Gutierrez, a factory worker, and step-grandfather Refugio Gutierrez, a construction worker.

 DNA tests revealed Lopez to be of 55% European, 32% Native American, 9% East Asian, and 4% African descent.


  NEW: Orange County Register Latino Link 
  June 3: Congratulations to Rueben Martinez,  Honorary Doctoral Recipient 
  June 11: SHHAR Monthly meeting 
                 Family Research on Jalisco by Pat Lozano    
  Report of SHHAR's May meeting with guest, Dr. Francisco Balderrama       
  Polonia's Children by Galal Kernahan
  Cultural Treasures of Mexico, CSUF Opens New Museum Exhibit

Orange County Register Latino Link

The OC Register has launched a blog called OC Latino Link focusing on the Latino communities of Orange County.  Each day you'll learn about issues facing Latinos around the U.S., and you'll get updates on community happenings in O.C.  You'll also find links to dozens of community websites and local bloggers.  Visit and find the Facebook at 
Ron Gonzales of the OC Register posted an extensive story on the OC Latino Link blog regarding the Mexican American Baseball project yesterday.  The story begins with a photo of my Dad and uncle and will be published in the Sunday, May 15th paper.  Know this story will assist the professors in their research here in Orange County.  Fantastic!
Regards, Bea Armenta Dever



What: Research on Jalisco, Mexico

When: Saturday, June 11, 2011 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Orange Family History Center, 674 S. Yorba Street, Orange, CA.

Details: A free presentation...Everyone welcome...No cost. The presentation by Pat Lozano, Family History Researcher, is sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR). The presentation will include a discussion on Jalisco, Mexico research.

One-to-one research assistance is provided from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Presentation begins at 10:15 a.m.
For more information on this event, call Mimi Lozano at 714-894-8161.


POLONIA'S CHILDREN by Galal Kernahan

First  published January 13, 2005, CAPISTRANO DISPATCH
Across the tracks, the San Juan Capistrano station platform stands empty in the noonday sun. A train glides to a stop. Then it flows away revealing teachers lining up children for the two-block walk to the Mission. 

This 15-mile-an-hour lane is a strip of local history. It features a rough, large, open-air cube woven of flat strips of iron that was used as a holding cell for anyone awaiting transport up county to jail. Beyond it stands the Montanez Adobe, a two-room windowless sample of housing built 200 years ago for Native Americans and others associated with the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

A woman named Polonia lived there most of the 19th Century. Montanez was the surname of one of her three husbands. The first died when she was 21. She outlived them all. Were she still about, she would find school children trooping off to the the Mission a familiar sight. A midwife, she was also the teaching "captain of the pueblo." She instructed the boys and girls in all sorts of parctical things, 
including how to pray, Some she had helped deliver.

The Mission was long without a priest. Drought baked the land. Polonia felt a desperate need for prayer. One morning she gathered youngsters for a three-mile march to Dana Point to pray for rain. Next day, they headed inland toward
Trabuco and prayed some more. If she had then been available, it would have been appropriate foir her to pray over a San Juan Capistrano civic commitment announced January 29, 2004. 

It called attention to the potential of Southern California's most promising new sweetwater source: commonsense conservation. San Juan Capistrano became home to four exercises in making water go farther. One was simply appropriate heritage
ground cover for its El Camino Real Park and a just-right watering system for it. That pretty strip of greenery lies about
halfway (as swallows might fly) between Loreto, Baja California Sur, and Solano, California, the two ends of the storied
Royal Road. El Camino Real is still identified by distinctive bell markers. San Juan Capistrano's is just beyond the entry
to the MIssion grounds. It is backed by a profusion of flowers and plants like those that were there in 1776, when the
Mission was founded.

And, as a teacher, she would have approved what was started a few years ago at the Harold Ambuehl School a little way up the other bank of San Juan Creek. KIndergarteners through Fifth-Graders began learing about being water-thirfty from plants they tended along the creek-side trail. And certainly she would have been pleased that something was being done to re-green grounds around the very adobe in which she had lived. Together, such initiatives were modeling ways to conserve water through dry spells. . .and as a general practice.

But were she around today, nothing might strike her as more mysterious than what had been going on in a large barn-like structure built by ECO-Capistrano Valley, a subsidiary of Southwest Water Company. Its equipment began slamming brackish underground basin water through equipment to sieve the solids out and submit it to fine-filter "reverse osmosis."

If anyone had ever tried to explain this to Polonia, it probably would have made no sense to her at all. She just would have taken care of things her way.  

After day prayer excursions to Dana Point and up the Trabuco Trail, like as not she would march girls and boys down to Capistrano Beach to implore God for rain once more. Last time she did, wagons had to come haul sodden Polonia and drenched children home.

Cultural Treasures of Mexico
CSUF Opens New Museum Exhibit on Pre-Hispanic Civilization, to run through December 22
What: Cal State Fullerton’s Anthropology Teaching Museum opens a new exhibit, “Cultural Treasures of Mexico: The Phurépecha of Parangaricutiro,” featuring a pre-Hispanic and contemporary civilization from the Michoacán, Mexico region. 
The exhibit is located in the Anthropology Teaching Museum, Room 426 of McCarthy Hall Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton 92831

On display: The exhibit features artifacts on loan from the Bowers Museum and Phurépecha diasporan communities, including information about the explosion of the Paricutin Volcano, one of the Eight Natural Wonders of the World, which was the first recorded birth of a volcano in the Americas. The volcano buried San Juan Parangaricutiro and the neighboring community of Paricutin/San Salvador Cumbutzio in 1943. Artifacts on display include: rings, likely worn by Phurépecha nobility from the Uacusecha (Eagle) lineage; bells associated with rainmaking rituals circa 1150-1519 A.D.; and a troje, a replica of a Phurépecha house made of two types of pine and fir with a trapezoidal-shaped roof.

Why: “The goals are to educate the public about the rich cultural history of the Phurépecha people and to provide the diasporan Phurépecha community in the United States with access to information about their history, culture and language through this exhibit,” said Tricia Gabany-Guerrero, assistant professor of anthropology, who is curating the exhibit with students in her museum science class. “The exhibit will highlight the ritual aspects of everyday life, both those that have remained and those which have transformed, over time. The topics of ritual include, but are not limited to: ceramics, obsidian production, the influence of environment, art, language, music, ancient rock art and the dance of the Cúrpites (which is specific to Parangaricutiro). This is the first exhibit of its kind within the United States.”

Additional: The exhibit, which highlights important accomplishments and traditions of the Phurépecha people, specifically the heritage of San Juan Parangaricutiro, which was destroyed by the Paricutín volcano in 1943, is a project of Gabany-Guerrero’s semester long class. The class consists of four graduate and 10 undergraduate students, who in curating the exhibit learned how to build the exhibit, research the subject and request artifact loans from museums, among other skills. The university’s Anthropology Teaching Museum is working in conjunction with the Nuevo Parangaricutiro Community (Municipio) Museum in Mexico.

Sponsors: Bowers Museum, Mexican Environmental and Cultural Research Institute and the Mexican Consulate of Santa Ana, as well as CSUF’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Student Affairs and Associated Students Inc.
Website: http://www.phurepecha/org/museum
Parking: $2 per hour or $8 for a daily permit. Details available online:
Media Contact: Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 657-278-7586, 
twitter: @mimikocruz | facebook: 
2600 e. nutwood avenue | cp-830 | fullerton | california | 92834


Gregorio Luke's New Lecture Series
Art Along the Red Lines
Genealogy Research at Los Angeles Central Library




Art Along the Red Line
A Fundraiser for the Avenue 50 Studio

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Meet at Union Station. Registration at 9:30 am. Tour starts at 10:00 am

Participating Artists:
Wayne Healy – Union Station
Sonia Romero – Westlake/MacArthur Park
Francisco Letelier – Westlake/MacArthur Park
Peter Shire – Wilshire/Vermont
Margaret Garcia – Universal City
Tram ride up to Universal City Walk.
 Drinks at Traxx afterwards.

Tree of Califas – Margaret Garcia – Universal City Station
Join us as we artistically bridge Downtown Los Angeles and Universal City on the Metro Red Line. Meet the artists of the Metro stations who will describe their artwork in the community.
Join us in refreshments plus lunch as we travel along.  
Lunch Will Be Provided By Mama’s Hot Tamales

Tour will be led by Vanessa Acosta, Board member, owner of Cultural Arts Tours and Workshops and founder of the Peace, Culture and Education Center/Foundation. 

Avenue 50 Studio is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the California Community Foundation; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; NALAC Fund for the Arts, Nescafe Clasico and the Ford Foundation; and in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Reservations are required.  Donation:  $50 per person
Please make checks payable to “Avenue 50 Studio”

Avenue 50 Studio, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit art gallery
131 North Avenue 50, Highland Park, CA  90042

 Genealogy Research at Central Library:   Where Do I Start?
A new program to be offered monthly at Central Library for individuals or groups - great for those who are new to genealogy, or new to the Central Library!

Get the most out of your visit to Central Library with this brief orientation to the genealogy collection.  Includes a department tour, catalog and database searching tips, and assistance from a librarian to help plan your research strategy (30 minutes total).

Upcoming Dates:  June 18, July 16, August 20, 11 AM
Meet at reference desk in the History & Genealogy Department 

Mary McCoy
Librarian - History & Genealogy Department
Los Angeles Public Library
630 W. 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Directions to Central Library and parking info available at 



Old Spanish Trail Assn. Conference, June 2-5, Cal Poly Pomona
Legacy Oral History Workshop, August 4-6, San Francisco
Jose G. Pantojas included in California textbook
Once ‘Sin Papeles,’ Latino Rings Pulitzer Bell for LA Times
California and the Civil War by Richard Duree
The Volcano blues by Richard Duree
ALERT: Juana Briones house, one of the 11th most endangered historic sites in the nation, go to: 
• A presentation on "The Californio Vaquero and his Equipment" and a demonstration with a live mule on "Packing a Mule the Old Spanish Way."
    • A report from federal government agency officials involved with the trail: National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service
    • Reports from historians and archaeologists on the route the Old Spanish Trail followed in southern California.
    • Native American panels and speakers focusing on issues from the Indian perspective
    • A talk on "Hispano Oral Histories and Educational Outreach" by Lorri Crawford
    • Former LA Times food writer Charles Perry's session entitled "Cuisines along the Trail: Beef and Mutton Barbacoa."

Takes place at the Kellogg West Hotel, on the Cal Poly campus in Pomona.  Conference information and online registration available at   

Ryan J. Muccio
Old Spanish Trail Association
2011 Assistant Conference Coordinator
760-852-4505 (H)
702-672-6559 (C) 




Jose G. Pantojas included in California textbook


Historian, genealogist, researcher Jose G.  Pantojas now shares his love of early California history in a California 3rd grade textbook.  For several years, José Pantoja and his colleague Patsy Ludwig Castro spent countless hours of volunteer work  of paleographing and translating for The San Jose Historical Museum.  Their expertise in family history research and bilingual facilitated the monumental goal and project of documenting the history of the city of San Jose.  

"Note the white gloves in the photo on the right.  Some of the documents had not been touched in a hundred years.  Text reads:
Imagine that you have been asked to write the history of your community.  How should you begin? First, think of yourself as a historian.  Jose Pantoja has a special interest in history.  He uses primary sources in museums to form of picture of what life was like long ago."

José G. Pantoja is a member of the California Mission Studies Association (CMSA), the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR), the Hispanic Genealogical & Historical Society of Santa Clara County, and has been a recurring guest speaker at symposiums organized by the Basque Studies Project of UNAM.  

Congratulations to José
For more on Jose,

Once ‘Sin Papeles,’ Latino Rings Pulitzer Bell for Los Angeles Times
By Kristian Hernández

Hispanic Link Weekly Report April 28, 2011
Vol. 29, No. 8

LOS ANGELES — He is a testament to the undocumented immigrant student’s hopes and dreams of reaching the summit to
change the world. Rubén Vives, a 32-year-old Los Angeles Times reporter, was awarded the Gold Medal for Public Service, the most prestigious of the Pulitzer Prizes, on April 18, for his work with colleague Jeff Gotlieb exposing corruption in the city of Bell, Calif. Their investigative work led to the indictment of eight city officials on corruption charges.

In a column for Orange Coast Magazine, Shawn Hubler writes about her relationship to Vives and his mother, who once worked
as a nanny for Hubler. “Her son was a 17- year-old high school student then. Quiet. Polite. Smart, too — college-smart, we’d tell the nanny, who’d just smile. Proud, we thought.”

At that young age, Vives faced deportation because of his illegal immigration status. He was brought to California from Guatemala by his mother at age six. Hubler, a former Times employee, helped him gain legal permission to remain in the United

Enrolling in California State University-Fullerton, Vives began working at the Times as a copy messenger and later in a clerical
job. Three years ago, he was given a shot at the Homicide Report, one of the most exhaustive jobs at the Times, according to
coworker James Rainey. Rainey adds in an article for the Times that this is where Vives, among so much death, was “born” as a

Last July Vives and Gotlieb, 57, teamed to cover Bell, a 90%-Latino town of 37,000 residents. When they asked to interview
non-Hispanic city administrator Robert Rizzo, they were denied a meeting. The pair pushed on and uncovered that Rizzo was
the highest-paid city administrator in the nation. His salary was $787,637, they found. 

Unbeknownst to the taxpaying public, other Bell officials were also being over-generously compensated. Police Chief Randy
Adams received a $457,000 annual salary to run a department employing 33 officers and 46 civilian personnel. A few miles away, Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck was paid nearly $100,000 less directing a department of 12,899 civilian personnel and 9,959 officers. Rizzo’s assistant, Angela Spaccia, was paid $376,288, almost equal to President Barrack Obama’s annual wage of $400,000.

Other Times’ journalists who contributed to the story’s research and development included Robert López, Paloma Esquivel,
Héctor Becerra and with editing aid, former Hispanic Link reporter Efraín Hernández. The exposé resulted in eight arrests, including Rizzo and Mayor Oscar Hernández. It also resulted in passage of a bill by the California legislature requiring cities to post their officials’ salaries online.

Charlie Erickson
Source: Hispanic Link
1420 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 234-0280
Thomas Starr King

Thomas Starr King

California and the Civil War

by Richard Duree

On July 4, 1860, a Confederate flag was flown over the Los Angeles main plaza. The brewing animosity between Union and Confederate sympathizers was not limited to the East Coast. California was equally divided between northern (Union) and southern (Confederate) sympathizers. The actions of seceding or of splitting the state into two parts, northern and southern, were hotly debated. This was still the time of free v. slave states and in view of California's immense wealth, that was no small concern; whichever side gained California's support would have gain immense wealth and power.

    At the time, the Governor and most of the Legislature were Confederate sympathizers. A 16,000-member organization, Knights of the Golden Circle, labored actively with politicians and civic leaders to procure the state for the Confederacy and was a powerful force for the Confederate cause.

  Various local militias were formed up and down the state and minor skirmishes between them were well noted. The Sacramento Hussars, founded in 1857 by German immigrants, was the most military-like unit and stood ready to protect the gold shipments through Sacramento from seizure by Confederates.

  One of the most well known incidents of strife was that of the Volcano Blues in the mining town of Volcano in Amador County. To intimidate their Confederate rivals, they obtained a small signal cannon, named it "Old Abe", mounted it on a makeshift carriage and fired it down the main street one evening. Volcano's gold was safe for the Union and the cannon can be seen to this day in an honored spot in Volcano.

  In the meantime, in San Francisco, a small, boyish-looking young man mounted the pulpit of the Unitarian Universalist Church. He had come well recommended and sought after. He had a long and successful career as a circuit preacher and was in demand from Maine to St. Louis. With the Unitarian Church in Boston he had led a strikingly successful congregation and had accepted the San Francisco offer over several others much closer to home because he looked forward to the challenge and the adventure.

   He was to become one of the most important men in California history. His name was Thomas Starr King and he was to be the man most responsible for saving California for the Union.

   At five feet, two inches tall and weighing only 120 pounds, the new minister was not an imposing man and his congregation at first questioned their collective wisdom in offering their pulpit to such an unimposing man. It did not take long for their faith to be restored as the small man began to speak. His rich, golden voice filled the church, his passion filled their hearts, and Thomas Starr King began another crusade – a crusade that was critical to California remaining in the Union.

  Self-educated and self-driven, Starr King was an intense and effective opponent of slavery and was unfazed by pro-slavery opposition to his oratory. On George Washington’s birthday in 1861, he fired an opening salvo in support of his country, speaking for two hours to over a thousand people about how they should remember Washington by preserving the Union.

  Speaking up and down the state, King visited rugged mining camps and said he never knew the exhilaration of public oratory until he faced a front row of men armed with Bowie knives and revolvers.

  His efforts put the Unitarian Church in San Francisco on such sound financial footing that they built a new church. The congregation increased five-fold as people came from far inland to hear him speak. His friend, Edward Everett Hale, who made a similar contribution to saving the Union through his moving story, "The Man Without a Country," said, "Starr King was an orator no one could silence and no one could answer." At one mass rally in San Francisco, 40,000 turned out to hear him speak. A group of Americans living in Victoria, B.C., sent him $1,000 for his work to preserve the Union. King was beginning to turn the tide.  

  He campaigned for Lincoln and managed to help elect both a pro-Union governor and legislature. He was recognized by General Winfield Scott, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army as having saved California for the Union.

  Additionally, he raised funds for the Sanitary Commission and contributed over one-quarter of the funds that supported that life-saving organization.

  Alas, King died shortly before the realization of his passion; diphtheria took his life in March, 1864. Today the little giant is recognized with a mighty peak in the Sierras, which he greatly admired, and his name adorns a number of public schools in California. The state and the nation owe much to his memory.

  Wendte, Charles William (1921). “Thomas Starr King, Patriot and Preacher;” Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. 160–161.  


The Volcano Blues

Richard Duree  


One of the richest mining areas in California’s old Mother Lode was located in a small valley in present day Amador County. Steep hills surrounding the place led the miners who flocked there to call their little community “Volcano.” Today, Volcano is a quiet, way off the beaten path kind of place with a few old abandoned stone buildings, some still-standing stone walls and a couple of active businesses, including the elegant, historic old St. George Hotel, a couple of cafes and a little tea shop.

One could easily miss the inconspicuous little shed sitting next to a building by the side of the street, fronted with chicken wire. A closer inspection would reveal of all things, a small cannon, a small sign, “Old Abe”, and a faded plaque describing the gun’s history.

  And what a history it is. Volcano was heavily populated during the decade of the gold rush and its citizens were a brash mix of Union and Confederate sympathizers in those tumultuous days leading to the Civil War, both of which craved the enormous riches flowing from the mines for their own political gain. Indeed, the Confederacy made numerous attempts in California and the southwest to gain possession of the gold shipments and transportation routes to the South. There were more than a few skirmishes between factions, and thereby lies the tale of “Old Abe.”

  California’s first decade of statehood was a dangerous time. While many Californios became wealthy providing beef to the miners in the north, many others were ruined financially and turned to banditry for fun and profit – and revenge. Joaquin Murrieta, Solomon Pico and Juan Flores were only a few who preyed upon the gringos seizing their property, while enjoying the support and hospitality of their Californio sympathizers.

  The gold seekers themselves were the cause of much concern, their rough and tumble lives were a danger the lives of all; theft and murder were common. And the increasing tension that eventually led to secession of the Confederacy only added to the declining situation.

  To meet these threats to public safety, the California government authorized the establishment of local militias throughout the state to bring some sense of order to the state. The good citizens of Volcano created the Volcano Blues in July, 1861, three months after the Civil War began at Fort Sumter.

  Smartly uniformed in blue tunics and dark trousers, the Blues made a sharp appearance as they drilled in marching and target practice. Even then, they were not confident of their ability to prevent gold theft by Confederate sympathizers and determined that a stronger show of force was necessary. Thus, Old Abe.

  Someone in the Blues knew of an old ship’s signal gun, probably in Stockton on the Sacramento River Delta just 60 miles away and a major supply source for the gold camps. Under cover of night, the signal gun was spirited into the town and secreted away until a wheeled carriage could be cobbled together out of an old wagon axel. The gun was christened “Old Abe” and the Blues waited for a proper time for its introduction.

  The time came as a meeting was convened of noted Rebel sympathizers. Old Abe was loaded with a charge of black powder and shot and wheeled out into the open street. With an announcement that such meetings shall not be tolerated, Old Abe was touched off with a satisfying “boom”, sending its charge harmlessly down the street. The meeting promptly dispersed and no further efforts were made to alter the course of Volcano’s gold.

  Old Abe was hidden away until after the Civil War was settled and almost forgotten. The Blues were decommissioned in 1868, along with many other local militias throughout the state. Fortunately, Old Abe was rediscovered and moved to its modest shed by a little house by a quiet street in the quiet little village of Volcano, a silent reminder of a not so quiet time in California’s history.

Living History Society of Mission San Juan Capistrano has been a colorful part of the Mission for many years, entertaining visitors from around the world and hopefully enriching their visit to the Mission.

  Originally formed by members of Spurs and Satin, San Juan Capistrano’s own Old West re-enactor organization, the Society evolved from the Old West into a more California-history focus and has had some very colorful characters over the years.

  Californios were represented by Don Juan Avila, Maria Soledad Thomasa Capistrano Yorba de Avila, Palonia Montanez and Don Juan Bandini. Father Serra and Gaspar de Portola told the story of the Mission’s earliest days before the rancheros. Richard Henry Dana told of his experiences that led to his tale of the 1830s California hide trade and the life of the seaman. Hippolyte Bouchard once again strode the Mission grounds in magnificent pirate attire. The Bandini sisters, Yisadora and Arcadia, told visitors of their colorful lives married to wealthy Americanos. Judge Richard Egan was on hand to tell the stories of his immense contributions to the Mission’s restoration.

  And there were many more, far too numerous to list here. Alas, many of these members have retired from Living History Society for many reasons. Times and priorities change, new responsibilities emerge, health issues interfere and participation in Living History Society activities will ebb and flow like the tides.

  So . . . now Living History Society is seeking new members who would like to join us in sharing our love and expertise in the great story of California history. Our time span goes from the influx of the first Spanish explorers to the Californio rancheros, the 49ers, American immigrants and settlers, well into the 20th Century. We depict men and women, military and civilian, rich and poor, famous and infamous, lawman and bandit, cleric and legislator – the possibilities are endless. 

  Members generally prepare their own attire and accessories, though assistance and guidance are readily provided in selecting a character and in developing a wardrobe and delivery.

  Living History Society meets at the Mission on the second Saturday of each month with a meeting at 10:30 a.m. We congregate in one of the quads in the courtyard with display tables and share our stories and artifacts until about 2:00 p.m.

  If you like to “dress up”, if you have a particular skill or interest or expertise that would be of interest to our Mission’s visitors, we welcome you to join us and create new characters or replace the ghosts of those who are no longer with us.

  Mission San Juan Capistrano is, to us, one of the most important sites in California, if not Orange County. The town has the oldest community in California in the historic Los Rios district and many of the town’s buildings have been there since statehood in 1850. Visitors come from all over the world to view the famous “Home of the Swallows” and they go away with the stories we tell and the sights they see.

  Living History Society members assist and participate in many of the Mission’s activities, greeting visitors to special events and functions, providing color to events and occasionally representing the Mission at outside functions.

  For information on how to join Living History Society, contact Pat March, the Mission’s Volunteer Coordinator at or simply join us on any Living History Day at the Mission. Contact Richard Duree, LHS Secretary, to confirm meetings:

  We’re looking forward to meeting you.

Source: Living History Society
Editor, Richard Duree, The Historian, Mission San Juan Capistrano
May 2011





La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch, San Luis, Colorado
National Historic Landmark 
Briefing Statement Potential NHL: 

La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch, San Luis, Colorado
Date: March 28, 2011


View of La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch

The National Park Service is now moving forward with a project to nominate La Vega and the San Luis People's Ditch as a National Historic Landmark. Attached is a briefing statement that summarizes the project. The San Luis People's Ditch, as well as the overall significance of acequias within the cultural landscape, is a major component of this history.

National Pattern of History
La Vega and the San Luis People's Ditch are nationally significant under the National Historic Landmark theme  "Peopling Places" for outstandingly representing an important topic in United States history: the expansion of Hispano settlement into a newly acquired region of the American frontier. When Mexico's northern frontier was taken over by the United States in 1848, it brought together two distinct societies that differed linguistically, politically, legally and culturally; it also became a merged space that is both Mexican/Spanish in character and American in place. Embodying Hispano culture and settlement patterns, the community-owned pasture known as La Vega, as well as the San Luis People's Ditch – a community-operated acequia used for irrigation, and the head gate of which is within La Vega – are the best representations of the northward migration of Hispano people into the newly created American frontier, following the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War.

Located within land grants, traditional Hispano settlement patterns included common lands available to residents for such purposes as livestock grazing, firewood collecting, hunting, and timber harvesting. A system of acequias was built to distribute water to agricultural land using hand-dug earthen ditches, with water flowing by gravity from streams. The acequias irrigated extensiones, or narrow, long-lot fields, whose linear expanses sometimes extended several miles, providing settlers with lands of differing character suitable for varying agricultural uses, such as grazing, crop raising, and timber. La Vega and its associated acequia are exceptional examples of the Hispano system of colonization and land use in the American frontier under NHL Criterion 1 in the areas of Exploration and Settlement and Ethnic Heritage/Hispano. 

La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch are physical representations of Hispano settlement, but it is important to note that the larger San Luis Valley also is an exceptional representation of Hispano culture, lifeways and linquistic patterns, as recognized by its inclusion within the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. The National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in 2009 in order to help preserve and protect the environmental, geographical and cultural landscape of this unique area of southern Colorado where Hispano, Anglo, and Native American cultures converged.

Important Association with National Pattern of History
From the 1820s into the 1840s, with the Mexican government unable to sufficiently finance, man  or arm military defensive support in its northern frontier territories, resident American Indian tribes retained control over most of the far northern frontier, along the border of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. To encourage settlement on this isolated northern edge of Mexico, in the 1840s the Mexican government awarded six large land grants.1 Even so, tribal resistance prevented successful permanent occupation by Mexicans, and this area was still void of Mexican settlements at the time of the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War.

After the war, the presence of the U.S. military provided protection from tribal peoples, and Mexican Americans2 pushed northward into undeveloped Colorado (then part of New Mexico), creating communities imbued with established Hispano culture and settlement patterns. Moving onto land grants originally established by Mexico but now part of the United States, the settlers (pobladores) brought traditions of land use, water allocation, and town and farm layout developed during more than two centuries of Spanish and Mexican hegemony.

The 1843 Sangre de Cristo Land Grant, one of the six large land grants, was awarded to Narciso Beaubien and Stephen Luis Lee and covered 998,780 acres. Following the deaths of the original grantees in the Taos revolt of 1847, Carlos Beaubien (Narciso Beaubien's father and Stephen Lee's brother-in-law) acquired the grant. Carlos Beaubien was a more active developer than the previous owners and, after the end of the war, he encouraged residents of the Taos area to move northward and populate the grant.3 To assist and protect people moving into the newly-acquired territory, the United States established Fort Massachusetts in 1852 in the San Luis Valley; Carlos

1 Though details varied, applicants for land grants typically had to agree to cultivate the land and attract settlers.Usually after four years of such development, the grants were finalized.

2 As specified in the treaty, Mexican citizens remaining in America's newly-acquired territory who did not declare
their intention to remain citizens of Mexico would become U.S. citizens after one year.

3 Beaubien may have been motivated by the expected need to prove that he had met Mexican requirements to establish settlements in order to receive confirmation of his grant from the U.S. government. Beaubien leased land to the Army for the military post.

4 Beginning in the early 1850s, San Luis (the oldest, continuously occupied community in Colorado, some fourteen miles north of the current Colorado/New Mexico border) and other nearby villages, including San Pablo, San Pedro, San Acacio, San Francisco, and Chama,  developed in the Culebra Creek watershed of the San Luis Valley. At the center of this settlement pattern within the valley is La Vega, which was established in 1851 as pasture land commonly held by all the residents of the community, and which is still being utilized by descendents of the original settlers

.5 Also included within the nominated area is the San Luis People's Ditch, an 1852 acequia recognized as Colorado's oldest water right. As with La Vega, descendents of the area's original settlers utilize and administer the ditch. Carlos Beaubien explicitly recognized common lands within the Sangre de Cristo Grant in 1863, and a 1916 court case formally delineated the extent of La Vega.

PHYSICAL INTEGRITY: La Vega is a 633-acre communal pasture that lies adjacent (east) to the town of San Luis.

6 Topography within La Vega rises gently from south to north. The southern area along Culebra Creek is a wet and green pasturage with areas of standing water, while the dryer northern area exhibits native vegetation such as rabbit brush, sage, greasewood, and Rocky Mountain aster. La Vega appears to maintain excellent historic physical integrity. The headgate of the San Luis People’s Ditch diverts water from Culebra Creek in the southern part of La Vega. A newer concrete weir impounds the creek’s waters. The short channel to the headgate is lined with corrugated metal panels that also form the up- and downstream faces of the headgate valve structure. Within La Vega, the San Luis People’s Ditch is a narrow, unlined earthen channel. West of Main Street in San Luis, the ditch is lined with concrete for several miles. The western end of the ditch is unlined. The San Luis People’s Ditch appears to maintain very good historic physical integrity.

In terms of comparable properties, although land grants in New Mexico include common lands utilized in a traditional manner, those tracts were established during the period of Mexican jurisdiction for Mexican citizens.

7 By contrast, La Vega is the best representation of land grant common lands resulting from the movement of Hispano people northward from New Mexico after America gained possession of the land from Mexico. In the same way, although there are other acequias in the American Southwest, the San Luis People’s Ditch, which is physically and historically tied to La Vega, is an outstanding representation of the establishment of Hispano 4 In 1858, the fort was relocated about six miles south and renamed Fort Garland; it is currently a museum operated by the State of Colorado.  5 It is assumed that the pobladores began using the common lands upon settlement in the early 1850s because of the typical Mexican land use pattern, even though the legal deed was not created until 1863, when Beaubien was preparing to sell his lands. 6 Local sources report La Vega as 633 acres, although the calculated area from the GIS is 496 acres. 7 Examples of New Mexico land grants with common lands still in traditional uses include Abiquiu (petitioned for land grant in 1825), Anton Chico (1822), Chilili (1841), Cubero (1833), Nuestra Senora del Rosario San Fernando y Santiago (1835) and Tecolote (1824). settlement patterns on newly acquired American land.

On January 19, 2011, IMR NHL and Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program staff met with San Luis residents and the board of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area to discuss the project, with a recommendation that the NHL nomination focus on La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch. The valley and National Heritage Area representatives supported this concept, but are also open to other options discussed below. Local officials are currently working with property owners to gain letters of support for the project

In addition to La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch, other properties were considered for inclusion within the NHL boundary, specifically extensiones or long lot farms that also were established during the Hispano settlement era. There are several extensiones in the vicinity of La Vega and the San Luis People’s Ditch. However, a reconnaissance survey of the area revealed that most of the extensiones, although maintaining their original landscape characteristics, have been substantially altered by non-historic buildings. There also are concerns regarding the ability to get owner consent for numerous adjacent extensiones. The project historians identified the Corpus A. Gallegos Ranch as the best example of an extensione in the area. The ranch is approximately one-half mile from La Vega, and is connected to La Vega only through the San Luis People’s Ditch (which runs through both the ranch and La Vega). The Gallegos family is
willing to have its property included within the NHL. There are concerns, however, that the inclusion of only one extensione is not a sufficient representation of a landscape pattern. For a discussion of these other options, see Front Range Research Associates Memorandum from Thomas H. Simmons and R. Laurie Simmons, Historians, to Christine Whitacre, National Park Service, RE: San Luis NHL-Reconnaissance Survey Results and District Recommendations, October 14, 2010.

For more information, contact Christine Whitacre, 303-969-2882,
Sent by Juan Marinez



Excellent quality photos of Frontier Life in the West
“Salt of the Earth”, 1954 film
Border History Lives On
Federal grant to fund Phoenix-based minority business development center

Excellent quality photos of Frontier Life in the West
Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Grabill is known as a western photographer, documenting many aspects of frontier life — hunting, mining, western town landscapes and white settlers’ relationships with Native Americans. Most of his work is centered on Deadwood in the late 1880s and 1890s. He is most often cited for his photographs in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

All, if you wish to see a good movie, take a look at the 1954 film, “Salt of the Earth”, starring Will Geer.  I saw it through Netflix.  The story based on real events involves a group of manipulated and abused Spanish Mexican mine workers, their wives, and families in Bayard, New Mexico who dare to fight the mine owners regarding working conditions and basic quality of life issues in 1951.  (Many of the roles in the movie are played by the real miners and their families.)  

 For those of you who haven’t seen it, the story has a lot of heart-felt emotion with several sub-stories, Anglo bigotry against Mexicans; Proud Macho Mexicans vs. their strong-willed Mujeres; the use of the Divide and Conquer approach to control the miners, etc.  That’s all I will say about the movie.   

If we sometimes wonder if bigotry and prejudice was really that bad for our people, I can tell you that the film accurately shows that it really was that bad throughout the Southwest.  (Too, you will also notice that we always have had Anglo supporters in our struggle for civil rights.)  Not only that, but the scenario was playing simultaneously in California, the Texas Rio Grande Valley, Three Rivers, Sugarland, etc… The movie provides a backdrop to the horrible social conditions existing in this country right before the 1954 “Class Apart” Decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.  You really need to see it.  Enjoy!  

Saludos, Joe López 




May 7th was the GRAND OPENING of the MUSEO URBANO
500 S. Oregon Street (corner of 3rd and S. Oregon)
El Segundo Barrio, El Paso, Texas

Border History Lives On

Photo of San Ignacio Church orchestra courtesy of Special Collections, UTEP Library

Special thanks is given to the displays and involvement of:
EPT Cruising, Malvados Bike Club, Ben’s Grocery, MEChA del Chuco, UTEP Special Collections
 For more information, contact the Department of History at UTEP at 747-5508
Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 

Dancing to the soaring cumbia sounds of Frontera Bugalu, a large crowd inaugurated El Paso’s newest gem this month. The fruit of patient planners and grassroots visionaries, Museo Urbano (Urban Museum) is now a reality.

Located at 500 South Oregon Street in the heart of El Paso’s historic Segundo Barrio, the volunteer-run museum came about through the efforts of local author David Romo and historian Dr. Yolanda Leyva, as well as the dedication of University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) students and neighborhood residents who devoted time and energy to a project aimed at preserving and popularizing their history.

Museo Urbano opens new intellectual doors for understanding El Paso’s historical roots and cultural legacies, Romo told Frontera NorteSur in an interview.

“Segundo Barrio has never been declared a historic district and some of the more affluent areas in El Paso have,” Romo said. “Segundo Barrio is arguably one of the most important places of the Mexican diaspora. It is our Ellis Island.”

Nestled on the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo and facing Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the Segundo Barrio has been the bridge between two nations. The working-class neighborhood has been the new home for multiple generations of immigrants, and has been fertile ground for political-cultural explosions like the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. And that’s just for starters.

Occupying one end of an old but still inhabited tenement, Museo Urbano contains images, words and items of a complex and ever-evolving border history.

The museum’s walls display old photos that show, among other things, an ESL class for Chinese immigrants circa 1905 and the old towers of the American Smelting and Refining Company that became the geographic guideposts to El Paso and which are now scheduled for a controversial demolishing. An electronic screen flashes pictures from the May 1911 Battle of Juarez,
a crucial event in determining the course of the Mexican Revolution.

A display of traditional herbs is another addition to the museum’s treasure trove, and considerable space is devoted to the story of curandera Teresita Urrea, the well-known healer, spiritualist and community activist of the early  20th century. Museo Urbano also offers books for sale on subjects like the Mexican Revolution and the calo slang born in the streets of El Paso.

In a big way, though, Museo Urbano is merely the portal of a much bigger and living museum- the Segundo Barrio and downtown El Paso.

The museum’s founders have taken the time to prepare a detailed brochure and map any member of the public can use to undertake an 18-stop walking tour of historic sites in the Segundo Barrio and adjacent downtown.

Visits of possible interest include buildings that hosted early
newspapers, theaters, labor organizations, hotels and Mexican
revolutionary Pancho Villa’s consulate.

Museo Urbano’s description of La Patria Newspaper Press might remind readers of contemporary issues of press freedom and repression in Mexico. According to the museum, publisher Silvestre Terrazas, a fierce opponent of dictator Porfirio Diaz, was sued 150 times, imprisoned 12 times and sentenced to death by the strongman’s government.

A hundred years ago, we learn, El Paso was the nerve center of political intrigues, gunrunning operations and cross-border revolutionary causes.

The museum brochure quotes the legendary journalist and international revolutionary chronicler John Reed:

“El Paso, Texas, is the Supreme Lodge of the Ancient Order of Conspirators of the World. The personnel changes from year to year, but its purpose is always the same-to destroy the existing government of Mexico…a junta is in session at all hours of the day and night-revolutionary juntas, counter-revolutionary juntas and counter-counter revolutionary juntas.”

The building that houses Museo Urbano is a historic site itself, Romo stressed, sheltering a brothel of sorts at one point and later one of the Lebanese-Mexican families which were influential in the development of the sister cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso.

“To understand the history of a single building, you got to kind of understand the history of the world,” Romo observed.

The chair of UTEP’s history department, Dr. Yolanda Leyva collaborated with Romo in laying the groundwork for Museo Urbano. The recent Centennial commemoration of the 1910 Mexican Revolution finally “opened the door for us,” Leyva told Frontera NorteSur, and a small grant from Humanities Texas allowed the museum to begin operating.

“We need to keep this alive,” Leyva said. “Our money runs out June 15. We need to create an endowment.”

Leyva said neighborhood residents, including people who live in the same building housing Museo Urbano, have welcomed the project with enthusiasm. Inspired by the museum, local youth have painted murals on the walls surrounding the building, she said.

In celebrating a past history, the young people are making one of their own. Tears, reminiscences and joyful expressions have all surrounded the museum’s opening, Leyva added.

UTEP’s public historian recalled meeting one woman who showed off an old United Farm Workers membership card and recounted how she participated in a strike back in 1955-long before the farmworkers’ union was even founded.

Printed in the El Paso Times, a wrong starting time for the inaugural celebration actually benefited the event, Leyva added. The newspaper story listed an earlier time than was really the case, Leyva said, encouraging elderly people who tend to go to bed early to show up in the early afternoon. Consequently, Leyva said she then got a wonderful earful of new stories about the Segundo Barrio of the 1920s and 1930s.

“We wouldn’t have gotten the 80 or 90 year-olds at 5 o’clock,” Leyva chuckled, “so thank God for that mistake.”

Sitting down after putting long hours at the museum’s grand opening, Leyva agreed she had experienced a “magical day.”

For Romo, Museo Urbano is far more than just a physical space where visitors can relive the past.

The author of a book on El Paso’s deep relationship with the Mexican Revolution, Romo characterized the museum as a project that represents a counter-narrative to elite versions of history, a people’s history from the point of view and experiences of “los de abajo,” or those at the bottom of society.

In a wider context, El Paso’s celebration of Museo Urbano comes at precisely the same time students and educators in Arizona are waging an intense battle to keep a highly-praised Mexican-American studies program from being dismantled by state mandate.

Locally, Museo Urbano marks a triumph for the Segundo Barrio, which was slated for urban redevelopment a few years ago until protests by residents forced modifications to the city plan.

Museo Urbano, Romo said, is a concrete example of a historic preservation project that avoids the fate of places like the old Roma Hotel and Emporium Bar, which were important in Pancho Villa's El Paso adventures but nonetheless later razed to the ground. In their place, a Burger King now stands.

“Revitalization to us is problematic because a lot of the time it is ‘devitalization’,” Romo reflected.

In contrast, “You can see the strength of the community, you can feel it,” he said, as groups of people-many of them young-filed through the new museum or twirled outside to the beat of Frontera Bugalu.

“We’re giving a positive vision of why our history and space are so important,” the borderland scholar summarized.

Both Leyva and Romo credited the hard work of UTEP students for making Museo Urbano possible. For now, the museum will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. Fundraisers and summer workshops  are either in the works or already scheduled for the summer months.

Interested persons can find out more about Museo Urbano by calling the UTEP Department of History at 915-747-5508. The museum also maintains a Facebook page under its name.

-Kent Paterson

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

For a free electronic subscription email:
Sent by Dorinda Moreno


Federal grant to fund Phoenix-based minority business development center


PHOENIX, AZ -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has approved a contract worth nearly $1.5 million over the next five years to fund the federal Minority Business Development Agency Business Center in Arizona.
The Phoenix office is one of 27 MBDA Business Centers nationwide known as Minority Business Center's (MBCs), which are designed to create jobs and promote economic growth among minority-owned businesses in the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Phoenix office is the only one in Arizona.

"The economic health of Arizona and our nation depends more and more each day on the growth and success of its minority-owned businesses," said Alika Kumar, director of the MBDA Business Center in Phoenix. "We're focused on fostering that growth."

Kumar said her staff will be actively involved in securing large public and private contracts, financing transactions, stimulating job creation and retention, and facilitating access to global markets.

The MBC in Phoenix (formerly known as the Arizona Minority Business Enterprise Center) is operated by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but is mandated to assist eligibleminority-owned businesses. Kumar said the Phoenix center is slated to receive $290,000 a year for the next five years, though the renewal of the contract is contingent on the center meeting its annual performance goals. The funding is used to cover the center's operating expenses. 

"We're proud and gratified the [MBC] contract was renewed," said AZHCC President and CEO Gonzalo de la Melena. "Phoenix is now a minority-majority city, a sign that that our nation's diversity is growing. This center will help our state and our country build a solid foundation of minority-owned firms."

To meet federal performance goals, Arizona's MBC must help facilitate $76 million worth of transactions this year. That is more than double last year's goal, and the figure rises to $98 million in the contract's second year and $118 million in the third. The center also must provide evidence that it is creating jobs. 

"The MBDA Business Center program has shown remarkable success," said David Hinson, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency. "MBCs are catalysts for minority business development, and by investing in these centers at the local level, we will see reverberating effects throughout the national economy."

The MBDA's 27 centers are located in areas with significant minority business activity, according to the federal agency's website. A major goal of the centers is to help minority-owned businesses increase exports as part of President Obama's National Export Initiative. A new Commerce Department directive allows local offices to enter into cooperative agreements with MBC offices nationwide.

"Minority-owned businesses excel at exporting," said Hinson, "and with unique language and cultural connections to other countries, they are exporting powerhouses with great potential for growth."

Minority-owned companies with annual revenues of more than $1 million, or firms that participate in high-growth industries (green technology, clean energy, health care, infrastructure and broadband technology, and others) can learn more about the MBC in Arizona should call 602-248-0007, email or visit

Contact: Alika Kumar, executive director MBDA Business Center, 602-248-0007, or; James E. Garcia, director of communications for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 602-460-1374, (Photos available upon request.)

Sent by James E. Garcia


  The Threads of Memory: Spain and The United States, May 11–July 10, 2011
  May Day in Milwaukee: Solidarity March for Immigrant and Worker Rights
  Amtrak Honors Hispanic Contributions to the Nation's Railroads

82nd Annual LULAC National Convention 
  Cincinnati, OH from June 27 through July 2, 2011.
  Information/registration, contact LULAC National Office at (202) 833-6130.

 Lateral view of a French ship [Belle], 1684; Seville, Archivo General de Indias, MP-Ingenios y Muestras,

The Threads of Memory: Spain and The United States

For more than 300 years, Spanish explorers navigated, charted and settled much of the continent of North America and its waterways. These early colonists left an indelible imprint across the southern United States, their heritage embedded in the histories of our lands, rivers, bays and gulfs. This summer, a traveling exhibition coming to the Gulf Coast examines the centuries-old ties between the two countries—ties dating to the early 16th century, stretching through the charting of the Mississippi and the settlement of the West, and remaining vibrant today.


The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States (El Hilo de la Memoria: España y los Estados Unidos) marks the U.S. debut of nearly 140 rare documents, maps, illustrations and paintings, many of which have never been displayed outside of Spain. The exhibition opens May 11 at The Historic New Orleans Collection, the final stop on a limited, three-city American tour. The Threads of Memory will be on view through July 10.

The survival of these extraordinary materials, selected from the Archive of the Indies in Seville, is a testament to Spain’s pride in its role in the formation of the United States. The exhibition offers an opportunity to celebrate a common but often overlooked heritage.

The Threads of Memory is divided into 10 sections, each exploring a different aspect of Spanish colonial history, such as early exploration in Florida, the Spanish administration of Louisiana and Spain’s role in the American Revolution.

“While Louisiana is frequently identified with France, the importance of Spain to the development of Louisiana and the Gulf South is more critical than what immediately meets the eye,” said Alfred E. Lemmon, director of the Williams Research Center at THNOC.

“When horrible fires destroyed New Orleans in 1788 and 1794, Spanish officials enacted far more stringent building codes, which protected many of the buildings you see today. They even helped protect the French language by issuing proclamations in French and in Spanish, publishing a French newspaper and encouraging the immigration of French St. Dominguan and Acadian refugees.”

New Orleans is the final city on the exhibition’s American tour. Prior to the display here, The Threads of Memory was on view at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe and the El Paso Museum of History in Texas. Following its Gulf South visit, all materials will return to the Spanish archives.

“New Orleans is a key point in this exhibition, a perfect city for its closure,” said curator Falia González Díaz. “And there could be no better place in New Orleans to present the exhibition than The Collection’s building on Royal Street, which is a Spanish colonial home.”

The exhibition is presented in English and in Spanish, with an accompanying full-color, bilingual catalogue detailing all of the documents on display and featuring essays on Spanish missions in the New World, Louisiana under Spanish rule and Spain’s role in the emergence of the United States. The catalogue is available in The Shop at The Collection for $65.

The Threads of Memory: Spain and the United States
(El Hilo de la Memoria: España y los Estados Unidos)
May 11–July 10, 2011
The Historic New Orleans Collection
533 Royal Street
Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
For more information: 

The Threads of Memory is organized by The Historic New Orleans Collection, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Spanish Ministry of Culture with support from the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. Falia González Díaz of the Archive of the Indies curated the exhibition, which is sponsored by Fundación Rafael del Pino.

Sent by Sent by Paul Newfield III and
Bill Carmena


Good Morning my friend. Wanted to keep you updated on May Day in Milwaukee. This was the first year that I participated in the march. The annual march started in 2006 which was a response to U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) when he introduced a bill to criminalize illegal immigration. Another purpose of the march this year was to bring even more awareness to the current chaos in the State of Wisconsin relative to Gov. Scott Walker and his attacks on workers rights and collective bargaining. To see the labor movement join in the march on the immigration issues was very fulfilling. It certainly shows our solidarity. It was also a personal issue for me, being able to spend the day with two Primos, Arcadia and George. Arcadia had a personal interest in the march. Being born in Chicago, IL and recently being asked to produce her birth certificate by a government agency. THIS Mimi shows just a shadow of our current discrimination. Even though Arcadia and I both having our Hispanic heritage, I have never been asked to produce my birth certificate. Why? It is very evident that the determining factor is the color of my skin, when comparing it to my Prima’s.

I cannot even imagine the impact of those living in the states of CA and AZ. What encouragement for all of those in attendance as the crowd cheered, "Si, se puede."

Sent by Patti Navarrette,

Amtrak Honors Hispanic Contributions to the Nation's Railroads CHICAGO, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Amtrak, in a partnership with the National Museum of American History, will feature an exhibit at Chicago Union Station that honors the contributions of thousands of Mexicans to the nation's railroads on National Train Day, May 7, 2011.  

The exhibit, open to the public from 11am to 4pm, will highlight the impact the Braceros had in the lives of Mexicans while they participated in the construction and maintenance of the railroads and include a display of tools that were used during that period, audio-visual images and excerpts of interviews with former Braceros.  
During the event, University of Illinois Historian Mike Amezcua, Ph.D., will discuss the importance of the Braceros guest worker in the history of the railroads as well as the Mexican migration and settlement in the region.  Former Braceros Baldomero Capiz and Pablo Velasquez will join the celebration and share their personal railroad experiences with the audience.

An estimated 14,000 track workers were needed to maintain working rail lines across the U.S.  Facing labor shortages caused by World War II, the United States initiated a series of agreements with Mexico to recruit Mexican men to work on U.S. farms and railroads. These agreements became known as the Braceros program, since it is a term used in Mexico for a manual laborer.

In 1943, the first groups of men ventured across the U.S. to work for railroads such as Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Burlington and many others.  Mexican track workers could be found between New York and Maryland, St. Louis and Chicago and from San Diego to San Francisco.  More than 130,000 Mexican men were contracted to more than 30 railroads.

National Train Day commemorates the 142nd anniversary of the transcontinental railroad.  In addition to the Braceros exhibit, there will be many fun activities throughout the station for the whole family to enjoy. Train cars will be open and other trains will be on display for the public to tour and explore. All activities are free and open to the public on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Union Station, 225 South Canal Street, Chicago.

For more information about National Train Day events, visit


  Atalaya School by Ricardo Palacios 
"Lost Laredo" Exhibit Reveals city's Vanished Architectural Gems
  Testimony Presented to the Texas State Board of Education, April 6, 2011
  The Green Flag Republic and the Battle of Medina

by Ricardo Palacios

Okay Odie, here's the scoop.  I found this old picture amongst my Tio Juan Salinas' collection.  It is a picture of students and the teacher at an old Webb County school on the Salinas Ranch where I live today.  I am sending the photo and a list of the people in the photo.  There is an inscription at the bottom of the photo, that is barely legible saying that it was taken November 29, 1922, the photographer's name is illegible C__________ Photo Co.  I only recognize two people in the photo, my uncle Tony Salinas, younger brother of Tio Cowboy Juan Salinas, he's the guerito in the black coat, three away from the teacher, and the other Ramon Flores, dear friend of mine and of Tio Juan's, he is right in front of Tony.  Poor guy notice he had no shoes.  He's to be proud of.  He got a job with the railroad as a young man, and grew up to be a fine man, father, grand father.  He educated all his kids that wanted an education.  All college grads except one.
I told you earlier that I had heard Mr. Joe Finley Sr. give a speech at half time of a United High School football game about 50 years ago.  Yesterday I visited with Joe Finley Jr., and he confirmed the facts I heard at the earlier speech and provided more tidbits.
The story goes as follows:
Back in the day there were several Webb County school in the County.  There was Krueger School northwest of Encinal, a Salinas School on the Martinena Road about three miles southeast of Encinal, the Salinas Ranch School, about a quarter of a mile south east of the Salinas homestead, (where I live today) called the Atalaya School.  Do not know the origin of the name Atalaya.  There was another school on the Donato Guerra Ranch, La Becerra School, in the Soldadito Area ?, ranch presently owned by his grandson, Laredo attoreny Donato Ramos.  There was a school at Cactus about where the north Borth Patrol station is situated on Interstate 35 north of Laredo, there was the Webb School at Webb, Texas, about mile marker 20 on IH 35, where the Armando Riojas Ranch is located today, and to the Finleys recollection there was Johnson School situated just south of Laredo on what was then the Gutierrez ranch, later to become the Link Ranch.Later the Krueger, and both Salinas Schools, as well as the Cactus and Webb Schools were consolidated by Superintendent Elmore H. Borchers, into the Callaghan Ranch School.  These buldings still exist on a hill just north of Callaghan Ranch Headquarters, and just south of the Border Patrol Station.  All that exists of the Atalaya School is the flag pole, an iron pipe about 1 and a half inches in diameter about twenty feet up in the air.  Can't speak for Krueger School, but the Salinas, Cactus and Webb buildings are gone.
About the late 1950s, the Finley, Dick and Link families, as well as Jack Martin, pushed and held an election, forming the United Indepentent School Disrict, forming it out of the Webb County School District.  Thus all of the schools were consolidated into what was known as Nye Elementary School in Santa Maria Avenue in Laredo.  The students were then bussed to the school from all over the county. 
After that United High School was built, the one with the cheese walls on Del Mar Boulevard, and the rest is history---the huge UISD that we know today.  Busing still takes place.

I got interested in this photo when I got a notice from Webb County Heritage Foundation advertising  a photo contest.  In search of photos of Laredo and Webb County that have historical significance.  I can't say my photo has historical significance, but it has an interesting story, and I will enter the contest and the public will no be able to view this photo.  Winning photos will be showcased in the 2012 Historic Laredo Calendar.  All entries must be in 8 X 10 format on unmatted, unframed, matte paper, to the WCHF P. O. Box 446, Laredo, TX  78042, by Friday July 29, 2011.
S'all for now.  Regards, Ricardo Palacios
p.s.  Joe Finley, Jr. says that the man with a wealth of information on the UISD is Elias Herrera.  Might be worth interviewing for a really long story, with accuracy and detail.
Another tidbit on the Atalaya School here at the ranch.  My mother Mucia Salinas Palacios, graduated from Laredo High School in 1926.  She was immediately enlisted to go to UT Austin for the summer to obtain an emergency teaching certificate.  Thereafter she taught at the Atalaya for 16 years.  She walked from the house to the little hill just south of the rodeo arena about a quarter of a mile.  This was also my brother Abe's first school.  Pre school actually.  After Momma had Abe, and he was old enough to attend, she would take him with her instead of leaving him at the house for my grandma, Mama Minne Light Salinas to care for.  During the summer Mom would move with Abe and my sister Angela Palacios Shipton, to Kingsville to take as many courses as she could, at Texas A & I.  They became good friends with the Cavazos family of Kineno fame.  She did this for several years.
I was born in 1943.  When I was five years old off I went to Ursuline Academy for the first grade.  Thereafter Momma began substitute teaching in the LISD.  Then she started taking summer classes at A & I, until she was finally able to get her Bachelor's degree in 1957, I remember attending commencement exercises in a sweltering auditorium.  That same year my sister Angela graduated from Ursuline Academy, and I graduated from the Eighth Grade at St. Joseph's academy  Three graduations in one year.  


I have lots of genealogy information.  We are from  Tomas Sanchez  
through the Bartolome Garcia line. 

Ricardo Palacio is the author of Tio Cowboy.  Review in Somos Primos.





Laredo, Texas – The Southwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with the Webb County Heritage Foundation, announces a unique exhibit of rare photographs spotlighting the lost architectural heritage of Laredo. The public is cordially invited to attend an opening reception for the “Lost Laredo” exhibit on Wednesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, 810 Zaragoza St. 

This collection of images recalls a time of stately, downtown mansions, classic commercial structures, modest bungalow residences, lost historic plazas and school buildings. Curated by the NTHP’s South Texas Outreach Coordinator Jesús Najar, who works with the Webb County Heritage Foundation in Laredo, this never-before seen group of photographs documents, among other adversities, the decision to extend Interstate Highway 35 through a large section of historic downtown Laredo.
In addition to showcasing the treasure of architectural diversity that once made up Laredo’s historic neighborhoods, the exhibit also addresses problems such as piecemeal demolition in these areas, as well as inappropriate repairs and additions to valuable historic resources due to lack of financial resources, historic education, and adequate historic preservation ordinances.

“The South Texas Community Outreach Program of the National Trust for Historic  Preservation considers Laredo as an opportunity to bring the city residents together to protect, enhance, and enjoy their community. By saving the places where the important moments of everyday life took place, the National Trust, through the South Texas Outreach Program, aims to help revitalize South Texas communities, spark economic development, and promote environmental sustainability through leadership, education, advocacy and resources thus supporting and empowering local historic preservation initiatives,” said Najar.

“The purpose of this exhibit is to document and display some of the most significant architectural losses in Laredo and to suggest recommendations for the preservation and revitalization of historic resources in this area. Historic preservation promotes and protects the health, safety, prosperity, education, comfort of the people living in, and visiting Laredo. Preservation of Laredo’s past provides continuity of Laredo’s heritage,” he said.

For more information, contact Jesús Najar at the Webb County Heritage Foundation,
(956) 727-0977 or

Sent by Walter Herbeck



Testimony Presented to the Texas State Board of Education 
April 6, 2011
This is the testimony presented to the Texas State Board of Education by the Tejano Genealogy Society as a group, April 6th, 2011. We were successful in having Bernardo de Galvez and Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara included to the 7th grade curriculum.

Dan Arellano

These comments address the Proposed Draft of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Social Studies, Grades 4-8. 

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to provide suggestions pertaining to the Proposed Draft of the Social Studies curriculum.  A group of citizens concerned about the way early Texas history is taught to our students met several times and drafted a comprehensive report of suggestions to be included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). They focus on Grades 4-8.

First, we wish to applaud the second draft of the seventh grade social studies draft.  There is evidence that attempts have been made to include more early history that describes the contributions of Spanish-Mexican settlers to Texas.

In the fourth grade, the second draft was minimally revised and needs to be coordinated with seventh grade.

The 4 and 7 grades draft state that “students will study the history of Texas from early times to the present”.  Yet, the first 300 years of Texas history, from 1591 to 1836 is either omitted or given very little attention.  It is like starting U. S. history in 1836 and leaving out the Pilgrims and the Revolutionary War.  It is time to tell the true story of Texas.  It is time to give credit to Jose Escandon, the first impresario who established 23 different settlements along the Rio Grande. He brought families from Mexico that culminated in the present day cities of Laredo, Zapata, and  Brownsville, and countless other small communities. The stories of our Spanish Mexican ancestors are no less impressive than the first English colonists in the East Coast and even more germane to Texas. The students of this state should learn about these stories. It was my Spanish-Mexican ancestors who established a lifeline of presidios, missions, pueblos and ranches. Some of the members of this committee can trace their ancestors to the first land grants and ranches of South Texas.

The role Tejano women in the documents is appalling. Yet, Tejano women played a crucial role in early Texas history. It was Patricia De Leon, cofounder of Victoria, Texas, which provided the funds for her husband, Martin to colonize Texas. It was Mrs. De Leon that recovered her lands through legal battles after the Texas Revolution. Two prominent early ranchers were Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balli and Petra Vela Kennedy. Later, a Tejana, Adina de Zavala. helped save the Alamo from destruction through her chapter of the Daughters of Republic of Texas. There are several historical books that attest to the contributions of Tejano women. 

Our recommendation is to recognize the first efforts of Texans to win independence from Spain and then later to become independent from the central government of Mexico.  Before the Alamo, a group of Texans revolted against the Spanish government and established the first Republic of Texas on April 6,1813. The first president was Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara and he signed and issued the first Texas Constitution.  Yet, current social studies textbooks do not mention him or the battles that raged across Texas at this time that cost the lives of many at Nacogdoches, La Bahia, Rosillo. Bexar, and Medina. 

In sum, telling the true story of Texas is important because in a few years, the majority of students in the public schools will be of Spanish-Mexican heritage. By developing a knowledge and appreciation for their historical roots, their identity will be enhanced and pride in their ancestors will be engendered.  Possibly, the high school graduation rate of Hispanics could be increased.

Recently, the 77th legislature approved  funds to build a Tejano monument that will recognize the contributions of our Spanish Mexican ancestors. Let us build on this step by making the suggested changes to the proposed social studies draft. Our report containing these suggestions is being distributed to you.

 Respectfully submitted,
Anita Sylvia Garcia, Ph.D.
Andres Tijerina, Ph.D.
Jose Antonio Lopez
Geneva Sanchez
Dan Arellano
Minnie Wilson



The Green Flag Republic and the Battle of Medina


Dear Mimi, I noticed that there is now more interest on Texas History prior to 1836 and in particular the First Texas Republic and the Battle of Medina. Here is the testimony I presented to the Texas State Board of Education tJanuary 2010 and this is the reason it is now in the 7th grade curriculum. I firmly believe that the truth of Texas history must be shared so it does not become myth like the Battle of the Alamo. The Battle of Medina was the Tejano Thermopylae of Texas and it was our ancestors that stood and fought to the last man.  Dan Arellano

 The Green Flag Republic and the Battle of Medina

April 1812-August 18, 1813

 These comments address the Proposed Draft of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Social Studies, Grades 4-8. 

The official Texas State Historian, appointed by Governor Rick Perry and head of the History Department at Texas State University, Dr. J. Frank de la Teja, says in the April edition of Texas Monthly that “when we celebrate March 2nd as Texas Independence Day, we should also remember April 6th 1813.” 

Author, Historian and Past President of the Texas State Historical Association, Robert Thonhoff, says that this era in Texas History has “been swept underneath the proverbial rug of history.” 

Texas History does not begin with the arrival of Stephen F. Austin, there were not six flags over Texas, there were seven and Texas is the only state in the union (other than Hawaii)that can proudly boast that we were a Republic before we became a state in this great nation, however, the truth is we have been a Republic on two different occasions, we have three Declarations of Independence and three written constitutions. 

In April of 1812 when the Republican Army of the North crosses the Sabine River into Spanish Texas, flying the Emerald Green Flag of Liberty, Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara and Augustus Magee bring with them 142 American and 158 Tejano volunteers. This all volunteer rag tag army would be successful in every battle and every skirmish beginning with the capture of Nacogdoches, Trinidad, the four month siege of the presidio in Goliad, the Battle of Rosillio, the capture of San Antonio and the Battle of Alazan. 

Unfortunately, Spain was still a super power and would send an army to quash the revolution. As the Republican Army of the North sets out on August 18th, 1813 to, what would become the biggest and bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil. “The Battle of Medina,” it consisted of approximately three hundred Americans, one to two hundred Native Americans and eight to nine hundred Tejanos. The well trained and disciplined Spanish and Mexican Army, under the leadership of General Joaquin de Arredondo, had approximately 1800 combatants. The Republicans were ambushed and out of the 1400 only one hundred would survive, ninety of those survivors would be Americans, which proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the ones with the most to lose would fight the hardest and that the Tejanos and their Native American allies stood and fought to the last man. 

The following day as the victorious Spanish Army marches in to San Antonio four hundred Tejanos would be arrested and crammed in to a make shift prison and over night, seventeen would suffocate in the scorching heat of night. The next day several would be released, however three hundred twenty seven would be detained and executed. Three a day would be taken out and shot, beheaded then their heads were displayed around the square for all to see as a lesson to those that revolt against their Spanish Monarch. 

No one would be spared the wrath of Arredondo, not even the women and children. Around three hundred of the wives, mothers and daughters of the Tejanos would be imprisoned, many of them would be brutally and repeatedly raped, several dying as a result of the brutality. The women were forced on their knees from 4 in the morning till 10 at night to grind the corn to make the tortillas to feed the despised Spanish army. And through the windows of their make shift prison the mothers could see their children searching for food and shelter. 

Short lived as it may have been, this Republic was a real Republic and this was a real revolution, a revolution of the people, by the people, and for the people and these were my ancestors, they were your ancestors, they were our ancestors, and they paid a tremendous price for wanting to be free. 

We must teach our students that freedom is not free and will never be free and we believe that depriving our students of this part of Texas history is an injustice and an insult to their integrity.

Respectfully submitted, 
Dan Arellano


  Volume Five of “Families of General Teran, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
  Nuestros Ranchos: Genealogy of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes

  A Priest, son of a GUERRA Ancestor by Eddie U. Garcia
  Don Juan Davis Bradburn por Tte. Cor. Ricardo Raúl Palmerín Cordero 
  Personajes en la Historia de Mexico por Jose Leon Robes de la Torre 
     Francisco León de la Barra       
     Franciso Madera 
  Forma correcta de escribir el nombre del Presidente Madero
     por Maria Elena Laborde y Perez Trevino 
  Raices Francesas en Mexico A.C.
  Zitacuaro is the most significant historic city in ALL of Mexico!

I have posted online Volume Five of “Families of General Teran, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.”  

This volume has information on the 351 marriage records for the years spanning 1830-1834. The church records used as a primary source for this book are available as digital images to view, print or download for free at in the Mexican Church Records browse image collection for General Teran. 
The index found on page 275 is a complete listing of all the people found in this volume. If you want to purchase a hard copy of this or previous volumes contact at

 Crispin Rendon


Nuestros Ranchos
Genealogy of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes

Congratulations to:
Grupo Genealógico Nuestros Ranchos Genealogy Group
They have organized a system whereby serious genealogists actively searching for lineages in the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes of Mexico can support one another.  Highly recommended.

Este grupo es para genealogistas serios quienes buscan linajes en los estados de Jalisco, Zacatecas y Aguascalientes. Para ver este sitio en español, 
haga click aquí.

A Priest, son of a GUERRA Ancestor 
by Eddie U. Garcia
The protocolos from the City of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico have revealed numerous facts about individuals and how they lived. The names of important people appear in wills from the 16th Century and in some cases more than once. 
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico is not unique in having protocalos that were preserved since that city was founded in 1596.  Different types of documents reveal numerous facts about individuals, the Church, the Spanish Crown, and their form of government.  In a protocalos Domingo GUERRA was referred to as Bachiller, Presbitero, Vicario y Juez Eclesiastico del valle del Pilon y villa de Cadereyta.  With the aide of a dictionary with Spanish Colonial Terms and Phrases the following information was acquired:
  1)  Bachiller:  Holding a Bachelor's degree, less common and more prestigious in the 16th Century than at present; The honorific title of a secular priest.
  2)  presbitero:  priest    
  3)  vicario:   vicar
  4)  vicar:  One exercising power in the name of another rather than by their own right. The authority is called vicarious.
  5)  Jues Eclesiastico:  Ecclesiastical Judge
  6)  beneficio:  A ecclesiasticial office with income attached;
  7)  curato:  Parish Admininistration by a secular clergy;
  8)  testimonio:  written testimony of a witness, deposition;
  9)  protocalos:  The name given to the book generated and preserved by the notary publics, notarial books.
This excerpt from church protocalos was provided by Crispin Rendon:  
"Escrito presentado por el Bachiller Domingo Guerra, Presbitero, Vicario y Juez Eclesiastico del valle del Pilon y villa de Cadereyta, reproduciendo la protesta presentada ante Francisco Sanchez de Robles, comisionado por el Obispo de Guadalajara, por la orden dictada por este para la entrega de todos los cuartos de beneficio de este Reino, que eran Monterrey, Cadereyta, Cerralvo, Boca de Leones, Linares, San Mateo del Pilon, valle de San Antonio y valle de Labradores, y que el entrego el suyo por obediencia y por haber sido aterrorizado por los feligreses con censura Vicas; y protestado asi mismo por la nomina para nuevos curas. Ante el Gobernador Francisco Baez Treviño. Testimonio autorizado por Francisco de Mier Noriega, Escribano Publico, en igual fecha."
Other documents indicate that Domingo GUERRA was a priest, the son of Capitan Ignacio GUERRA CAÑAMAR and (2) Catalina Fernandez Tijerina.  Padre GUERRA was christened on 23 Aug 1668 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  In this protocalos there was written testmony.  In that era he held a very presigious Bachelor's Degree which was a honorific title of a secular priest.  His vicarious authority from the Bishop of Guadalajara included titles of Vicar and Ecclesiastical Judge.  Bachiller Domingo GUERRA was an administrator of a parish with Pilon Valley and villa de Cadereyta. The Church was in the communities mentioned with parishes that were in the Diocese of Guadalajara.   
Eddie U Garcia.
1. The Vicar title is still used today for the Parish Pastor; also in a Vicariate. The Vicariate
   is a geographical area of parishes grouped together in a Diocese and it has a Vicar.
2. Capitan Ignacio GUERRA CAÑAMAR and (1) Maria GARZA were my ancestors. She had a brother Fray
   Juan P CAVAZOS who was also priest.


                Capitan Ignacio GUERRA CAÑAMAR and Maria GARZA, the parents of Bachiller Domingo GUERRA 


·        Antonio GUERRA CAÑAMAL was born in Villa de Llanes, Asturias, Spain.  He married (1) Catalina VELA;    (2) Maria PORRAS, born abt 1570 in Villa de Llanes, Spain.

·        Capitan Antonio GUERRA CAÑAMAR, born 26 Jun 1603 in Llanes, Astruias, Spain. He married on 22

Dec 1624 in Mexico City, D.F., Mexico City, Mexico Lucia FERNANDEZ RIO FRIO, born about 1603 in Montanas de Castilla, Spain, daughter of Alonso LOPEZ RIO FRIO and Maria VALENCIA.

·        Capitan Ignacio GUERRA CAÑAMAR, christened 6 Nov 1633 in Mexico City, D.F., Mexico; died on 7 Dec 1701 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; buried 7 Dec 1701 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He married (1) Maria GARZA, born in Nuevo Leon, Mexico; died on 17 Dec 1675 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; daughter of Alcalde Ordinario Juan CAVAZOS and Elena GARZA; (also the mother of Bachiller Domingo GUERRA, a Secular Priest, christened 23 Aug 1668 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; He  m. (2) Catalina FERNANDEZ TIJERNIA, daughter of Capitan Gregorio FERNANDEZ TIJERINA & Beatriz GONZALEZ;

·        Capitan Antonio GUERRA CAÑAMAR, born 2 Jan 1772, christened 4 Jan 1772 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; married Antonia GARZA, the daughter of Capitan Nicolas GARZA and Maria TREVINO.

·        Francisca GUERRA married Juan Jose GARZA.

·        Maria Ana Josefa GARZA married on 29 Mar 1755 in Cerralvo, N.L., Mexico Jose Antonio CANALES.

·        Maria Guadalupe CANALES m. 5 May 1794 in Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico Jose Maria Anselmo RIVAS.

·        Maria Rafaela RIVAS married 3 Jul 1815 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico Jose Simon GARCIA.

·        Maria Francisca GARCIA; born 1818; died 29 Jan 1899. She married on 16 Nov 1835 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico Jose Guadalupe URESTE, born 1815 in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

·        Inocencio URESTI was born on 27 Dec 1853 in Spring Creek, Victoria County, Texas; died on 3 Feb 1934 in Nursery, Victoria, Texas; burial in Victoria, Victoria, Texas;  He married on 22 Jul 1875 in Victoria, Victoria, Texas Maria Carmen “Emily” MORA; born on 17 May 1855 in Nacogdoches, Texas; died in Jul 1889 in Nursery, Victoria County, TX. He married 9 Dec 1889 in San Diego, Duval County, Texas (2) Maria GARCIA, born on 17 May 1871 in San Diego, Duval County, TX; died 17 Jun 1855 in San Antonio, Bexar County, TX; burial in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas at Cemetery #2.   _ _ _ _ _ _

                                                                                                                                                  Another GUERRA Lineage

            Maria GARZA, the sister of a priest:   Fray Juan P CAVAZOS

                                                                                                                            Capitan Antonio GUERRA CAÑAMAR                                                                     

Generation 1:       Gabriel CAVAZOS was born in Villa Santa Maria,                      + Antonia GARZA
Castilla Vieja, Spain.  He married Simona CAMPOS,                Jose Francisco Antonio GUERRA  
born in Villa Santa Maria, Castilla Vieja, Spain.                           + Maria Josefa GARZA 

Generation 2:        Alcalde Ordinario Juan CAVAZOS, born before 1605 in        + Isabel Maria TREVINO
Santa Maria Castile, Spain; buried on 15 Jun 1683 in                  Jose Isidro GUERRA
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  He married in 1630 in         + Ma. Antonia Luisa Paulina RAMIREZ
Nuevo Leon, Mexico Elena GARZA, born in Monterrey,         Maria Gregoria GUERRA
Nuevo Leon, Mexico, daughter of Capitan Pedro GARZA         + Jose Pio SALINAS 
and Ines RODRIGUEZ.                                                                   Maria Isabel SALINAS
+ Jose Pedro GARCIA

Generation 3:        A.        Fray Juan P. CAVAZOS was born after 1630 in             Maria Francisca GARCIA
Nuevo Leon, Mexico.                                                         + Jose Albino GARCIA

                                 B.        Maria GARZA, born in Nuevo Leon, Mexico; died       Herlinda GARCIA
17 Dec 1675 in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico; died 17        + Amando C GARCIA
Dec 1675 in N.L., Mexico; buried 17 Dec 1675 in        Arturo Amando GARCIA
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  She married              + Sofia URESTI

                                             Capitan Ignacio GUERRA CAÑAMAR ….                 Eladio “Eddie” URESTI GARCIA


Generation 4-10:          Same as GUERRA-CAVAZOS family above to URESTI                            by Eddie U Garcia                                         

_________________________________________                                                                           (760) 252-3588                                                                                        

¹ Daughter of Inocencio URESTI and Maria GARCIA                                                               


Don Juan Davis Bradburn

Investigó y paleografío, transcribiendo tal como está escrito. 

Tte. Cor. Ricardo Raúl Palmerín Cordero


Hola amiga Mimí.
Con el placer de siempre le envío un afectuoso saludo, así mismo esta información sobre el bautismo de los hijos de Don Juan Davis Bradburn, el fallecimiento de Don Juan y de su hijo Andrés.

El Coronel Don Juan Davis Bradburn llegó a la Nueva España en la Expedición de Francisco Xavier Mina luchando de lado de los insurgentes. contrajo matrimonio con Doña María Josefa Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna.

                                                               FUERON SUS HIJOS.
Márgen izquierdo. 1. 095. José, Manuel, Agustin, Juan, Luis,Cristoval, Savino, Diego, Francisco, Davis Bradburn Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna.
En cuatro de Octubre de mil ochocientos veinte y cuatro, con licencia del Licdo.D. José Ygnacio Diaz Calvillo, Cura interino de esta Santa Yglesia, Yó el presbytero D. José María Orruño, bautizé á un niño que nació hoy, pusele por nombres José, Manuel, Agustín, Juan, Luis, Cristoval, Savino, Diego, Francisco, hijo legitimo de legitimo matrimonio del Ciudadano Coronel Juan Davis Bradburn, natural de la Ciudad de Virginia y de D. Maria Josefa Hurtado de Mendoza y Luna; nieto por linea paterna del Ciudadano Guillermo Bradburn y de D. Maria Yonson; y por la materna del Ciudadano Andres Suarez de Peredo,Luna, Altamirano Mauleon y Godines y de Doña María Dolores Caballero de los Olivos, Condes del Valle de Orizava y Mariscales de Castilla, quienes fueron sus padrinos advertidos de su obligacion.- José Ygno. Diaz Calvillo.  
José Ma. Orruño. 
Márgen izquierdo. 379. Andres, María, Agustin, Juan, Manuel, Cleofas Bradburn Luna Hurtado de Mendoza.
En nueve de Abril de mil ochocientos veinte y siete, con licencia del Dor. y Mtro. Don Joaquin Roman segundo Cura interino de esta Santa Yglesia, Yó el Presbytero D. José María Orruño, bautizé á un niño que nació hoy,  pusele por nombres, Andrés, María, Agustin, Juan, Manuel, Cleofas, hijo legitimo y de legitimo matrimonio del Ciudadano Coronel Juan Davis Bradburn, natural de la Ciudad de Viriginia de los Estados Unidos del Norte y de D. Maria Josefa Luna Hurtado de Mendoza, originaria de esta Capital; nieto por linea paterna de Juan Guillermo Bradburn y María Censon y por la materna de Ciudo. Coronel Andres Suarez de Peredo y D. Maria Dolores Cavallero de los Olivos; fue su madrina D. Ramona Hurtado de Mendoza y Cavallero de los  Olivos, advertida de su obligacion.- Joaquin Roman. 
Márgen izquierdo. 747. Maria de Altagracia, Josefa, Agustina, Manuela, Marciala, Concepcion Bradburn.
En dos de Julio de mil ochocientos veinte y ocho, con licencia del D.D.José María de Santiago, tercer Cura Interino de esta Santa Yglesia, Yó el B. D. Ygnacio Cisneros, bautizé á una niña que nació el día treinta del pasado mes de Junio, pusele por nombres María de Altagracia, Josefa, Agustina, Manuela, Marciala, Concepcion, hija legitima y de legitimo matrimonio del Sor. Coronel D. Juan Davis Bradburn, natural de la Ciudad de Virginia y de D. María Josefa Luna Hurtado de Mendoza, originaria de esta Capital; nieta por linea paterna de Juan Guillermo Bradburn y de María Censon; y por la materna del Sor. Coronel D. Andres Suarez de Peredo y Da. Maria Dolores Cavallero de los Olivos, padrinos, Don Agustin Suarez de Peredo y Da. Maria Loreto Paredes.
                                           LIBRO DE DEFUNCIONES DE LA CIUDAD DE MATAMOROS,TAMAULIPAS.
Márgen izquierdo. N. 62 Entierro Mayor y 8 pesos 6 reales. Ciudad.
En la C. de Matamoros en 20 de Abril de 1842. Yó el Cura sepulté con Entierro Mayor con Vigilia y 8 pesos 6 Reales al Señor General Juan Davis Bradburn murio de dolor y para constancia lo firme.
Márgen izquierdo. 44. El Sr. Pbro. Licdo. Don Andres Davis, Clerigo, de 63 años de edad. tumor canceroso.
En trece de Julio de mil ochocientos noventa, se le dió sepultura Eclesiastica en el Panteon del Serro del Tepeyac de la Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, al cadaver del Señor Presbitero Licenciado Don Andres Davis, natural de México, Clerigo Domiciliario de este Arzobispado, hijo de Don Juan Davis Bradburn y de Doña Josefa Hurtado de Mendoza, el que habiendo recibido los Santos Sacramentos, murio ayer á las seis y tres cuartos de la tarde, en la casa número cinco de la calle del Seminario.- Ygnacio de la Borbolla y Gárate. 
El  año de 1849, el pianista Henry Herz le propuso al gobierno de México la composición de un himno, la cual fué aceptada y se convocó a un concurso literario, figuraban como jueces los Señores José María Lacurriza, José Joaquin Pesado,Manuel Carpio, Andrés Quintana Roo y Alejandro Arango y Escandón, se presentaron 30 compsoiciones de las cuales se eligieron dos: una de Andres Davis Bradburn y otra del poeta Félix María Escalante.
  A  Don Andres Davis Bradburn se le entregó una medalla de oro por su composición "entre los concursantes era el más digno de servir de Himno Nacional ".  entre sus estrofas se encuentran las siguientes:
                                           Truene, truene el cañon, que el acero
                                           en las olas de sangre se tiña.
                                           Al combate volemos; que ciña
                                           nuestras sienes laurel inmortal.
                                           Nada importa morir, si con gloria
                                           una bala enemiga nos hiere;
                                           Que es inmenso placer al que muere
                                           ver su enseña triunfante ondear. 
                                           Claro brille el pendón Mexicano
                                           o sucumba con gloria y honor.  


Francisco León de la Barra  





Lic. don Francisco León de la Barra Quijano, trigésimo octavo Presidente de México, del 26 de mayo al seis de noviembre de 1911.

Datos del Tomo VI, Libro 44 de mi Lic. don Francisco León de la Barra Quijano, trigésimo octavo Presidente de México, del 26 de mayo al seis de noviembre de 1911. obra inédita, "La Independencia y los Presidentes de México", relacionados con el C. Lic. don Francisco León de la Barra Quijano, trigésimo octavo Presidente de México, del día 26 de mayo al seis de noviembre de 1911, total cinco meses y 11 días.

Nació el ocho de julio de 1863 en la ciudad de Querétero, Qro., hijo legítimo de don Bernabé León de la Barra y de doña María Luisa Quijano. Fue bautizado en la parroquia de Santiago de Querétaro, según consta en acta que obra en mi poder y que me fue enviada por el párroco en diciembre de 1957 y como caso único conocido, se le pusieron 18 nombres, como sigue: Francisco de Padua, de Asís, de Jesús María, José, Rafael, Joaquín, Mariano, Vicente Ferrer Trinidad, Juan Nepomuceno, Juan Francisco, Regis, Lugardo y Cruz.

Estudió la primaria y la secundaria en su ciudad natal de Querétaro y terminada ésta, pasó a la Ciudad de México donde estudió Leyes hasta recibir su título de Licenciado en Derecho. Todavía era estudiante en 1892, cuando formó parte de la Delegación Mexicana que fue a España para la celebración del cuarto centenario del Descubrimiento de América.

En 1898 comenzó su carrera diplomática, llegando a ser asesor del consultor de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores.

El Gobierno de Rusia invitó a México para que enviara una delegación para asistir a la conferencia de paz que se había establecido en La Haya el día nueve de julio de 1899. Fueron designados por México varios de sus hombres importantes y entre ellos el licenciado don Francisco León de la Barra.

Contrajo matrimonio, según dice don José L. Méndez, en su Historia de la Revolución Mexicana editada en 1936, Tomo I, dice que fue casado dos veces, primero con una señorita de cepa Francesa Maria Elena Borneque, y al enviudar, contrajo segundas nupcias con una hermana de su esposa la señorita Maria del Refugio Borneque. 

En 1902, era prominente abogado en Derecho Internacional. Fue Embajador de México en varios países como Brasil, Uruguay, Paraguay. Fue Ministro Plenipotenciario en Bélgica, en 1905. En 1909, fue Embajador de México en los Estados Unidos.

Con motivo de las conferencias de Ciudad Juárez entre los jefes de la Revolución Maderista y el Gobierno del General Díaz, éste renunció a la Presidencia el día 25 de mayo de 1911, el día siguiente asumió la Presidencia de la República el Lic. Francisco León de la Barra hasta el seis de noviembre de 1911 en que se presentó ante el Congreso a rendir la protesta de Ley el señor Francisco Ignacio Madero, electo por el pueblo.

El señor Presidente Madero nombró al Lic. don Francisco León de la Barra como Embajador especial en Europa ante el Rey de Italia.

El cinco de abril de 1912 y su esposa, regresaron al país por Veracruz y enseguida fue nombrado Senador de la República.

En octubre de 1912 fue candidato a Gobernador de México, pero le afectó mucho el ser amigo del General Félix Díaz y del General Victoriano Huerta, por lo que fue perseguido, pero a la caída de Madero con su asesinato, subió a la Presidencia el General Victoriano Huerta y nombró el Lic. De la Barra como Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores.

El 20 de enero de 1913 fue enviado como Embajador a Francia.

Su muerte. Estando en Biarritz, Francia, lo sorprendió la muerte el día 23 de octubre de 1939 y fue sepultado en alguno de los panteones de ese lugar sin que yo haya podido obtener los datos exactos de su última morada.


Primo de Verdad
Francisco Madero    







Francisco Ignacio Madero Presidente de México numero 39.

Datos del Tomo VII de XIII, Libro 45 de mi obra inédita: "La Independencia y los Presidentes de México", relacionados con don Francisco Ygnacio Madero González, Presidente de México No. 39 provisional revolucionario en Ciudad Juárez, Chih., del 20 de abril al 25 de mayo de 1911 fecha en que asumió el poder y constitucionalmente después de haber sido elegido por votación del pueblo del seis de noviembre de 1911 al 19 de febrero de 1913, total un año, cuatro meses y 18 días.

Nació el día 30 de octubre de 1873 en la ciudad de Parras, Coahuila siendo hijo legítimo de don Evaristo Madero y de su esposa doña Rafaela González, según obra en la copia certificada de su acta de nacimiento que me expidió el Gobierno del Estado en Saltillo, Coah., del duplicado del libro que obra en sus archivos, porque el original que estaba en Parras de la Fuente, se destruyó en la época revolucionaria. El envío lo hizo mi amigo el Lic. Salvador González Lobo que era secretario general de Gobierno.

Sus estudios primarios en Parras, fueron con las señoritas Alvinita Márquez y doña Conchita Cervantes y después con el Profr. don Manuel Cervantes. A los 12 años de edad, en 1885 ingresó al colegio San Juan de los Jesuitas, en Saltillo, Coah., y al año siguiente, se fue a estudiar, junto con su hermano Gustavo, al Salin's-Mars College de Baltimore, USA.

El 13 de octubre de 1886, don Francisco y don Gustavo, se embarcaron en New York con destino a París, Francia, donde les consiguió acomodo un amigo de su padre, don Lorenzo González Treviño, e ingresaron al "Liceo Versalles", después "Liceo Hoche", en 1887. En 1889, los padres de Madero trasladaron su residencia a Francia por algún tiempo.

De regreso a México, estuvo algunos meses en la Hacienda del Rosario en Parras de la Fuente, Coah., el 26 de enero de 1903, contrajo matrimonio con la señorita Sarita Pérez Romero en la Ciudad de México en la capilla del Arzobispado.

Luego instalaron su residencia en San Pedro de las Colonias, Coah., donde se inició en la política en 1904, fundando el "Club Democrático" con algunos amigos, y al año siguiente de 1905, el 15 de febrero, fundó en Torreón el "Club Central Independiente".

En 1908 escribió en San Pedro, el libro "La Sucesión Presidencial", que se publicó en 1909 y se refería a la sucesión presidencial de 1910, en que se pretendía arrojar del poder al presidente general Porfirio Díaz.

Con motivo de su lucha, Madero fue encarcelado en San Luis Potosí y escribió su famoso "Plan de San Luis" el cinco de octubre de 1910. Poco después, escapó de la cárcel de San Luis y se fue a los Estados Unidos.

Ya en El Paso, Texas, se trasladó a Ciudad Juárez, Chih., donde se firmaron los tratados de Ciudad Juárez, con los representantes de la Revolución y del presidente Díaz. Don Francisco Ygnacio Madero, ocupó la Presidencia Provisional Revolucionaria en Ciudad Juárez, el día 20 de abril al 25 de mayo de 1911. Ya con salida del General Díaz rumbo al destierro, se efectuaron elecciones presidenciales en las que triunfó don Francisco Ygnacio Madero González que asumió la presidencia en noviembre de 1911 hasta el 19 de febrero de 1913, resultando vicepresidente el Lic. José Ma. Pino Suárez.

La ambición del General Victoriano Huerta por llegar a la Presidencia lo llevó a hacer prisioneros a Madero y Pino Suárez, en el Palacio Nacional. Llegó el 23 de febrero de 1913, día más negro de la historia. El Mayor Francisco Cárdenas, por órdenes de Huerta, sacó a Madero y Pino Suárez de Palacio y los obligó abordar dos automóviles y se los llevaron al lugar donde tenían previsto los matarían. Le dijo Cárdenas a Madero, ya llegamos, baje usted del automóvil y ya le disparó varios tiros hasta dejarlo muerto. Del otro automóvil bajaron a Pino Suárez y lo remataron.

Los restos de Madero fueron sepultados en el Panteón Francés de la Ciudad de México, donde permanecieron hasta el 19 de noviembre de 1960 en que fueron llevados al Monumento de la Revolución en 1955 cuando visité la tumba de Madero (todavía estaban allí sus restos), tomé la fotografía que obra en mi libro citado al principio y que dice:

"Francisco I. Madero. Febrero 22 de 1913.

El valer de los hombres está en relación con sus ideas. Al Presidente Constitucional Francisco I. Madero y C. Pino Suárez todo el reconocimiento de sus admiradores, les rinden en estas líneas su póstumo tributo.

Puebla, febrero 22 de 1914".

Source: El Siglo de Torreon

Sent By Mercy Bautista-Olvera



Forma correcta de escribir el nombre del Presidente Madero

En libros, letreros, placas conmemorativas, se escribe porque así nos han enseñado de forma "incorrecta" los nombres propios del Presidente Madero.

Versión dice que es Francisco Indalecio Madero, otra que es Francisco I. Madero.


Ni lo uno ni lo otro………….. Lo correcto es:

Eso de que era "Indalecio" surgió porque dicen que como era espiritista no podía llevar el nombre propio de un Santo, el de San Ygnacio de Loyola: si así fuere, entonces también debería de haber cambiado el de Francisco porque es el nombre de otro Santo, el de Asís.

Desde el punto de vista genealogía, trabajé a la familia Madero por dos razones: Una es porque los antepasados del Presidente Madero son originarios de Río Grande, Coahuila (hoy Guerrero, Coahuila), y de ese lugar es originario también el General Manuel Pérez Treviño. Otra razón es porque Francisco González Prieto, fue abuelo tanto del Presidente Madero como de Doña Esther González Pemoulié, esposa del General Manuel Pérez Treviño, así fue que puedo mostrarles pruebas de cómo es la manera correcta de escribir el nombre del que también es conocido como "Apóstol de la Democracia".

Vayamos a las pruebas


El documento está en perfecto estado, sin problema alguno podemos leer con claridad que se le puso el nombre de "FRANCISCO YGNACIO

Ahora vamos a su acta de nacimiento.

De ella tomé una fotografía de un documento que exponen o exponían en las oficinas del Archivo General del Estado de Coahuila (Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila)

En esta acta, es importante mencionar: el cuerpo del acta dice FRANCISCO YGNACIO, sin embargo…. lo que es para mí incomprensible es el porqué cambiaron la "Y" por "I" latina como podemos ver en el nombre que escribieron como título del documento. Es relevante comentar que la "Y" en el nombre de Madero no es para unir, no es una conjunción sino la primera letra del nombre propio "Ygnacio".


Dicen que uno puede determinar la manera de escribir su nombre, entonces para que ya no quede duda alguna, tenemos copia de un salvoconducto con la rúbrica del Presidente Madero.

Tuve la suerte de que mi prima Elvira Treviño Garza (Monterrey, Nuevo León), viuda de un descendiente de Don José Díaz de la Garza, familiares de los Díaz Madero de Rosales, Coahuila, hoy Villa Unión, me facilitara copia del documento del 25 de mayo de 1911, en donde, por supuesto, con su puño y letra, firma: Francisco Y. Madero.


Cabe mencionar que Don José Díaz de la Garza, fue uno de los pocos que acompañaron a Madero el 20 de noviembre de 1910, cruzaron el Río Bravo de El Indio, Texas hacia Guerrero, Coahuila por el paso llamado Las Islas, grupo que tenía como objetivo iniciar la Revolución Mexicana, la que si se inició ese día pero de forma diferente a como Madero y su grupo habían planeado, años después Don José Díaz fue Administrador de una propiedad llamada "La Bandera", que fuera parte de la Hacienda del General Manuel Pérez Treviño, Don José y el General estaban emparentados por el apellido Pérez y como mencioné en el párrafo anterior Don José y el Presidente Madero estaban emparentados por el apellido Díaz.

Para terminar con "broche de oro", presento copia de otro documento, es una invitación del señor Presidente y su señora esposa, a asistir a alguna reunión en el Castillo de Chapultepec.

El nombre está con "Y". FRANCISCO Y. MADERO.

Termino este artículo imaginándome los problemas y peripecias del coahuilense Francisco Ygnacio Madero González si viviera hoy en día. Muchas horas se hubiera pasado, muchas filas hubiera tenido que hacer si como muchos de nosotros tenemos que unificar documentos, que todos estén IDÉNTICOS a nuestra Acta de Nacimiento… En el SAT, en el pasaporte, en la credencial del IFE, en el IMSS, en el INFONAVIT, en las AFORES, en las del INSEN; en todos los documentos que mencioné y posiblemente en otros más. Muchas horas hubiera pasado arreglando sus papeles.

Gracias amigo lector, hoy en día ya estás enterado de algo que considero de relevancia para todos. Que se escriba de forma correcta los nombres propios de nuestro Presidente FRANCISCO YGNACIO MADERO GONZÁLEZ.

  – 28 marzo 2011


Zitacuaro is the most significant historic city in ALL of Mexico!


Perhaps you know that Mexico was under Spanish rule for more than 300 years.  Without the existence of Zitacuaro, it could very well still be!  Zitacuaro is known as “The City of Independence ” of Mexico .  Zitacuaro is the “ Philadelphia ” of Mexico .


Zitacuaro has a deep and fascinating story.  This city was BURNED to the ground on THREE different occasions while Mexico waged war against foreign intruders or domestic tyrants.  

January 12, 1812:  Zitacuaro was involved in the war of independence from Spain .   Zitacuaro was  burned to the ground by the Spanish during this war.  


April 1, 1855: Then came the ruling by the man who took control of Mexico on eleven separate occasions, starting not long after Mexico ’s independence:  Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  During his rule Mexico lost to the United States the states of Texas , California , Nevada , Utah , Arizona , and parts of New Mexico , Colorado and Wyoming .  Santa Anna still ruled one last time after the Mexican-American war, but it was not without opposition.  The people of Zitacuaro were at the forefront of this opposition, and it happened again!  Santa Anna ordered Zitacuaro to be burned for a second time on April 1, 1855.


April 15, 1865: You’ve probably heard of the Mexican celebration “5 de Mayo.”  It is highly celebrated as a Mexican holiday throughout the United States and it is a fun opportunity to enjoy Mariachi, Margaritas, and delicious Mexican dishes!  During this time of the year a lot of people get exposed to some of Mexico ’s beautiful folklore.  Some people think “5 de Mayo” is the celebration of the Mexican independence, but it isn’t.  It is a celebration of a short-lived defeat of the French invaders in Puebla in 1862, just 7 years after Santa Anna.  What you may not know is that the French DID invade Mexico shortly afterwards and put an Austrian prince (Maximilian of Austria) to rule as emperor over Mexico , until his defeat and execution in 1867.  During all that time the people of Mexico continued to fight the French in support of their legitimate President, Don Benito Juarez.  And here comes Zitacuaro once again!  Zitacuaro offered resistance and was key in repelling the French.  Can you guess what happened to this valiant town one last time?  Yes, Maximilian’s forces ordered Zitacuaro burnt on April 15, 1865!


So, if you like inspiration; if you like meditating on the meaning of life; if you like to ponder on the deeper meaning of the words “honor,” “valor,” “heroism,” “sacrifice;” and if you dislike oppression, tyranny, and bullying; COME TO ZITACUARO!


The Heroica Zitacuaro (full name of this historic town) is the LITERAL Phoenix that rose from the ashes THREE TIMES!  That it is still here is to be appreciated and admired!


Mario Yanez, Director
H Zitacuaro PRRS


Clickable links to several booklets published in Mexico by Races Francesas en Mexico A.C.
relating to a shared French / Mexican genealogy.

No. 1 - Noviembre 06

No. 2 - Junio 07

No. 3 - Noviembre 07

No. 4 - Junio 08

No. 5 Noviembre 08

No. 6 Noviembre 09


Sent by Paul Newfield III


Intertribal Friendship House (IFH)
Awesome Reminder 
Nuevos Videos de  Equipo Toltecáyotl.

IFH Full Mural

Intertribal Friendship House (IFH)

Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) located in Oakland, CA was established in 1955 as one of the first urban American Indian community centers in the nation. It was founded by the American Friends Service Committee to serve the needs of American Indian people relocated from reservations to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Originally created as a community center, IFH expanded into social services when staff became concerned about the lack of resources for American Indian people as they faced the challenges of relocation from reservations to urban communities such as Oakland due to the displacement from their native lands. The Bay Area American Indian community is multi-tribal, made of Native people and their descendants—those who originate here and those who have come to the Bay region from all over the United States and from other parts of this hemisphere.

For urban Native people IFH has served as the Urban Reservation and Homeland. In many cases it is one of the few places that keeps them connected to their culture and traditions through pow wow dance, drumming, beading classes, and the many social gatherings, cultural events, and ceremonies that are held there. Intertribal Friendship House is more than an organization. It is the heart of a vibrant tribal community.

The primary objectives and purposes of “IFH” shall be: 
To promote health and wellness in Native community through traditional and contemporary ways
To promote the ability of Native people to thrive in urban environment.
To be a forum for cultural activities and keep traditions intact and alive
To serve as a ceremonial house.
Sent by Eddie Grijalva








Native Women have strengths that amaze men.  They
 bear hardships and they carry burdens, 
 but they hold happiness, love, and joy.  They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry.        

They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.  They fight for what they believe in.   They stand up to injustice.   They don't take 'no' for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.  

They go without so their family can have.  They love unconditionally.  They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.  

They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.  

Native Women come in all shapes and sizes.  They'll walk, run, or ride on horseback just  to be with you, that is how much they care about you.    

Their hearts break when a friend dies. 
  They grieve at the loss of a family member,  yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.  They know that a hug and a kiss  can heal a broken heart.  

The heart of a Native woman is what 
   makes the world keep turning.  
   They bring joy, hope, and love.  
   They have compassion and ideas.  
   They give moral support to their family and friends.  

Native Women have vital things to say 

and everything to give.    

Sent by Don Milligan 




Equipo Toltecáyotl.

Estimados amigos: 

Con la intención de hacer más accesible el conocimiento de la Toltecáyotl y una difusión más extensiva, nos hemos propuesto empezar a hacer vídeos a los que les hemos llamado TOLTECÁPSULAS. Estamos comenzando y poco a poco les daremos mejor acabado y una realización menos empírica. La idea es realizar 52 vídeos, tocando los temas más sobresalientes.

Mucho les agradecernos nos ayuden a difundir este material entre aquellas personas que les pueda interesar y con los buenos amigos. Gracias y reciban un cordial saludo.








Guillermo Marín

Sent by Dr.Ellie Galvez 




El Mirador, Guatemala
the Lost City of the Maya

The Smithsonian Mag  | May 2011 | Chip Brown

 Archeologist Richard Hansen,  director and principal investigator of the Mirador Basin Project believes Popol Vuh predates the Spaniards by a millennia. 

Now overgrown by jungle, the ancient site was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilization

Had we been traveling overland, it would have taken two or three days to get from the end of the road at Carmelita to El Mirador: long hours of punishing heat and drenching rain, of mud and mosquitoes, and the possibility that the jungle novice in our party (that would be me, not the biologists turned photographers Christian Ziegler and Claudio Contreras) might step on a lethal fer-de-lance or do some witless city thing to provoke a jaguar or arouse the ire of the army ants inhabiting the last great swath of subtropical rain forest in Mesoamerica.

Mercifully, Itzamna, the supreme creator god of the ancient Maya, had favored us with a pilot named Guillermo Lozano, who was now easing his maroon-striped Bell helicopter into the air. It was a Sunday morning in northern Guatemala, late October. Next to him up front was the archaeologist Richard Hansen, the director and principal investigator of the Mirador Basin Project. About a half-hour’s flying time due north was the Mirador basin itself—a 2,475-square-mile tract of jungle in northern Guatemala and Campeche, Mexico, filled with hidden ruins that Hansen and others refer to as “the cradle of Maya civilization.”

We zipped away from the town of Flores at 140 knots. Off to the east were the spectacular Maya pyramids and ruins of Tikal National Park, which is now linked to Flores by road and draws between 150,000 and 350,000 visitors a year. We crossed a jungle-covered limestone ridge about 600 feet high. Hansen’s voice crackled over the intercom.

“This is the southern tip of the Mirador basin,” he said. “It’s shaped like a heart. It’s a self-contained ecosystem surrounded by these ridges. There are five kinds of tropical forest down there. Tikal has only two. ”

Visible below were clearings in the forest, the smoke of fires, a scattering of cattle, buildings and the occasional road.

“All this has been deforested in the last five years or so,” Hansen said over the roar of the rotor. “Any use of this particular area of forest other than ecotourism would be, to me, the equivalent of using the Grand Canyon for a garbage dump.”

After a few minutes there were no more roads or cows or any other signs of human settlement, just a few swampy open patches called civales breaking the great green quilt formed by the canopies of the 150-foot-tall ramón (breadnut) and sapodilla trees, whose trunks are slashed by skilled laborers known as chicleros for the sap used to make chewing gum. Hansen pointed out some of the sites that he and his colleagues have mapped in the Mirador basin, including the large lost cities of Tintal and Nakbe, which is one of the oldest known Maya settlements, dating from around 1000 to 400 B.C.

“See that there,” he said, pointing to a slightly raised and darker line of trees. “That’s a causeway. There’s a plastered roadbed under there 2 to 6 meters high and 20 to 40 meters wide. A sacbe it’s called—white road. It runs for about 12 kilometers from Mirador to Nakbe. It’s part of the first freeway system in the world.”

Suddenly clouds closed in, and Lozano began to climb, anxiously looking for a break in the skies. A tropical storm (named Richard, appropriately enough) was bearing down on northern Guatemala.

“There!” Hansen said. Lozano banked down toward what looked from afar to be a huge stone knoll, half swallowed in vines and trees. The pilots who first flew over the Mirador basin in the 1930s, among them Charles Lindbergh, were startled to see what they thought were volcanoes rising out of the limestone lowlands. In fact, they were pyramids built more than two millennia ago, and what we were circling was the largest of them all, the crown of the La Danta complex. At 230 feet, it is not as tall as the great pyramid at Giza, but, according to Hansen, it is more massive, containing some 99 million cubic feet of rock and fill.

We were hovering now over the heart of the ancient city of El Mirador, once home to an estimated 200,000 people and the capital of a complex society of interconnected cities and settlements that may have supported upwards of a million people. The last thing you would ever guess from a casual aerial overview was that virtually every topographical contour in the primordial forest was created not by geological and environmental forces but by the vanished inhabitants of one of the world’s foundational civilizations.

The peak of La Danta
—one of the world's largest pyramids—pokes through the forest canopy.“All this was abandoned nearly 2,000 years ago,” Hansen said. “The whole thing developed before Tikal existed. It’s like finding Pompeii.”

A clearing appeared below us and we fluttered down onto a grassy strip, scattering a delegation of butterflies.

It’s a dedicated archaeologist whose affection for a place increases even after he’s gone into personal debt to keep his research and conservation work going, weathered death threats from irate loggers, had close encounters with fer-de-lances and falling trees, survived a jungle plane crash that nearly killed him, his wife and the oldest of his seven children and incinerated the only copies of his master’s thesis. By the same token it’s a versatile scientist who can enthrall audiences at Hollywood fund-raisers and bargain in flawless Spanish with muleteers hauling sacks of specially formulated Preclassic Maya mortar.

“To do this you have to be a jack-of-all-trades or an absolute idiot,” said Hansen as we sat around that first evening on the long log-and-plank benches of the dining hall, an open-sided barnlike structure with a translucent plastic roof and special gutters that funnel rainwater into a 25,000- gallon cistern. Hansen was wearing a tan cap, a grungy off-white cotton shirt and stained off-white cotton pants—light-colored fabrics make it easier to see which exotic insects might be trying to attach themselves to flesh. (I was immediately regretting my choice of dark gray trousers.)

During the Mirador field-research season, which runs from May to September, there are as many as 350 people in the camp, including scientists from some 52 universities and institutions. The archaeological work could proceed year-round but Hansen spends the off-months raising money (with the goal of maintaining a minimum annual budget ofabout $2.5 million) and preparing publications (now up to 177). He also teaches at Idaho State University in Pocatello, where he is an assistant professor in the department of anthropology and the senior scientist at the university’s Institute for Mesoamerican Research.

“If I had five minutes for every hour I’ve spent chasing dollars, I’d have another 50 publications,” he said with a sigh.

There was only a skeletal crew of workmen on hand now, along with guards Hansen had employed to ward off looters, and the camp cook, Dominga Soberanis, a short, powerfully built Maya woman who had fixed us all a supper of fried chicken and black beans on a steel sheet over a wood fire. Fresh tomatoes had come in on the helicopter, and there were pitchers of rice milk and tea brewed from the leaves of the allspice tree that grew in the ramón forest.

That afternoon, after Christian had amused himself at my expense by crying “Snake!” while fumbling in feigned horror with what looked like a fer-de-lance but proved to be a brown stick, Hansen had shown us around the camp. Tent sites, storage magazines, screening tables, a well-equipped research building adjacent to the dining hall and guest bungalows where we had stashed our gear were linked by a web of root-riddled trails. Hansen was billeted in a bungalow that also served as his office. By some modern shamanism, it had Internet access.

We wandered out to the old helicopter landing strip where campsites had been established for tourists. Some 2,000 to 3,000 visitors a year either make the trek in from Carmelita or fly in by helicopter from Flores. Rangers stationed in the area were feeding an orphaned baby spider monkey creamed corn; dozens of ocellated turkeys—beautiful iridescent birds found only on the Yucatán Peninsula—were pecking at the grass. Meleagris ocellata is among the most photogenic of the 184 bird species recorded to date in the basin, which is also a key stopover for many migratory birds that travel the flyways of the eastern United States. The turkeys scrambled for cover under the trees when a pair of brown jays cried out. Their jay-dar had spotted a raptor overhead—possibly an ornate hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus).

“The basin is a contained, enclosed, integrated cultural and natural system, unique in the world,” Hansen said. And a veritable ark of biodiversity with some 300 species of trees (many festooned with orchids) and upwards of 200 animal species (many endangered or threatened), from tapirs and crocodiles to five of the six cats indigenous to Guatemala. In the past few years, researchers have found two bird species—the hooded oriole and the Caribbean dove—for the first time in Guatemala, and discovered nine previously unknown moth species. Efforts to preserve the basin’s ancient ruins go hand in hand with conserving one of the world’s living treasures.

When Hansen came to the Mirador basin as a graduate student in 1979, scientists had been studying the better-known Maya sites in Mesoamerica—such as Palenque and Copán—for more than a century. El Mirador (“the look-out” in Spanish) was still largely unexplored. While some of the basin itself had been surveyed in 1885 by Claudio Urrutia, an engineer who noted the presence of ruinas grandes, the existence of El Mirador wasn’t officially reported until 1926. And it would be another 36 years before an archaeologist, Harvard University’s Ian Graham, would map and explore a portion of the area, partially revealing the extraordinary dimensions of the city.

What was most puzzling was the age of the site. Monumental architecture on the order of what had been found at El Mirador had always been associated with the Classic period of Maya history, from A.D. 250 to about A.D. 900; architecture of the Preclassic era, from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 150, was supposedly less sophisticated (as were, presumably, its political and economic systems). For nearly 40 years the only known Preclassic structure was a nearly nine-yard-high truncated pyramid excavated in the 1920s at Uaxactun, some 12 miles north of Tikal, by a Carnegie expedition. When the late William Coe of the University of Pennsylvania began excavating at Tikal in 1956, he was puzzled by the complexity of the earlier layers. In a 1963 article for the journal Expedition, he noted “things were not getting simpler” or more “formative.”

Writing up his own research in 1967, Graham, who went on to found the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard, speculated that the poor condition of the ruins he examined at El Mirador might be attributed to an inferior brand of mortar rather than the sheer antiquity of the buildings. Examining pottery that Graham’s colleague Joyce Marcus had collected at El Mirador in 1970, Donald Forsyth (now a professor at Brigham Young University) noted that the bulk of the ceramics were in the Chicanel style—monochrome red, black or cream, with thick bodies and the rims turned outward—that clearly dated the surrounding ruins to the Late Preclassic period (300 B.C. to A.D. 150). But could such monumental public architecture really have been built 700 to 1,000 years before the zenith of the Classic period, when, scholars supposed, the Maya had achieved the organizational, artistic and technical expertise to pull off such feats?          An artifact from El Mirador, c. 600 B.C.

The dig Hansen joined was headed by his thesis adviser, Ray Matheny, from Brigham Young University, and Bruce Dahlin of Catholic University. “[Hansen] was a real go-getter,” Matheny told me later. “I’m very proud of him.” Twenty-six years old at the time, Hansen had grown up in Idaho in a Mormon family, the oldest of three brothers. He got a bug for archaeology at age 6 hunting arrowheads on his father’s potato farm in Rupert. He planned to become a lawyer, but his undergraduate degree was delayed after he shattered his right leg in a ski accident. As all he needed for law school were good grades and test scores, he thought the fastest way to get them would be to major in Spanish, which he spoke, and archaeology, which he loved. Degrees in hand, he postponed law school for the chance to join an excavation north of Tel Aviv for two years, an experience that buried the lawyer and begot the archaeologist. It also turned up his wife, Jody, a scientific illustrator who first impressed him with her dogged work hauling buckets of sand. When they returned from Israel, Matheny invited Hansen to assist with a newly funded project at El Mirador.

So it was that Hansen found himself in March 1979 excavating a room on Structure 34, the Jaguar Paw Temple. The temple, one of the most intensively studied of all the ruins at El Mirador, is part of the Tigre complex in the western side of the city. Hansen had been given to understand it was most likely from the Classic period, but as he cleared the chamber, he came to the original plaster floor littered with pot fragments that had not been disturbed for centuries. “When the Maya walked away, they left everything in place,” he said. “We’ve found flakes of a stone tool right around the tool.” The potsherds had the colors and the waxy telltale feel of the Chicanel style, which dated the temple to two centuries before Christ. Hansen stared at them in disbelief.

“I realized at that moment the whole evolutionary model for the economic, cultural and social history of the Maya was wrong. The idea that the Maya slowly became more sophisticated was wrong. And I thought, ‘Man, I’m the only person in the world at this moment who knows this.’”

By morning Tropical Storm Richard had eased, but the sky was still overcast and Hansen was surprised to hear the helicopter arriving out of the clouds. “You made it! Welcome!” he cried as three Californians scurried clear of the rotor: Andre Lafleur, an officer for a land trust in Santa Cruz; a travel consultant named Randy Durband; and Joanna Miller, a board member of the Walt Disney Family Museum, established in San Francisco to commemorate her famous grandfather. They joined us at the dining hall for a breakfast of eggs, tortillas, beans and fried Spam. Dominga, the cook, tossed a few stale tortillas into the woods and called “Pancho! Pancho!” Duly summoned, a white-nosed coati appeared, wary and cute, striped tail high. He looked like a lanky raccoon.

Andre, Joanna and Randy had been invited by the Global Heritage Fund, a Palo Alto-based conservation group—and one of several foundations that financially support Hansen’s work in the basin, including the Foundation for Cultural and Natural Maya Heritage (PACUNAM) and Hansen’s own Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES). The FARES board includes actor Mel Gibson, who has given several million dollars to the cause and who hired Hansen as a consultant for his 2006 Maya chase film Apocalypto.

We headed east on a dirt track in two Kawasaki all-terrain vehicles. At more than 14 square miles, greater El Mirador is three times the size of downtown Los Angeles; for many years Hansen would routinely hike 10 to 12 miles a day to check on various sites. The ATVs, donated by a family of prominent Central American brewers, were much appreciated by his now 58-year-old knees. We were bound for La Danta, the pyramid complex we had circled on the flight in.               See Fullsize Mirador Basin (PDF)

The trail climbed over what was once possibly a 60-foot-high perimeter wall surrounding a portion of the western part of the city—it was built in the Late Preclassic, Hansen said— and followed one of the elevated causeways to La Danta just over a mile east. We parked and started our ascent.

Hansen has excavated, mapped and explored 51 ancient cities in the Mirador basin. “What you had here was the first state-level society in the Western Hemisphere, a thousand years before anyone suspected,” he said. It was not just the monumental architecture of La Danta and structures at sister cities like Nakbe and Tintal that were sophisticated. The achievements of the Preclassic Maya were reflected in the way they made the leap from clans and chiefdoms to complex societies with class hierarchies and a cohesive ideology; in the technical sophistication that enabled them to quarry huge limestone blocks without metal tools and move them to building sites without the wheel; how they collected rainwater off building roofs and stored it in reservoirs and cisterns; how they projected time in their calendars and preserved the records of their civilization in their still-enigmatic histories on stelae in images and glyphs that scholars have yet to decipher (unlike glyphs from the Classic period that have been decoded); how they constructed their homes with posts, stone and stucco; decorated their teeth with jade and brownish-red hematite inlays; imported exotic items such as obsidian, basalt and granite; wrapped the craniums of their infants to modify the shape of their skulls; and adorned themselves with shells from the Caribbean and Pacific Coast—as if civilization were keyed as much to aesthetic refinement as to written language, the specialization of labor or regimens of religious and social control.

To feed their burgeoning population, they terraced fields and carried mud up from swampy marshes to grow maize, beans, squash, cocoa, gourds and other crops. “What brought them here were the swamps,” Hansen said. And in his view it was the destruction of the swamps with their nutrient-rich mud that caused the wholesale collapse of the society sometime between A.D. 100 and 200. What killed the swamps and crippled the farms, he believes, was the runoff of clay into the marshes after the massive deforestation of the surrounding area—deforestation caused by a demand for firewood the Maya needed to make lime plaster. They plastered everything, from major temples like La Danta to their plazas and house floors, which over time got thicker and thicker, an extravagance Hansen attributed to the temptations of “conspicuous consumption.”

Hansen believes that El Mirador’s inhabitants may have initially gone to the Caribbean coast and then migrated back inland, where they finally ended up in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula at Calakmul, which emerged as a powerful city-state and rival to Tikal in the sixth and seventh centuries. “Mirador was known in the Preclassic as the Kan Kingdom—Kan meaning ‘snake’—and the kings of Calakmul referred to themselves as the Lords of Kan, not as the Lords of Chiik Naab, which is the original name of Calakmul,” Hansen said.

We came to the first tier of La Danta pyramid, a high forested platform of cut stone and rock fill that was some 980 feet wide and 2,000 feet long and covered nearly 45 acres.

“We calculate that as many as 15 million man-days of labor were expended on La Danta,” Hansen said. “It took 12 men to carry each block—each one weighs about a thousand pounds....We’ve excavated nine quarries where the stones were cut, some 600 to 700 meters away.”

Before long we mounted another platform. It was about 33 feet high also and covered about four acres. The trail led to a set of steps that climbed to a third, 86-foot-high platform that served as the base for a triad of an impressive central pyramid flanked by two smaller pyramids—a formidable sight with its vertiginous staircase bisecting the west face.

“You don’t find the triadic pattern before about 300 B.C.” Hansen said of the three pyramids. Based upon conversations with present-day Maya spiritual leaders, researchers believe the three-point configuration represents a celestial hearth containing the fire of creation. The Maya thought three stars in the constellation Orion (Alnitak, Saiph and Rigel) were the hearth stones surrounding the fire—a nebula called M42, which is visible just below Orion’s belt.

Archaeology at El Mirador is often less about bringing the past to light than keeping it from collapsing: Hansen spent three years just stabilizing the walls of La Danta. He had experimented to find the optimal mortar mix of finely sifted clay, organic compounds, lime, crushed limestone and a form of gritty, decomposed limestone called “sascab.” And the archaeologists decided against clearing the trees entirely off the temples as had been done at Tikal because they had learned it was better to leave some shade to minimize the debilitating effects of the sun. Hansen and an engineer from Boeing had designed a vented polycarbonate shed roof that filtered ultraviolet light and protected some of the most delicate stucco carvings on the Jaguar Paw Temple from rain.

We hiked around the base of the upper platform and climbed a cantilevered wooden staircase that zigzagged up the near-vertical east face of La Danta, which plunged more than 230 feet to the jungle floor.

“Wow!” said Joanna.

The summit was the size of a decent home office. There was a surveyor’s bench mark embedded in the limestone, a fence to keep you from tumbling off the east precipice and a big leafy tree that from afar stood out like a tasseled toothpick pinned to a club sandwich. After concentrating so long on the ground, verifying that roots weren’t snakes, it was a great pleasure to lift my eyes to infinity. It was boggling to think we were standing on the labor of thousands of people from antiquity, and to imagine their vanished metropolis, the business of the city such as it might have been on a day like this; the spiritual and ideological imperatives that lifted these stones; the rituals that might have occurred at this sacred spot—everything from coronations to ceremonies in which priests and kings would draw blood from their genitals to spill onto paper and burn as a sacrifice to the gods.

To the west loomed the forested silhouettes of the Tigre Complex, where high on the pyramid Hansen and his team have found skeletons with obsidian arrow points in their ribs, possibly casualties of an Early Classic period battle that wiped out remnant inhabitants of the abandoned capital. Also visible were the outlines of the Monos and Leon pyramids, which along with Tigre and La Danta and the administrative complex known as the Central Acropolis, made up some of the oldest and largest concentrations of public architecture in all of Maya civilization.

I asked Hansen, if he could have anything, what would it be?

“Fifteen minutes,” he answered immediately. “Fifteen minutes here when the city was in its glory. Just to walk around and see what it was like. I’d give anything for that.”

Portraits of Maya deities.
In Maya cosmology the underworld is ruled by the Lords of Xibalba (shee-bal-BA). In April 1983, his fifth season at El Mirador, Hansen nearly met them. He boarded Professor Matheny’s single-engine Helio Courier H395 with his wife, Jody, and their daughter Micalena; he was carrying the only two copies of his master’s thesis, which he’d been working on at the camp, and cash for the camp workers’ payroll.

When the plane cleared the trees it was suddenly running with the wind, not into it as a windsock had indicated, and struggling for lift. About two miles from the airstrip, the tail hit a tree, the nose pitched down, the wings sheared off, the propeller chewed through the canopy until it snapped and the plane cartwheeled across the floor of the jungle. The H395 crashed to a stop in a tree five feet off the ground, fuel leaking everywhere. Hansen sat in his seat thinking he was dead.“Get out! Get out!” Jody yelled. As they scrambled clear, they heard a tremendous whoosh and were hurled to the ground as a fireball exploded behind them, cresting high above the trees. Everyone on board had survived.

“People say, ‘Is your life like Indiana Jones?’” Hansen recalled as he showed us around the crash site. “I say my life isn’t as boring. He always jumps out of the airplane before it crashes.”

Hansen took us to see what is probably the most beautiful and significant artwork found so far at El Mirador: the Central Acropolis frieze. In 2009, an Idaho State student archaeologist named J. Craig Argyle unearthed two 26-foot carved stucco panels showing the hero twins of Maya cosmology, Hunahpu and his brother Xbalanque. They are the main protagonists in the Popol Vuh, a sacred book of myths, history, traditions and the 
Maya story of how the world was created. The Popol Vuh recounts the adventures of the supernaturally gifted twins, who resurrected their father Hun-Hunahpu (who had lost his head in a ball game against the evil lords of the underworld). The stucco frieze depicts Hunahpu in a jaguar headdress swimming with the head of his father.

“To find this story in the Preclassic period is beyond belief,” Hansen said, pulling back a blue tarp that covered the frieze. “For many years it was thought that the Popo