Somos Primos

APRIL 2015
Dedicated to Hispanic Heritage

Editor: Mimi Lozano ©2000-2015

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Navarro Cenotaph located at the  
Texas State Cemetery, Austin
February 27, 2015
Click for more information and 
to view the ceremony on UTube


United States
Heritage Projects
Historic Tidbits 
Hispanic Leaders
American Patriots
Early Patriots
Family History

Books and Print Media

Orange County, CA
Los Angeles County, CA
Southwestern US
Middle America
East Coast
Caribbean Region
Central & South America


Somos Primos Consultants  
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 April 2015  
Mike Acosta
Diego Aparicio
Dan Arellano
Salomon Baldenegro
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Lonnie Bunch
Eddie Calderon, Ph.D.
Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.
Gloria Candelaria de Rodriguez
Rosie Carbo 
Gus Chavez
Robin Collins
Jack Cowan
José Antonio Crespo-Francés
Ray John de Aragon
Ángel de Cervantes
Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Ph.D.
Sal Del Valle
Jenée Desmond-Harris
Laura Dominguez
Yvonne S. Duncan
Juan Espinosa
M. Guadalupe Espinoza
Lorraine Frain 
Daisy Wanda Garcia
Eddie U. Garcia
Ignacio M. Garcia
Gil Narro Garcia
Lino Garcia, Jr., Ph.D. 
Mary E. Garcia
Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D. 
Sally Gidaro
Ignacio Gomez
Steve Gomez
Rafael Jesús González
Marco Antonio Gonzalez Galindo 
Sylvia M. Gonzalez
Joe Guerra
Gabriel Gutiérrez
Odell Harwell
Jerry S. Herrera
Michael Hogan
John Inclan
Miguel Juárez
Soeren Kern
Galal Kernahan
José Antonio López
Jerry Javier Lujan
Juan Marinez
Liset Marquez 
Eddie Martinez
Leroy Martinez 
Lupe Martinez 
Jesús Manuel Mena Garza
Sherwood E. Milleman
Sylvia Morales
Dorinda Moreno
Abram Moya, Jr.
Michael Joseph Napoli
Rafael Ojeda
Michael A Olivas 

Ricardo R. Palmerín Cordero.
Rosa Parachou 
Michael S. Perez 
Gil Perry
Richard Perry
Margaret Pontius 
Kimberly Powell 
Oscar Ramirez
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Rochin Refugio, Ph.D. 
Letty Rodella
Viola Rodriquez Sadler
Jerri L. Rosen
Tom Saenz
Joe Sanchez
Alfredo Santos
Arnulfo Daniel Segovia 
Bob Smith 
Alva M. Stevenson
Paul Trejo
Sylvia Tillotson
Teresa Valcarce
Richard R. Valencia
Kirk Whisler
Carlos Yturralde


Letters to the Editor

Good morning, Minnie. I read the article on the Globo theater with great interest. I was born in Corpus Christi and as a kid frequented that theater many times. I would go around my neighborhood picking up Mexican tortilla wrappers and turn them in the local grocery store for a free ticket to the Globo. At the time I wasn't sure why the owner operator would do this but as an adult I now realize he was doing his part in keeping the neighbor clean.

Lupe Martinez, President /CEO  UMOS
2701 S. Chase Ave.
Milwaukee, WI. 53207

  414-489-0216 Fax

Mimi, this (March) is a beautiful issue of Somos Primos.
 I especially loved the Great Train Robbery in Alice, TX.
Joe Guerra
Houston, TX

Thank you, Mimi: Thank you for making a point of the importance of remembering our roots.

It's life giving to let people know one's heritage and history. My parents shared theirs with me and they have given me such a sense of belonging. As a result, I'm writing my memories of growing up in New Mexico in a journal which my children can read when they want; and I speak to them as often as something jogs my memory of some tidbit of New Mexico history and my family's history.

Margaret Pontius

Somos Primos
P.O. 415
Midway City, CA 
Thoughts to Consider 

"There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority,
 by adequate governmental action."
~ Bertrand Russell

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone."
 ~ Frederic Bastit.

Man is condemned to be free. Condemned because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.
~ Jean-Paul Sartre




A Feel good story, The Army-Navy Game Train, 2014
Children of Giant by Daisy Wanda Garcia 
May 22-23, 2015 Latinos in Heritage Conservation
"White colorism" exists
Perpetuated Hollywood Hispanic Images by Ray J. de Aragon
Now in Español
15th Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Awards 
Tribal marijuana conference for tribal governments, Tulalip, Wash.
Workers' Rights and the Right to Work by Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Avila's El Ranchito Dishes Out Strong Family Traditions by Hannah Madans
Yari Rodriguez Could be Mars First and Only Latina to settle Mars
How an Undocumented Immigrant From Mexico Became a Star at Goldman Sachs
7 Powerful Latina Women Who Made Their Mark on History John Paul Brammer
Sara Ines Calderón and Voto Latino
Rancho del Sueno, Madera, California, Equine Assisted Therapy
Hispanic Marketing 101 and Calendar of Important Conferences

A Feel good story for today, but who heard about it?
The Army-Navy Game Train - 2014

Here's a 'today' story that occurred just before Christmas 2014 ~ The idea started last Christmas 2013, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3. The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. 

Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them. He owns three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. 

One car, the elegant Pennsylvania , carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett. He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators, around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda , in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone: 

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus. 
No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op." 
And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax. 

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs. 

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited. 

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train track to the football stadium for the game. 

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite. And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees: 
From Woolrich, stadium blankets. 
From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. 
From Nikon, field glasses. 
From GEAR, down jackets. 

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.  The Marines declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory. 

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination." 

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.  Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda . "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it is hope. 

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring.”

God bless the Levins! And bless our troops!! 
Sent by Sal Del Valle 

Children of Giant

By Daisy Wanda Garcia


By now, everyone is anticipating the premiere of Hector Galan’s “Children of Giant” on PBS April 17. Hector did an excellent job of capturing the history of the writing and filming of the book in the documentary. For me, the book and movie have an emotional significance. Before the book was written, Edna Ferber contacted Papa about wanting to write a book about racism in Texas.  She was inspired to do so when she heard about the Felix Longoria Affair in national news.  So, Ms. Ferber came to Texas and joined ranks with my father.  She traveled with him everywhere-on his house calls, and AGIF business.  He drove her to the King Ranch and the surrounding south Texas small towns. With each visit, Ferber acquired the feel for local flavor on ranch life in a small Texas town. Needless to say, the entrenched racism and squalor that was the lot of Mexican Americans made a deep impression on the lady as well. Sometime after her stay in Texas with Dr. Hector Garcia, the book was born and named GIANT.  The book was a best seller so George Stevens, film producer, decided to make Ferber’s book into a movie.  There was a major difference in Ferber’s book and the film.  In the book Angel Obregon returned to Riata alive. In the Steven’s film Angel returns to Riata dead and a war hero similar to what happened to Felix Longoria. The reason could have been that Stevens heard about the Longoria affair and gave the film this twist. Unknown to me until now, George Stevens Jr. revealed that his father, Mr. Stevens senior, phoned Papa to consult about the Longoria affair while making the film GIANT.

Life marches on. Through the years the movie and book were ever present in the Garcia family lore and   always surfaced in conversations and became a point of reference. We always talked about Giant until the day Papa died in 1996. Many of the incidents in Ferber’s book were based on attitudes and events that happened in our lives, especially the pool party scene and the incident in the restaurant when my mother, I and the Diaz family were denied service in a restaurant in Gonzales, TX.

I was always puzzled by my reaction to the film GIANT. Despite my fond memories of Ferber’s visit and my father’s involvement with the book and film, 
I found I was never able to watch the movie to the end.   I was aware that I felt a sense of uneasiness and sadness every time I watched the film but could not pinpoint the cause.  Just hearing the “Texan Talk” from characters in the movie was enough to resurrect bad memories which I had experienced many times growing up in Corpus Christi, TX. Then I had an epiphany.  Stevens’s film and Galan’s documentary hit close to home and I was forced to acknowledge those unpleasant memories which were buried deep in my soul. In the final scene when the scraps of papers buried so long ago were finally liberated from their coffin, my soul was liberated as well. Like the papers, my soul soared to the heavens.  We were freed from the tyranny and racism that happened so long ago. Free at last! Despite the painful topic, Galan leaves the audience with an upbeat spiritual message about the triumph of the spirit over adversity.

So today I am here to invite you to celebrate the book, film and documentary, and hope you enjoy them and integrate their lessons into your life. Though all of this happened so long ago, I will never forget my memories of Edna Ferber with her white hair and pearls and all the excitement generated in my life by all three instruments.  I leave this thought with all of you.

                                                                                         Dr. Hector P. Garcia
receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor from President Reagan, March 26, 1985.  For more information on Dr. Garcia and Wanda's life as his daughter, please search previous issues of Somos Primos.   


“Latinos in Heritage Conservation” 

The organizers of “Latinos in Heritage Conservation” – a new group aimed at promoting Latina/o leadership and engagement in historic preservation – are pleased to announce our first-ever national summit in Tucson, AZ on May 22-23, 2015. Join Latina/o preservationists, scholars, and community advocates in our growing efforts to build a diverse, intergenerational network of individuals and communities dedicated to the preservation of Latina/o places and stories throughout the United States. 

Share your vision for Latina/o preservation! This two-day working gathering will give you the opportunity to help set the direction of this national organization and determine its priorities for the next 3-5 years. We will discuss key issues in the field while establishing a clear mission to advance our efforts to recognize, protect, and support Latina/o cultural heritage in communities throughout the country. Summit attendees will also have the chance to visit and learn about Tucson’s Latino heritage.

Who should attend: Leaders in Latina/o communities, grassroots advocates, cultural workers, students, and educators who are actively engaged in issues related to Latina/o heritage and preservation and interested in shaping a national dialogue. 

Lodging is available at a reduced rate at The Hotel Congress in Downtown Tucson, where the summit will take place. Please see the attached flyer for details. Additional meeting locations, tours, and guest speakers will be announced. 

For more information about the Latinos in Heritage Conservation Summit and to RSVP, please contact Laura Dominguez at . Note, there is no cost to register for the summit, but reservations are required. 

The event is generously hosted by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and the University of Arizona Heritage Conservation Program. 

For additional updates, please be sure to check out and “like” the Latinos in Heritage Conservation Facebook page. We look forward to meeting you in Tucson and beyond!

Latinos in Heritage Conservation was established in 2014 with the goal of preserving and promoting the nation’s diverse Latino heritage, with representatives from San Francisco Heritage, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Westside Preservation Alliance (San Antonio), Chicano Park Steering Committee (San Diego), the American Latino Scholars Expert Panel, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Mexican American Studies Department Needed at University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley
By Arnulfo Daniel Segovia

Photo: Roberto R. Calderón of the UT-Pan American Mexican American Studies Club. 
Taken, south steps Texas State Capitol, March 16, 2015.
Rio Grande Guardian

Over the weekend of February 26-28, students and faculty involved in the University of Texas-Pan American’s Mexican American Studies program attended the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco (NACCS) conference in Houston, Texas.

Throughout the weekend students and faculty facilitated and attended several research presentations as well as engaged with community efforts for social justice. While at the conference we learned that there was a statewide neglect of funding MAS in higher education and that in only a few weeks a day of advocacy at the Capitol would take place addressing issues of educational equity for Latina/os.

On March 16, 2015 approximately 50 students representing the UTPA Mexican American Studies Club (MASC), Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO), La Unión de Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and the Minority Affairs Council (MAC) attended the Latina/o Education Day of Advocacy at the Capitol in Austin. Through the assistance of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the Hispanic Senate Caucus, and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, students were bused to the Capitol to participate in a press conference by the Latina/o Education Task Force, rally their support, and meet with legislators.

UT-Pan American students attended 'Latino Day of Advocacy for Educational Equity and Opportunity at the Capitol.' (Photo: Roberto R. Calderón)

Our effort as students was advocating for the Latino/a Education Task Force agenda, in particular greater funding of MAS in higher education. However, our Valley contingency focused primarily on permanently funding the MAS Center, the Bilingual Studies Center, and the establishment of a department of MAS at the new UT-Rio Grande Valley. MAS has existed at UTPA since 1971, yet still exists today as only a program and not a department. UTRGV has promoted itself as a bilingual and bicultural intuition which boasts a Latina/o population upwards of 90 percent. However in the UTRGV Legislative Appropriations Request there exists no special requests to fund MAS.

Today only a single MAS department exists in the state. In order to develop politically conscious and socially aware Latina/o leaders it is imperative to fund not only a MAS Center, but also a department in the Valley. We believe we have the potential to become the premier MAS department in not only Texas, but in the nation. Our sentiments were met with vocal support from our legislators. This support is additional affirmation to our ontological vocation of preserving our history and determining our future.

To not create a MAS department after 45 years of existence is to say that the study of the Mexican American experience is of little value. Who will be the legislator to champion our cause? Or will it be the student activism, as it was in 1971, that brings the permanent funding of a center and the rightful establishment of a department dedicated to the study of our Mexican American communities?

One thing is for certain, we will not stand
 idly by while crossing our arms as our heritage and culture escapes yet another generation. Nuestra Educación Es Nuestra Lucha.

About the author. Arnulfo Daniel Segovia is a member of the Mexican American Studies Club at UT-Pan American. Email: 

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.

"White Colorism" exists. 

As long ago as 2005, an ABC News report on colorism called it "an open secret in the black community." Two more recent documentaries about the issue, 2011's Dark Girls, and its 2015 offshoot, Light Girls, present it primarily as a source of pain inflicted both on and by African-Americans.

There's a broad assumption that this phenomenon — a preference for light skin over dark and accompanying discrimination — is contained within the black community and other communities of color. But now, research suggests that some white people buy into colorism, too.

In a new study published in the journal Social Currents, Villanova University's Lance Hannon found that, all things being equal, white interviewers deemed lighter-skinned blacks and Hispanics more intelligent than darker-skinned people who had identical educational achievement, vocabularies, scores on a political test, and a variety of other factors.

The results provide good reason to believe that what Hannon calls "white colorism" exists. And they raise concerns about what unfair, complexion-based beliefs about who's smart and who's not can have in every area of American life.

Skin color discrimination by white people isn't a new concept. As Hannon writes in the paper, "The history of white colorism runs as deep as the history of white racism in U.S. society. For African Americans, the skin color hierarchy is firmly rooted in the slavery regime, where white owners gave certain work privileges to slaves with more Eurocentric features."

And in fact, colorism in various areas of American life has been studied before. In his write up of the new research, Pacific Standard's Tom Jacobs summed up the findings of previous studies on the topic, with conclusions including:

lighter-skinned black men with bachelor's degrees have a distinct advantage in job application processes over black men who have MBAs; lighter skinned black women in North Carolina received lighter prison sentences than their darker peers; African-Americans with more education are remembered as being lighter than they actually are.
But Hannon's new research is the first to focus on how colorism determines white people's perceptions of the intelligence of people of color.

He analyzed data from the 2012 American National Election Study, which is a face-to-face survey on social and political values and opinion. Interviewers are required to describe each subject's skin tone on a 10-point scale, and also rate intelligence on a five-point scale from "very low" to "very high."

Looking at the results for 223 African-American and Hispanic subjects who were interviewed by white interviewers, he found that African Americans and Latinos who were deemed to have lighter skin tones were also significantly more likely to be seen as intelligent.

If you're wondering whether it could be that the lighter-skinned subjects really were more intelligent (perhaps because of the way colorism in the larger society affected their educational opportunities) you're wrong — Hannon controlled for all of that. "Importantly, the effects of skin tone on intelligence assessment were independent of respondent education level, vocabulary test score, political knowledge assessment, and other demographic factors," he wrote.

Consequently, the interviewers could look at two identically qualified black or Hispanic subjects and assess the lighter one as being smarter.  Why white colorism matters

The research drives home the point that colorism is not just a form of prejudice people of color impose on each other. Also, it's a reminder that that while it's certainly a relevant part of conversations where it most often arises — about things like worldwide demand for skin bleaching cream, debates about dating preferences, and more diverse representation of black women in Hollywood — the harm it causes extends far beyond these realms.

A belief among some white people that darker-skinned black and Hispanic people aren't smart could have (and is likely already having) society-wide impacts that perpetuate inequality. "If white adults have a tendency to equate lighter skin with intelligence," Hannon concluded, "this may impact the quality and level of expectations white teachers and other school authorities have for certain students."

It's reasonable to conclude that this type of thinking — whether it's conscious or the result of implicit bias — could taint decisions about everything from hiring and promotions, awards and internships, to mentorship and all of the other judgments that determine the trajectory of a person's life.

The paper calls for future sociological research to stop treating colorism as something that only happens within racial groups, and insists that if American racism is to be fully addressed, white colorism will have to be a part of the conversation.

Sent by John Inclan 

Editor Mimi:  I suggest a future sociological study is needed to investigate the presence of  racial discrimination against Latinos, based on their surname.   There is no way to identify African-Americans by their surnames, but quite easy to recognize Latinos by their surname.

When it became against the law to require a photo, it facilitated all minorities of darker skin colors to obtain employment based on their resume, education/exprience.   Considering the discrepancy between the Latino population, of about 17%, with only about 4% employed in the government,  it could be that some form of negative racial profiling is occurring, based on the Spanish surname on the application.   

The United States is a fascinating jumble of surnames from all over the world.  Historically many individuals made given and surname changes, to sound more "American".  Since color is taken out of the selection process,  it would seem appropriate to research whether racism, based on surname is tipping the scales unjustly.  

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states:
Employers should not ask for a photograph of an applicant. If needed for identification purposes, a photograph may be obtained after an offer of employment is made and accepted."  



by Ray J. de Aragon

I enjoyed reading the joke pages of Readers Digest. They always provided us with a good and hearty laugh. There was a joke that I read that I have never forgotten. It went something like this. Once there was midddle aged Anglo-American couple that traveled as tourists to South America. They went to Columbia. They decided on going on an excursion into the countryside so they rented a car. The man was dressed in a Hawaiin shirt and Bermuda shorts. His wife wore a Moo Moo dress. They had a great time driving through the country roads but got lost. They didn’t know what to do, As they went along they spotted a house a short distance from the road. A man was sitting on a chair leaning up against the wall. The wife told her husband he should go up and ask the man for directions back to town so he got off of the car and walked up to him. The wife could see her husband waving his arms up and down and pointing in all directions. The man on the chair simply shrugged his shoulders. Frustrated, the tourist went back to the car got in and slammed the door. His wife, now totally perplexed, asked her husband what happened. He exclaimed,These dumb Mexicans are all alike!”

Sean Penn recently made headlines while presenting an Oscar at the Academy Awards to “Birdman” Mexican born director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu for Best Picture. The popular actor said before presenting the award, “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” This was met with laughter from the crowd. His extremely offensive remark was supposed to have been a joke. But was it a joke? This derogatory statement very graphically illustrates and brings home the point as to how Hispanics are viewed in Hollywood and are shown on the Silver Screen. My earliest recollections of Mexicans portrayed on film was seeing Wallace Beery playing the role of Pancho Villa, and Marlon Brando depicting Emiliano Zapata. It was a given that Anglo actors along with their stereotypical accents played the roles of Hispanic men and women on film. As we look into the history of the wide screen and television we could ask the question as to how Hispanics quite often are depicted. Historical stereotypes immediately pop into mind. They are fat, lazy, good for nothings, or have the roles of drug dealers, drug addicts, unmarried mothers sponging off of the government, prostitutes, mistresses, or maids named Maria who don’t speak English, or speak broken English.

We all know how Hispanics are portrayed in the entertainment industry. We do not fare well in documentary films either. The history shown going back to Columbus in 1492 to the present day is that the Spanish were ruthless bloodthirsty cutthroats that were gold hungry and viciously destroyed everything. The English, in contrast, were law abiding civilizers, pioneers and trailblazers whose only intention was to provide equality and justice for all. As a young university student in an English class I along with my fellow students were required to read Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. This book is recognized as the great American novel published originally in 1928. This historical fiction book has been released in numerous editions and has been a major best seller. It is the fictional story of Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy who was an American bishop sent to Christianize the people of New Mexico in 1850. It didn’t make a difference that the territory had been Christianized by Franciscan friars since the seventeenth century. The author chose to fictionalize Lamy’s name as Jean Vailant as well as the names of other Americans, but she decided to use the actual names of Hispanics in New Mexico. Needless to say, Cather elevated Lamy to hero status saying he fought bravely and courageously to tame an immoral and corrupt people and place. I was incensed reading her words, but the most unfortunate thing is that this book and many others like it have helped to paint a picture that is accepted as fact by many including some Hispanics that deny their heritage and culture as result of this. Some Hispanics feel a shame admitting they are of Spanish descent, but in American culture, per se, it is grand to be of English descent. Remember her majesty, the queen of England? I wrote my book, Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy to try to counteract this fictional novel with the truth. The reality is that Lamy did not know how to speak Spanish, like the Anglo American tourist in the joke, so he spent his time criticizing, persecuting, tormenting, and viciously punishing the Roman Catholic Hispanic population of New Mexico.

I read a recently nationally published book on the Civil War history of New Mexico The Anglo historian wrote about an episode that took place historically right after the Civil War wherein he said the Spanish raped, maltreated, and pillaged the Native Americans. The Spanish were not even involved in this event, but he chose to mislead the readers with pure fabrication. Vile misinformation, the denigrating of people and their leaders as a whole, and the historical trashing of Hispanic history, traditions, culture and heritage has been commonplace for generations. The sad thing is that many have been brainwashed by this and English and American history has been conveniently whitewashed. An animated film produced in Hollywood and funded by the Guggenheim and other corporate organizations on the New Mexico Revolt of 1680, for example, is filled with distortions, fabrications, animosity and hatred against the Spanish people and history of New Mexico. I love the title Gabriel Garcia Marquez used for his book, One hundred years of Solitude. In New Mexico it has been four hundred years of solitude. In a United States map that was used recently and shown on national news, New Mexico was identified as Mexico. The fact is that New Mexico is a state in the United States. Many people are not only ignorant as to its location, but ask if a passport is needed to travel there, and ask further if the people are civilized. New Mexico is a bilingual state where Spanish and English is spoken. It has its own history, traditions, culture, and heritage dating to 1598 when the area was first settled by Spanish colonizers. It has its own historical figures, heroes, and eminent political leaders. The territory has its own folk arts, and its own folk dances. To confuse New Mexico with Mexico is like confusing Puerto Rico and Cuba with Mexico. The film industry is alive and well in New Mexico with a multitude of films being produced through New Mexico tax incentives. An Oscar winning film, No Country for Old Men was filmed in New Mexico. However, virtually no opportunities for speaking roles for well qualified local Hispanic actors exist. All actors, especially for major and even minor speaking roles are imported into the state from Hollywood. Locals have the opportunity to play riff raff however, or people walking by or in a crowd.

In the Spanish Colonial city of Los Angeles, the City of Angels, Hollywood seeks to demonize Hispanics, and Hispanic culture. A new highly touted television series called “American Crime,” pictures Hispanics as hard core gang members and criminal element. Racial profiling of Hispanics is commonplace on the motion picture, and television screen. Screen writers, directors, and producers in the film industry have to be involved in a culture of change as to the way they negatively view Hispanics. What kind of an impression does Hollywood racial profiling create with the public in general, and law enforcement in particular? Most importantly, what kind of an impression does this leave with our youth? Statistics very graphically point out that Hispanics have one of the highest high school dropout rates, one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies, high drug and alcohol addiction and a high suicide rate. Next to nothing is being done about this. We know that a positive self image, and a positive self esteem goes a long way towards ensuring success in life. This is an extremely important and a relevant issue to all Hispanics living in the United states, no matter what their original point of origin is. We need to actively support one another for the greater benefit of our children and youth.

New Mexicans, have yet, to qualify for the Latin Grammies and are not even counted as part of the Latinos. Nosotros, the organization which honors Latinos in the entertainment industry founded by Ricardo Montalban does not recognize New Mexico actors and performers. The image of Latinos and Hispanics as they are portrayed in the entertainment industry as a whole has to change. This begins by supporting and recognizing all Latinos. When the dialogue of an actor playing a detective, such as one used on the television police drama NYPD states, “the only good Columbian I have ever met was a dead Columbian,” and when Saturday Night Live pokes fun at Latinos since it is so funny to ridicule them, Hispanics should not join in and laugh, or take it with a grain of salt or a dash of salsa. The only superhero Hispanics have is Zorro, but he doesn’t begin to compare with Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. Why not? If negative images and stereotypes do not change in Hollywood, then our children and youth not only suffer as a result, but have no role models to look up to. We need to stand up more to the challenges in front of us.


Now in Español

Join LA Plaza and PBS SoCaL for A screening of the insightful documentary Now in Español, a film that addresses questions of Latino identity and representation in the media by exploring the reality of being Latina in Hollywood took place March 15 at the Los Angeles Plaza. The film follows actresses Ivette Gonzalez, Marcela Bordes, Natasha Perez, Marabina Jaimes, and Gabriela del Carmen Lopetegui as they are hired to dub the popular TV series Desperate Housewives into Spanish.

Join director Andrea Meller and actresses Marcela Bordes, Ivette Gonzalez, Marabina Jaimes, and Natasha Perez for a special panel discussion after the film. 


15th Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Awards 


"When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit
 that our lives are all that really belong to us. 
So, it how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. 
It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life."     
                                                               -Cesar E. Chavez

The 15th Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Awards and dinner was held on March 26, 2015 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.  This year the award went to Los Lobos. Well deserved, in 2013 Los Lobos & Paul Rodrigues gave a fundraiser for the Cesar Chavez memorial in Riverside, sculptured by artist Ignacio Gomez.   The figure on the left is the clay master for the new Cesar Chavez Legacy Award, sent to readers to enjoy . . .      

Mimi, hope all is well, here is a sneak look of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy Award.  The award will be in bronze, with the base, it is13 inches. It's the official award for the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award., Ignacio


Tribal marijuana conference for tribal governments considering whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal, agricultural, or recreational use, was held Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in Tulalip, Wash.
Feb. 27, 2015, in Tulalip, Wash. Representatives of 75 American Indian tribes from 35 states gathered to discuss what might be the next big financial boon on reservations across the country: marijuana. Tribes have been exploring the idea of getting into the pot business since the Obama administration announced in December it wouldn't stand in their way. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Photo: 

Weed could be Indian Tribes's Pot of Gold
Extracted information from article by Gene Johnson, Associated Press : ULALIP, Wash. (AP) - The Justice Department's announcement in December that it would allow the nation's Indian tribes to legalize and regulate marijuana on their reservations brought notes of caution - if not silence or opposition - from many tribes.  . . .  Representatives of about 75 tribes from around the country converged on the Tulalip Indian Tribes' resort and casino for a $605-a-head seminar on the regulatory, legal and social issues related to pot legalization. . . . That's a small fraction of the nation's 566 recognized tribes. Many attendees were from smaller tribes looking for a potential economic edge.. . .  The topic also is on the agenda of a major tribal economic summit in Las Vegas next month.

One analyst warned that any tribe expecting to hit the jackpot might be in for a surprise, particularly as the supploy of legal pot in the U.S. increases. "People keep forgetting it's a competitive market," said Mark Kleiman, a professor public policy at UCLAwho served as Washington state's top pop consultant.  In Washington state, where retail pot stores opened in July, Kleiman said pot growers who sold their product for $21 a gram only a few months ago are now getting $4 a gram.   Tribune News Service.



By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Scholar in Residence (Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, Public Policy), Western New Mexico University

The expression “the right to work” is a “sleight of word” linguistification meant to convey a positive message which it is not. It’s an expression right out of the lexicon of “union busting.” At face-value, the expression “right to work” implies autonomy of choice—that is, workers have a choice of not signing on with unions if they don’t want to. 

The expression “the right to work” coveys the impression that “right to work” laws are in place to protect workers from unscrupulously corrupt unions who are only out to filch union dues from workers to fatten the pockets of union bosses. There are currently 24 states with “right to work” laws. 

Among the most restrictive is Michigan’s “right to work” law, passed in December of 2013, making the state the 24th to prohibit contracts that require workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. 

Proponents of “right to work” laws cite Thomas Jefferson who wrote: "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” Opponents of “right to work” laws cite Martin Luther King who counseled that “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as “right to work.” Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining" (Clay and Larson).

On their face “right to work” laws seems bland enough and fair—union dues should not be a condition of employment. Opponents of the “right to work laws” explain that their

opposition to the law, however, in no way implies support for the organizations that are its immediate target—the official trade unions. After decades of betrayals of the workers they nominally represent, and the imposition of one round of layoffs and wage cuts after another, the unions and their right-wing leadership have earned the hatred of rank and file workers, making them neither able nor willing to oppose the decision of Michigan’s Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature to cripple the unions financially and spurn their services in helping suppress working class opposition.   World Socialist Web Site,

Despite the historical excesses and corruption of some unions in the landscape of American Labor, unions have by and large advanced the condition of the working class improving its venue towards middle-class mobility. The operational phrase here is “collective bargaining” which enables unions per en mass strength to negotiate contracts with employers. The origin of labor unions dates back to the 18th century and the industrial revolution in Europe.

In those days, workers’ rights were what employers dictated. Formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers. The early labor movement was, however, inspired by more than job interest of its craft members. It harbored a conception of the just society, deriving from the Ricardian labor theory of value and from the republican ideals of the American Revolution, which fostered social equality and celebrated honest labor.

A review conducted by the federal government on pay scale shows that employees in a labor union earn up to 33% more income than their nonunion counterparts, as well as having more job security, safer and higher-quality work conditions, and additional benefits. Union membership had been declining in the US since 1954, and since 1967, as union membership rates decreased, middle class incomes shrank correspondingly.

In the political realm, the founding doctrine of “pure-and-simple unionism” meant an arm’s-length relationship to the state and the least possible entanglement in partisan politics. That was easier said than done. Labor unions are legally recognized as representatives of workers in many industries in the United States. Their activity today centers on collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for their members, and on representing their members in disputes with management over violations of contract provisions. Larger unions engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level.

The National Labor Relations Act says in Section 7: "Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. ..." Section 8 of the NLRA makes it illegal for an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7." the National Labor Relations Board, the agency that enforces the NLRA, specifically says that an employer breaks this law if it engages in "Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity."

Philosophically the nub of the conflict is about “Economic Justice” which both sides of the issue see, essentially, as a power game about who controls the workplace. In establishing that control “right to work” proponents emphasize the coercive structure of unions while the proponents of “unions” contend that in addition to the “collective bargaining” edge of unions they protect workers from being fired by employers “for any or no reason” at all since without unions workers are considered “at will” employees and therefore require no justification to terminate their employment. While not prohibiting employers from dissuading workers’ efforts to unionize, federal law clearly favors workers. 

Globally, the issue of “workers’ rights and the right to work” is framed as “human rights:” 

1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his or her interests.

According to the New Republic “Right to Work isn’t a Civil Right; But Unionizing Should Be” 

The adoption of so-called "right to work" legislation in Michigan, of all places, represents an historic setback for organized labor. First, Republicans went after public employees in the birthplace of public unions, Wisconsin. And now they have taken the fight to private employee unions in the cradle of modern industrial unionism. Conservatives are right that, if they can win in Michigan, they can win almost anywhere.

Despite the arguments advanced by right to work proponents that they are trying to make Michigan more attractive to businesses, this legislation was a calculated effort by conservatives and business interests like the Koch brothers to redistribute political power from Democrats to Republicans (hence the exemption for police and firefighters, who are friendlier to Republicans) and from workers to employers. Previously in Michigan, no one was forced to join a union, but workers who benefited from collective bargaining were required to pay fees to cover the cost of that bargaining. The new law eliminates that requirement, allowing employees to benefit without paying a fee, thereby weakening unions’ ability to participating in politics and negotiate for better wages. As President Obama noted, right to work legislation is really about "the right to work for less money."

Nevertheless, there is an important lesson for liberals and labor in the Michigan story about the power of rhetoric. "Right to work" is a mendacious slogan but a politically resonant one. It's mendacious because everyone in every state has the right to work; the legislation simply gives employees the right to be free riders--to benefit from collective bargaining without paying for it. . . .

The brilliance of the slogan is that it pits the individual's "right" to choose whether to pay dues (and who likes paying dues?) against the interests of large institutions (labor unions). Labor responds with a justifiable plea about the need for workers to be united and pay their fair share for representation (and, ultimately, better wages). But when the fight is framed as individual rights vs. solidarity, rights usually win. Indeed, when asked to identify government's most important role, 59 percent said in a 2010 Rasmussen poll that it is to protect individual rights and liberty.

Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit


Clay, William L., and Reed Larson. "Does America need a national right-to-work law? (pro and con arguments)." Insight on the News 17 Aug. 1998. 1 Mar. 2004 

Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit, “Right to Work isn’t a Civil Right; But Unionizing Should Be.” The New Republic, December 13, 2012.

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 

Avila's El Ranchito Dishes Out Strong Family Traditions by Hannah Madans
Orange County Register, CA  February 27, 2015

The restaurant business runs in Maribel Avila’s blood.  

Her first unofficial job at her family’s restaurant, Avila’s El Ranchito, came at age 4, when she handed menus to customers. In high school, she became a hostess. Now the 27-year-old manages three El Ranchito locations owned by her parents, including the family’s standout location in Newport Beach.  “I just remember being here all the time as a kid. This was my second home,” she said.

The popular Mexican restaurant group was founded after her grandparents Salvador Avila and his wife, Margarita, came to the U.S. from Mexico. In 1966, they opened their first restaurant, which was “a bit of a taco shop” with a few picnic benches, according to Maribel Avila.

Maribel Avila is the manager of the Avila's El Ranchito restaurants 
in Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar and Huntington Beach. 
The Newport Beach location is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Nick Agro, Staff photographer

In the ensuing years, one restaurant became 11. Each is individually owned, operated and financed by eight family members. They all share the same basic menu items. Around 40 Avila family members, across three generations, are involved in the business.

Randall Hiatt, the president of Costa Mesa restaurant consulting group Fessel International, said it is “relatively rare” for restaurants to be operated under the same name but be completely independent. While it may be rare, it does have some benefits.

“If the brand is good and has good loyalty, and it’s a good solid business because of name and reputation, it can be a good thing,” he said. “But the downside risk is that someone may not be consistent.”  “They’re extending the brand and furthering and strengthening it in the region,” he said.

The Newport Beach location, at 2800 Newport Blvd., which is celebrating its 40th year, was founded in 1975 by Maribel Avila’s father, Sergio Avila, in a former fish market.

“Seeing my mom and dad so involved and the love and passion they had for the restaurant, well, I just fell in love with the restaurant and taking care of it, too,” she said.

The restaurant is known for dishes like Mama Avila’s Soup, which accounts for 40 percent of sales, and “grandmother approved” dishes like the carnitas.

                                         Avila is pictured here helping at ther family's restaurant 
                                                                                               during her childhood.

When the restaurant first opened, it was small with just eight employees. It grew to include a patio and was completely remodeled in the 1990s.  Maribel Avila now manages around 120 employees at the three restaurants she runs.

Avila sat down with the Register to discuss working with family and what she has learned growing up in the business. Her answers were edited for length and clarity.

Q. What is it like to be part of a family business?

A. We’re really lucky to have a giant support system. All of us help each other out with different menu items and solving different problems. The best part about it is that my grandparents are still involved. My grandpa is 92, my grandma’s 90 and they still come to work.

Q. Are there any difficulties associated with working with your family?

A. I wouldn’t say difficulties. It’s family and we’re all so close. It’s a support system. There’s no conflict because each family member runs the restaurant individually and finances are individual and decision making is too.  We keep running a family business separate from our family relationship. It’s not business all the time. We’re not allowed to talk business at grandma’s house. We’re not allowed to talk business at any family event, and that’s how we remain close.

Q. How has competition from chains like Chipotle affected your business?

A. Mexican food is extremely popular, especially in Southern California. We’ve been fortunate to be here for 40 years. The reason we’ve been able to be successful is by keeping it run and operated by a family member and giving it that personal touch, not straying away from the family recipes. Really just paying close attention to detail and keep listening to our customers. Our regulars mean a lot to us and have been coming here for years.

Q. How many employees are family vs. other people? 

A. The family members are all either owners or managers. Some of our employees have been with us since day one. They feel like family. The first server my dad hired in 1975, her name is Rosina, she still works with us. Angie is coming up on 30 years. We have original cooks in here. So they’re all like family.

Q. Under Obamacare, there are now health care mandates for businesses. How has this affected your business? (Avila answered on behalf of her restaurants and not the entire group.)

A. Our Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Corona del Mar locations now offer health insurance to all full-time employees. Yes, we have had to pay a significant amount of money to do so, but for us it was important. Our employees deserve the opportunity. Some of our employees who have never been able to afford or have access to health care are now offered a plan for them and their entire families. Of course in able to afford to do this, we had make cuts in other departments such as advertising, remodeling and just being more conscious of spending.

Q. Are there any expansions planned?

A. As of now, no immediate plans to expand, but the family’s always growing. We have 40 people in the family, including six little boys, so there’s always room for expansion.

Q. Have you ever had any offers to sell from people outside the family?

A. We’ve had quite a few. People want to get involved, but it’s against our way of doing business. To own a restaurant, you have to be an Avila family member. In order to open a restaurant, you need a college degree. You also need at least five years of experience in the restaurant. We want to make sure there are proper finances and that the restaurant succeeds. The location is also really important. We all need to approve of where it is. It can’t be too close to another one and create competition. And the founders, my aunts and uncles and grandparents, they’re the ones who have the final say in whether or not the restaurant can open and who can open one.

Q. Do you have any plans to open one?

A. I don’t. I am very fortunate. I run three successful locations. My goal is to successfully run these and keep the legacy alive. If I open my own, who would run these?

Q. What menu items makes the Newport Beach location unique?

A. Newport Beach is a very health-conscious neighborhood, so we cater to what our customers want. We put a healthy twist to the traditional chile relleno. Instead of it being in an egg white batter, fried and stuffed with cheese, we use a fire roasted Ortega chile and stuff it with grilled vegetables and chicken. It’s smothered in our tomatillo salsa and topped with low-fat cheese. It has become a customer favorite in Newport.

Q. When your grandpa started the first restaurant, do you think he knew it would be this big?

A. No. He opened it to support his kids. He had no idea he would be living the American dream. He was doing what he knew best and that was putting food on the table for his family.  He’s very proud to see what it has become. I don’t think he ever imagined it would be what it is today.

Q. What do you bring to the business? 

A. I bring a younger clientele to the restaurant. We are the local watch party for all the University of Colorado (her alma matter) football games. I do the social media.  It’s really getting the traditional El Ranchito out there with fresh and new energy. I’ve added new margarita recipes and new beers. It’s been fun to be creative.  

My cousins and I have added some new systems that have kept really tight control on our costs. We’ve kept the core of really traditional Mexican food but added a more organized system, which is where the college education comes into play.
Contact the writer: On Twitter: @HannahMadans

Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera  

Yari Rodriguez 
Could be Mars 
First and Only Latina
to settle Mars  

Yari Rodriquez who lives in Massachusetts is one of 100 contenders for 24 spots to settle Mars

 The most terrifying thought about a one-way trip to Mars for Yari Rodriguez is not fear of a rocket malfunction, lack of oxygen, or the high probability of death on a Martian surface.

It’s the cameras.  “It’s the scariest part about the whole mission,” Rodriguez, 27, said. “I’m really shy and nervous…I’ve been coming to terms with being on TV.”

Rodriguez is one of the 100 contenders who have been chosen from more than 200,000 applicants worldwide vying to be one of 24 chosen to settle on Mars beginning in 2025. The $6 billion mission aims to establish a self-sufficient settlement on the red planet and is sponsored by the Mars One Project, a Dutch non-profit that was founded by entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.

Enter the cameras. Lansdorp intends to fund the mission by selling the broadcasting rights to what would be the world’s first interstellar reality television show – documenting every step of the Mars’ crews mission and giving earthlings a front row view of the drama.

Except, unlike other reality TV shows, a one-way trip to Mars means death in space is all but a real certainty.

“Of course, it’s something I thought about,” Rodriguez said. “I mean, am I prepared to die here on Earth? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Of course I think about what the risks and the challenges are going to be. I think about what I want to do with my life and signing up for Mars One… at least I feel capable of going through a mission like this. If someone has to do it, and I am capable of doing it, I’d definitely volunteer.”

Rodriguez, an engineering systems major who now works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researching Space Control Systems, is well aware of the challenges that could be in store. She’s reminded of the challenges by her close friends and family, particularly the last time she visited her grandmother in Mexico.

To read full story and watch news video:

Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera


How an Undocumented  Immigrant From Mexico Became a Star at Goldman Sachs 

Sitting at her desk at Goldman Sachs, Julissa Arce is doing her best to keep it together. It’s September?2007. Her father is dying in Taxco de Alarcón, a small and hilly city in Mexico, and she has just hung up after a call from her sister with bad news. Arce stands and leaves the row where she and her colleagues create derivatives and market them to rich people. She walks down the hall, opens the bathroom door, and locks herself in a stall.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” she says under her breath, repeating Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything.” Then she straightens, washes her face, and returns to work. Her banker colleagues can’t understand why she won’t get on a plane to see her father. Arce tells them that her family will keep her posted, and she might be leaving tomorrow. There is no crying on the private wealth management floor.

The overachievers at Goldman Sachs aren’t all the same. Some have been valedictorians, or Navy SEALs, or the sons or grandsons of the company’s bankers. Some will stop at nothing to amass a fortune; others are patient. And at least one was an undocumented immigrant. Arce, who turns 32 in March, owed her bright career on Wall Street to fake papers bought for a few hundred dollars in a stranger’s living room in Texas. Over seven years at Goldman Sachs, she rose from intern to analyst, associate, then vice president, later becoming a director at Merrill Lynch. When her father died in Taxco hours after the 2007 phone call, she didn’t leave to see her family because with her bogus papers she couldn’t have come back.

Arce was 11 when she moved to San Antonio from Mexico. Despite arriving with little English, she joined the basketball, softball, cross-country, and dance teams, the student council, a Renaissance club, and two honors societies within a few years. She’s still intense. She likes The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends & Influence People and is eager to explain, without irony, why they’re illuminating. She does CrossFit and can hold 150 pounds behind her head. “You have to have a very A-type personality,” she says about weightlifting, sipping a beer in Ulysses, a bar three blocks south of Wall Street. “This workout—it’s not going to win. I’m going to win.”

In 2007, at her desk at Goldman after a long night.
She didn’t have to adjust to Goldman Sachs’s culture of undisguised ambition because she embodied it. A few weeks into her first summer there, as an intern in 2004, before her senior year of college, she arranged to have coffee with a managing director whose team she admired. She told him she had learned a lot and was ready for something faster. “I want to play basketball and go up and down the court,” she told him. When she followed up with a handwritten thank-you card at the end of the summer, the managing director told her to expect good news.
A sharp kind of dread sank in after Goldman offered her a full-time position. She was afraid of what could happen when one of the world’s most sophisticated companies examined her fake green card and Social Security number, took her fingerprints, and ran a background check. She had a recurring dream about being caught: She was sitting in an investment bank office. No one had to tell her she was being deported or threaten her; she just knew what was to come next. Then she’d wake up.

But Goldman never did discover her secret. It was 2005 and a good time to become one of the 23,000 employees of Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm. “I was like, sky’s the limit,” she says. “I’m in.”

Taxco is about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City. Arce remembers houses all painted white, tourists who flocked there for the silver work, and a dubbed version of Dennis the Menace called Daniel el Travieso. In one episode a flatbed truck moves the mean neighbor’s house, and in another he drives an RV. “So when I was a little kid in Mexico my aspiration in life was to live in a mobile home like the Americans,” she says. “Then when I got here I was like, ‘Oh!’?”

Her parents left Taxco regularly to sell jewelry in Texas. They got her a tourist visa so she could join them, and on one trip the family simply stayed. They moved into an apartment in San Antonio and then a house one block from the interstate. She went to a local Catholic school and took to math right away, eventually placing in the honors track. She remembers a classmate raising his hand to ask how a Mexican could possibly keep up.
Arce was 14 when her visa expired. “I knew what that meant,” she says. “I became undocumented.” Desperate to stay in the country she had come to love, she pitched her parents on a plan to have her friend Tiffani’s family adopt her. The Arces didn’t go for that, or her half-hearted suggestion at age 16 that they pay a gay U.S. citizen who worked with the family to marry her.

She also wanted to be rich. “I just had this idea in my head that if I can work my way into this wealth and status, then it won’t matter that I’m undocumented,” she says. “I thought if I had a bunch of money I would be accepted.”

At Roosevelt High School in 2000, Arce excelled at math.
In her senior year of high school, Arce sent out college applications with the Social Security box blank—and got rejections. Just as she was graduating in 2001, a new law made it possible for undocumented Texas students to attend public universities at in-state rates. Five weeks later the director for admissions at the University of Texas at Austin wrote to say her application had been reviewed and she’d been accepted.

She majored in finance. The equations “made sense to me,” she says. “There was always a right answer. There wasn’t anything ambiguous about it. There was so much ambiguity in my life that I really appreciated that.” Antonia Bernal, a leader of the Hispanic Business Student Association that Arce joined, describes her at the time as vibrant and driven. Arce hadn’t seen many Hispanic men wearing business suits before joining the club, and she still does a Hollywood swoon when she describes them. Meetings with successful women were just as important. “I could be ambitious and go-getter without seeming greedy and aggressive,” she says. “There are all these amazing jobs, and there’s all this money to be made.” When the group handed out awards one April, it named her its Future Millionaire.

Arce’s parents moved back to Mexico in 2001, and she took over a food cart business they left behind. Every Friday she rode a Greyhound bus 80 miles to San Antonio’s Market Square to sell funnel cakes with strawberries, whipped cream, and cinnamon. Every Sunday she returned to Austin with money for rent and school.

In 2001, with her mom and sister in front of the family’s funnel cake cart in San Antonio. When the cart lost its spot, Arce couldn’t land a new job with her expired tourist visa. And she couldn’t stay in college without a job. Getting a fake green card turned out to be unexpectedly simple. She confessed her need to a suite-mate, who connected her to her boyfriend, who introduced her to a woman, who asked her to come to her home. It was a mundane transaction, Arce says, in an average apartment with an average living room. She handed over the money, had her picture taken, and about two weeks later had the forged documents.

They worked. Arce used them to land customer service work on nights and weekends for a debit card company in Austin and interned for a Major League Soccer team. Then she saw a presentation about summer positions at New York banks. The pay could be $10,000.

“Oh my,” she remembers thinking. “That is where I need to go, and that is where I need to be.”

The most influential document at Goldman Sachs may be a list of 10 business commandments written by co-head John Whitehead, who died this year at 92. “Important people like to deal with other important people. Are you one?” No.?8 asks. “Don’t waste your time going after business we don’t really want,” says No.?1. By putting the Goldman thirst for competence, connection, rank, and respect into words, Whitehead set the strike zone for hitters at the bank, including ones born long after he retired in 1984.

The chances of joining them, with 350 summer analysts chosen by the investment banking unit from 17,000 applicants in 2013, are worse than the odds of getting into Harvard University. For those who do make the cut, the competition—for assignments, pay, power—only intensifies. Women do this battle knowing that 9 of the company’s 10 executive officers are men.

Arce got a 2004 internship through a nonprofit called Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, which places Hispanic and black students into summer roles at banks. She liked it at Goldman, where she helped put together presentations for existing clients and searched for new ones among the names of yacht owners. She was asked to return to the firm full-time after graduation in 2005. In New York her career got off to an extraordinary start when she was invited to join a new team that built derivatives for the private wealth division’s clients. These were financial products that might, for example, include options whose value would rise 3?percent for every percentage point that an index gained, up to a cap. Arce became a rookie analyst reporting directly to a managing director, making it to the office by 7?a.m. to beat her boss, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast.

Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera

7 Powerful Latina Women Who Made Their Mark on History
John Paul Brammer, March 9th, 2015

Latinas have contributed so much to shape the world we know today. As a member of the Latino community, I wanted to take today, International Women’s Day, to honor the achievements of powerful Latinas who have left their mark on history. Of course, there are many, many more, but maybe there will be a few names on this list you haven’t seen before.

John Paul Brammer is a Contributing Editor at BNR. His writing on LGBT and Latino issues has appeared in The Advocate and Huffington Post. Find him on twitter.


Rigoberta Menchú

An indigenous Guatemalan and Nobel Prize winner, Menchú is a strong advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples and served as labor leader in the early 1980s where she helped educate natives on ways they could resist oppression and fight for their rights.

Michelle Bachelet

The current president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, is the first female to ever hold the office. In 1974 she was arrested and tortured for her father’s resistance to the 1973 coup, and later worked in a medical clinic assisting victims of torture. She served as the head of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and she currently puts an emphasis on indigenous peoples’ rights as president.

Ellen Lauri Ochoa

The current Director of the Johnson Space Center, Ellen Lauri Ochoa is a Mexican-American woman who became the first Latina astronaut in history. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from San Diego State University and a Master of Science Degree from Stanford University.



Eva Peron

Actress, women’s rights activist, and first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron has become a legendary figure both in her home country and in the western world. She used her position as first lady to fight for better treatment for the poor and for women’s suffrage. She was immortalized in the musical Evita. 



Selena Quintanilla-Peréz

Known as La Reina de la Cumbia, the Queen of Cumbia, Selena Quintanilla-Peréz changed the face of Tejano music and broke down barriers between the United States and Mexico, bringing Latino culture to the mainstream of American life. She was the first Tejano musician ever to receive a Grammy and her influence continues to impact pop stars to this day.

Hilda Solis

The daughter of immigrants from Nicaragua and Mexico, Hilda Solis is the former US Secretary of Labor, a former Congresswoman, and current member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for District 1. She was the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile of Courage Award in 2000 and fought in the 1990s to increase the minimum wage in California.


Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor, born in the United States to Puerto Rican immigrants, went on to become the first Latina Justice of the Supreme Court. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Law and a lecturer at Columbia Law School.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno 
and Mercy Bautista Olvera 

Sara Ines Calderón 

Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change.

One of the programs Voto Latino has organized is the VL Innovators Challenge. From their website Voto Latino states: Latinos like technology. Let's put it to work. Latinos use digital media more than any other ethnic group. But few Latinos are translating their tech savvy into tech work. In fact, only 7% of technology workers are Hispanic. That's partly because Latinos don't associate their awesome online skills with the possibility of a career in tech. At Voto Latino, we believe Latinos can use their tech savviness to open doors to amazing careers in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM).


Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change.

One of the programs Voto Latino has organized is the VL Innovators Challenge. From their website Voto Latino states: Latinos like technology. Let's put it to work. Latinos use digital media more than any other ethnic group. But few Latinos are translating their tech savvy into tech work. In fact, only 7% of technology workers are Hispanic. That's partly because Latinos don't associate their awesome online skills with the possibility of a career in tech. At Voto Latino, we believe Latinos can use their tech savviness to open doors to amazing careers in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM).

The VL Innovators Challenge was created to get Millennials, especially Latino Millennials, thinking about technology both as an innovative change agent and as a potential career.

Sara Ines Calderón participated in the Voto Latino Innovator's Challenge and was named a finalist for a project she created called, ELECTA. La Voz spoke with Sara right before she took off to Washington, D. C. for the selection of the Voto Latino Inovator's Challenge winner.

La Voz: Let's start with this nomination that you recently received.
Calderón: Sure. The Voto Latino Innovators challenge is a competition working to empower Latino mellennials to solve a problem in the Latino community using technology.

La Voz: Let's tell our readers real quick what "melinnials" are.
Calderón: Melinnials are traditionally defined as 18 to 35 years old individuals or anyone born after 1980.

La Voz: So you are a melinnial?
Calderón: Yes, I fall into that age group.

La Voz: Ok, continue.
Calderón: In October of last year I applied for this competition and in December, I was selected as a semi-finalist. And last week I was notified that my project, ELECTA, has been selected as a finalist and I will be heading to Washington, D.C. where each participant will make a presentation at Google headquarters and the winner will be announced.

La Voz: Is there a grand prize?
Calderón: Yes. The winner will be awarded between $10,000 to $100,000 dollars to further develop their project.

La Voz: And your project is called ELECTA?
Calderón: Yes, ELECTA is a Latino voter engagement application. So it is essentially a responsive website which means it changes. If you are looking at it on a desktop computer is looks like a website. If you are looking at it on your phone, it looks like a mobile app. So idea is to provide avariety of resources in English and Spanish to Latino voters and to Latino candidates and organizations to engage Latino voters.

La Voz: I read somewhere that with this project you are trying to improve low voter turnout.
Calderón: Yes.

La Voz: How would this innovation work this regard?
Calderón: Basically there would be a version that would be free to use for candidates who might not be able to build their own technology. So the next city council race for example, any candidate could use this application to reach voters. An organization like Hermanos de East Austin, could use this application to disseminate information, collect feedback, get user data, and emails. Electa allows candidates and organizations to engage with Latinos via their mobile devices. Specifically this might mean that a voter "follows" a candidate, issue or organization to learn more leading up to the election, or that a user can leave a review (positive or negative) about a candidate for the community to see. We want to be able to add some fundraising functionality to the app, as well as further carve
out the admin privileges, which would allow for candidates/organizations to use data and email to target voters based on their use of the application.

La Voz: Very interesting. I saw on FACEBOOK that you have been in Los Angeles taking some sort of class or training. Can you share with us something about this?
Calderón. Last summer I had the opportunity to join the 4th cohort of SABIO.LA, which is a professional web development program for women and minorities based in Los Angeles. It was cofounded by Gregorio Rojas and his wife Lilana Monge. They have graduated 22 people in just over a year almost all of whom are working as professional web developers. Their mission is to create a community of women and minority software professionals. I met them when I was living in Los Angeles last year and they recruited me to their program.

La Voz: Share with our readers a little about your background.
Calderón: Well, I was born in California. My father is from Eagle Pass, Texas. I attended and graduated from Stanford University. I have worked as a journalist in Austin, Texas for Ahora Sí, in San Antonio, where I co-founded NewsTaco, and I worked at the Brownsville Herald in the valley. I am also actively involved in helping to increase the presence and participation of Latinos in the South by Southwest and will be organizing a Meet Up this year at the festival.

La Voz: You are indeed busy. We want to thank you for your time and wish you the best.

Sent by Alfredo Santos 
March 09, 2015 c/s RE: La Voz Newspaper

Hispanic Marketing 101 and Calendar of Important Conferences

Editor Kirk Whisler  . . "Our goal is to provide a better understanding 
of the rapidly growing Hispanic market and possible ways to reach it.

Latino Print Network is a great resource. In addition to select articles regularly,  listings of upcoming major events for Latinos are included. 

Do check out . .  the Latino Print Network's Hispanic Marketing 101 Newsletter . . . . . .   Mimi


Art, History, & Culture: walking the streets of Spain while sketching and listening for voices from the past by Eddie Martinez, edited and translated in Spanish by Viola Rodriguez Sadler
Rancho del Sueno, Madera, CA offers equine assisted therapy, growth, and learning programs  
The importance of the Wilbur-Cruce Horses  by Historian Caroline Baldock
Funding Proposal to Pueblo of Isleta for Sor Maria de Agreda
Latino in Heritage Conservation Summit: National Dialogue


Located in the beautiful rolling hills of central Madera County is Rancho del Sueno, home to one of only three existing herds of world-renowned Colonial Spanish Wilbur-Cruce Mission Horses. These horses were originally discovered and then maintained in wild herd isolation by the same family for generations. To see and touch one of these magnificent animals is to experience close up the world of Cortez and Montezuma.

Ranch owner Robin Collins, a fourth generation Californian and lifetime horsewoman and competitor, was entrusted in 1990 with the propagation and conservation of these exceptionally intelligent and versatile animals. “These horses,” states Collins, “were specifically bred to be versatile and adaptable, capable of an arduous sea journey, challenging and sometimes deadly colonial exploration and a new life in an entirely New World. They can do and handle anything.”

Collins believes that the Wilbur-Cruce Mission Horses, more than any other existing breed, is most apt for interaction with humans because they were genetically selected for centuries by the Spanish to be that way. A Spaniard’s horse was his life. Taking advantage of this aptitude Collins uses these horses in programs and workshops designed to improve the psychological health and wellness of residents in the Greater Central Valley and beyond.

The use of equines in psycho-social health care is expanding for many reasons. The value of using a horse to stage interpersonal interaction lies in its herd animal nature. In a natural setting the horse grows up surrounded by a close knit family whose relationships are constantly negotiated through body language; therefore, they have an innate ability to accurately “read” the body language of a human and respond, even if the human is not self aware. In other words the horse provides the human with an honest mirror of the human’s thoughts, feelings and actions.

Horses are also non-judgmental and very forgiving, setting the person free to explore areas and issues they might think are taboo in interaction with people. Horse therapy is also conducted outside in the open air, removing the dismal and depressing office environment. And finally, horses are born followers seeking leaders who are even more honest and just than they are. This puts the human in a perfect position to act out and learn what that means.

Rancho del Sueno offers open enrollment in a variety of different therapy, growth and learning programs.  Clients are partnered with their “own” horse for the duration of the program to encourage a close relationship. Every week the partnered pairs are presented with progressively more challenging activities that offer experiential object lessons.  Participants are encouraged to journal in different ways the process of self discovery and growth that occurs with every new challenge.

Programs can be covered by medical insurance with a doctor or health care provider’s diagnosis and referral.

Between them the ranch’s three consulting staff members – Robin Collins, Leslie Desmond and Joyce Dickson -- have over 150 years of professional experience helping people and horses to realize their full potential: on the ground, saddled and in life in general. They are excited to offer their services and those of their magnificent assistants, the Colonial Spanish Wilbur-Cruce Mission Horses. They welcome everyone, pointing out that the horses don’t care what kind of human you are. To them, you are just…well, you! And that’s perfectly all right.  

To enroll in a program or for more information please call Robin Collins (559) 868-8681 or Joyce Dickson (559) 286-8363. Visitors are always welcome! Rancho del Sueno is located at 40222 Millstream Lane, Madera CA 93636 Visit and Like them on FaceBook!  


Caroline Baldock - Historian  
The importance of the Wilbur-Cruce Horses


I have been around horses all my life. I have worked and travelled within the horse world too. Not just England but Turkmenistan, Iran, Europe, and America. I have never met horses like the Wilbur-Cruce.  

It isn’t just in the eye, for I have looked into the eye of many a good horse, it isn’t just the conformation, for I understand conformation for purpose, pulling, racing, dressage, show-jumping, polo, eventing, all these disciplines require a certain type of horse, one built both mentally and physically for the job.

But the Wilbur-Cruce, this was a horse of which I had never before encountered.   

I first met Robin Keller and Francisco at a barbeque on the side of the road in Los Olivos, California. Francisco was milling with the people, wandering about, looking for all the world like Oscar Wilde. He gazed with such intent at his surroundings as if to say, ”Good for them to put a party on for me.”  

My heart melted. I was looking into the eyes of a very intelligent horse. One whose ancestry clearly shone out. A type of horse I had never seen before. A noble head, fine chiseled, a roman nose, but refined not thick or heavy. His coat color reminded me of the paintings of long ago of Spanish horses in the courts of 16th century monarchies.  I recall wandering around the castle of Alexis Wrangle in Sweden, north of Stockholm and seeing paintings of the very same horse. His head has intelligence; it is fine but strong, full of honesty. His coat color unlike any I have seen before, a skewbald technically, but I have never seen such a rich chestnut, flecked, mottled, no clear definition between the white and the rich chestnut.  

I spent the next day at the Lompoc mission. We met Robin opened a horsebox and out walked a calm serene Francisco, free not tied up. He just stood as if for all the world he was a human being. He waited patiently as we scrabbled for our equipment and then we set off for the Mission to do a photo shoot. Imagine my amazement when whatever I asked for he stood or moved or looked gazing into the distance. He was saddled with a replica saddle made by Joe MacCummings.  The days shooting produced some of the most amazing photographs I have ever had the privilege to take.  Francisco was a star.  What I learned from Francisco and Robin is that breeding is everything. Selection of type for purpose will after many years hone the character, strength and type of horse for a purpose. The Thoroughbred bred for racing, the Suffolk Punch for hauling great heavy loads from heavy clay Suffolk soil.  The Cleveland Bay for lighter farm work, and so we go on. Adaptation for a discipline, provides us with an animals highly perfected for its job. These horses carried their riders through bog and jungle, across desert and into rivers; they had courage, strength, loyalty and a deep affection for the men they carried. Robin was as close to Francisco as any human could be to another specie.  

The herd was blood typed and according to Gus Cothran and Dr Phil Sponenberg they have a surprising purity. Dr Sponenberg says.” These horses represent a unique strain in colonial Spanish Horses, a breed that figures importantly in Hispanic and American history, and worldwide conservation.”  

If you look up ‘The Spanish Colonial Horse’ in the International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, by Bonny Hendricks, the first things you will notice is that their status is ‘RARE’. What Bonny tells us is paramount. The horses existed in a small herd for over a century in southern Arizona. Dr Ruben Wilbur, a physician came west in the 1800’s. He purchased a ranch married a Mexican woman and purchased a twenty-six head of Spanish horses from Juan Sepulveda of Magdalena, Mexico. 1000 of these horses were destined for Kansas City, however they were all sold before he left New Mexico.  

The importance of this blood is that horses from Magdelena are traceable back to Father Eusebio Kino who in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s provided his Indian workers with domestic stock. The stock was a collection of types chosen by the astute Father Kino clearly understood the importance of selective breeding.  Dr Wilbur due to circumstances beyond his control became the first Indian agent at the Mission of San Xavier del Bac south of Tucson. In 1884 the horses passed to his son and in 1933 upon the death of the son to his daughter Eva Wilbur-Cruce. The purity of the herd was verified by Eva Wilbur-Cruce and documented in her book ‘Beautiful Cruel Country’. In 1990 the Wilbur-Cruce ranch was purchased by the Nature Conservancy. When that was in turn handed over the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, the Wilbur-Cruce horses were ordered off the land. Thanks to the intervention of Dr. Philip Sponenberg and cooperation of Mrs. Eva Wilbur-Cruce, the sixty mares and stallions were placed in three groups, including with Robin in California.  

Dr Gus Cothran writes, “Robin has played the primary role in the preservation of these horses up to now. If it wasn’t for her dedication and effort there is little doubt that this strain of horses would have been lost.”  

These horses are now critically endangered. Two years of drought have caused many problems. Help is needed. Robin has been fighting a battle against the elements for too long now. Saving this rare gene pool is in the final moment.  

The importance of them is their subtly correct conformation for horses of this type. They are the ancestral to the horses we know today as Andalusians. Their perfection in both conformation and character makes them unique and very special. Their ancestors can be seen in paintings in Europe.  


These horses must be preserved, not just for their purity but also for their intelligence, conformation and if for nothing else to prove that breeding carefully for selective qualities is the only way to go.  We spend far too much money breeding bad horses to more bad horse, certainly in the UK. The result is a disaster, we have ugly unsound horses with dodgy characters and poorly adapted for work. I see them all the time.  

Francisco and his relatives are proved horses through hundreds years of trial and error, the survival of the fittest, we should honor them and keep them pure.  

Caroline Baldock 2015



Funding Proposal to Pueblo of Isleta for Sor Maria de Agreda

Dear friends of the Margil Sor Maria Initiative,

May 24, 2015 marks the 350th anniversary of the passing of Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda, better known as the Lady in Blue the indigenous tribes in the American Southwest. There are several ceremonies planned to commemorate this date. People supporting the Cause for the Beatification of Sor María will be in attendance.

The next big scheduled event to promote that Cause with be a conference in Rome in late October to promote Sor María’s Beatification. We foresee that will be the perfect time to hand deliver a copy of the documentary, “The Needle and the Thread,” to the Holy Father. I plan to be there also and Victor Macilla of EraVision Films will hopefully be there to start filming “The Needle and the Thread II,” the Beatification and Canonization of Sor María.

When completed this documentary will be available for worldwide distribution, therefore we ask the bishops and archbishops of the United States, Mexico, Spain, among other countries to help promote that distribution. 

The Archbishops of San Antonio, Los Angeles, Mexico and Spain are most crucial for this endeavor.

These are indeed exciting times, and I feel so blessed and honored that Dr. Henry J. Casso named me, on his death bed, to take charge of this group and see to it that his visions become a reality. And I do so with the same zeal that he had until his last breath, (R.I.P.).

Paz y bien,
Jerry Javier Lujan, Chairman
Margil Sor María Initiative

Editor Mimi: Please contact Jerry Javier or Victor Mancilla directly for more information and/or for donations in support of this most fascinating project, documenting the miracle of Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda. evidence of Heavenly Father's love for all people,   Jerry  or Victor 

A Somos Primos reader and friend, Gloria Candelaria ( attended the March 21st symposium held in San Antonio: The Blue Nun and the founding of the first Texas missions. Gloria sent a streaming photo selection set to music. Enjoyed viewing the re-enactor for the Blue Nun. 


Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23, 2015, Tucson, Arizona

Join preservationists, scholars, and community advocates for a two-day summit to establish the mission and vision for "Latinos in Heritage Conservation," and intergenerational network network of individuals and communities dedicated to the preservation of Latino places and stories throughout the United States. Special thanks to our host, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.

The Hotel Congress 311 East Congress, 
Tucson, Arizona 85701 
800-722-8848; www,

P 210.223.9800 F 210.223.9802

Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens
401 King William Street San Antonio TX 78204 



The Privileged and Unprivileged Classes in Europe during the 18th Century 
Tobacco . . .  How They Got Started
Who was the first European to smoke tobacco?
Las Adelitas by Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D.  
The Spanish Colonial Uniform Research Project
Documentary: Personal reflections on The San Patricios (1996)
The Soldiers of St. Patrick by Michael Hogan


in Europe during the 18th Century

The "Old Regime" is a term used to describe the political, social and economic system that prevailed throughout continental Europe, especially France, during the 18th century. It was characterized by absolutism in government, inequality of social privileges, and guild and government restrictions on economic activities. The realities of life under the Old Regime were sharply different from the ideas presented by the intellectuals Locke, Voltaire and Rousseau.

Locke's compact theory of government and Rousseau's popular sovereignty concept challenged the divine right rule of kings under which France was governed. French kings had complete control over the issuing of laws, the levying, collecting and spending of taxes, foreign and military affairs, appointments to office and the dispensing of justice. The only body that resembled a legislature was the Estates-General; its three houses represented the clergy, the nobility and the mass -of the French people. Unlike the English Parliament, this body had never;), developed any real check on royal power. In France, the king had become J absolute ruler. The nobility had given way during: the 17th century to the power and glory of one ruler-Louis XIV.    He made:


Privileged First Estate  


1. Owned 1/5 of the land; paid no taxes; 
    collected Church First Estate tax (tithe).
2. Supervised education/publication of all books/pamphlets.
3. Registered births, marriages and deaths,
4. Represented the official state religion.
Second Estate 


1. Owned 1/5 of the land; paid no taxes; 
    collected taxes (feudal dues).
2. Monopolized appointments in state and military service.
Unprivileged, Third Estate
(Bourgeoise, professionals, 
workers, and peasants)


No Privileges. The burden of taxes fell upon this class.

Our Western Heritage by Milton Jay Belasco and Thomas G. Kavunedus, pg. 136-137
Cambridge Book Co. N.Y., N.Y. 10022

TOBACCO . . . 
How They Got Started. . .

Tobacco. From its beginning in Jamestown, the tobacco business flourished despite fierce opposition. King James I called smoking "a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, (and] dangerous to the Lungs" and did all he could to stop it. But men smoked on, and Virginia grew wealthy on their addiction. Tobacco was even legal tender in the colony; until the 1750's the salaries of clergymen were paid in it. (Later the tobacco industry featured its Virginia origin: the 1860's tobacco label below shows the rescue of John Smith by Pocahontas.)

In 1760 a Huguenot named Pierre Lorillard began selling highly flavored pipe and chewing tobacco and snuff concocted in his New York City plant. His success brought tobacco new popularity—and new condemnation. For a century P. Lorillard and Sons dominated the market with imaginative sales devices, such as the wooden cigar store Indian. On its 100th anniversary, the company stuffed $100 bills into random packages of Century cigarette tobacco.

Ready-made cigarettes were hand-rolled and costly until 1881, when James Duke introduced machines that could roll 200 a minute. At five cents a pack, sales skyrocketed. In 1890 Duke merged America's five largest cigarette companies into the American Tobacco Company.   Source: Strange Stories, Reader's Digest

Editor Mimi: A charter was given to a group of London entrepreneurs by King James I.  They were directed by the King to establish a satellite English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America, find gold and find a passage to the Orient. It appears that Tobacco was their gold and has continued since then.  
One page summary of Jamestown history, 

Currently, the British American Tobacco Company is London based tobacco company which operates in 60 markets globally and produce over 670 billion cigarettes a year,  which are manufactured in 46 manufacturing point in more than 40 countries as well as the ability of serving 200 markets worldwide.  




Who was the first European to smoke tobacco?

In Spain there is a tradition that Rodrigo de Jerez, a native of Ayamonte, was the first European known to have smoked tobacco. He went with Columbus on his first expedition to the New World in 1492 and learned to smoke from the natives of the West Indies. When he returned to his village in Spain he took some tobacco leaves with him and his fellow townsmen were greatly astonished when they saw smoke emerging from his mouth and nose. His wife denounced him to the Holy Inquisition as a man who "Swallows fire, exhales smoke, and is surely possessed by the devil." The first recorded mention of tobacco is probably that found in Columbus 's diary under date of November 29, 1492. The tobacco plant itself was introduced into Europe in 1558 by Francisco Fernandes, a physician, whom Philip II of Spain sent out to investigate and report upon the products of America. Jean Nicot, French ambassador at Lisbon, sent some tobacco seeds to Catherine de Medici, queen of France, and his connection with the early history of tobacco is commemorated in the scientific name of the genus — Nicotiana. 

But in France and Spain tobacco was at first regarded merely as a medicinal or curative plant. The smoking habit seems to have spread from England rather than Spain. Thomas Hariot, a mathematician sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to report on the commercial and colonization possibilities of Virginia, is credited with being the first Englishman to smoke tobacco. Be that as it may, Ralph Lane, first governor of Raleigh's colony in America, learned to smoke from the Indians and brought the habit to the attention of his eminent patron, Sir Walter, who, with Sir Francis Drake, popularized it at Queen Elizabeth's court. Raleigh continued to smoke the rest of his life, and it is recorded that he "tooke a pipe of tobacco a little before he went to the scaffolde." 

At first the habit was bitterly opposed. In his Counterblast to Tobacco King James I characterized smoking as "a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless." Sir John Hawkins made a voyage to Florida in 1565 and in his journal, published in 1589, he described smoking among the natives; from this circumstance many writers infer that Hawkins introduced tobacco smoking into England.
Source:  Why Do Some Shoes Squeak by George W. Stimpson
1984, Bell Publishing Co. New York, New York


Las Adelitas


Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D.


In honor of Women’s History Month, I think we would be remiss if we did not remember “Las Adelitas” particularly at this time of the year (as well as throughout the rest of the year).  For those of you who may not be familiar withthe expression “Las Adelitas,” the wording comes, in part, from the Mexican corrido called “Adelita.”I got help in researching the difference between the words "soldaderas" and "adelitas" and whether or not there is a difference--epistemologically speaking.  

According to some input from Dr. Cirencio A. Rodriguez , my understanding is that“Las Soldaderas” is more of general term. On the other hand, La Adelita y Valentina are applied to a particular soldaderas, although the names are often interchanged to mean the same thing. In essence, an Adelita or a Valentina were both soldaderas.  They were both, however, made famous by corridos in their honor, but Las Soladeras is generic and refers to all or any women that fought in the Mexican Revolution.  Dr. Rodriguez also recommends two excellent books:   Soldaderas In the Military; Myth and Fiction  by Elizabeth Salas (1990) University of Texas press and  La Soldaderas: Women in the Mexican Revolution by Elena Poniatoska (1999) Cinco Punto Press, El Paso Texas.  

In addition, Armando B. Rendon informs me that there is a link with Jorge Negrete singing the song at the following web site:

And if you need to hear another versions sung by a woman named Carmen Sevilla go to:  One thing you should know that there is no Mexican singer (man or woman) worthy of their fame to the Mexican public who has not sung the song Adelita.  You see, Adelita is not only a love song, it is also an anthem with great rallying power to people of Mexican descent, therefore, also Chicanos.

And for those who need a background film featuring the song, you can see a 1987 film called “Corridos:  Tales of Passion & Revolution” by writer/director Luis Valdez (the well-known Chicano film maker) featuring that particular corrido toward the end of the hour-plus film.  The PBS production can be found at:

I am thankful also to Don Felipe Ortega y Gasca, Ph.D., for sending me an article by Graciela Martinez Zalce (about that PBS production) which gives us, as well,more information on the play about corridosby Luis Valdez (see title above) in which the corrido Adelita is performed. The link forthe article by Graciela Martinez Zalce can be found at the following weblink:  

There isalso agood references to Las Soldaderas in Wikipedia, i.e., women who were the “adelitas” or the “soldaderas” and who fought in the Mexican Revolution, just go to,  

Just so you know how dangerous it was for women to fight in the Mexican Revolution, consider this quote from Wikipedia:  “One of the more sordid of events pertaining to lasadelitas was experienced in Mexico.  According to Wikipedia, “the most appalling event towards women during the Mexican Revolution is known as the massacre of the soldaderas. The massacre happened at the hands of Villa, who had been known to treat women badly. On December 12, 1916, he and his men captured and killed around 90 women. The story is that there was a shot fired from a group of women, towards Villa. None of the women, whether they actually knew or not, gave up a culprit. Villa then ordered his men to kill every single female in the group. Everyone, including children, was killed. Villa's troops were then told to loot the bodies for valuables. During their search they found a baby still alive. Villa told them that their orders were to kill absolutely everyone, including the baby.”  

According to sources I know, the atrocities Wikipedia speaks may be verifiable because if you look in the book (pp. 9-13), called Las Soldaderas: Women in the Mexican Revolution by Elena Poniatoska (1999) Cinco Punto Press, El Paso Texas (cited above), the author cites several sources.  According to Rodriguez (2015) most sources seem to agree that something did happen; however they differ in the details.  In comparison Zapata, did not act as badly toward women as Pancho Villa did in the treatment of mujeres.  If you're lucky readers may find some truth to the atrocities story in Poniatoska’s book.

I hope the above citing from Wikipedia does not turn you off to the topic at hand, but the above-mentioned massacre underscores the seriousness of the passion behind the lyrics even moreso (in my opinion).  As such, when you read the lyrics below, you can better appreciate the gravity of the situation for the women who went into battlefield. Now, let us go to the actual lyrics to Adelita.  I am grateful to Eddie Calderon who studies songs and lyrics for his assistance.  I am grateful to Mimi Lozano (of www.Somos fame) for bringing us together.
The U-Tube rendition and lyrics to the song ADELITA can be found at the following link  

Keep in mind that the above link to the song, however, is the background music to a 20-minute film. But know one very important thing also:  The viewing of the short movie (about the Mexican Revolution) which is being shown while you listen to the song AdelitaIS REALLY WORTH IT!  Just pour yourself a nice warm cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy the film for both the singing of the song and the fantastic historical footage.  You will appreciate why Adelita was an inspiration to the those men and women who fought at the Mexican Revolution.  

Also thanks to Eddie Calderon for providing as well the website link for the translation of the song lyrics (in both Spanish and English) for the corrido Adelita, which can be found at:, and the translator is Yorsh Kosher, who dedicates his work “para todaslasadelitas del mundo.”  

La Adelita
Si Adelita se fuera con otro
la seguria por tierra y por mar
Si por mar en un buque de guerra
Si por tierra en un tren militar.
toca el clarín de campaña la guerra
sale el valiente guerrero a pelear
correrán los arroyos de sangre
que gobierne un tirano jamás.

Y si acaso yo muera en campaña
y mi cadaver en la tierra va a quedar
Adelita por Dios te lo ruego
que tus ojos no vayan a llorar.

Ya no llores querida Adelita
Ya no llores querida mujer
No te muestres ingrata conmigo
ya no me hagas tanto padecer.


Ya me despido querida Adelita
ya me alejo con inmenso placer
Tu retrato lo llevo en el pecho
Como escudo q me haga triunfar

Soy soldado y la patria me llama
a los campos que vaya a pelear
Adelita Adelita del alma
no me vayas por Dios a olvidar.

Por la noche andando en el campo
oigo el clarín que toca a reunión
Y repito en el fondo de mi alma
Adelita es mi único querer.

Ya me despido querida Adelita
De ti un recuerdo quisiera llevar
Tu retrato lo llevo en el pecho
Como escudo q me haga triunfar


I am both honored and humbled by the research team that helped me write this article. I case you didn't notice the writing on the topic was a labor of love, not a love of labor. So I hope this information helps all our readers in celebrating Chicana or women’s history month---ladies and gentlemen! Remember my paraphrase: ask not for whom Chicana and Chicano History tolls, it tolls for thee!
Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D.
Su Hermano Chicano
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved



The study and collecting of Spanish Army relics and souvenirs from the Spanish American War is my passion. This project had its beginning as a display with a printed guide describing the artifacts at the TMCA militaria collector's show in Franklin, Tennessee a few years ago.  My hope is that this website will eventually develop into a reference book that will, for the first time in the English language, accurately detail the uniforms, insignia and accoutrements of the Spanish colonial forces that opposed the United States during the Spanish American War of 1898.  The study will focus on original artifacts and period photographs from the three major colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  Period regulations and first hand sources will also be presented.  If you have information you would like to share related to this project please contact me, Bill Combs, at :  

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Mexican Army Uniforms | Alamo Central Forum  

Sent by Refugio Rochin, Ph.D. 



Documentary: Personal reflections on The San Patricios (1996) 

Dan Overpeck as Capt. John Riley.
During the U.S. intervention in Mexico of 1846-1847, for motives that are still being debated by historians, nearly 500 soldiers, including some from other European countries, deserted the U.S. Army and joined the St. Patrick’s Battalion within the Mexican army. They fought in all the major battles of the two year war. Toward the end of the conflict, scores were captured by the U.S. Army, court martialed, and 50 were sentenced to be hanged in three separate locations in Mexico City. To this day an annual ceremony is held each year on Sept. 12 to commemorate the “San Patricios” at the Plaza San Jacinto in Mexico City where a stone plaque bears their names. 

For nearly 150 years, U.S. military authorities suppressed the story of the San Patricios. Then, in 1989, Robert Ryal Miller published his extensive research on the battalion in his book, Shamrock and Sword. In 1993, Miller agreed to serve as the principal historical adviser for my documentary, The San Patricios. He made many helpful suggestions for the script and sat for an interview at his Berkeley, California home. Another valuable resource has been Peter Stevens, author of The Rogue’s March: John Riley and the San Patricios. Stevens probes deeply into the Irish background of the battalion and questions the findings of the U. S. courts martial which concluded that the men deserted and joined the Mexican army simply because they were drunk and disorderly. 

San Patricio Commemoration.
In the next two years our production crew traveled to Texas for US-Mexican war re-enactments; to Mexico for further research, interviews and to film the annual San Patricio commemoration in Mexico City; and to Ireland to retrace the journey of the San Patricios, particularly to Clifden, Galway, birthplace of John Riley, founder and commander of the battalion. Several months were spent in post production with the valuable advice of film maker Hector Galan, the editing skills of Joanne Hershfield and an original music score by Steve Yeaman. The documentary was premiered at the Cork International Film Festival in 1996 and was also shown on Irish television (RTE). In September, 1996, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Mexican War, President Ernesto Zedillo presided over a special ceremony commemorating the San Patricios. The documentary was shown the same day on Mexico’s Televised network. Since then it was broadcast on a dozen PBS stations. It has garnered several awards and continues to be used as an educational resource in schools across the United States, Canada and Ireland.

A teacher’s guide and bibliography can be downloaded from this website. Educators have discovered that the story of the San Patricios serves as a valuable window for understanding the U.S-Mexican War, as well as 19th century Nativism, Manifest Destiny, the Great Hunger (the so called Irish Potato Famine) and the mass emigration from Ireland that took place in its wake.  (see Store for purchase: )

What I also like about this production is that it comes with a teacher’s guide and a bibliography which can be downloaded from this website. For those of you who do not know, I got my doctorate in the area of Social Studies Teacher Education, so I very much like films that come with a teacher’s guide. I hope you try it and let me know if you liked it, ok? Just so you know, I own no stock in the company called Day Productions, I am only sharing.

Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D.
Su Hermano Chicano

The Soldiers of St. Patrick by Michael Hogan

15 Mar 2015 
St. Patrick’s Day is very special in Mexico because it is a time when Mexicans remember the San Patricios, or the Battalion of St. Patrick. One of the least-known stories of the Irish who came to America in the 1840s is that of this Irish battalion that fought on the Mexican side in the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-1848. They came to Mexico and died, some gloriously in combat, others ignominiously on the gallows. United under a green banner, they participated in all the major battles of the war and were cited for bravery by General López de Santa Anna, Mexico’s commander-in-chief and president.

At the penultimate battle of the war, these Irishmen fought until their ammunition was exhausted and even then tore down the white flag that was raised by their Mexican comrades in arms, preferring to struggle on with bayonets until finally being overwhelmed. Despite their brave resistance, however, 85 of the Irish battalion were captured and sentenced to bizarre tortures and deaths at the hands of the Americans, resulting in what is considered even today as the “largest hanging affair in North America.”

In the spring of 1846, the United States was poised to invade Mexico, its neighbor to the south. The ostensible reason was to collect on past-due loans and indemnities. The real reason was to provide the United States with control of the ports of San Francisco and San Diego, the trade route through the New Mexico Territory, and the rich mineral resources of the Nevada Territory—all of which at that time belonged to the Republic of Mexico. The United States had previously offered $5 million to purchase the New Mexico Territory and $25 million for California, but Mexico had refused.

Before the declaration of war by the United States, a group of Irish Catholics headed by a crack artilleryman named John Riley deserted from the American forces and joined the Mexicans. Born in Clifden, County Galway, Riley was an expert on artillery, and it was widely believed that he had served in the British army as an officer or a non-com in Canada before enlisting in the American army. Riley’s turned this new unit into a crack artillery arm of the Mexican defense. He is credited with changing the name of the group from the Legion of Foreigners and designing their distinctive flag. Within a year, the ranks of Riley’s men would be swelled by Catholic foreign residents in Mexico City, and Irish and German Catholics who deserted once the war broke out, into a battalion known as Los San Patricios, or “Those of Saint Patrick.”

Batallon-de-San-Patricio-SEAL-1847-CD.jpg (460×460)The San Patricios fought under a green silk flag emblazoned with the Mexican coat of arms, an image of St. Patrick, and the words “Erin Go Bragh.” The battalion was made up of artillery and was observed in key positions during every major battle. Their aid was critical because the Mexicans had poor cannon with a range of 400 meters less than the Americans. In addition, Mexican cannoneers were inexperienced and poorly trained. The addition of veteran gunners to the Mexican side would result in at least two major battles being fought to a draw. Several Irishmen were awarded the Cross of Honor by the Mexican government for their bravery, and many received field promotions.

At the Battle of Churubusco, holed up in a Catholic monastery and surrounded by a superior force of American cavalry, artillery, and infantry, the San Patricios withstood three major assaults and inflicted heavy losses on the Yanks. Eventually, however, a shell struck their stored gunpowder, the ammunition park blew up, and the Irishmen, after a gallant counteroffensive with bayonets, were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. They were tried by a military court-martial and then scourged, branded, and hanged in a manner so brutal that it is still remembered in Mexico today.

In September 1847, the Americans put the Irish soldiers captured at the Battle of Churubusco on trial. Forty-eight were sentenced to death by hanging. Those who had deserted before the declaration of war were sentenced to whipping at the stake, branding and hard labor. Fueled by Manifest Destiny, the American government dictated terms to the Mexicans in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. More than two-thirds of the Mexican Territory was taken, and out of it the United States would carve California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Kansas and Colorado. Among all the major wars fought by the United States, the Mexican War is the least discussed in the classroom, the least written about, and the least known by the general public. Yet, it added more to the national treasury and to the land mass of the United States than all other wars combined.

After the conflict, so much new area was opened up, so many things had been accomplished, that a mood of self-congregation and enthusiasm took root in the United States. The deserters from the war were soon forgotten as they homesteaded and labored in the gold fields of California or, as the 1860s approached, put on the gray uniform of the Confederacy or the blue of the Union. Prejudice against the Irish waned, as the country was provided with a “pressure valve” to release many of its new immigrants westward. The story of the San Patricios disappeared from history.
For most Mexicans, solidarity with the Irish is part of a long tradition and they remembered the help they received from the Irish and their friendship. In the words of John Riley, written in 1847 but equally true today, “A more hospitable and friendly people than the Mexican there exists not on the face of the earth… especially to an Irishman and a Catholic.”

Riley sums up what cannot be clearly documented in any history: the basic, gut-level affinity the Irishman had then, and still has today, for Mexico and its people. 

The decisions of the men who joined the San Patricios were probably not well-planned or thought out. They were impulsive and emotional, like many of Ireland’s own rebellions – including the Easter Uprising of 1916. Nevertheless, the courage of the San Patricios, their loyalty to their new cause, and their unquestioned bravery forged an indelible seal of honor on their sacrifice.

Riley himself survived the war and was honorably discharged from the Mexican Army in 1850. A report that he died shortly thereafter has recently been called into question by researchers in Mexico, so his true end remains a mystery. Of the 85 captured, 48 were hanged by the U.S. Army, including Thomas Cassidy who died in a Mexican uniform after being captured after the Battle of Churubusco. His descendent, Shaun Cassidy, lives and works in San Diego where he is a one of the original Rebeldes, a regular contributor, and an activist for immigration reform.

The author (r) with our own Shaun Cassidy (l)
Each year commemorations are held in San Ángel in Mexico to honor the Irish who died in the war. A marble plaque in the town square reads “In Memory of the Irish Soldiers of the Heroic Battalion of San Patrick Who Gave Their Lives for the Mexican Cause During the Unjust North American Invasion of 1847,” followed by the names of 71 of the men. A color guard of crack Mexican troops marches forward with the Mexican and Irish colors to a spine-jarring flourish of drums and bugles. The “Himno Nacional” is then played, followed by “The Soldier’s Song.” Students and dignitaries place floral tributes on the paving stones, and an honor roll is called of the fallen soldiers as the crowd collectively chants after each name, “Murió por la patria!” (He died for the country!) In addition a bust of John Riley has been presented to the people of Mexico by the Irish Embassy. In Clifden, County Galway, the birthplace of John Riley, a similar ceremony is held each year. This past year a special dedication of a John Riley memorial was held by the Mexican Ambassador to Ireland and the revised edition of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico was presented to the Irish public at Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland in Galway.

This February the audio version of the The Irish Soldiers of Mexico was finally released and many people are ordering it for St. Patrick’s Day. In addition, there have been commemorative events in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Chicago.

Irish Actor Liam Neeson adds a poetic tribute to the San Patricios in this wonderful interview on BBC.

Author,  Michael Hogan in on the right with Shaun Cassidy. 

Michael Hogan is the author twenty-two books, including the Irish Soldiers of Mexico, one of the major historical works on the San Patricio Battalion which encompasses six years of research in the U.S., Mexico and Ireland. As a permanent resident of Mexico, he was the first historian to be granted complete access to Mexican archives and military records. For more information or to order Irish Soldiers go
In addition, friends of the San Patricios, including Shaun Cassidy, a descendent of an Irish soldiers who fought with the battalion, help maintain a site on Facebook which contains more of the history, as well as Irish music, Mexican and Irish cultural events, as well as updates on films, movies and articles related to both countries. 

Sent by Joe Sanchez


E. A. 'Tony' Mares, English Emeritus May 17, 1938 – January 30, 2015  
Camille Guérin-Gonzales, Historian/Educator, July 20, 1945 - February 24, 2015   

Credit: Stephen Cussen
English Emeritus Professor E. A. 'Tony' Mares Dies 
May 17, 1938 – January 30, 2015

University of New Mexico Professor Emeritus of English E. A. “Tony” Mares – teacher, essayist, poet - died January 30 at the age of 76. A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in the UNM Alumni Chapel. Mares, who was born May 17, 1938 in Albuquerque, died from complications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

English Department Chair Gail Houston said, He was a lovely, lovely man, a funny, gentle man who loved words and their power. He was also something of a philosopher as well as poet and novelist; he told me once about how he really would love to teach a class on philosophy--metaphysics, I believe it was. I was so impressed by what a Renaissance man he was. “

Mares, with Miguel Montiel and Tomás Atencio, wrote, “Resolana, Emerging Chicano Dialogs on Community and Globalization.” The publisher, University of Arizona Press, describes the book: “Resolana will inspire dialogue and creativity from those interested in sociology, political science, social work and Chicano studies, as well as public policy makers and the general public.”

“I admired Tony very much. He participated in our recent Outside the Margins project and contributed an original poem to the process. I will make sure that his contributions are honored as we move forward. He was a person of great integrity and he defended the right to make a place in the world that valued cultural self-determination. I admire that about him; he reminds us of how fragile our creativity is and how important it is to protect it and cherish it, said Manuel Montoya, assistant professor of International Management and Global Structures in the Anderson School of Management.

Mares wrote on his website, “I was educated as a historian and Spanish Literature specialist. After teaching history and languages for many years, however, I became increasingly uncomfortable with my own way of understanding the world and also with my way of expressing that understanding. More and more, I turned to poetry.”

Sharon Oard Warner, professor and founding director of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, said, “I know many poets but none have loved the written word more than Tony Mares. He was devoted to poetry--writing and reading it, translating the work of others, and nurturing the future of poetry through his teaching. A warm and gentle spirit, he was one of poetry's best ambassadors. We will miss his presence in the world but are grateful for what we have of him on the page.”

Mares' published poetry includes, “The Unicorn Poem and Flowers and Songs of Sorrow,” and “Río Del Corazón.” Of the latter, Renny Golden wrote in the introduction, “These poems are a lamentation and a tribute to the Río Grande that flows from snow-capped mountains to the sea, and whose fidelity, in spite of poisonous threat, endures.” He was an author featured in “Voices,” featuring contemporary poets from the American Southwest.

Local poet and graduate student in writing and rhetoric Don McIver said, “Tony Mares was an integral part in the development and growth of not only UNM poets, but all poets who call this city home. He was quick with a smile and reassuring word and seemed woven into the fabric of this town. Whether it be his revolutionary spirit, his gentleness or his love of Spanish and Albuquerque, he touched many people's lives and enriched the literary community. Until the end, Tony still worked to make Albuquerque a better place. He will be missed and cherished by all whose lives he touched.”

Another poem: Ode to los librotraficantes, Mares described as, “My poem dedicated to the brave cultural warriors who take banned books to Arizona.”

From the poem:
Once your ancestors crossed the Rio Grande,
Their bodies wet from the swirling water,
The sweat running down their backs.
Now you carry wet books in your caravan,
Books dripping with wisdom. You are
the most dangerous caravan in America.

Centennial Poet and Chicano Studies Assistant Professor Levi Romero said, "Tony was a prolific writer whose work was as expansive as the themes he wrote about. With Ash Wednesday and La Cueresma upon us soon, I am reminded of his poem, Ash Wednesday / Easter: a Road Poem. It appeared in the 1980 anthology Ceremony of Brotherhood, a tri-centennial commemoration of the Indian Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Years ago I studied this poem word-for-word, line-for-line. The fluidity of the imagery and the fragile sense of solitude broken up by the radio DJ's companionship churned me on. For I too was a wandering spirit looking for something on which to harness my creative aspirations.

Darkness rains down on me
as I descend the Ortiz Mountains.
A steel guitar, a country violin
and Cowboy Copas mourn
for lost love on the radio.

"Tony gave me, as he did to so many, a shoulder on which I could momentarily place my heavy load. His words of encouragement and acknowledgement pushed me onward. I will miss him, his humor and wit, his intelligence. His sabiduría. I will miss the steadiness of his mentorship. He, the elder statesman, the wise and humble maestro who always placed the student before himself.

The Ranch and Farm report tells me
lambs are still being led to slaughter.
At the rest top on la bajada hill
a cold wind knocks me about,
reminds me I am dust
pasted on to a few sticks of bone.
Gracias por todo, Tony. Nos veremos en la vuelta."

Mares wrote, “For you, the reader, I hope you will enjoy my work. Some of my poems are meant to be humorous, others deal with political and social issues, and still others simply relate to the many worlds I describe…I want to entertain you, to enrage you, to make you reflect on our condition as arrogantly self-styled homo sapiens sapiens. If my poems even barely make you think about or reflect upon the stupid things we have done to ourselves over the last ten thousand years or so, then they will have succeeded as poems.”

Mares is survived by his wife, Carolyn Meyer; son Ernesto Mares, daughter Vered Mares, daughter Maria Ehrnstein and her family, including granddaughters Lianna, Shannon and Danielle; and brothers Chris and Michael and their families. He was preceded in death by his daughter Galit and his parents, Rebecca and Ernesto Gustavo Mares.
Memorial was held 

Sent by Roberto Caleron, Ph.D.
Historia Chicana, Mexican American Studies
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

Camille Guérin-Gonzales  July 20, 1945 – February 24, 2015

Camille Guérin-Gonzales, long-time member of the Western History Association and scholar of western labor, latino/a, and immigration history, died February 24, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. We are all poorer for her loss. Dr. Guérin-Gonzales earned her Ph.D. at the University of California-Riverside in 1985 while raising three children on her own. Her dissertation formed the basis of Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration, Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900-1939. She published in the areas of western labor, immigration, and Latino/a history and was working on a book comparing working-class mining communities in Appalachia, South Wales, and the U.S. Southwest at the time of her death. 

She taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, UCLA, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she directed the Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies Program and served as Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies of the History Department before retiring in 2014. She was one of six faculty who founded the UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and was a founding member of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS). She served on the Board of the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA), and on the LAWCHA Committee that worked successfully to get the Ludlow Massacre site designated a National Historic Landmark. A native of northern New Mexico who traced one branch of her family there back 17 generations, she brought the insistent historical voices of Latino/a miners and their families to that important project.

All who knew her will remember her passions for teaching, for social activism, for the histories of western workers, and for the zest with which she embraced life and lived it even as she confronted a terminal cancer diagnosis.  Her obituary may be accessed via the following link.

Betsy Jameson, President,
Western History Association 

MADISON - Camille Guérin-Gonzales died on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, at Agrace HospiceCare in Madison, after 14 months of living exuberantly, purposefully, and consciously with a cancer diagnosis that she never let define her.

She was born on July 20, 1945, in Las Vegas, N.M., the first child of Estella María Gonzales and Benedict Frederick Guérin. Because her father worked in the nuclear weapons industry, she did part of her growing up in Los Alamos, N.M., near the Nevada Test Grounds; and in Livermore, Calif. But she also lived in Las Vegas with her grandparents, who helped to raise her, Johanna and Gilberto Guérin, and Elenita and Adelaido Gonzales. Some parts of her family had roots in northern New Mexico going back 17 generations; they migrated there from what is now Mexico. Some parts of her family were indigenous to the land. Still others arrived later from France, Germany, and New England. Camille attended both Catholic and public schools growing up, rarely spending more than a year in any one place.

When she entered community college in Riverside, Calif., she lived with her Aunt Angie (Guérin) Kramer and her cousins, Karen, Joan, and Anita. An early marriage produced three handsome and spirited children, Kerrie Anne, Ronald Wayne, and Michael James Lester. When the children were small, Camille went back to school, earning her B.A. at University of California, Riverside, in 1978. By then, she was hooked on the study of history, and she went on to receive her M.A. in 1980. Now on her own, she took a brave leap into a Ph.D. program while raising three children. She earned her doctorate at UC-Riverside in 1985, writing the dissertation that eventually appeared in book form, Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration, Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900-1939. She published in the areas of U.S. labor, immigration, and Latino history, and left behind an unfinished book manuscript on coal mining communities, "Mapping Working-Class Struggle in Appalachia, South Wales, and the American Southwest."

Her real love was teaching, which she did at University of Colorado-Boulder, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, UCLA, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UCLA, she was among six founding faculty members of the César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies. She joined the faculty at UW-Madison in 2001, retiring in 2014. She directed UW's Chicana/o Studies Program, which became the Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program under her leadership, and she also served as associate chair and director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department. She was a founding member of both Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) and the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA). She found her greatest joy in teaching labor history and in promoting justice for working people in the present.

Memorials may be made to Workers' Rights Center of Madison, Somos Un Pueblo Unidos of New Mexico, Human Rights Campaign, or Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

Please share your memories at .
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
(608) 238-3434

Wisconsin State Journal 
February 28, 2015, by Jessica Schurmann

Read more:

Sent by Roberto Caleron, Ph.D.
Historia Chicana, Mexican American Studies
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas


George I. Sanchez: The Long Fight for Mexican American Integration by Carlos Kevin Blanton
It is not a matter of color, but numbers by Mimi Lozano
LNESC and Marathon Oil Expand Partnership for Middle School Science Corps Program 
Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus
What’s New?  The Virtual Race Across Texas  . .   on the web game, free to play.
Fifth Essay from: Colonial Spanish Texas and Other Essays by Dr. Lino Garcia, Jr. 
Extracts: Obama defunds private school vouchers
for kids in Washington, D.C.

George I. Sanchez: 
The Long Fight for Mexican American Integration by Carlos Kevin Blanton

Review: Integration Hero and Education Legend George I. Sanchez Gets a New Biography
by Ronnie Dugger, Texas Observer, March 18, 2015 

Congratulations to Carlos Blanton for this great work and deserved shout-outs. I heard from several attendees that he also gave a great series of presentations at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque.

Scholar-activist George I. Sanchez was an effective, relentless and cantankerous Hispanic leader in the fights against the rank racism leveled at Mexican-Americans in New Mexico and Texas from the 1930s through the 1960s. A fervent integrationist, he was a liberal and a champion of socialist education in Mexico (about which he wrote a book). He shaded into cultural nationalism in the 1970s as younger Hispanics labeling themselves Chicanos moved into leadership. Carlos Kevin Blanton, a Texas A&M professor specializing in Chicano and Texas history, in his copious new play-by-play biography calls Sanchez the most important Mexican-American intellectual between the Depression and the Great Society. At the University of Texas during and after Gov. Allan Shivers’ domination of the board of regents, Sanchez was punished with low pay for his hostility to the segregation of Hispanic students and his open support of, for example, the liberal U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. Eventually, though, the building housing UT’s College of Education was named for him.

Sanchez, Blanton writes, once said, “… we, Mexican Americans, were betrayed. Screwed, that is,” by the United States. Blanton’s book should be required reading in Texas as the state’s coming Hispanic majority grows into position to control Texas politics.

Born Catholic in 1906, Sanchez was raised first in a slum neighborhood a few miles west of Albuquerque, then in mining towns around New Mexico and Arizona, where he attended small public schools. In the 1930s and ’40s, Blanton writes, “hardly any” Mexican Americans graduated from the public school system—few made it past grade school. Sanchez’s parents had gotten only into third grade. His father “would monopolize my elementary school textbooks in the evening,” Sanchez said. Politically, his father was a fierce union partisan, but shied from the Wobblies. In Winslow, Arizona, when George was 14, his father was fired from a job at the local mine.

Yale University Press
George I. Sanchez: The Long Fight for Mexican American Integration
By Carlos Kevin Blanton
Yale University Press
400 pages; $45

Young Sanchez was smart, driven and imaginative, and early on he saw an escape from poverty through education. He was a brilliant student and excelled in math and music (he played the cornet). To help the family he worked as a clerk and a janitor, played in an orchestra, promoted dances, prospected in two states, and boxed in the local rings. Graduating at 16, he got a job teaching in a one-room “Hispano” school on a dirt road near Albuquerque. Later he took another teaching job at a remote school in a community called “Stink-Eye” near a Navajo reservation.

At about 18 he married his high school sweetheart from Albuquerque High. Her grandfather was wealthy and powerful in the county, and George became a school principal, director of the local night school’s Spanish department, a supervisor of county schools, and originator of such policies as pre-first-grade instruction for 5-year-olds. To earn his bachelor’s degree in 1930 from the University of New Mexico, he took 19 courses through the University of California and three lesser colleges, making mostly A’s. By 1934 he had his doctorate from UC-Berkeley. His dissertation championed bilingual education.

During his meteoric but choppy career in the educational bureaucracy of New Mexico, Sanchez became a social reconstructionist in the context of the progressive education movement, favoring activist teaching against injustice and inequality. Foundation money (Ford, Rosenwald, Carnegie) flowed to Sanchez as he challenged the gospel status of IQ tests, but his successful lobbying for more state money and higher teacher wages for “Hispano” rural schools was vetoed by New Mexico Gov. Arthur Seligman. Sanchez then went to the state legislature and, in his words, “tore the hide off the Governor—I was mad. As a consequence, I was blacklisted by the Administration.”

Blanton’s book should be required reading in Texas as the state’s coming Hispanic majority grows into position to control Texas politics. Sanchez did not react quietly. He wrote that 2 million Mexican Americans in five southwestern states faced severe racial segregation in the schools. Sanchez and his wife expressed fear of attack or the kidnapping of their children. Police watched their home and the professor carried a gun in his pocket. During a desegregation case, Sanchez recalled, a pipe bomb appeared in their yard.

All of this steamy detail comes from Blanton’s decade of exhaustive and assiduous research, attested to by the book’s 20-page bibliography and 80 dense pages of footnotes.

Sanchez was staunchly anti-racist, but he was not immune to the appeals of classism. He took pride in being the offspring of a Spanish line of descent, and one learns from Blanton that he “constantly dwelled” on his family roots among the 17th century Spanish pioneers who settled New Mexico. Such classism, I think, may be a basis for understanding his description, to a foundation correspondent, of “The miserable, stinking, stomach-turning schools offered the Negro (and also the poor White, by the way)” in the South. “No longer a slave,” he went on, “the Negro was thrown on the dung heap—to fester, and to rot, and to stink. His community had become insane, criminally insane.”

Somewhat similarly, during a panel discussion, Sanchez once lamented the Mexican American’s situation, saying, “… he is pathetic in his helplessness—a stranger in his own home.”

I knew Sanchez. We were friends. Once, though, we came into conflict. During the Chicano uprisings of the 1970s that both influenced and to an extent alienated him, he was quoted saying “only the mexicanos can speak for the mexicanos,” later adding that “only the Negro can speak for the Negro.” As Blanton recalls, I countered that the logical political conclusion of such a position was, for example, that “mexicanos should elect only mexicanos,” and added, “Inherently, there is a danger in this work—the danger that righteousness against economic oppression that is undeniably racial in part may metamorphose into retaliatory racism.”

Sanchez replied, “I have been fighting racism since you were wearing three-cornered pants … I have numerous scars that attest to my fight against racism, in this and other countries. Have you?”

In his person, George Sanchez was a handsome man and slight, afflicted by tuberculosis and its aftereffects. During his time at UT he was permanently bent to one side and used a cane. He died in 1972 amid a compound of ailments, by then evidently including alcoholism. The Observer ran a poem by Homer Barrera titled, “Dr. George I. Sanchez, Don Quixote of the Texas Range.” In 1965, to a young Chicano who had written him impatient with the persistence of racism, our Don Quixote wrote, “Don’t expect an oldtimer like myself to hold your hand; I’ve fought, bled, and died in this game. Go out and fight your own fight. I started more than forty years ago, and am still at it. My head has been bloodied, my soul has been injured. Go out and do the same.”

Ronnie Dugger was the founding editor of the Observer in 1954 and was its publisher until 1994. He has written biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, books about Hiroshima and universities, and countless articles in The Nation, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Atlantic, The New York Times, The Progressive, The Washington Post and other publications. Home again, living and writing in Austin, he received the George Polk career award in journalism in 2012.

Sent by Roberto Caldeorn, Ph.D. 
Source: Michael A Olivas  MOlivas@UH.EDU 

It is not a matter of color, but numbers 
by Mimi Lozano

I wrote the following in response to a comment that seemed to imply that family history research was not of any real value to our youth, who had to face the reality of the present.  My response resulted in another individual to comment that I seemed to equate social domination with skin color.  Nothing is farther from my belief. It was Professor Cirenio A. Rodriguez comment "Bien Dicho y Hecho Mimi" which encouraged me to share my response with Somos Primos readers.  In discussing the Southwest experience of the Mexican-Americans, I answered the following:

I totally agree, it is not a matter of color, but rather to understand how those settled in the Southwest were displaced, not by a lack of intelligence, or laziness, but purely by over-powering numbers. The predominant language was English. As I recall, California went from 20,000 to 200,000 in ten years. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo stated that all legal activities would be conducted in Spanish and English. That did not happen. The same thing was going on in Texas.

I have no issue with skin color. I just want our youth to understand what took place had nothing to do with our Mexican grandfathers' abilities. The odds were overwhelming. For a clear understanding of the take-over of towns throughout the southwest, view the City Councils. It clearly explains what started with the westward movement. From one year to the next, the city fathers change hands, powers radically changed. Some families in Southern Texas left in the 1830s and crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico, as my grandmother's family did, leaving land and property settled in San Antonio in 1731.

I have no issue with Anglo-Saxons . . . without their dedication to saving our records, we could not do the family research that can be successfully completed by Mexican heritage researchers.

Today I attended a meeting of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, held at an LDS Church (Mormon). The speaker John Schmal, a Catholic of German heritage, shared his knowledge and interest because of
his Mexican heritage nieces and nephews. Family history does that . . . it brings people together . It does it naturally.

Our ancestors were swept along with events, many times totally out of their control. It is a certainly time to come together, with respect to everyone's history, with kindness and understanding.

It is our responsibility to let the general public AND one another to understand what we experienced, what our families experienced, to look for the commonalities. We have shared history that we can grow by understanding it.

It is hard to make a connection with people who already have preconceived ideas of who and what a Mexican is. It is those preconceived ideas that have to be changed by our stories, and our efforts in sharing them . . .  It is beginning to happen.

My husband I were married in 1955. He is of Russian Jewish heritage, mother born in England. About 15 years ago, a heard one of my teenage grandson say to a friend. "I know I am part Mexican, but I am not proud of it." It broke my heart.

He had been accompanying me to set up displays, etc. since he was a kid (about 8 years old). I thought if he does not get it . . . how will our youth, who are not exposed to a grandmother proudly sharing her Mexican heritage feel? It is that self-worth tied to family, which Mexican Americans have lost.

When you start researching your own personal family history, you change. I experienced it and I have seen it. You realize you are a member of the human race. You come to realize the world that your parents lived in and
survived in. You learn to see the big picture and understand that basically people are the same, all over, (some good, some bad). You learn to forgive, for what was needed, but not provided by parents. You grow up and accept life in a very peaceful way.

The problem: Exclusion of the Spanish/Mexican contributions to the history and development of the United States, has lead to confusion.

Our Mexican-American youth need inclusion in US history, not to cause conflict, but to clearly understand their situation is not based on being deficient. They are not lacking, they are capable. They need to look to the
future and prepare for it. The bilingual brain has access to more capability, more problem solving. Our youth need to know that they can be Mexican AND American, and do it well. . . . for the good of the nation. .

"A people without a history have nothing. They do not know who they are, or where they are going." 
Hector P. Garcia

Regards to all those that work with our youth . . . Mimi Lozano

LNESC and Marathon Oil Expand Partnership for Middle School Science Corps Program 

March 19, 2015

LNESC and Marathon Oil Expand Partnership for Middle School Science Corps Program in San Antonio, TX
Program provides middle school students with interactive activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)  The Science Corps program, a partnership of LULAC National Educational Service Centers Inc. (LNESC) and Marathon Oil Corporation continues in San Antonio, Texas. LNESC and Marathon Oil expand their partnership this year to serve students at Terrell Wells Middle School and Kingsborough Middle School. 

The Science Corps program is an after-school middle school program that encourages students’ interest in STEM fields by exposing real world STEM applications and problems through an interactive after-school curriculum. Students are exposed to over 100 hours of STEM focused curriculum encompassing STEM oriented careers, projects related to physics and engineering, conservation and energy, polymer science, ocean floor mapping, oil viscosity, and water quality. 

“Through our partnership with Marathon Oil, students are able to engage in STEM-focused activities that allow them to further develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills. This opportunity encourages students to pursue a post-secondary education while preparing them for a STEM oriented career,” said Eloisa Kirkwood, Director LNESC San Antonio. 

With an estimated three million STEM jobs currently unfilled, there is a need to increase student interest in technical careers. The program’s specialized curriculum boosts math and science skills in female and minority participants and encourages them to prepare to graduate from high school, enroll in a STEM-related field postsecondary program, and pursue a STEM-related career. 

“At Marathon Oil, we have a clear focus on educational initiatives that help students develop a strong STEM base,” said Tim Fischer, Marathon Oil Manager of Diversity and HR Business Planning. “By partnering with LNESC and the administrators and teachers at Terrell Middle School and Kingsborough Middle School, we’re seeing students who we hope will be our future employees, and developing curiosity about STEM that will be critical to our future success.” 

“Our program impacts Latino youth, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. While Latinos make up only 5.3 percent of the STEM workforce in the U.S., LNESC is committed to engaging and fostering interest in the STEM fields by effectively preparing young people for the jobs of the new economy,” said Richard Roybal, Executive Director of LNESC.

Source: LULAC, March 19, 2015

Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus

New documentary reveals the rise of anti-Israel activity& anti-Semitic rhetoric on university campuses. 

Editor Mimi:  I strongly encourage you to watch the whole documentary. Do watch until you watch the Muslim guerilla warfare on campus . . . It is obviously a call to violence. It is shocking that the situation has gotten to this level of physical public displays . . . it is frightening, and you really have to question, why it is being allowed.

Noted too, is a great lack of historic knowledge among the anti-Zionists.   Glaring misinformation is repeated over and over, as if it is fact.  What surprises me is the large numbers of Muslims on campuses . . Are these agitators, students on Student VISAs . . . ? 

What’s New?
The Virtual Race Across Texas  . .   on the web game, free to play

Do you know who coined the notorious battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!” or when Texans first dared Santa Anna’s Mexican army to “Come and take it”? If so, then you just might have what it takes to win the TSHA’s first ever Virtual Race across Texas. 

Created by the Texas State Historical Association to celebrate Texas History Month, this first-of-its-kind online social game will foster your love of Texas history as you virtually travel across Texas testing your knowledge of the Lone Star state along the way.

The Virtual Race Across Texas is free to play and a great way to challenge your friends to see if they can outwit you in their knowledge of all things Texan. Every day you’ll visit a new Texas destination (without leaving your living room) and answer questions to prove your Texas history aptitude. If you get stuck, don’t worry—we’ll have plenty of resources available to help you out. The more questions you answer correctly, the more points you earn, and the better chance you have to win one of our great prizes. You can rack up points even faster if you recruit your friends to play. You’ll even have a chance to win the Grand Prize at the end of the month!

Do your students want to get into the game as well? The Texas State Historical Association is happy to announce that the Texas Quiz Show is back and better than ever! After the program’s digital makeover, the changes are dramatic. Now the program has moved online with a series of digital quizzes available for students in 4th -8th grade, where students compete as individuals in a series of progressively more difficult online quizzes. Posted now, these quizzes align with Texas History Month, and the 36 students with the highest scores will be invited to Austin to compete to see who knows Texas best, competing in the Texas Quiz Show State Championship. 

Texas Insights - March 2015, Volume V, Issue 4

Early Educational Institutions in Colonial Spanish Texas
5th Essay from: Colonial Spanish Texas & Other Essays by Dr. Lino Garcia, Jr. 


When Panfilo Narvaez and Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca along with a few hundred Spanish soldiers landed on Galveston Bay on November 6, 1528 the exploration and the settlement of the territory of Texas brought into this state European institutions that still prevail. One of this was the yearning and dedication to the education of its citizens. Hundreds of Spain's best and most brilliant scholars, and educators from the best universities in Spain and Europe flooded the New World with a mission to educate the natives, and the children of the Spanish explorers and conquerors that had subsequently arrived in "La Nueva Espafia". It is no wonder that in Colonial Spanish Texas early attempts were initiated by the Spanish and Mexican authorities in establishing schools.

Max Berger in his "Education in Texas during the Spanish/Mexican Periods" gives us an insight into the early efforts by Spanish/Mexican citizens of Colonial Spanish Texas in establishing the first system of public schools. Spanish soldiers occupied Texas by establishing military outposts, with the early Spanish missions an integral part of that military policy. The Indian population was to be Christianized, educated, and prepared to be citizens of the Spanish Empire. Thus, every mission had as its component an industrial school for instructions in industry and agriculture. The Spanish language was also taught to the Indian population. The first of such mission with its instructional component was established in Texas in 1690, and within five or more years other such Spanish missions were also started. The first settlement in Texas by Spanish families and soldiers was the founding of San Fernando de Bexar (later San Antonio) in 1718; and thereafter it was inevitable that a need for education existed for the children of Spanish settlers, soldiers, and governmental officials in the Texas of that time. Thus, the first such non-mission school began its operation in San Antonio, Texas in the year 1746. It was a normal parish school as was in place throughout the Spanish Empire and had as its mission the training of the young in religious doctrines. Another such school was opened in San Antonio in the year 1789, but closed soon in 1792 at the end of that century.

In 1802, an official edict was pronounced by the Spanish government in Texas that called for a school to be in operation, tuition free and prescribing compulsory attendance, with penalties for parent for failure to comply. One year later another official order was proclaimed establishing schools at all military posts in Texas, with provisions to grant a small salary for its teachers. Spanish authorities had a penchant for details, and for a firm authority in all its affairs in the New World, which also included Spanish Colonial Texas, and it is no wonder that detailed instructions for the organization of its schools also reflected that policy. In the City of San Antonio a school was established with public funds and offering free tuition, setting the stage for the later on famous "Public Free Primary School" that opened in that city in 1828 and that had its blessings from the Mexican authorities who then ruled Texas after the state gained its independence from Spain in 1821.

In 1818 at La Bahia, a soldier named Galan taught a class of eighteen children, receiving no salary, except for a few donations of meat, lard, salt, and the small salary he received as a soldier. A citizen then wrote "... the majority of the children are taught out of pure charity, the custom being not to give anything to this unfortunate wretch". It was difficult to sustain any semblance of an educational system during the turbulent years of unrest between 1819 and 1821, when Texas was liberated by the Independence Movement "El Grito of 1810", and when the territory reverted back to the Mexican authorities. However the Mexican government, which ruled Texas after 1821, issued a proclamation allowing the states control of its educational endeavors, and such was the case in Texas. Thus, the new constitution of Coahuila and Texas of 1827 required all cities to establish primary schools in the territory. In 1828 the then governor of Texas Jose Maria Viesca encouraged parents to send their children to the best schools possible; and by 1833 the state of Texas started the practice of granting land grants to establish local institutions of learning.

However, it was still difficult to establish a long lasting educational system of learning given the political unrest that set upon the Texas of that time. The best schools in all of the territory existed in San Antonio, but they were still far from perfect. Other factors were lack of teachers, and the low level of poverty of the state. However, San Antonio managed to establish a law known as the "Public Free Primary School", which was free, subsidized by public funds, and private subscriptions.

Rules were immediately established to conduct this endeavor; such as classes were held from six to ten in the morning during the summer, and seven to twelve in the winter months; with classes held in the afternoon from two to six during the whole year. The instructor was to open the school with a prayer; and held strict observances of religious events. The lessons included the "three R's", with lessons in manners, morals, and religion. The teacher was hired on a four year contract at a salary of five hundred dollars a year, payable in monthly installments. These early schools in Spanish/Mexican Colonial Texas existed until the year 1834.

By this time in history the Mexican authorities were granting huge land grants to northerners headed by Esteban F. Austin to settle in Mexican controlled Texas, but with certain conditions, one being that they must learn the language spoken by its citizens, which was the Spanish language, they were to become Mexican citizens, and accept Catholicism. In 1831, the townspeople of San Antonio constructed a school building, with contributions from the citizens of various sums of money, others gave lumber, nails, hinges, a calf, a barrel of corn, or personal services. A teacher from the north was hired but soon the citizens objected to his being in the classroom when it was discovered that he lacked a proper documents to be in the Texas of that time. The early contract with northerners required that schools be erected in each new colony, and that all instructions be given in Spanish, the official language of Texas of that time.

As the year of Texas Independence approached in 1836, one of the provisions of the new constitution was the establishment of a strong public school system in Texas. Early advocates of such efforts included

Tejano patriots Lorenzo de Zavala, Antonio de Navarro, and Juan Seguin; with Zavala introducing legislature to establish the first system of higher education in Texas; and both Navarro and Seguin attempted to donate thousands of their own land for the purpose of establishing the first university. After the Battle of the Alamo of 1836, schools again began to flourish, but it cannot be denied that the early efforts of Spanish/ Mexican authorities in establishing the first schools, with laws governing its administration was the embryonic source of the present Texas system of education now in existence. Tejanos should, indeed, feel proud that their ancestors worked diligently and did the heavy lifting in order to establish an educational system in Colonial Spanish Texas that set the stage for the present educational institutions that all Texans now enjoy.


Extracts: Obama defunds private school vouchers for kids in Washington, D.C.
Stephan Moore, Orange County Register, CA Feb 8, 2015

. . . . President Obama proposed no funding next year for private, school scholarship vouchers in the District of Columbia. The $20 million annual program, which began under George W. Bush, has proven extremely effective. Thousands of kids have benefited from these scholarships - which typically amount to about $8,000 to $10,000 a year.  That's still about one-third lower than what it costs to "educate" students in the district's public schools. Almost all students who get the money are blacks and Latinos.

The decision by this White House to defund the D,C. voucher program is a disgrace. Every year, four times as many D.C. minority children sign up for the voucher program than there are funded slots available.  Several years ago, when President Obama tried to shut down the program, black and Hispanic parents locked arms with Republicans in Congress who support the program and marched in front of the Capitol. That was an amazing optic. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, x civil rights leaders and "community activists" fought against laws that prevent blacks from getting in to the public schools. Now, liberals refuse to let them out.

Research by Patrick Wolf at the University of Arkansas tracked how well these kids did over time. Graduation rates of voucher students soared by 21 percentage points. President Obama  wants to shut down private-school choice for two reasons:  First, teachers unions hate private-school choice because many private school teachers aren't in the education union.  Second, the success of choice-based private schools in educating minorities and poor children gives public schools a big black eye because the kids do so much better with choice.


Spring Means Spanish Paella in Alamo City by Rosie Carbo 
New Play, Esperanza Rising, written by Lynn Alvarez, directed by Rebecca Rivas
Up For Natl Award, Poet Willie Perdomo's Ode To El Barrio
10th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival

Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge

Spring Means Spanish Paella in Alamo City 
by Rosie Carbo 

The flag of Spain flew over Texas once again recently at the Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge. The tribute to Spain’s national dish attracted more than 2,000 paella lovers and united award-winning, celebrity chefs and high school culinary arts students in a delectable competition.

Conveniently held each year during Spring Break, the Corona Paella Challenge is actually a fun-filled fundraiser that draws hundreds of food lovers to the historic Pearl Brewery complex on the banks of San Antonio’s famed River Walk.
Chef Johnny Hernandez, founder and restaurateur extraordinaire, started the paella celebration to help students interested in becoming chefs attend the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America. 

“There is a disparity between the demand in the culinary arts profession as chefs and the availability of financial support for those interested in training. So it’s my goal with the Paella Challenge to help nurture the future leaders of an ever growing industry,” said Hernandez, a graduate of the CIA flagship campus in Hyde Park, New York.

Hernandez, owner of the Pearl Brewery-based La Gloria, Casa Hernan, El Machito, the Fruteria, and True Flavors catering, not only wanted to pay homage to paella, but felt the dish sizzled with possibilities in which chefs could let their creativity take over.
Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge

Creativity took hold during the cooking competition in which more than 30 chefs, representing restaurants, wine and tapas bars and catering services from Texas, the nation and Mexico, went head-to-head. Seventeen chefs competed in the Classical category, while 19 competed in the Contemporary category.

Celebrities included Susana Trilling, chef and author of Seasons of the Heart and other Mexican food cookbooks. Trilling has also hosted several television shows. She has done TV cooking segments with the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, Burt Wolf, Rick Bayless, and other celebs at her Rancho Aurora in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The Experiment’s chef Lorenzo Morales won in the People’s Choice category. The overall winner in the “Classical and Contemporary” category was chef David Gilbert of the local Tuk Tuk Taproom. Gilbert received an all-expense paid trip for two to Spain. Seasoned chefs competed in Classical, Contemporary, People’s Choice, and Overall Classical and Contemporary.

Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge

Aside from that, this was the fourth year in which local high school students from the culinary arts programs at nine San Antonio high schools participated. Sponsored by San Antonio-based grocery giant H-E-B, students get a taste of what it’s really like to cook under pressure. 

“My dad was the one who inspired me to want to cook. We always used to cook together when I was growing up. So I know this is what I’m meant to do,” said aspiring chef Grecia Oveda, a senior at James Madison High School. Winning schools were Bryan P. Steels, Howard Taft, and Robert E. Lee.

Paella was meant to bring the family together; it was a special time of sharing. It began in Valencia, Spain as a humble saffron-infused dish made up of wild rabbit and local vegetables. In time it evolved to include shrimp, mussels, baby clams, and other seafood items from the nearby Mediterranean.

Purists looking for the traditional paella, which calls for Calasparra rice grown in the mountains of Murcia, Spain, were amazed at the many unusual variations on this quintessential Spanish dish. In fact, one chef said he used Basmati rice, a staple in the Middle East, to cook his delicious paella.

Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge

This chef was not alone. Most Paella pans were filled with nontraditional ingredients such as cauliflower, roasted artichokes, and escargot. Some boasted small red potatoes, corn on the cob, bacon, cherry tomatoes, and all manner of edible ingredients.

Tim McCarty of Rochester, Minnesota created one of the most unique paellas and dubbed it the Bloody Mary paella. McCarty has been participating since the Paella Challenge started six years ago.

“It’s a great cause for donating to the high school kids, so we’re really out here for the kids,” said McCarty’s colleague, chef James Foote of the Victoria Country Club, which took third place in the Classical category.

Under the Texas sun, with temperatures hovering in the 70s, the scent of saffron, garlic, onions, Turkish paprika and Italian sausage wafted across the kiosk-dotted 22-acre complex igniting hungry or curious appetites. Paella Challenge goers dashed from one kiosk stand to another savoring each plateful.

Entertainment ran the gamut from Spanish Flamenco to Rock ‘n Roll and Jazz. The music filled the air and kept the huge crowd gyrating and toe-tapping until restraint gave way to dancing rhythmic Salsa music.

Advanced tickets of $65 dollars a person sold out before the event. So admission on the day of the event was $75 a person. Tickets for those 21 years old and under were $25 a person for the all-inclusive affair.

Some of the proceeds from the event also benefit the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Program. In addition to HCC, other sponsors include Silver Eagle Distributors, Valero, H-E-B, Culinaria, and several others.

With plenty of unlimited Mexican beer, Spanish wines, including Sangria, soft drinks, and bottled water, this event is sure to become a favorite Spring Break vacation destination in the future. The Alamo city’s Spanish architecture and famous River Walk are within walking distance of this annual outdoor event. 

Sixth Annual Corona Paella Challenge
“My family is from Spain, so the paella is part of my heritage,” said Angie Bridges, second place winner in the Classical category. Bridges, with her husband Jeff, own the award-winning COPA Wine Bar and Tasting Room in far north central San Antonio. 
Rosie Carbo's picture Rosie Carbo is the Lifestyles Editor for Wandering Educators, and is a former newspaper reporter whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. Some of those publications include People magazine, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio 
 Express-News.  Some of her features were redistributed by The Associated Press early in her career as an award-winning Texas journalist. Read more of Rosie's articles here on her blog.

Photos courtesy and copyright Rosie Carbo
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Written by Lynn Alvarez, Directed by Rebecca Rivas

Esperanza lives a privileged life on her father’s Rancho Linda Flor near the U.S.-Mexican border. But when tragedy strikes, she is forced to cross the frontera into the United States and become a farm worker. Taken from the pages of the beloved children’s novel by Pam Muñoz Ryan and set during the Great Depression, Lynne Alvarez adapts this coming of age tale for the stage. In March, 

Esperanza Rising was performed in March seven times at the University of Texas, El Paso,.  UTEP invited the public to join them on "this mariachi-accompanied journey through Aguascalientes, to the fields of California, toward Esperanza."

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.

Up For Natl Award, Poet Willie Perdomo's Ode To El Barrio

by Juan Castillo 
Juan Castillo is an award-winning writer and journalist based in Austin, Texas. 

When he was a boy, the prize-winning poet Willie Perdomo witnessed the wildly unthinkable from a familiar, friendly perch, his third-floor window outside his El Barrio or Spanish Harlem project building in New York. The window was his cinematic frame.

"From there, I saw everything. I heard everything," Perdomo told NBC News.

The window looked out on a connecting project building, where on the 6th floor rooftop, three boys played a high-risk, daredevil game of follow the leader. One, "Kid Torres" they called him, fast-walked the dangerously narrow ledge of the building's 50-yard expanse as if it were a high wire. Perdomo feared the boy would plummet to what would surely be his death.

In that moment, "I was thinking this is mythological, this is insane, this is legendary. Where else would one see something like this?" Perdomo recalled.

"Later on, it kind of dawned on me, if one were to ask me, 'Why did you become a poet?' In many ways, it's me trying to walk on that ledge without falling," said Perdomo.

The 47-year-old poet and author is walking the literary tightrope just fine these days and still marveling at his Nuyorican landscape. His newest collection, "The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon," is generating high praise, including some from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz, who wrote on Perdomo's website: "There is no poet alive who can match the lyrical intelligence, ferocious wit and searching humanity of Willie Perdomo. Perdomo is the hurricane we all write home about."

Earlier this year, the National Book Critics Circle nominated "The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon" for its prestigious annual awards, given to the best autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction and poetry. Winners will be announced March 12th.

"I'm really happy for the book, even more happy for my uncle (Pedro) and I wish that he was around to come to the readings with me," Perdomo said during a telephone call from Exeter, New Hampshire, where he is an English instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy.

"It seems poets at times give those unexamined lives a voice," says Perdomo.

Dedicated to his uncle, a Puerto Rican who played percussion on live studio recordings by salsa great Charlie Palmieri, "The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon" is a powerful collection crackling with the sounds, rhythms and street lexicon of salseros, soneros, musicians, jam sessions and poets during the late 1960s, when the salsa music movement was in its nascent stages in New York City. Perdomo never met his uncle, who died some years ago. The book reimagines his life as it seeks to recreate the memory of his years in New York.

"It celebrates the stories my mother (Carmen) told me about his involvement in that (salsa music) scene," Perdomo said. His uncle had lingered in his consciousness for years.

"I was always thinking about my uncle as a vehicle for a narrative," Perdomo said. "I started to write a novel about a conga player and I had about 46 bad pages of it."

Perdomo tossed it, but the path toward reimagining Pedro's life began to become clear. That was more than a decade ago.

The writer of "Clemente!" "Where a Nickel Costs a Dime," "Postcards of El Barrio," and "Smoking Lovely," Perdomo says his Nuyorican city life roots kindled a deep, personal appreciation for storytelling and music.

"It was how we communicated. It was how we insulated and protected ourselves," Perdomo said about growing up in Harlem.

"I always felt that there was a certain magic about living in Spanish Harlem, even though I knew that people were suffering from poverty and that communities were under siege," Perdomo continued. "I could always hear a certain amount of laughter and song. I used to fall asleep with that flowing through my dream life."

Writers like the celebrated Langston Hughes, another Harlem resident, made it okay to use the language the young Perdomo was hearing every day. "That was a revelation to me," Perdomo said. The language he grew up with became an integral part of the way he approached poetry.

"The other part was that lives which otherwise went unnoticed or unexamined were now prime for celebration. It seems poets at times give those unexamined lives a voice, so that we're able to see beyond the mythology," he said.

Perdomo's parents influenced his work as well. Carmen kept journals and still does. "The act of writing is a big part of her life. She tells really good stories about the gilded age of the boogaloo era and about that time in her life," Perdomo said. "Conversely, my father's silences are the ones you try to fill in."

A printer by trade, his father William Perdomo was there when brother Pedro was creating music, participating "from kind of a layman's vantage point," Willie Perdomo said.

Willie locked in on his father's ability to listen to an old song and remember what he was doing when the tune came out. "The music could be resonant of a more youthful time. So it became an imagining for his own narrative," Perdomo said.

His poems pose questions about Shorty, filling the gaps in an understanding of his life and ultimately his death.

How cool was I, Shorty asks, sharing his story with an unidentified young poet?
So cool
That I chased God like he was on the run.
So cool
That when Puente heard my speed, I made him bite his
Tongue. I'm saying - I made the Mambo King bleed.

Shorty's monologues evolve into a testimony of sorts, a virtual call-and-response with the love of his life, a singer named Rose, a formidable and fiery siren who speaks in a series of Dear Shorty letters and has her own recollection of events. It's the use of the classic muse trope, Perdomo said.

"One of the things I found when poets wrote about a kind of specific love, more often than not that specific singular love did not respond. So this was a great opportunity to have that trope in response," Perdomo explained.

"I just felt that beyond Shorty's musicianship, his apprenticeships and his relationships, that there should have been also a part of his heart that was engaged in an attempt of love outside the music." He imagined Rose in terms of her voice and in the composite image of Billie Holliday and others.

Finding his own writer's voice actually meant finding several voices now at his disposal, Perdomo said.

"That was the fun part," he said. "I could utilize more than one voice to start telling fragments of a story. I found that the distinction between the voices was stylistic. One might be lyrical, the other performative, one extensive, the other somewhat minimal. "The key is to understand that one's voice is an accumulation of those jam session voices."

What advice would he give to aspiring young writers? Perdomo's answer evokes more images of the risks of falling off the ledge.  "To get the hours of practice in," Perdomo said. "To understand the role of tripping and getting back up as it relates to trying to find your voice." 

Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera

March 22-29th, 2015

10th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival




Founded in 2005, the Bay Area Flamenco Festival now celebrates its 10th anniversary! In addition to several days of live performances, workshops and other events, various informal gatherings provide the opportunity for cultural exchange and create a context for sharing cultural traditions where the local community can experience flamenco in a genuinely interactive and spontaneous environment. Artistic Director Nina Menéndez's unique curatorial vision distinguishes the Festival and its particular focus on grassroots flamenco from the Gypsy communities of Spain. 

UNESCO has recognized flamenco as a World Heritage Treasure, acknowledging the Spanish Gypsies' essential role in flamenco's evolution. Celebrating Spanish Gypsy music and dance as a living culture and a legacy of world stature, the Festival, also known as Festival Flamenco Gitano, has presented some of the most important figures in the history of flamenco as well as prodigies from today's generation of artists. Artists presented include Manuel Agujetas, Angelita Vargas, the Farruco Family, Manuela Carrasco, Miguel Funi, Juana la del Pipa, Pepe Torres, Diego del Morao, Diego el Cigala, Son de la Frontera, Jose Maya and more.


Chavela Vargas
Vargas giving a concert in the Plaza de España, in Madrid, Spain, in 2006
Background information
Birth name Isabel Vargas Lizano
Born 17 April 1919
San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia Province, Costa Rica
Origin Mexico
Died 5 August 2012 (aged 93)
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Genres Ranchera
Occupation(s) Singer–songwriter, actress
Years active 1961– 2012
Associated acts José Alfredo Jiménez

Isabel Vargas Lizano (17 April 1919 – 5 August 2012), better known as Chavela Vargas, was a Costa Rican-born Mexican singer. She was especially known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras, but she is also recognized for her contribution to other genres of popular Latin American music. She has been an influential interpreter in the Americas and Europe, muse to figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, hailed for her haunting performances, and called "la voz áspera de la ternura", the rough voice of tenderness.[1] The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, presented her with a Latin GRAMMY Statuette in 2007 after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of that organization.

Source: Extract from Wikipedia

Sent by Juan Marinez


Chicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith Ignacio M. García 
When Mexicans Could Play Ball by Ignacio M. Garcia
Students of Color and the Achievement Gap: Systemic Challenges, Systemic 
      Transformations by Richard R. Valencia
Latinos and Latinas at Risk [2 volumes]: Issues in Education, Health, Community, and
     Justice  By Gabriel Gutiérrez (Editor) 
Mexicans in California: Transformations and Challenges, Exploring the past, present, and
      future of ethnic Mexicans in California Edited by Ramón A. Gutiérrez and Patricia Zavella 
Building Blocks for Hispanic (and Other) Millennials by Gil Narro Garcia
Share your Story with LATINA Style Magazine 




This is a memoir of the early years of a well-known Chicano scholar whose work and activism were motivated by his Mormon faith. The narrative follows him as an immigrant boy in San Antonio, Texas, who finds religion, goes to segregated schools, participates in the first major school boycott of the modern era in Texas, goes to Viet Nam where he heads an emergency room in the Mekong Delta, and then to college where he becomes involved in the Chicano Movement. Throughout this time he juggles, struggles, and comes to terms with the religious principles that provide him the foundation for his civil rights struggles and form the core of his moral compass and spiritual beliefs. In the process he pushes back against those religious traditions and customs that he sees as contrary to the most profound aspects of being a Mormon. This memoir is about activism and religion on the ground and reflects the struggles of people of color who are faithful and who engage in a social action that defies simple political terminology.

University Press Copublishing Division / Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Pages: 254• Size: 6 x 9
978-1-61147-818-1 • Hardback • June 2015 • $75.00 • (£44.95)
978-1-61147-819-8 • eBook • June 2015 •
$74.99 • (£44.95)
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Mormon Studies Series
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural Heritage, Biography & Autobiography / Religious, Religion / Christianity / Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

Editorial Reviews:

A unique, powerful, and inspiring memoir on the complexities of becoming a Chicano Mormon by one of the accomplished historians of his generation. (Mario T. Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara and author of "The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement")

Think you know what it means to be Mormon? In this tough, tender memoir, Ignacio Garcia reminds us that Mormon barrio girls with hair teased high, walkouts, grape boycotts, urban congregations run by tough-minded working-class women, soulful contemplations in the Vietnam barracks—these too belong to the modern LDS experience. His story reminds us that the Mormon faith can fuel a hunger for social justice, and that the Mormon people have a great deal to learn by turning the time over to our brothers and sisters of color. Thank you for the wisdom, Brother Garcia. Adelante, and amen. (Joanna Brooks, author, The Book of Mormon Girl)

Ignacio M. García
is the Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. Professor of Western and Latino History at Brigham Young University. Professor of Western & Latino History
(801) 422-4387  

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 

When Mexicans Could Play Ball by Ignacio M. Garcia 

When Mexicans Could Play Ball is about basketball players from a San Antonio, Texas high school who won two state basketball titles during the war years. These young men were just as incredible  and they did it with a Mexican American coach and in an era where opposing fans  were even more hostile, and in a sport no one believed they could dominate.

 The story goes beyond sports but does not neglect the competitive nature of  basketball or other aspects of the sport. It is an award winning book and very  timely as we see Hollywood beginning to focus on Mexican Americans and Latinos.

This book provides a more nuanced look at the barrios and the realities on the  ground. There are also no "white saviors" though it does speak to the  complicated but not always hostile relationship between whites and Mexican  Americans. The book is available in both hardcover and paperback (much cheaper)
and could work for course adoption.

 Ignacio M. Garcia 

Students of Color and the Achievement Gap: Systemic Challenges, 
Systemic Transformations 
by Richard R. Valencia

Students of Color and the Achievement Gap is a comprehensive, landmark analysis of an incontrovertible racialized reality in U.S. K-12 public education---the relentless achievement gap between low-socioeconomic students of color and their economically advantaged White counterparts. Award winning author and scholar Richard Valencia provides an authoritative and systemic treatment of the achievement gap, focusing on Black and Latino/Latina students. He examines the societal and educational factors that help to create and maintain the achievement gap by drawing from critical race theory, an asset-based perspective and a systemic inequality approach.

By showing how racialized opportunity structures in society and schools ultimately result in racialized patterns of academic achievement in schools, Valencia shows how the various indicators of the achievement gap are actually symptoms of the societal and school quality gaps. Following each of these concerns, Valencia provides a number of reform suggestions that can lead to systemic transformations of K-12 education. Students of Color and the Achievement Gap makes a persuasive and well documented case that school success for students of color, and the empowerment of their parents, can only be fully understood and realized when contextualized within broader political, economic, and cultural frameworks.

Paperback: 374 pages  · 
Publisher: Routledge (April 5, 2015) 
Language: English  
ISBN-10: 1138018813  
ISBN-13: 978-1138018815 
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches   
Paperback – April 5, 2015 

Richard R. Valencia, Ph.D.
Professor, Educational Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin
College of Education, George I. Sánchez Bldg.
Suite 506K, 1 University Station, D5800
Austin, TX 78712-0383
Office: (512) 471-3650
Fax: (512) 471-1288
Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 


Latinos and Latinas at Risk [2 volumes]: Issues in Education, Health, Community, and Justice Hardcover – January 26, 2015 By Gabriel Gutiérrez (Editor)

Description: The Latino/a presence in this country predates the United States itself, yet this group is often marginalized in the American culture. Many noted experts explore the ideology behind this prejudicial attitude, examining how America views Latinos/as, how Latinos/as view themselves, and what the future of America will look like as this group progresses toward equitable treatment. Through the exploration process, the book reveals the complexity and diversity of this community. 

ISBN-13: 978-0313399251   ISBN-10: 0313399255 
Hardcover: 828 pages  Hardcover $189.00  Kindle $170.09
Publisher: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood (January 26, 2015)
Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D. 


Mexicans in California: Transformations and Challenges, Exploring the past, present, and future of ethnic Mexicans in California

Edited by Ramón A. Gutiérrez and Patricia Zavella

Pub Date: June 2009 Pages:264 pages

Contributors are Brenda D. Arellano, Leo R. Chavez, Yvette G. Flores, Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Aída Hurtado, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Chon A. Noriega, Manuel Pastor Jr., Armida Ornelas, Russell W. Rumberger, Daniel G. Solórzano, Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, and Abel Valenzuela Jr.


Numbering over a third of California's population and thirteen percent of the U.S. population, people of Mexican ancestry represent a hugely complex group with a long history in the country. Contributors address a broad range of issues regarding California's ethnic Mexican population, including their concentration among the working poor and as day laborers; their participation in various sectors of the educational system; social problems such as domestic violence; their contributions to the arts, especially music; media stereotyping; and political alliances and alignments.

Contributors are Brenda D. Arellano, Leo R. Chavez, Yvette G. Flores, Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Aída Hurtado, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Chon A. Noriega, Manuel Pastor Jr., Armida Ornelas, Russell W. Rumberger, Daniel G. Solórzano, Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, and Abel Valenzuela Jr.

"Informative and well written, this anthology contains substantive explorations of issues that deeply affect the daily lives and experience of Latino/as in the United States today."--Suzanne Oboler, founding editor of Latino Studies and coeditor in chief of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia on Latinos and Latinas in the United States

Ramón A. Gutiérrez is the Preston and Sterling Morton Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Chicago.Patricia Zavella is a professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sent by Refugio Rochin, Ph.D.


Building Blocks for Hispanic (and Other) Millennials by Gil Narro Garcia
Chapter 6: Interesting Approach to Identity
Access the complete iBook through iTunes.  

Many of you are like me. I was born into a middle class Mexican American family and grew up in a well-kept neighborhood full of children just like me, though we did come in contact with others who were not. My parents were Mexican-born. Their generation (in the first quarter of the 20th Century) was one of refugees from the Mexican Revolution. They left behind estates and professional positions, but brought with them the values and attitudes of the Mexican middle and upper classes.

Upon arrival in South Texas, my parents enrolled in public schools and later became American citizens. They were literate in Spanish and acquired English in school. Mom and Dad valued, above most things, education and good deportment and language skills. And, they instilled in us the values of their accomplished family antecedents. The principal decision after high school that my brothers, sister, and I were expected make, for example, was which college to attend. Not going was not an option! Such was the case for my neighborhood friends as well. I elected to go to Baylor, but that’s a different story.

Now that we’re older and have families or at least live in secure households, many of you and I enjoy the fruits of being part of the American middle class. At least 5 million of us have a minimum of a BA/BS degree. The vast majority of the Hispanics living in the US are native born, a change from when I was growing up. Further, over 19% of us are working in management, business and science positions, and in the arts.* But, enough with the statistics. If you are reading this, you are very likely middle and upper middle class.

We know who we are. We shop both at Wal-Mart and Nordstrom’s, the local panaderia/bodega and at Whole Foods. We drive relatively good cars, be they a Ford or Prius or a Lexus. We drink beer as well as wine, bourbon and tequila. Some of us joke in Spanish, depending on the circumstances and whom we’re with. Because most of us hold white collar or professional jobs, we enjoy annual salaries that range from $60K to $175K+. This enables us to live in secure urban and suburban neighborhoods with good schools. We are doctors, sheriffs, and office workers. In short, many of us represent a segment of American culture and society that, while not in the 1%, are not living in poverty, though we are struggling along with the rest of our middle class counterparts.

We vote and we argue conservative and liberal politics just like others in the middle class. Some of us hold local elected offices. Many of us read major newspapers daily and enjoy going to movies and other entertainment. We vacation in Hispanic countries, as well as in Europe. We are vested in the stock market and fret about its ups and downs and about our retirement prospects. Many of our children play sports in school or in college and are already or might soon become engineers or attorneys or major chain managers or educators. In fact, many of our children, the second generation, are achieving admirably. In my family alone, there is a family doctor, a veterinarian, tenured university faculty, and a soon-to-be attorney.

The above, while not universal for Hispanics, is not fiction. And, I don’t believe that it’s an exaggeration. But, neither am I suggesting homogeneity within the ranks of our middle class standings. Secondly, middle class Hispanics live, for the most part, seamlessly in the American middle class milieu. I say “part” because America remains a society that judges and treats people on the basis of looks, dress, accent, last name, and other features that have little bearing on acumen, creativity, and contributions. In this respect, the most recent incidents in Ferguson, Cleveland, and New York City reveal a dichotomy that might be quite valid. Consider the reality that neither our children nor we appear to encounter the extent and severity of the problems and obstacles that many of our African American colleagues and middle class peers face with regard to encounters with the police and judicial systems, hiring, job promotions and related economic behaviors that have a direct impact on conditions of stable living.

The other “part” is the reality that many middle class Hispanics have melded into the broader American middle class and have not taken full advantage of nor exploited the socio-cultural resources that are fundamental to what it means to be Hispanic/Latino in America.

So, where am I going with this good-looking picture? I’ll be upfront: The Hispanic middle class is, as a group and in proportion to our history, accomplishments, and size, more consumer and spectator than innovator and large-scale leader.

A bottom line is that, given the wealth, talent, ambition, and successes that we represent, we simply have not translated our middle class strengths and resources into movements of change and impact. Hispanics seem to prefer local rather than national or larger global scales. We ultimately let others in the American upper and middle classes do the bidding and the controlling, and basically run the show. I believe that we’ve shorted ourselves! Why is that?

Consider the most recent announcement by ex-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. Because Senator Barbara Boxer has announced her retirement, there is an on-going struggle to nominate a candidate for the open seat. What an opportunity! But, Mr. Villaraigosa has stated that he won't run for that position because he prefers to remain in California. No doubt that this is a sincere decision. The fact remains that Senators have the opportunity to wield national influence on policies and legislation that, at the very least, impact on Hispanics. At some point in a Hispanic's life, national priorities and un-addressed social and economic issues need to over-ride self-limiting aspirations. I use this example only to point out the desperate need for Hispanics who think and act on large scales.

In other features, I plan to provide an overview of what I believe the Hispanic American middle class is not doing. Achievements to an average point have meant that we are not achieving “optimally”. I’ll also delve into what we could assertively be doing as a middle class group if we are going to affect the policies and priorities that must shape the (inter)national frontiers for the next 30 years. I further believe that it’s either going to be pronto or nunca! There is simply too much at stake.

Please send me your thoughtful comments and challenging questions. Also, please let me know if you would agree to be interviewed for the next installment. It’s your chance to be heard and to make a difference. 
Gil Narro Garcia

Sent by Refugio Rochin


On Mar 5, 2015, at 1:00 PM, Joe Lopez <> wrote:

Mr. Narro García (Gil), thank you for the opportunity to join in this important topic. FYI, ever since I retired after a nearly 38-year military/Federal service career in 2000, my wife and I have visited dozens of South Texas campuses. During that time, we have mentored thousands of Mexican-descent students, sharing with them their “lost” history. In accordance with your last paragraph (of the excerpt I received from Refugio), I take the liberty to add the following:

First, to restore Hispanic dignity and respect in U.S. history books, the Mexican-descent “ownership” of early U.S. history in the Southwest must first be established. In other words, the mainstream U.S. history assumption that we are all immigrants has to stop.

To explain. Mexican-descent citizens comprise the majority of Hispanics in the U.S. At last count that’s estimated to be about 35 million people. Out of that number at least half are descendants of the Spanish Mexican pioneers already living here when the U.S. subsumed Texas, South Texas, and the entire Southwest.

What that means is that 15-20 million Spanish-surnamed citizens originating in the Southwest are not descendants of immigrants. (That is what separates us from other Hispanic groups that came here later as immigrants.) Until pre-1848 Texas and Southwest history is accepted and taught as part of mainstream curriculum, our right to claim Hispanic (Mexican) heritage “on this side of the border” will remain clouded with suspicion and resentment within the U.S. general public. Ignorance feeds intolerance, while knowledge feeds understanding.

Second, my theory is that the 1960s set the basis for human rights that Mexican-descent U.S. citizens of the Southwest now enjoy. Because the U.S. Constitution was not good enough for mainstream society to adopt inclusion (equality for all its citizens), President Lyndon Johnson used his executive powers to bring justice to a group of society that he was intimately familiar with (Mexican-descent Texans). As a result, our folks walked through the doors of opportunity in education, employment, and housing that President LBJ and U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough opened widely. The problem is that once they got their degrees, many never looked back. Nor did they reach back to help those behind who needed a helping hand up to get onto the same ladder of success we used.

Third, (in relation to the point above) it is time that the highly successful Spanish-surnamed folks filling high-level, high visibility, high-paying positions you cite in your “Building Blocks for Hispanics…” book get actively involved in bringing change, regardless of ideology and political affiliation. For some reason, we as a group have a dismal record of involvement when we fully know that from within we must solve the problem of Hispanics remaining at the bottom of most quality of life indicators.

Mr. Narro García, I will leave you with a particular conundrum we have here in Texas. The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) and state legislature officials disapprove of and are reluctant to teach early Texas (Tejana/Tejano) history in Texas classrooms because “… it teaches the history of Mexico”. Well, of course that’s true, but the fact is that it’s in Texas’ DNA. In short, Texas is a child of Mexico (New Spain). The early chapters of Texas history are written in Spanish, but that only means that Texas (& U.S. history) are truly bi-lingual and bicultural. To be blunt, Texas is in New Spain, not New England.

Sir, I would submit to you that our communication gap here in Texas with our “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up” leaders is a microcosm of what the problem is nationwide.

Thank you, again.
Very Respectfully, José Antonio López  


From: [] 
Sent: Thursday, March 5, 2015 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: Building Blocks for Hispanics...

Jose . . . I am sure that those thousands of youth who internalized their "lost" history, as presented to them by you, were changed by it. It is difficult to explain what happens inside, but it does change an individual to know their roots. It substantially changed me, directs my daily energies to the goal of encouraging family research. 

Denying Mexican Americans their history is actually cruel. It leads to confusion, perplexity, and bewilderment. How did we get into this social situation? Are we, in fact, inferior? I had that asked of me, by several educators. Only in the personal observation of my dad and several uncles, did I know for sure that we are intelligent, talented, and strong. 

God bless you for using your talents to promote this very needed knowledge of Mexican American history. 

Warm regards, Mimi
Mimi, thanks. Your comments remind me of a learning experience that has repeated itself several times in South Texas school campuses. 

In my early Texas presentation that I normally give elementary school kids, I include pictures of José de Escandón, Gen. Bernardo Gálvez, and José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara. In more than one school, students have asked, “Why are they dressed like George Washington?” 

As you can well imagine, my response is usually “Ahh, that’s because your ancestors also dressed like George Washington”. A chorus of “Wow” or “Awesome” usually follows.

Therein is the essence of our task to tell our story. If only we would get that type of positive reaction from mainstream U.S. society, filling in the missing chapters of Texas and Southwest history would be a breeze.

Saludos,  Joe López

From: 3/5/2015 10:39:21 A.M. Pacific Standard Time

Senor Lopez,  

Thanks for your candid comments. Yes, history is rife with deletions and omissions. The best that we can do is continue to grow as communities of Americans who are Hispanic. The more sophisticated we become, the more difficult it is for others to challenge our credentials or to dismiss our talents.  

I appreciate that you took the time to read my iBook. Please forward it to others who might benefit. My retirement time is filled with my art and my relentless efforts to highlight what Hispanics have accomplished, but also to highlight what we haven’t yet. If only more middle and upper class Hispanics would strive to achieve beyond their safe zones, we’d have a whopper of the world!  

Saludos to you and to Refugio.  

Gil Narro Garcia


Gracias, Sra. Lozano.


Gil Narro Garcia  

On Mar 6, 2015, at 2:16 PM, wrote:  

Yes, yes, yes . . . When our youth think of Mexican soldiers, they think of Pancho Villa.

In the late 90s, in response to teachers complaining that celebrating Hispanic Heritage month was difficult because it comes right in the beginning of the school year, I prepared a manual for use in the classroom. I developed it with minimal teacher preparation, but suggestions of how it could be incorporated into the subject matter of the classroom. I also suggested that it could be implemented from the principal's office on the school intercom system.

The material includes tidbits of information that I thought would be fun for the kids. Please check it out.

Maybe we need to think about preparing something similar, but different, with incidents presented historically chronological and very visual, which would produce the same student response. Come to think of it . . . maybe I should add some visuals to the Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month manual?? Hum m m m

Mr. Narro García (Gil), I will be sharing information on your book in the April issue of Somos Primos. Glad to be in touch with another Mexican-American activist historian.  

Warmest regards, Mimi


Get Your Copy of LATINA Style Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 1 Today!

In this edition, meet the legendary Linda Ronstadt. Bringing spirit and soul of the Hispanic community to America, Maria Linda Ronstadt, is more than an accomplished artist. And while she no longer sings, she writes. Most recent, her best-selling memoir Simple Dreams captured the hearts of many and it will capture yours in The Legendary Linda Ronstadt Continues to Capture our Hearts.  


It's no secret that the most in-demand careers are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). That does not look to be changing in the near or far-off future, discover the promising future for Latinas in STEM disciplines in this edition. Read about Latinas who have a passion for science, math and technology and turned that passion into something greater than they ever could have imagined in the special feature of STEM Opportunities Boundless for Latinas.


Finally, for the first time in history there are more women licensed to drive than men, and women also control more than $13 trillion in personal wealth today, as compared to $6.5 trillion in 1995.We've recently tried out a wonderful mix of vehicles and selected a group of five with very different personalities to tell you about. Check them out here.   

If you have a story to share with us, email us at

AND I HOPE YOU SHARE  your story with SOMOS PRIMOS . . .too.  

Latino soldiers
 Cebu, Phillipines, WW II


Hometown Battlefield
Iwo-Jima 1945 Photos
Vietnam Wall 
Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Ed Freeman, Nov. 20, 1927 – Aug. 20, 2008
The Hornet’s Nest and Working Wardrobes’ VetNet program
Vietnam War, 50 Years Later Giving a Voice to Latino Veterans by Liset Marquez
Doolittle Raiders
WW II Era, PBY-5A Catalina, Strawberry 5
After Flight 77 Hit the Pentagon on 9/11, What Happened

Hometown Battlefield
Sent by Oscar Ramirez:   
Iwo-Jima 1945 photos

Sent by
Rafael Ojeda (253) 576-9547  
Tacoma WA    

Vietnam Wall

First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear.
Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals.
This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it.

I hope everyone will stop and appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.
Link below virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war, names, bio's and other information.

Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.
Pass the link on to others, as many knew wonderful people whose names are listed.

Sent by Juan Marinez, 


Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Ed Freeman, 
Helicopter pilot 
November 20, 1927 – August 20, 2008

The story of U.S. Army Veteran Ed Freeman is true. He was a veteran not only of Viet Nam, but of World War II and Korea.  He was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on November 14, 1965, at Landing Zone X-Ray, in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War Freeman served as a helicopter pilot with the rank of Captain in US Army's Company A, 229th, Assault Helicopter Battalion, First Cavalry Division Air Mobil.   On November 14th, 1965, a US battalion was surrounded by the enemy. In the heat of the battle when all hope was lost, an unarmed helicopter came to their aid, bringing water, much needed supplies and ammunition. 

According to survivors of the battle, Captain Freeman returned 14 times with supplies and evacuated the wounded on each trip. More than 30 soldiers were flown to safety by Captain Freeman.Freeman was decorated with the distinguished Flying Cross for his act of bravery but for decades those who survived this battle felt that a higher honor should be awarded to the helicopter pilot. On July 16, 2001, Congress awarded the Medal of Honor to Freeman with the persuasion of Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall, other survivors who were rescued by Freeman, and Senator John McCain. That day, Freeman and his wife, Barbara, were invited to the Whitehouse where President George W. Bush presented the Congressional Medal of honor before witnesses consisting of Vice President Cheney, the secretary of defense, secretary of veterans affairs, the joint chiefs as well as members of the Joint Chiefs, Senator John McCain, Senator Craig, Congressman Otter, and Congressman Simpson from the delegation of Idaho.On August 20, 2008, Major Ed Freeman passed away from complications of Parkinson's disease at the age of 80 and was laid to rest at the Veterans Cemetery in Idaho, where he settled. 

In March of 2009, the United States Congress bestowed one more honor to Major Freeman. They designated the US Post Office in his place of birth McLain, Mississippi, the "Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office." 

Click for CNN Transcript of President Bush's presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor.updated 02/3/2015

Sent by Oscar Ramirez 

The Hornet’s Nest and Working Wardrobes’ VetNet program

Doing more to help veterans was our intent when Harry and I formed the Working Wardrobes’ VetNet program three years ago – and our resolve is stronger today than ever. 

Thank you so much for supporting the screening of The Hornet’s Nest last night. David Salzburg created an incredibly powerful documentary with his team, and we do hope that you are inspired to get into action in your own way to help more veterans get back to work. If we work together, we can increase the awareness in our community of the challenges that our veterans face, and how Working Wardrobes VetNet program is helping to make the difficult transition to civilian life a lot easier. 

A very special “Thank you” to our friends and event sponsor, Plaza Bank, and to those who donated last night to raise money specifically for training scholarships. Training works.  When we equip our veterans with the tools they need to be successful, we are doing exactly what young Sargent Ryan Lasher talked about last night:
We have a chance to pay it forward for more and more of our veterans.

If you are now ready to do more to help our veterans, may we suggest:
1. Make a donation to support more Veteran training scholarships.
· Text2Give: Text 41444; in the body type PAYCHECK, space, and the amount.
· Donate Online:  
· Mail Payment: 3030 Pullman Street, Suite A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
· Call us! Contact Joshua Milius at 714.210.2460

2. Join us for an Inside Working Wardrobes tour and RSVP online today: 

3. Get your company and employees involved!
· For more information on our VetNet program: 
· Corporate Partnership Opportunities: 

Thank you for knowing how important it is to support our veterans and for investing in our work. 
We do look forward to seeing you on a tour of our Career Center soon!

Very best, Jerri L. Rosen
Working Wardrobes  

Sent by Yvonne S. Duncan
Federal Grants Manager
U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
12397 Lewis Street, Suite 101
Garden Grove, CA 92840
P: 714-621-0102 Ext 20
F: 714-621-0401

Vietnam War, 50 Years Later Giving a Voice to Latino Veterans
 by Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin


Growing up, Tomas Summers Sandoval was surrounded by veterans of the Vietnam War: His father and uncle and neighbors served proudly, the survivors returning to start families in the working-class suburbs of Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire

But outside his social circle, Summers Sandoval was dismayed to find very little has been done to document the impact of the war on Latino communities.

This month, 50 years since U.S. troops set foot in Vietnam, Summers Sandoval has found himself face to face with these men as they tell their stories.

“To understand Latinos in California, how they found their way into the military is a window to understanding the educational inequalities in society of the time,” the soft-spoken Summers Sandoval said.

A history professor at Pomona College, Summers Sandoval is researching the Latino experience in Vietnam and plans to calculate the casualties of Latinos in the war, teaming up with economics professor Fernando Lozano to get those figures. He is working with students to review large data sets from the Census and other federal surveys to determine the number of Latinos that fought in the war.

“We have to think about Vietnam as more than just creating an anti-war movement in Chicano communities — which it did and was very important. I think far more families were affected in ways beyond participation (in the protests),” he said.

Knowing those stories is vital, said Summers Sandoval, who teaches a class devoted to compiling oral histories of Latino and Chicano Vietnam veterans.

According to his research, Latinos did indeed bear a heavy burden. Latinos made up 11 percent of the population during the war, but 14 percent of the Vietnam casualties were Latinos.

“Now that we have final numbers — what is the participation rate of Latinos in the Vietnam war,” he said. “Were we more overrepresented in our population in deaths?”

New data shows that many more families have a direct connection to those who served in Vietnam than to the Chicano youth activism of that time, he said.

In the dozens of interviews Summers Sandoval has conducted over the past four years, he has come to believe the war had a profound effect on the Southland’s Latino population.

Latinos, many from East Los Angeles and other parts of working-class L.A., shouldered a heavy, disproportionate burden in the war, he said. Those who came back alive changed communities and affected how Southern California neighborhoods looked. Many migrated eastward into the San Gabriel Valley, turning up in places like La Puente and all those other towns, which become what Summers Sandoval coined “brown suburbs”.

There’s the serviceman who experienced tragedy after coming home from war, the one who went on to become a probation officer and another whose treatment after returning from the conflict inspired him to be an advocate for all veterans.

They’re men like Luis Ramirez. In 1966, he was 19 years old and purposelessly attending East Los Angeles College. Ramirez, who lived in Lincoln Heights with his family, admitted he didn’t pay close attention to the conflict overseas.

If he got drafted, he got drafted, Ramirez recounted.  That tall and lanky 140-pound teenager who went to war is now 67, with white strands surrounding the frame of his face.

“We looked at our uncles and the older generation of World War II veterans,” said Ramirez, who served as a radio operator calling airstrikes for the Vietnamese infantry he was assigned to near the Mekong Delta. “I think our mentality was ‘Hey, our country needs us, we’ve got to go in.’ I didn’t realize I would end up in a war situation.”

Many dropped out of college and got picked up in the draft. Others, despite being enrolled in college, didn’t put in for deferments because they figured they would eventually serve anyway, Summers Sandoval said.

“A lot of them are men, in any other generation, who would have wanted to be put into college,” he said. “They are graduating and going off to war. In a way, they were this surplus population that the military was waiting to pick up.”

Ramirez’ mix of pride and resignation was shared by many others in that period, Summers Sandoval said.

Howard Hernandez grew up in the city of Commerce, and he recalls more than 150 classmates, mostly Latinos, who either enlisted or were drafted.

“We had a great deal of pride and we’re Americans,” said Hernandez, who now lives in Montebello. “I thought it was every male’s responsibility to serve in the military.”


They paid a heavy price, one that Summers Sandoval continues to tally.

Much has been documented about the anti-war Chicano movement, but rarely has there been discussion about the disproportionate number of Latinos and Chicanos who served – according to previous surveys and even in Summers Sandoval’s research — and who were casualties of the war, Summers Sandoval said.

Documenting the stories of veterans such as Ramirez has also been a way to hone in on just how much of the war’s burden California’s Latino veterans bore.

It hasn’t been easy.

“Through the Vietnam War, Latinos are not counted separately, and so they are folded into the white population,” he said. “There’s no easy way to retrieve data about how many were Latinos and how many causalities were Chicano and Latino.”

Political scientist Ralph Guzman, who taught at Cal State L.A. and UC Santa Cruz, was among the few researchers to delve into the issue of how many Latinos served. Guzman did what Summers Sandoval described as important research on Spanish surname analysis of the war’s casualty reports.

Guzman released his findings in 1969, and Summers Sandoval still leans on it in his studies. And that’s where he finds the burdens that Latinos shouldered during the war.

Latinos represented 19.4 percent of deaths, but were 11 percent of the population of the southwestern U.S., Summers Sandoval said, referring to the work of Guzman, who died in 1988.

Guzman’s research was one of the catalysts for the Chicano anti-war movement. But there was a caveat. Guzman’s numbers took into account only the three deadliest years of the war. And that’s where Summers Sandoval has taken the baton. His research will span the entire war, and as part of his oral history projects, he continues to sift through the data and is planning a book to be finished next year.


Ramirez went to basic training with three classmates from his high school, and lost seven to eight from his graduating class during the war, he said.

Ramirez said his experience in the military gave his life more structure and taught him to be more responsible.

“It helped me to do things in life,” he said. “It’s also made me realize what I have in the world and how fortunate we are. What we have is freedom.”

For 39 years, he has lived in El Sereno, a community in East Los Angeles, with his wife Mary Ellen, and raised four children. He eventually graduated from college, and after more than three decades in information technology, he retired. Today he teaches part-time at East Los Angeles College.

For Manuel Sandoval, Summers Sandoval’s uncle, serving in the Marines was unlike any other life lesson he had before being drafted at 19 years old. Returning from service was like returning to a different world.

“I felt like people who were here were kids,” he said. “My friends who hadn’t gone, seemed to me childish. They were more into the party scene — this is, again, when I came back in 1967. I felt like I was much older and more mature, maybe I wasn’t, but that’s how I felt.”

Perceptions. Feelings. They are going into the stories that Summers Sandoval is archiving with the Library of Congress.

To help find those voices, he is working with his students at Pomona College to gather the histories.

“We have a history, community history, but more specifically we have a history inside of the military,” he said. “We can talk about making sacrifices — people who are still alive and participated in this war from our community. If we don’t record those stories, those stories die with them.” 

Liset covers the cities of Upland, Claremont, Rancho Cucamonga as well as LA/Ontario International Airport. Reach the author at or follow Liset on Twitter: @JournaLiset .




Doolittle Raiders

They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans. 

After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.  Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier. 

On April 18, 1942, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

The U.S. Air Force hosted the famed Doolittle Tokyo Raiders' final toast to their fallen comrades during an invitation-only ceremony on Nov. 9, 2013  at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Go to these websites for photos. . .

Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast

Sent by Sal Del Valle



Strawberry 5

We see a lot on the restorations of WWII era bombers and fighters, but this is something quite unusual
The story of PBY-5A CATALINA (Strawberry 5) discovery and restoration for the US Navy museum in San Diego. It was the only remaining intact PBY 5 Catalina remaining in the World, and it was discovered in South Africa.


A beautiful airplane. In 1947 I had the pleasure of riding in the gunnery blister of a PBY from NAS North Island in San Diego, to NAS Alameda.
Paul Trejo  

"PBY seaplanes moored on Lake Worth in 1940 at Fort Worth, Texas. 

In November 1940, Consolidated Aircraft contacted Amon Carter, explaining they had been ordered to transfer 200 PBY seaplanes from San Diego to Britain and that they were in immediate need of a layover point mid-country. In just eight days, Amon Carter, with the help of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, arranged for all the necessary requirements of fuel, food, lodging for the flight crews, and moorings for the planes. To keep the mission secret, the public was told the planes were here to weather out a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. The speedy response from Amon Carter and the Chamber of Commerce later played a large role in convincing Consolidated Aircraft to build their manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas."   Sent by Odell Harwell 


A chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, told of an   incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11.

A daycare facility inside the Pentagon had many children, including infants   who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do.

There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the   cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers.

Just then a young Marine came running   into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back   out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, "Well, here we are, on our own."

About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child,   and the rest started gathering up toddlers.

The director and her staff then helped   them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park nears the Potomac ...

Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing - they   formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West.

Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the   children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.

The chaplain then said, "I don't think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an   incredible story of our men there.” There wasn't a dry eye in the room.

The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It   was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.

It's the Military, not the politicians that ensure our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women, who have served and are currently serving our country, and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.


Sent by Rosa Parachou



SAR Magazine Vol. 109 No.3 online
Another Gálvez Portrait Unveiled - Pensacola
Senator Robert Menendez received Bernardo de Galvez Award by Teresa Valcarce
Corpus Christi y Lepe by Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Texas A&M University-San Antonio: Special Collections Reading Room
SAR seeks descendants of Yuma Massacre of 1781

Read the latest issue Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, SAR Magazine Vol. 109 No. 3  online. Zoom in for the font size and turn the pages to read through the whole issue.     Sent by Leroy Martinez 

Another Gálvez Portrait Unveiled - Pensacola

In December, a portrait of Bernardo de Gálvez was unveiled in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting room to honor Spain’s contributions to the American Colonists during our War of Independence. On January 29th, another Gálvez portrait was unveiled. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller (center) and Maria Davis (right) unveil a portrait ofGeneral Bernardo de Galvez during a ceremony at the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. State Museum in downtown Pensacola. Looking on are University of West Florida President Judy Bense (left) Mayor Ashton Hayward (left center) and West Florida Historic Preservation CEO Robert Overton (right center). Local artist Nina Fritz painted the portrait of Gálvez.

Senator Robert Menendez received the Bernardo de Galvez Award

If I didn’t write you earlier is not for lack of news but because I took a break to focus on my family after these years of work. Still, here are some pieces of good news relating to Bernardo de Galvez (BDG):

1. Right after the unveiling of DBG’s portrait, I had the chance of presenting Senator Menendez with a bottle of wine from La Melonera winery in Malaga, Spain, called “Yo Solo." I also had the opportunity to share with him the letters from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin talking about how our founding fathers also admired and enjoyed these wines (also known as Mountain Wine) back in the XVIII century. Here are some additional pictures from the event.

2. Few days after the unveiling ceremony, President Obama signed the Resolution awarding Honorary Citizenship to BDG. Clearly, this is another great victory for BDG’s cause.

3. As a result of our effords with BDG’s portrait, The Ladies of Mount Vernon invited my family to a VIP tour of George Washington’s state to thank me for my work to promote and preserve the history of our country. I was told that, after reading the Washington Post Article, they were reminded of their own founder, Ann Pamela Cunningham. It is an honor to be compared to a woman that accomplished so much for our country at a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote.

4. Finally, this past Monday, March 2nd, Senator Robert Menendez received the Bernardo de Galvez Award on behalf of the US-Spain Council Foundation. The award was presented by His Majesty King Juan Carlos. Photos. Well done Senator!! I am very happy to see you getting the BDG’s award instead of additional headaches like those I gave you during this past two years! Thank you and congratulations to you and your wonderful staff.

I will keep sharing great news about BDG and Spain’s contribution to the independence of our country as they happen.

Thank you for your support,  Teresa Valcarce
US Ambassador to the Bernardo de Galvez' Association
“I did it because I didn’t know it was impossible” 
Hola Mimi, comparto contigo las fotos del evento de hoy en la entrega del premio BDG al Sen. Menendez.
Un beso muy grande.


El Rey Juan Carlos entrega el premio Bernardo de Gálvez a Bob Menéndez
Alfonso Vázquez 03.03.2015

Por hacer posible que el retrato del estadista malagueño esté en el Capitolio de Washington

El rey Juan Carlos, con Bob Menéndez. 
La Opinión, Fotos de la noticia


El senador cubanonorteamericano Robert Menéndez, uno de los principales líderes de la comunidad latina en EEUU, recibió en Washington el premio Bernardo de Gálvez de manos del Rey Juan Carlos. La ceremonia tuvo lugar en la Embajada de España en la capital norteamericana.

El galardón es un agradecimiento por sus gestiones para que el retrato del general malagueño pudiera estar colgado en el Capitolio. El senador ya recibió hace poco más de un año la Gran Cruz de Isabel la Católica, que le entregó en la embajada española el presidente del Gobierno Mariano Rajoy.

El premio Bernardo de Gálvez es una réplica en miniatura del grupo escultórico de Juan de Ávalos que él mismo regaló en nombre de España al pueblo norteamericano con motivo del bicentenario de su independencia en 1976 y que se encuentra en la capital norteamericana. Al acto asistió Teresa Valcarce, la embajadora de la Asocación Cultural Bernardo de Gálvez y la española que más ha hecho porque el retrato pueda estar ya en el Capitolio, un compromiso de los congresistas americanos de 1783.

Sent by Teresa Valcarce


Corpus Christi y Lepe by Ángel Custodio Rebollo


Cuando escribí mi pequeño artículo sobre el cuadro de Don Bernardo de Gálvez, yo recordaba que hace años fue una delegación de Lepe a Corpus Christi, en los Estados Unidos, para asistir a la inauguración de un monumento que aquella ciudad dedicaba al Capitán Blas María de la Garza y Falcón, , descendiente de Marcos Alonso Falcan y Constanza de la Garza, que desde Lepe fueron de los primeros que emigraron al Nuevo Mundo.

Según mis datos, Marcos Alonso, nacido en 1525 y Constanza de la Garza, en 1529, partieron para América en 1566, acompañados de sus hijos Isabel, Luisa, Constanza, Melchor, Sebastián y Francisco. Pertenecían a la pequeña colonia judía que existía en Lepe.

Algunos de los tataranietos de Marcos Alonso y Constanza de la Garza fueron militares con las tropas españolas y uno de ellos, Blas María de la Garza Falcón, que era capitán y había nacido en Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, en 1712 y de quien se inauguraba el monumento, había contribuido a la colonización de la zona, dirigiendo a un grupo de vecinos y soldados llegó el 5 de marzo de 1749 al llamado actualmente Rio Grande y desde allí exploró con éxito el territorio de Texas.

La representación onubense que fue a Corpus Christi en julio de 1989, estaba presidida por el entonces Alcalde de Lepe, José Ángel Santana, y a todos los componentes de la expedición, que fueron muy agasajados durante su estancia en la ciudad estadounidense, le entregaron un certificado como ciudadano honorario de la misma, suscrito por la Mayor Betty Turner.

Creo recordar que la zona de Corpus Christi pertenecía en el siglo XVIII a la jurisdicción de Don Bernardo de Gálvez, Conde de Gálvez, de quien hace poco se ha colocado un retrato en el Capitolio de Washington, en lo que ha sido muy eficaz la gestión de una malagueña residente en los Estados Unidos, llamada Teresa Valcace.

Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Certificado que entregaron a cada visitante.

Angel Custodio is a columnist writing for  the El Diario newspaper  in Huelva, Spain.  His  focus is on the history of Spain.   He is a friend and frequent contributor to Somos Primos. 

Texas A&M University-San Antonio: Special Collections Reading Room

Robert and Victoria Thonhoff

On Thursday, February 26th, Texas A&M University-San Antonio conducted the grand opening of its library’s Special Collections Reading Room and guests had an opportunity to view some of the items maintained there. The Special Collections Unit was founded in 2013 with its first acquisitions being the archives of La Prensa, San Antonio’s first bilingual newspaper as well as the Robert H. Thonhoff Collection, which includes a large collection of books, articles and essays by historian and educator Robert Thonhoff. He also included other historical materials and his collected issues of La Granada, the newsletter of our chapter, which dates back to its first issue in 1996. 

After categorizing the collections, the university was ready to open the Reading Room. The grand opening was well-attended. On one wall of the room is a portrait of Robert and Victoria Thonhoff’s beloved late daughter Margaret “Mitzi” Lou Thonhoff Hensley in her loving memory.

Sent by Jack Cowan, 
Texas Connection to the American Revolution.



The combined mission-pueblos among the Yumas near the junction of the Gila and Colorado Rivers were established in 1780.  La Purisirna Conception was first established, and shortly the second, San Pedro y San Pablo, followed a few miles away. For many reasons, the Yumas believed they were being victimized and rose up in rebellion in July 1781. They killed the priests, settlers, and soldiers for the two settlements, then killed those who remained with Captain Fernando Javier de Rivera y Moncada from the Great Expedition of 1781 (to settle Los Angeles and establish Santa Barbara Presidio).

The soldiers of the mission-pueblos who were killed were: Ensign Santiago Islas; Sergeant Jose/Juan de la Vega; Corporals Juan Miguel Palomino and Pascual Rivera; and soldiers: Pedro Burquez; Gabriel/Javier Diaz; Manual Duarte; Juan Gallardo; Justo Grijalva; Gabriel Luqque; Jose Ignacio Martineaz; Juan Martinez; Cayetano Mesa; Bernardo Morales; Gabriel Romero; Faustino Sallalla; Matia de la Vega; and Ignacio Zamora. Those soldiers who escaped were: Jose Reyes Pacheco; Miguel Antonio Romero; and Pedro Solares. It is believed that most of these soldiers had families, but none of the families are now known. (Ref: Bancroft, Vol 1:359, "Pueblo Missions of the Rio Colorado," History of California.

Those killed from the Expedition were Captain Rivera; Sergeant Juan Jose Robles; and soldiers Nicolas Beltran; Tomas Maria Camacho; Pabio Victoriano Cervantes; Joaquin Espinosa; Carlos Gallegos; and Francisco Pena. Others who died during the same time period, possibly some in the Yuma Massacre, were Juan Angei Amarillas; Anatonio Espinosa; Joaquin Lopez, Manuel Caneda; Joaquin Guerrero; Jose M. Guerrero; and Rafael Marquez.  (Ref: Bancrot, op cit, p 363. Bancroft referenced Provincial State Papers, Benecia Military, Toma III, pp 10,22.). Recruits who were killed at Yuma with Captain Rivera were Ascencio Alvarez; Francisco Castro; Manuel Diaz; Antonio Pardo; and Josef Quijas. (Provincial State Papers, Benecia Military, Toma II, pp 60-63.)

Soldiers listed at the San Gabriel Mission from the Sonora Presidios were Ygnacio Lauro and Mateo de Soto.  Listed without caption as of 24 Oct 1781 at San Gabriel were 16 soldiers, possiblly from the contingent of recruits sent by Capt. Rivera to Loreta, thence overland to California. Others have suggested these soldiers were from the Sonoran escort. They were: Josef Acuna; Guadalupe Alvarado; Andres Bojorquez; Josef Chamarro; Vicente Frias; Diego de Leon; Andres Martinez; Josef Domingo Mesa; Valentin Montano; Juan de Dios Murietta; Custodio Ocha; Xavier Roero; Mateo de Soto; Juan Ygnacio Valencia; Juan de Dios Villasenor; and Juan Josef Xeyal. Another list, showing most of the above, had additional recruit names of Caspar Lopez; Juan Norberto Mejia; Pedro Jose Mejia; Javier Sepulveda; and Jose Maria Valarde.

The largest number os soldiers ever involved in Alta California military operations involved three separate attempts to subdue the Yumas.  Lt Col Pedro Pages led the first Expedition of 1781 and recovered some of the captives.  He was joined by Captain Pedro Fueros; Ensign Manuel Antonio Arbizu; and Sergeants Juan Noriega; Miguel Palacios; Miguel Rivera; and Caspar Tovar; and 100 soldiers, names not recovered from the Presidios of Arizona and Sonora.

Then in early 1782, Fages led a group of 38 soldiers and 140 animals through the Yuma country and on to San Gabriel to get help from Alta California. In the fall of 1782, Lt Col Felipe de Neve led a joint expedition from both Sonora and Alta California against the Yumas. The Yumas withdrew into the desert and there was little action. The names of the soldiers from Arizona and Sonora have not been recovered.

In 1783, still another expedition from Sonora with 108 men under Capt Jose Antonio Romeu attacked the Yumas and killed as many as 200, but did not subdue them. The names of the soldiers are not known.

The National Society, Sons of the American Revolution, would like to recover the names of soldiers who served or died in these operations against the Yumas and delineations of their families. Descendants are eligible to join the SAR.  

If you suspect lineage with any of the soldiers above and would like to investigate further with the intent of becoming a Son of the American Revolution, through your Spanish family lines,  please contact your local SAR Chapter or Jack Cowan  

Editor Mimi:  The research above was a communication to me 22 Apr 1998 from Granville W. Hough.  Dr. Hough wrote, with the secretarial support of his daughter  N.C. Hough, 8 manuals identifying Spanish soldiers in North America during the 1779-1783, the American Revolution War with England.  In addition, he continued gathering data of the presence of Spanish soldiers in the Caribbean and South American, sharing that information with Somos Primos.  Sadly, Dr. Hough passed away March 3, 2010.  He left an invaluable body of research to help Hispanics find their ancestors place in history.  

Somos Primos website search . . .
Click here: granville w. hough - Google Search


Descripcion del Escudo de Inclan

Partido. 1º: En azur, un castillo de piedra, de tres torres, y asomada a una ventana, una doncella, con una espada en la mano diestra, y un perro, en actitud de acometer, delante de la puerta, y 2º: En oro, una nave al natural sobre un pino, con frutos y terrasados, y tres flores de lis, de gules, una en jefe y dos flanqueando el pie del árbol.

Apellido noble de Asturias con solar en el caserio de igual nombre, del concejo de Pravia; ramas familiares de este linaje alzaron casas solariegas en los terminos de Castrillon y Salas; otros se extendieron por España Mexico y Estados Unidos

En 1305 el caballero Suer Pelaez de Inclan intervino como mediador para resolver el viejo pleito que sobre los derechos a la pesca en el Nalon sostenian la Iglesia de San Salvador de Oviedo y el concejo de Pravia. En 1607 Sancho de Inclan Aragon fundo el vinculo de la casa de Inclan,a la cual pertenecieron Alonso de Inclan Valdes, militar y gobernador de Tenerife en tiempos de Felipe IV y Juan de Inclan, cura de Folgeras, Sancho de Inclan Arango y Leiguarda. Alferez mayor y regidor de Pravia, cargos vinculados en su casa, Fue alcalde mayor de Ronda, de la ciudad de Oviedo regidor de esta ciudad y de la villa de Salas, y caballero profesor de Santiago. Fallecio en 1722. Fernando Inclan Suarez nacio Villamondrid Pravia en 1934. Licenciado en Derecho. Alonso Inclan Valdes. Nacio en el ultimo tercio del s. XVII en las Regeras. Fue gobernador de Buenos Aires en 1705. Alonso de Inclan Valdes. Militar y escritor nacio en Pravia. Fue capitan durante el reinado de Felipe IV y gobernador de Tenerife y Santa Cruz de la Palma 1644.

Aquesta hermosa doncella a la ventana asomada que en la mano tiene espada y el perro debajo de ella muy enojado que ladra y un pino de otro lado con tres flores que alli estan estas armas son de inclan.

John Inclan




Anthropologist offers possible explanation for collapse of ancient city of Teotihuacan
Anthropological Genetic Genealogy: The Carthaginian Connection to New Mexican Families 
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Anthropologist offers possible explanation for collapse of ancient city of Teotihuacan
Decapitated males from Teopancazco, 
a neighborhood within the ancient Mexican 
city of Teotihuacan.  Credit: Linda Manzanilla  

Anthropologist offers possible explanation for collapse of ancient city of Teotihuacan

( —Linda Manzanilla, an anthropologist with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México has published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offering a possible explanation for the collapse of the early central Mexican city of Teotihuacan—she believes it was due to clashes between groups with differing economic interests.

The ruins of Teotihuacan can be seen today at a location approximately 30 miles northeast of modern Mexico City, and offer testament to the flourishing metropolis that once was home to approximately 125,000 people, making it the most populous city in the pre-Columbia Americas. 

The city got its start around 100 BCE, but was completely decimated by the eighth century. Why it collapsed has been a subject of debate among historians and anthropologists for several years. In this new effort, Manzanilla suggests it was not drought or invaders that brought down the great city, but internal strife among its inhabitants.

Manzanilla is basing her claims on her examination of parts of the ruins, along with an analysis of human remains and other artifacts that have been found in the area. She suggests that because of volcanic eruptions in the first and fourth centuries, people were forced to move from the southern basin, and wound up in Teotihuacan, which resulted in a mix of ethnicities. Activity markers, nutritional patterns, isotopes and ancient DNA analysis showed that the immigrants (some of whom brought specialized skills along with them) tended to live on the outskirts of the city in different neighborhoods and were given specific jobs by businessmen that helped to bolster the economy. But it also led to rivalries between the neighborhoods. As time passed, she believes that tensions arose between wealthy businessmen, neighborhood leaders and those that were part of the government. The tension was increased, she claims, by the government insisting on retaining control of all natural resources. Eventually, that tension boiled over and the result was an angry mob of people burning down major parts (administration and ritual buildings) of the city and trashing sculptures and other iconic structures, and eventually to total collapse of the city.

She reports that thus far, no evidence of a foreign invasion of any type has been found.

Explore further: Mexico archaeologists explore Teotihuacan tunnel (Update)
More information: Cooperation and tensions in multiethnic corporate societies using Teotihuacan, Central Mexico, as a case study, Linda R. Manzanilla, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1419881112

In this paper, I address the case of a corporate society in Central Mexico. After volcanic eruptions triggered population displacements in the southern Basin of Mexico during the first and fourth centuries A.D., Teotihuacan became a multiethnic settlement. Groups from different backgrounds settled primarily on the periphery of the metropolis; nevertheless, around the core, intermediate elites actively fostered the movement of sumptuary goods and the arrival of workers from diverse homelands for a range of specialized tasks. Some of these skilled craftsmen acquired status and perhaps economic power as a result of the dynamic competition among neighborhoods to display the most lavish sumptuary goods, as well as to manufacture specific symbols of identity that distinguished one neighborhood from another, such as elaborate garments and headdresses. Cotton attire worn by the Teotihuacan elite may have been one of the goods that granted economic importance to neighborhood centers such as Teopancazco, a compound that displayed strong ties to the Gulf Coast where cotton cloth was made. The ruling elite controlled raw materials that came from afar whereas the intermediate elite may have been more active in providing other sumptuary goods: pigments, cosmetics, slate, greenstone, travertine, and foreign pottery. The contrast between the corporate organization at the base and top of Teotihuacan society and the exclusionary organization of the neighborhoods headed by the highly competitive intermediate elite introduced tensions that set the stage for Teotihuacan's collapse.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 
Read more at: 

Sent by John Inclan


Anthropological Genetic Genealogy: 
The Carthaginian Connection to New Mexican Families 

I would like to invite you to attend a lecture on the Carthaginian connection to New Mexican Families (Haplogroup E1b1b1b). If you would like to learn more about the mark this ancient civilization made on the Iberian Peninsula then this presentation is for you. There will be a presentation on the subject on April 10, at 3:30 PM, through the University of New Mexico Continuing Education program.
Here is a link to sign up for the presentation: 

Best Regards,
Ángel de Cervantes
Executive Director
New Mexico DNA Project
Iberian Peninsula DNA Institute

00059 Anthropological Genetic Genealogy: The Carthaginian Connection to New Mexican Families (Haplogroup E1b1b1b), Section SPA

During the beginning of the last millennium (BCE), the Phoenicians began establishing colonies around the Mediterranean to compete with Greek trade. The most important Phoenician colony was founded in Tunis, North Africa, named Carthage around 800 BCE. Although the home cities in Phoenicia were repeatedly conquered and subjugated, the colony of Carthage prospered and expanded to become one of the great powers of the western Mediterranean. True to their Phoenician heritage, the Carthaginians became great seafarers, traders and colonizers. They capitalized on the trade of Iberian silver and British tin. Carthaginian settlements spread across the North African coast into western Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Minorca, much of Spain and the Portuguese Atlantic coast. During the fifth and fourth centuries BCE they fought with the Greeks for trade and colonies, especially in Sicily. In the third century BCE, they clashed with the rising power of Rome. Carthage - the name means ‘new city’ - continued to flourish, a Phoenician colony that outgrew and survived its parent land. Even before the Greeks reached the Western Mediterranean, Carthage was a superbly wealthy city, thanks to its mastery of the seas. Carthage was a maritime power, with only a relatively small landowning class to provide military land power. This, however, did not matter as long as Carthage continued to be wealthy as its coffers paid for mercenaries in abundance when the city needed to go to war. It is this wealth, mastery of trade and expansion along the Mediterranean coast towards Italy that brings Carthage into direct confrontation with the newly rising power of Rome. The connection between certain New Mexican families and the Carthaginians will be explored. A short film that will trace the history of these people will be shown. The course will also discuss which families show the markers that are most identified with this ancient civilization.

Sent by John Inclan 

John also recommending other URLs with DNA information: <Sent by Dorinda Moreno


El Portal de Archivos Españoles 
RootsTech 2015 Breaks Records and Keeps Giving
Availability of Records by Ethnic Groups
Researching and Finding Military Records

El Portal de Archivos Españoles es un proyecto del Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte 
destinado a la difusión en Internet del Patrimonio Histórico Documental Español conservado en su red de centros. Como proyecto abierto y dinámico sirve de marco de difusión para otros proyectos archivísticos de naturaleza pública o privada, previamente establecido un marco de cooperación con el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte.  

PARES ofrece un acceso libre y gratuito, no solo al investigador, sino también a cualquier ciudadano interesado en acceder a los documentos con imágenes digitalizadas de los Archivos Españoles. 
Search by name.

RootsTech 2015 Breaks Records and Keeps Giving

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 17 March, 2015—The fifth annual RootsTech 2015 conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is officially in the record books as registering 23,918 attendees over three days, an 83 percent increase over 2014. And it’s not done yet as the world’s largest family history conference. There are already plans to deliver over 1,000 local family discovery day events throughout the remainder of 2015. It’s another indicator that family history continues to be a strong and growing interest not only in the United States, but internationally as well. Attendees to RootsTech 2015 came from far and wide, hailing from 49 states (West Virginia was the holdout) and 37 countries.

The popular conference’s formula for success included attracting well-known keynote speakers, such as former First Lady Laura Bush, Donny Osmond, Tan Le, and A. J. Jacobs, who shared inspiring family stories, and offering a rich combination of more than 500 classes, exhibits, demonstrations, and fun entertainment designed to appeal to multiple generations of family members and broad family history interests. Select sessions from RootsTech 2015 can be viewed for free at

RootsTech 2015 also included Innovator Summit and Family Discovery Day. RootsTech-specific registrations were up 43 percent (10,216 paid attendees versus 7,253 for 2014) and Family Discovery Day was up 125 percent (15,765 attendees versus 6,900 in 2014, which includes some who also paid to attend RootsTech). Registrations for both were closed early because of popular demand and full sessions. Additionally, 20 sessions were broadcast live online, pulling in another 128,000 viewers. Family Discovery Day sessions and highlights can be viewed at

The Innovator Summit at Rootstech featured cutting-edge content for developers, business leaders, and enthusiasts seeking to use family history data and services. The summit saw increases in attendees, developer apps, and prize money from sponsors ($25,000) for the growing RootsTech Innovator Showdown that challenged developers to submit their entries for a possible share of the reward purse. This year’s big winner was StoryWorth, which provides simple solutions to help families preserve and share their family stories.

Another exciting fact is that before the lights were turned off for RootsTech 2015 on February 14, volunteers from locations worldwide were already busy preparing to deliver their own free local family discovery day events. Select sessions and planning resources from RootsTech 2015 have been recorded, translated in 10 languages, and made available online to support these local volunteer organizers. By the first week following the conference, 65 local family discovery day events had already been held, including 27 in Latin America, one in Korea, and another in the Philippines. Over 1,000 more events are expected to be held throughout 2015, significantly extending the reach and impact of this popular conference. Search online the growing list of local family discovery day events to find one near you.

The most popular question posed by many conference goers, media, and exhibitors was, “What about next year?”

Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, which hosts the popular conference replied, “We are just thrilled to provide a forum where families and people of all ages can enjoy the thrill of family discovery and learn new ways to share and involve others, and the growing attendance numbers are certainly very encouraging.”

In 2016, in addition to the venue in Salt Lake City, the conference’s organizers plan on taking more advantage of live broadcasting, recording of content for online viewing, and further offering local family discovery day events worldwide as a way to continue expanding the popular conference’s reach.

To view select sessions of RootsTech 2015 online, go to and


In 1980, the records were  limited for researching within the following groups. However since the availability of the web and internet for public use, resources have greatly expanded, primarily through the efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints/ Mormons.  


Researching and Finding Military Records

The following articles introduce how to find and use United States Military Records. Information by permission of Genealogy by Barry Newsletter. For a free newsletter, filled with wonderful resources,  go to and sign up with Barry J. Ewell  at : 



Saturday April 11, 2015, SHHAR, Hispanic Pioneers and their Legacy in Orange County.
Saturday April 18, 2015, Annual Orange County Family History Fair
"Chicano Heroes de Aztlan," Legacy and Heritage, open until April 4th
Westminster Family Resource Center Reopening Ribbon Cutting

The Society of Hispanic Historical & Ancestral Research (SHHAR) invites the public to it April 11, 2015 meeting featuring speakers Dr. Justin Sikora and Melanie Gross who will present “Hispanic Pioneers and their Legacy in Orange County”.  Dr. Justin Sikora is a historic resource specialist with OC Parks and manages the Peralta Adobe, the Historic Yorba Cemetery, and the George Key Ranch.  Ms. Gross volunteered at the Historic Yorba Cemetery for 11 years, is President of the Santa Ana Canyon Historical Council and has helped research the early settlers of Southern California.  

Melanie Goss has been a volunteer at the Historic Yorba Cemetery for 11 years, and is the current President of the Santa Ana Canyon Historical Council. She has worked with many family groups descended from the first settlers in Southern California, and has done extensive research on the people who settled the Santa Ana Canyon and surrounding areas over the years.  

Dr. Justin Sikora is a historic resource specialist with OC Parks, and manages the Peralta Adobe, Historic Yorba Cemetery, and George Key Ranch. 

The free program, sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR), will be held at the Orange Family History Center, 674 S. Yorba Street, Orange.

Genealogical research assistance will be available from 9 -10 a.m., and Dr. Sikora and Melanie Gross will speak from 10 -11:30 a.m.     For additional information, contact  Letty Rodela at .





Our annual Orange County Family History Fair is a fun and informative event where you can learn from some of the top people in the genealogical world. Forty classes are being offered during the day, 8 choices during each of five one-hour sessions. You will need to select one class for each hourly session..

This event draws several hundred participants every year. Our instructors have presented at regional, national and international genealogical events—these are the same caliber of class you might find at RootsTech, NGS or FGS, but so much closer to home!  No cost, but reservations are recommended to assure that you have a seat in the sessions of your choice. To register,  go to:  

The Orange County Family History Fair will be held at the Orange County FamilySearch Library.  

The Library is located at the rear of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 674 South Yorba Street, in the City of Orange, CA 

Entrance from the back parking lot.  .

Welcome to the Orange County FamilySearch Library! We are an extension of the world famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and one of 15 such regional genealogy libraries located throughout the western United States.  Libraries are open to the public for free use.  They are staffed by volunteers eager to help you in your family history research.

Why come to OUR library? We have thousands of films, books, classes and other resources you cannot get at home, as well as free access to many premium genealogy websites.  Think of us as your tour guide to more than two billion names of deceased people and records from more than 100 countries, covering everything from 14th century English church records to African oral histories.

Center hours
Tuesday and Wednesday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm, plus 2nd Thursday of the month, 9:00 am - 6:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday


A Look at What's Happening at Delhi Center

Over the last few months, we have been working diligently to address the needs of our local community. We are excited to share a few highlights from events and recognition we have received below! 


Loretta Sanchez's Women of the Year Awards.  Proud to share: Delhi Center Ambassador, Norma Garcia Guillen, Founding partner at Garcia Rainey Blank & Bowerbank LLP was selected & recognized as an exceptional woman leader in the 46th Congressional District, during the Women of the Year Award Reception, for her leadership work in the Non-Profit sector. 
Mariners Church Santa Ana (MCSA) Donates to Delhi Center. Lead Pastor Lamont Hartman along with MCSA Staff presented Delhi Center a generous donation on March 17th, as part of their "Be Fearless" Campaign. Through "Be Fearless" Mariners Church encourages service and generosity to benefit communities. We are very thankful for MCSA's support
VITA Tax Assistance 
On March 9th, we partnered with the State Controller's Office and Congressman Tom Daly to offer free tax preparation & filing to the Delhi community. As a result of this partnership, Betty Yee from the State Controller's office presented Delhi Center with a certificate of recognition
Best Wishes,  Yvonne S. Duncan, Federal Grants Manager
U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
12397 Lewis Street, Suite 101, Garden Grove, CA 92840
P: 714-621-0102 Ext 20   F: 714-621-0401

"Chicano Heroes de Aztlan," Legacy and Heritage
March 7 to April 4, 2015
Group exhibition of Chicano artists runs March 7 – April 4

Curated by Southern California-based artist muralist Abram Moya, Jr., the group exhibition features the work of 13 Chicano artists including pieces by the late Emigdio Vasquez, the famed international muralist who has been called the godfather of Chicano art. The show includes works done in oils, watercolors, charcoal, and some sculptures by Southern California-based artists Guillermo Avalos, Carlos Callejo, Armando Cepeda, Henry Godines, Ignacio Gomez, Jose Loza, Abram Moya, Jr., Matt Southgate, Gregg Stone, Rosemary Vasquez-Tuthill, Ben and Jesse Valenzuela, and Vasquez. The show’s title pays homage to Aztlán, the legendary ancestral home of the Aztec people.

(Santa Ana, CA)—Santa Ana College Arts Gallery at the Santora Building in Downtown Santa Ana at 207 N. Broadway, Suite Q. Exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Fridays 12 noon to 4 p.m. and First Saturday Art Walk each month 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and by appointment. The Art Walk includes the opportunity of viewing the works of many artists.  In addition to the Santora 
Building which has many artist galleries, a block away is another section with more galleries and also open air booths.  

The clay bust above is by well known artist Ignacio Gomez, with his wife Imelda and daughter, Deanna.  The bust is of WWII Marine, Guy Gabaldon whose heroism in the South Pacific and life story were made into a 1960 feature film,  "Hell to Eternity.  Although Guy's commander recommended him for a Medal of Honor, Guy never received it.  History suggests that the rejection was politically motivated.    It was a wonderfully fun night. I attended with Yvonne S. (Gonzalez) Duncan, a member of U.S. Congresswoman Senator Loretta Sanchez' staff, (on the right in the photo.)  Congresswoman Sanchez is well known for her support of the military, both locally and nationally.

For curator, Abram Moya, a long-time Chicano art activist  the gathering is significant. “This exhibit acknowledges the common heroes of our community,” says Moya. “From mothers, to fathers, to workers, and community, the art honors the Chicano spirit.”

According to SAC ARTS Gallery Director Phil Marquez, the show marks a milestone. “This is a first for Santa Ana College,” says Marquez. “Typically, these kinds of exhibits are found in larger universities or museums. We’re very pleased to be able to host this kind of exhibit.” 

Galleries were crowded with all ages enjoying art.

Artists and gallery owners intermingled with guests.


For more information  about the exhibit, or to make an appointment, call (714) 564-5615.

About Santa Ana College (SAC), which is turning 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit  to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit

Westminster Family Resource Center
Ribbon cutting, March 10th. 2015

After a million dollars of renovations, the Westminster Family Resource Center celebrated their grand re-opening 
on Tuesday, March 10th. The whole community was excited to once again be enjoying the vast array of offering and services available to the community in their location at Sigler Park, 7200 Plaza St.  Services are offered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

All members of the Westminster City Council were present: Tri Ta, Sergio Contreras, Diana Lee Carey, Tyler Diep, and Margie L. Rice.
 Sergio Contreras (Mayor Pro Tem) is holding the end of the ribbon, Mayor Tri Ta is holding the scissors.  

The Westminster Family Resource Center
offers the following services for free:

Family Advocacy 
Personal Empowerment Program
Domestic Violence Counseling
Information & Referral
Parent Education Workshops
Adoption Promotion & Support
Family Reunification Services
Dental Services
Emergency Food Program
Emergency Assistance Program
(Hygiene Kit, Diaper, Food)
After School Enrichment Programs
Case Management Services
Individual and Family Counseling

Programs & services are funded in part through 
Families and Communities Together, FaCT. 
FaCT receives from federal, state, and county agencies,  including the U.S. Department of 
Health and Human Services.

There was a large turn-out for the ribbon cutting, all ages.  I am serving on the Westminster General Plan Advisory Committee.  Every year a Dia de la Familia event is held at Sigler Park.  With Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR) members, we set up Family History displays and distributed information on how to start researching their family history. The year before the renovations, we made use of inside facilities and set up computers inside. Now we will be able to assist again, with computers.    Mimi 


“The House of Aragón” by Michael S. Perez, Chapter 4
A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt’ 
Rosa Barragan 2015 "Woman of the Year”

UCLA Flash Exhibits
Afro Mexicans in Early Los Angeles
UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
Chochi the Curandero by Mike Acosta
Los Angeles Transportation Miracle by R. Champlain Johnson 
Los Angeles Hank Panic of 1875 by Sandra Kay Siegel 

Introduction to Chapter Four 
“The House of Aragón”

America's Bastard Children

Michael Brakefort-Grant


Michael Aragón came home from the war with Japan a changed man. There had been so much killing that his soul was left burdened by the pain and sorrow of it all. His faith had been shaken to its very foundation. Fighting his way across the Pacific, he left friends on each island. In fact, all of the men of A Company were dead except for him and his Lieutenant, Wellington.

He decided it was time to get on with his life. He searched for work and everywhere Michael went he was given same answer, the position needed someone with experience. He filled out applications for months, always with the same result, no job. He was ready to take anything that was offered, but Michael was a Mexican, marked by the world as unworthy. His war record meant nothing to the Anglo business world. He finally pieced it together. After several months of rejection, he finally understood. There were no jobs for him. More than that, there were no jobs for Mexicans. Michael Aragón was deeply hurt. His search lasted for over a year and a half. By June of 1947, he was out of money and out of luck.

Just as he was grappling with American racism, he was hit by a new revelation. His father and other business owners were being extorted and bullied by Barrio gangs. The situation worsened, his father was beaten when unable to pay. An enraged Michael Aragón went to war with them changing his life forever.


If you have an I-Pad you can read the book in its fullness at . . .

If you
do not have an I-Pad, you can read the chapters at the Somos Primos homepage, we will be adding them Go to

Michael Brakefort-Grant is a Pen name for Michael S. Perez


Leonor Xochitl Perez,
Ph.D. Founder and Director
Viva El Mariachi Femenil 

“Canciones de mi Padre”
At San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, 
March 21, 2015
2nd Annual Mariachi Women’s Festival

Mercy Bautista Olvera
entering the San Gabriel Mission


Mimi...  On Saturday March 21, 2015, I attended the 2nd Annual Women's Festival at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel, California in Los Angeles County. This event meant a lot to me... It was "A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt" - "Canciones de mi Padre”. This CD was our dad's, Marcelino R. Bautista favorite CD!  During my father's visits at our home I always played it for him, he was always singing along with Linda Ronstadt. 

I loved when Mayra Garcia, Director of "Mariachi Mariposas" from Texas and "Mariachi Angelitas" from Los Angeles asked us to sing along with their groups. I was delighted! I felt like I was singing to my dad, it was persona for me and I am so grateful to these Mariachi Femenil groups.  "Mariachi Flor de Toloache" from New York was also extraordinary! This group of young ladies comes from different backgrounds, born in U.S., African American/Puerto Rican, Colombian and other cultures.   etc. , one of the young ladies is from La Puente, California!  

The event was one of the most happiest and memorable evenings for me, it brought happy memories of my father, a man I admired and respected! He was a good husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. I would like to believe that maybe he was just next to me in spirit singing along with me...

Note: Our beloved father passed away on May 12, 1989, he was 82 years old. Our beloved mother passed away 1978, he didn't dated or remarried. I was pregnant at the time; I attended our father's funeral at a cemetery on a Wednesday, and our daughter Monique Mercy was born two days later... bittersweet memories.

My father, Marcelino R. Bautista favorite CD



The event was one of the most happiest and memorable evenings for me, it brought happy memories of my father, a man I admired and respected! He was a good husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. I would like to believe that maybe he was just next to me in spirit singing along with me...

Note: Our beloved father passed away on May 12, 1989, he was 82 years old. Our beloved mother passed away 1978, he didn't dated or remarried. I was pregnant at the time; I attended our father's funeral at a cemetery on a Wednesday, and our daughter Monique Mercy was born two days later... bittersweet memories.


My father, Marcelino R. Bautista
 favorite CD


     Mariachi Angelitas 
     from Los Angeles


Mariachi Mariposas from Texas


Mariachi Flor de Toloache from New York 

Mariachi Flor de Toloache group are from 19 to 28-years old, including a young lady from Colombia, one from La Puente, California, some of the ladies are African American, singing Mariachi Music.

Mariachi Mariposas from Texas and me


Mariachi Las Angelitas from Los Angeles and me


There are many young children studying to be future mariachi musicians.  Note the little boy playing a violin in the photo above. These photos are the Los Angeles Folklorico great finale.   Mariachi music is being popularized all over the country.  

A website to enjoy Noticias Nicaragua  
 Mujeres demuestran su talento en la música mariachi


        Rosa Barragan 2015 "Woman of the Year”

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Ian Calderon honored Rosa Barragan, community activist and life-long resident of the City of Norwalk, as the 57th Assembly District 2015 Woman of the Year.  

“I am so proud to honor Ms. Barragan as the 2015 Woman of the Year,” stated Assemblymember Calderon. “She is a dedicated activist and a strong advocate for children and families in her community.”

Rosa Barragan currently serves as the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s McKinney-Vento Program Coordinator and is the founding president of the Norwalk League of United Latin American Citizen (LULAC) Council #3148. Her career in education spans 36 years at the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District and Cerritos College. Prior to her work with the McKinney-Vento Program, Ms. Barragan was the school district’s Healthy Families recruitment specialist, where she organized health enrollment fairs to facilitate free and low-cost healthcare services to at-risk families.

As a Peer Counselor and Community Outreach Specialist at Cerritos College, Ms. Barragan worked tirelessly to recruit first-generation college students and assist their transfers to four-year universities. She played a key role in helping new permanent residents under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to access higher education for the first time.

Ms. Barragan has served on the City of Norwalk’s Planning and Social Services Commissions, and is a founding member of Voter Education Through Active Participation and the Cerritos College Latina Network. In addition, she serves as on the advisory boards of N-Action Family Network, the City of Norwalk Housing Authority, and Cerritos College Project HOPE.

Ms. Barragan is the proud daughter of farmworkers. She holds a B.S. in Human Services and is an alumna of Excelsior High School in Norwalk.

The 2015 Woman of the Year Ceremony took place in the Assembly Chambers of the State Capitol on Monday, March 9, 2015. It was held in honor of Women’s History Month and celebrated the contributions and unique accomplishments of women in each of the Assembly’s 80 districts.

Assemblymember Ian Calderon is the Chair of the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. Calderon is also the Chair of the Select Committee on Youth and California's Future. He represents the 57th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Industry, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Whittier and the unincorporated communities of Avocado Heights and Hacienda Heights.

Sent by Mercy Bautista Olvera


Assemblymember Cristina Garcia Introduces Bill to Teach 
Mexican Repatriation to California Students
Created: Thursday, 15 January 2015 15:38

Measure would encourage inclusion in school textbooks and curriculum

(Sacramento) – From the wisdom of a classroom of elementary children and their teacher, an idea has become legislation. Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced Assembly Bill 146, encouraging that the unconstitutional deportation of over 1 million U.S. citizens and lawful residents of Mexican descent in California during the 1920’s, be included in student history textbooks and studies.

The Depression Era Mexican Repatriation Act, initiated by President Herbert Hoover, indiscriminately swept up Mexican American citizens and immigrants from dance halls, markets, theaters, hospitals and homes, loaded them into trucks and trains and deported them to Mexico - a gross violation of human rights and to date no apology has been offered by the federal government.

According to Assemblymember Garcia, she visited teacher Leslie Hiatt and her 5th grade class at Bell Gardens Elementary School to discuss a trip she had taken to Mexico and Central America, to learn the plight of unaccompanied migrant children coming to America. During her presentation she also encouraged the students to think about a new state law that they would like to see in California and submit their entry to her districtwide “There Ought to Be a Law” contest. Entries will be accepted continually through Friday, January 16th.

“I was pleasantly surprised that the students had prepared skits, poems, power point presentations and a book about the Repatriation Act,” Garcia said.” “The students related how difficult it was for them to even find information on the repatriation, but as they dug and learned more, how impactful this history was to them on a personal level.” 

Garcia stated that California, where 38% of the a population is Latino, should include this instruction just as schools have included curriculum on the Holocaust, Japanese Internment and histories on other violations of human rights that have occurred.

As one of winners of the “There Ought to Be a Law” contest, Ms. Hiatt and her class will be invited to come to Sacramento to testify when the bill is to be heard in committee in the coming months.

“These students are the most prepared people that have lobbied me on a bill. I can’t wait to see them in action in Sacramento and to work with them on AB 146,” Garcia concluded.

More than one entry could be selected as a winner of the contest. Entries can be submitted through:

Sent by M. Guadalupe Espinoza


Dear Mimi, how are you? I wanted to share a couple of items with you. Last month I mounted a flash exhibit on Afro Mexicans in Early Los Angeles here in UCLA Library Special Collections. Please see the following link to our departmental blog with more information:  

We call them flash exhibits because they are only on display a few days. This allows us to display more material from our collections throughout the year. Secondly, in 2013, I was guest editor on a special issue of the Journal of Pan African Studies on Africans in México:  

Take good care, Alva      
Alva Moore Stevenson
Program Coordinator
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
310-825-4932 – phone
310-206-1864 – fax

Photograph of the Reyes Family. Courtesy of the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections

Afro Mexicans in Early Los Angeles: Exhibit Postscript
February 26th, 2015
This blog posting follows the flash exhibit 
Afro Mexicans in Early Los Angeles

Arriving in Los Angeles shortly after the city’s settlement was Juan Francisco Reyes, a mulatto soldier from Zapotlán el Grande in Jalisco. He was both the first Black and the first Hispanic alcalde (or mayor) of Los Angeles from 1793 to 1795. Francisco Reyes was also the Spanish Crown’s first land grantee and the original grantee of the San Fernando Rancho – now the San Fernando Valley. Pictured (above from left) are his great-grandchildren: Margarita, Isidro, Jr., Francisca and Mariá Antonia Villa de Reyes, widow of Ysidro, Sr. who was grandson of Juan Francisco Reyes.

There were many familial intersections among these Californio (descendents of the pobladores or settlers) families. MariáAntonia Villa de Reyes was the granddaughter of Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa whose father was Luís Quintero, one of the pobladores. 

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded California to the United States in 1849. An appeal was then filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852 patenting the 4,449-acre land grant to Mariá Rita Valdez de Villa. The land grant was known as
Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas and encompassed the modern-day city of Beverly Hills and the areas of Coldwater and Benedict Canyons. As late as the 1920s a cottage, which was part of the Rancho Rodeo, stood on the corner of Alpine Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.

Ysidro Reyes, Sr., grandson of Juan Francisco Reyes. Photograph courtesy of the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections

Refugio Reyes de Roberts, great-granddaughter of Juan Francisco Reyes, 
c. 1870s. Photograph courtesy of the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections

Photograph of Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas. Courtesy of the Ana Begue Packman Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections.
Among the areas of my own research is the history and culture of Afro-Mexicans. In 2010 I was contacted by Terri de la Pena who is retired from the UCLA College of Letters and Science. Her cousin, Joseph “Joe” Peyton, had researched his family history extensively. Joe’s 6th Great Grandfather was Luis Manuel Quintero, 5th Great Grandfather Juan Francisco Reyes and 4th Great Grandmother Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa – all prominent in local history. In one of my articles I referenced Joe’s ancestors. Joe needed research clues for finding his 7th Great Grandparents. Additionally, Joe had not be able to locate any artifacts or images of his ancestors. Happily, I have been able to refer him to relevant images such as those in this blog post.

Terri’s genealogy is equally fascinating as well. She is descended from the Marquez family of Santa Monica who came there in 1839. In 2014 her cousin Ernest Marquez donated a collection of early photographs of Santa Monica and Los Angeles to the Huntington Library. In an interesting aside, Terri, a writer, donated materials related to her first and second novels to LSC as part of the Mazer Collection. Terri is in the process of writing a book on her genealogy.
Photograph of Miriam Matthews, 1981. 
Courtesy of Charles Matthews.








Miriam Matthews was the first Black professionally trained librarian to be hired in California. A preeminent historian of Los Angeles and Californian African American History, she was a tireless advocate of educating the public about California’s diversity from its beginnings. In 1981, on occasion of the city’s Bicentennial year, a plaque honoring the 44 founders of the City of Los Angeles was placed in the placita of El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park. Each member of the 11 families are listed by name, race, sex, and age from the official Spanish Census of 1781.

Read more on Afro-Mexicans in early Los Angeles: 
African-Americans and the Early Pueblo of Los Angeles

L.A.’s African Settlers
Damany, M. Fisher, Discovering Early California Afro-Latino Presence / Heyday Books, 2010.

By Alva Stevenson, Program Coordinator

Tags: Afro Mexicans, Juan Francisco Reyes, Los Angeles, Los Angeles History, Miriam Matthews
Posted in
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UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies 


Leve’s gift will allow UCLA’s Jewish studies center, which now bears his name, to expand its research and outreach into a community that helped shape Los Angeles.

A $5 million gift from Alan Leve, a UCLA alumnus and the founder and president of Culver City, California-based Ohmega Technologies, will establish several endowments at the UCLA College’s Center for Jewish Studies. Leve said he hopes the gift, which will benefit students, faculty and the community, will honor his family’s legacy of giving — one that started with his late grandmother, Hinda Schonfeld.

Leve still vividly remembers the cold and rainy day in 1941 when he left the Breed Street Shul in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood for his grandmother’s funeral. He was amazed at the sight outside the car window: rows of mourners standing shoulder to shoulder for three city blocks on each side of the street, umbrellas over their heads, to pay their last respects.

“It’s a memory indelibly etched in my mind,” said Leve, now 87. “It was a revelation to me. My grandmother had no fame, no material assets of any value; but everyone gravitated to her because of her warmth and generosity of spirit. I realized then that who you are is more important than what you have.”

His grandmother’s legacy of generosity has lived on through her grandson. In recognition of his gift, the center, which is among the world’s most prestigious Jewish studies centers, will be renamed the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.

“The Jewish presence in academic, social and cultural life on the UCLA campus is strong, and Alan Leve’s generosity helps to ensure its continued vitality,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “We are proud of the role that the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and UCLA — through many other research centers, faculty members, students and public programing — play in the international, national and local dialogue about Judaism.”

Todd Presner, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the center, said, “Alan Leve’s gift will enable us to launch a vibrant public history initiative, support undergraduate and graduate students working in all fields of Jewish studies, initiate programs supporting Jewish life on campus, attract international scholars to UCLA and provide vital research and teaching support to our faculty. This gift will secure UCLA’s standing as a preeminent center for the study of Jewish history, culture and civilization.”

The gift will be divided into several endowments.

The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Student Excellence will be used to fund graduate and undergraduate students engaged in fields related to Jewish studies at UCLA, including graduate fellowships, undergraduate awards and stipends for student travel and summer research projects.
The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Teaching Innovation will support teaching and curricular innovation in Jewish studies. It also will establish the Etta and Milton Leve Scholar-in-Residence program, which will bring academics from across the world to UCLA and foster international collaborations.
The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Research Innovation will support faculty and graduate student research and provide travel and research grants and conference support.
Leve, who was born in Boyle Heights at a time when the neighborhood was the focal point of Jewish culture in Los Angeles, has also made sure that scholars won’t forget that history, nor his grandmother’s sense of community. A portion of the gift will establish the Hinda and Jacob Schonfeld Boyle Heights Collection, which, in collaboration with the UCLA Library, will include archival materials and artifacts related to the history of Boyle Heights.

Through the Schonfeld Boyle Heights Collection, the center also will establish a public history program that will include lectures, exhibitions, tours and courses addressing the history of Jewish Los Angeles.

“My parents lived in Boyle Heights from the late 1920s to the mid 1930s and my grandparents from the late 1920s to their passing in the early 1940s, and they were members of the Breed Street Shul,” said Leve, who has 13 family members from three generations of his family who have graduated from UCLA: his daughter, Laura Leve Cohen, two nieces and their husbands, and eight cousins.

“We lived two blocks away on St. Louis Street, just south of Brooklyn Avenue, at a place and time when the majority of the Jewish population of Los Angeles lived there,” he said. “That period of Jewish presence in Boyle Heights is history now. I’m proud that the center plans to keep it alive through its commitment to programming around public history.”

David Schaberg, dean of humanities, said that Leve’s gift will allow the center to expand its research and outreach into a community that helped shape Los Angeles.

“The mission of the humanities is to explore the rich legacy of human creativity and thought,” he said. “Alan’s philanthropic leadership will allow us to study and teach Jewish history and culture in innovative ways so that our students graduate with the ability to thrive as global citizens.”

Founded in 1994, the center is the leading research hub for the study of Jewish culture and civilization on the West Coast and one of the largest and most active centers in the world. It is dedicated to advancing scholarship in Jewish culture and history, educating the next generation about the role of Judaism in world civilization and serving as an exceptional public resource for Jewish life and learning.

Leve, who still occasionally visits Boyle Heights to show relatives where the family roots began, can only imagine what his grandmother — whose dying words to her daughter were “give $2 to the poor” — would have said about his generosity.

“We came from very modest means,” he said. “I don’t think my grandparents or my parents could’ve conceived of such a gift. For me, this gift fulfills a number of personal aspirations on many levels — supporting my alma mater, investing in education, honoring my Jewish heritage by investing in its future, honoring the memory of my parents and grandparents, and establishing an enduring family legacy.”

Chochi the Curandero by Mike Acosta
Old Aliso Village Housing Project, East Los Angeles

I am the author of this short story which is set in the old Aliso village housing project where I grew up. wikipedia carries an article describing this east l.a. project before it was torn down and replaced by more modern housing. i am currently sketching another infra-historical e.l.a. story, perhaps novel length; it is about an everyday existential visit to the original lake at Hollenbeck Park. this park was just south east of the village. on Sundays tenants of the village would first go to mass and communion at the Dolores Mission Church, afterwards many would gather at
this park. I've always compared the first time I saw this lake as a Chavalito to Dorothy opening the front door of her gray world and seeing the Technicolor spectacle of oz.

On a cloudy gray day years ago a quiet man moved into an apartment of a housing project building where I lived. his name was Chochi. he was a bit overweight for his small size, had a wrinkled face, and it was evident from smudges on his hairline that he colored his hair black. he also read lips. even after a few weeks no one knew much about him. he rarely stepped out of his apartment. but one could see he was a curious man- he would push a window shade to one side to peek at a group of saggy women that gathered daily at the community clothes line. they were the wi-fi for exchanging rumors and gossip; like Shakespeare's weird sisters they proclaimed who was
who; in a word they were the building's tamaleras. no one dared to offend them.  They once shamed and brought to tears a tenant who made the sign of the cross too abruptly.

Everything stayed as it was until Chavela a tamalera got sick one summer afternoon. She lived in a first floor apartment a few doors from Chochi. He found out about her illness and visited her. He also gave her some
information about an herbed medicine to drink. After a week Chavela said she got better. Word spread that Chochi cured Chavela. fame soon followed wherever he went throughout the building complex. In no time the tamaleras
announced him as the curandero. With this blessing, Chochi began offering advice for curing any ailment. One tenant whose name I forgot claimed Chochi helped to cure her of blindness. But on the other hand, if a remedy
didn't work the neighbor kept quiet. nobody wanted to slight Chochi's remedies and anger the tamaleras who guarded him like rabid dogs.

The apartment building continued as a placid place until the end of summer when a young nurse temporarily moved in. her name was Selsa. she worked at a newly opened health clinic a mile from this housing project. from the start
the tamaleras eyed her warily. they gossiped that selsa se creia muy suave. the confident way she carried her youthful shapely body may have caused the gossip. Or maybe because she refused to gossip whenever she went to the clothes lines to hang her laundry. Whatever the reason the tamaleras did not like her.

Other tenants wondered whether Selsa's sudden presence was connected to the end of the summer superstition. No one remembered when this superstition began. All anyone knew was that something dark happens to end the summer months. was Selsa the darkness they wondered about? Chochi too was mindful of Selsa the moment he first peeked at her.

I think it was either the last Friday or Saturday of summer that Chochi's aura began to dim. a woman from the second floor had become terribly ill. She had taken pills that Chochi's information said would cure her stomach
pain. He distanced himself from her. The tamaleras did the same.

Fortunately Selsa was home when the woman's family cried for help. She drove the woman to the new health clinic. the doctor there found that Chochi's pills had become a poison for the woman. the pills had clashed with her allergies producing what the woman described as a painful fire all over her body . she was examined and referred to the county hospital for more tests.  Selsa drove the woman there to stay until all tests were completed. After several days in the hospital the woman was released and driven home by Selsa.

The woman's fiends welcomed her back and thanked Selsa who paid Chochi a visit the next day. she cautioned him against trying to help tenants with one-size- fits-all remedies. Chochi did not take her caution well. Dark clouds suddenly appeared as he hurried in anger to complain to the tamaleras about Selsa's warning. Then as mythical furies act, the tamaleras began to take it out on Selsa. They spread word she was a vendida for insulting Chochi; they also went to the clothes lines, took down her laundry and threw it to the ground.

Tenants throughout the building who were friends with the woman began to defend Selsa; each one felt it was time for tenants to be helped by the clinic and not by chochi. This support for Selsa and the clinic suddenly turned the tables on Chochi's plan to remain as curandero . Except for the tamaleras no one went to him for help anymore. His purpose in life among the tenants quieted. All that remained was his habit of peeking from the corner of a window shade.

Before she left to live in more permanent housing, Selsa developed a transportation service to drive tenants to and from the nearby health clinic. And with this new service, a blue sky with cottony white clouds once again returned to watch over the tenants...

mikea@WINFIRST.COM  Mike Acosta

The characters in my stories usually come from a little bit of each of the things you mentioned. I also believe that everyday ordinary situations, the kind we overlook and take for granted , often provide the basis for wonderful stories.   ~ Mike  

Los Angeles Transportation Miracle
by R. Champlain Johnson 

In his "History of Los Angeles" Harry Carr wrote, "When the Spanish-American war began, we were still a hick town. When it ended, we began to grow into a city". Population figures tend to support his assumption. In 1890 Los Angeles had a population of 50,395, but in 1910 it had grown to 319,198; ten years later it was more than half a million. With the rapid growth of Los Angeles and all of Southern California, there was a strong demand for an efficient and dependable transportation system for southland residents. Millionaire Henry Huntington stepped forward with a solution. His Pacific Electric inter-urban electric railway line proved to be one of the world's greatest transportation systems.

Known as "The Big Red Car Line", its more than 1,000 miles of rails and 600 passenger cars supplied service to each of the 42 incorporated cities and towns within a 35-mile radius of downtown Los Angeles. It delivered passengers as far north as San Fernando and as far south as Newport Beach; it went all the way to Riverside on the east, and on the west it stopped at the ocean. During peak operating periods, it had a daily ridership of 225,000 and covered 73,000 miles at a cost to consumers of less than a penny per mile; it was fast, efficient and comfortable.

In addition to its frequent daily schedule, there were three "specials" that carried picnickers and tourists to Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches and back, by way of Culver City. The Old Mission Trip carried sightseers to San Gabriel Mission and past miles of orange and lemon groves, and the "Triangle Trip" carried passengers to Long Beach, Balboa and Santa Ana for a glimpse of an agriculture empire of sugar beets, almonds and exotic plants; all at very affordable rates.

Some of Henry Huntington's most ardent admirers insist only a miracle-maker could have designed and built an interurban transportation system as efficient and economical as "The Old Red Car Line". Residents and tourists were lavish in their praise of Pacific Electric.

Huntington was well prepared to undertake the building of such a gigantic project. As the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, co-builder of America's first intercontinental railroad, he spent his early years in his uncle's firm learning the trade. Even today, old-timers who remember those "days of yore", yearn for the return of "Big Red". R. Champlain Johnson is a free-lance writer from Aguanga.

Source: Fedco Reporter, April 1997
With thanks to Steve Demara


Los Angeles Hank Panic of 1875
by Sandra Kay Siegel 

Early "banking" in Los Angeles was a prime example of frontier mentality shopkeepers had safes they made available to good customers free of charge.

In 1869, ex-California governor John Downey, convinced that professional banking was a necessity for the growth of Los Angeles, opened the city's first bank. Six months later, a second opened its doors, run by Isaias Hellman, a German-born merchant. In 1871, hampered by a partner devoid of financial acumen, Hellman bought out Francis Temple and merged with Downey to form Farmers & Merchants Bank. Temple, undeterred by his lack of business savvy, joined forces with his father-in-law and established Temple & Workman Bank. With Los Angeles on a course of steady growth, both institutions flourished.

Then came a great panic in 1873 in the East. Hopes that the crisis would not spread to the Pacific Coast were dashed when a run on the Bank of California in San Francisco in 1875 shut down that institution. Gripped by fear, Los Angeles depositors showed up in droves on August 27 to withdraw their savings.

Determined to avert the panic and stay afloat, the banks met customer demands with gold coins. By closing time that day, both vaults had nearly been emptied. While Downey was convinced he could hold out, Temple was certain another run on his bank would devastate him. Knowing a shutdown of Temple & Workman would further panic his own customers, Downey saw only one solution: a temporary closure of both banks. He cabled Hellman, who was vacationing in Europe, with the news.

Hellman rushed back, stopping in San Francisco to secure necessary loans. Upset with Downey's handling of the situation, Hellman demanded his partner's resignation. Then, with a fresh supply of gold coins, Hellman reopened the bank. His integrity and personal attention restored public confidence and deposits quickly started to outnumber withdrawals.

Meanwhile, Temple, unable to obtain bank loans, turned to millionaire "Lucky" Baldwin, who agreed to loan money in exchange for the mortgages on Temple and Workman's ranch lands. With the infusion of cash, the bank reopened and, like Farmers & Merchants, experienced renewed trust and increased business. However, with the less-than-competent Temple at the helm, the resurgence was short-lived—the bank closed its doors one month later. But not before Francis Temple was elected, of all things, city treasurer of Los Angeles. Sandra KaySiegel is a free-lance writer from Playa DelRey.

Source: Fedco Reporter, April 1997
With thanks to Steve Demara

Los Angeles Hank Panic of 1875
by Sandra Kay Siegel 


Dominguez Rancho Adobe, Calif. National Register of Historic Places, No. 152 
Los Californianos supports upcoming canonization of Fray Junipero Serra
Silas Abrego, Appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees
Cattle on a Thousand Hills, The Hispanic Era by Beverly Lane
Tataviam Culture | St. Francis Dam Disaster, Rivera / Garcia Families
San Diego FP Writer Maria Garcia Honored by CA Senator Ben Hueso 
History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s 
     by Maria E. Garcia
History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Lives of Girls in Culture,
     by Maria E. Garcia
Tios and Tias - Herrera Family by Jerry S. Herrera
Pueblo de San Jose, 29 November 1777

California National Register of Historic Places, No. 152
Dominguez Rancho Adobe 

The mission of the Friends of Rancho San Pedro is to preserve and increase community awareness of early California history as it relates to the Dominguez family, homestead adobe and the Rancho San Pedro, the first Spanish land grant in California. This is accomplished through educational programs and the operation of the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum.

Garden Tours: 4th Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. 
A Rancho Day on the Rancho was held March 28th. Life in the 1800s - what was it like?

This fun and interactive focused on what life was like on the Rancho San Pedro in Alta California.

Activities included: 
Sheep herding demonstrations and blacksmithing
Dance to early California music and eat Rancho food
Gold pan and collect gold nuggets to trade for goods
Make adobe bricks and help create a miniature version of the Dominguez homestead
Send your family to the local jail and see if you can barter something to get them out
Find the steer on the Rancho and win a prize
Learn about quilting, butter making, and other trades
Dress up in clothing from the 1800s
Learn to churn butter, make tortillas and more

For more Information, go to:

Sent by Bob Smith


Los Californianos supports upcoming canonization of Fray Junipero Serra

WHEREAS the nonprofit organization, Los Californianos, founded in 1969, is dedicated to preserving the heritage of early Hispanic Californians in Alta California; to conducting research on genealogy and on civil, religious, military, and cultural activities in Alta California; and to providing an accurate and authentic interpretation of Alta California's history by such means as the Board of Directors may prescribe; and

WHEREAS the organization's regular membership is composed of descendants of the settlers of Alta California prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848 and their spouses; and

WHEREAS many of the regular members of Los Californianos had ancestors in Alta California during the time that Fray Junipero Serra (1713-1784) established the first nine of the ultimate 21 Catholic Missions in Alta California; and

WHEREAS Fray Serra is considered a holy man and great evangelizer by Pope Francis; and

WHEREAS Pope Francis has announced his intent to canonize Fray Serra during his September 2015 trip to the United States: Therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Los Californianos will reaffirm their dedication to the above enumerated activities and to enhance these activities at this auspicious time invite other descendants of the settlers of Alta California prior to 1848 to join our organization in this effort.

Potential members should refer to the Website  for further information.

Sherwood E. Milleman, President
17 February 2015

Silas Abrego, Appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees
Mechista appointed CSU Trustee by CA Gov. Brown

I am extremely pleased to join our fellow Chicanas and Chicanos in expressing our congratulations to our friend Dr. Sy Abrego a long time Mechista, CSU Fullerton administrator (retired) and community leader. The CSU is a multi-billion dollar public supported higher education system that is comprised of 23 campuses,enrolls 447,000 students and has 45,000 faculty and staff.  The following is a brief announcement of his appointment. Adelante!! 

Silas Abrego, 70, of West Covina, has been appointed to the California State University Board of Trustees. Abrego served as acting vice president for student affairs at California State University, Fullerton from 2011 to 2012, where he was associate vice president for student affairs from 1998 to 2010 and director of students, academic services and university outreach from 1985 to 1998. 

He was coordinator at the Claremont Graduate University Tomas Rivera Policy Center’s California Education Policy Fellowship Program from 1981 to 1985 and assistant to the dean at the University of Southern California from 1982 to 1984, where he was director of the national education policy studies and research program from 1978 to 1982. Abrego is a member of the Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. He earned Doctor of Education and Master of Education degrees from the University of Southern California. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Abrego is a Democrat.

Sent by
Gus Chavez (retired SDSU administrator)

Cattle on a Thousand Hills - The Hispanic Era
by Beverly Lane
The California Historian, Vol 59:1-2, 2014, 43-44

The San Ramon Valley's undulating gold and green hills reflect over 200 years of California's ranching history. When the Spanish first settled Alta California, they brought livestock with them and transformed the landscape.

In 1769 about 200 cattle were moved from Baja to Alta California with the first Spanish invasion led by Caspar de Portola and Father Serra. Juan Bautista de Anza's 1775-1776 epoch expedition from New Spain brought the region's first colonists and about 1000 livestock -- 695 horses and mules and 355 cattle. As the 21 California missions were established, each one was allotted a "dowry" of 18 cattle and four swine in addition to horses, sheep, goats, and mules.

Descended from animals brought to the Americas by the Spanish two hundred years earlier, these cattle were primarily Longhorn and Corriente breeds. They flourished mightily in Alta California's congenial landscape and climate. Great herds of cattle and horses covered the California countryside, sustaining the hide and tallow economy of the Hispanic era.

These grazing animals changed the environment, replacing the native perennial grasses and herbaceous flowering plants nurtured by the Indians to the annual grasses we know today. Beginning with wild oats, these grasses included annual foxtails, Italian ryegrass, rat-tail fescue, soft chess, cheatgrass, medusa-head and goatgrass. "The seed stuck to the hides and wool of the livestock and from imported feed and ballast accompanying the new livestock in ships' holds," according to botanist David Ammc.

The San Ramon Valley was part of Mission San Jose's land on which cattle and sheep grazed from Fremont north to Concord. In 1832 the Mission reported that they managed 12,000 cattle, 13,000 sheep and 13.000 horses. Of all the northern missions, Mission San Jose baptized the largest number of Indians and produced the most agricultural products.

With no fences in place, the free-ranging cattle or vacas (Spanish), evolved into fierce feral animals. Historian Robert Glass Cle-land wrote: "The breeding of cattle being the chief occupation of the determined their mode of life, the structure of their society, and the size of their ranches." Indian and Spanish vaqueros tended the livestock and were famous for their riding and roping skills. They were the precursors of our American cowboy.

After the Mexican Revolution and secularization of the missions, more than 800 ranches were granted to former soldiers. In the San Ramon Valley, Jose Maria Amador's Rancho San Ramon covered over 20,000 acres of the San Ramon, Dougherty and Tas-sajara Valleys with a large headquarters in Dublin. This rancho, which was formally granted to Amador in 1834 and 1835, was stocked with at least 300 horses, 3,000 sheep and 13,000 head of cattle.

Mariano Castro and Bartolome Pache-co received the Rancho San Ramon Valle north of Amador in 1834 which covered two leagues (around 8,000 acres) in today's Danville and Alamo, southwest of Mount Diablo. Because of the aggressive Indians based on the mountain's foothills, the rancheros received permission to live elsewhere, coming to the valley for periodic round-ups and cattle slaughters.

Cattle hides and tallow were the main trade items and beef was the principal food. Amador's 150 workers used the leather hides to produce harnesses, saddles, shoes and manufactured furniture as well. He had regular sales contracts for cattle hides (called "California banknotes") and transported them by ox cart over today's Dublin grade to the Bay.

Hispanic Californians were experienced cattle raisers with dry years being the only threat to production. Rodeos, or round-ups were held twice yearly, so that stock could be branded by each owner. Brands were registered and changed only with permission of the governor. A.juez de campo, or field judge, settled disputes over the ownership of animals at these rodeos.

William Heath Davis listed the largest land and cattle owners of California's pastoral era and estimated there were 1,220,000 head of cattle on the ranches. Throughout Alta California, cattle and horses doubled their numbers roughly every two years.

Before the Gold Rush, Alta California did, indeed, have cattle on a thousand hills.

With the discovery of gold and the Mexican-American War's conclusion in early 1848, the Mexicans' bucolic rancho life came to an end. A non-Indian California population of 14,000 swelled to several  hundred thousand by 1852.

These new Californians needed food, so cattle, sheep and vegetables had ready markets. Prices were high. For example, in the early 1850s, apples sold for $1 each and cherries went for a dollar per dozen. The price of beeves soon reached $500 at Sacramento; in 1851, cattle were only worth $50 to $150 each. An estimated 3,000,000 cattle grazed the state's hills and valleys by the early 1860s. Sheep herds grew to over one million in the same period.



Rivera / Garcia Families - San Francisquito Canyon

Joseph Pedro (Pete) Rivera: Death Certificate

Death certificate for Joseph Pedro "Pete" Rivera, who perished in the St. Francis Dam Disaster along with his (second?) wife — the former Miss Addie M. LeBrun — and two of their children.

We don't (yet) know the exact relationship between Addie LeBrun and Frank LeBrun, a rancher in San Francisquito Canyon. From her extrapolated birth year (1882), she was probably his daughter. The irony is, in 1920, Frank LeBrun sold his ranch to the city of Los Angeles for the dam. From 1924 until the dam broke in 1928, the LeBrun Ranch was submerged under the reservoir.

The informant for Pete Rivera's death certificate is Grace Rivera of Newhall. We don't know who that is.   The death certificate shows Pete was born May 31, 1877, at Elizabeth Lake.

It lists his name as Pedro Rivera. However, it should be noted that this is the same person who appears as Joseph P. Rivera on his 1899 marriage license with his (first?) wife, Petra Garcia, when he was 22 — giving an extrapolated birth year of 1877.

According to the informant, his father's name was also Joe Pete Riveria — "Riveria" being a common variant of "Rivera" which frequently appears on documents relating to this family. In fact, on this death certificate, the surname appears both ways: "Rivera" for the decedent and "Riveria" for his wife.

According to family tradition, Joseph/Pete Rivera (the decedent) was the son of Tejon Indians — an appellation for Native Americans of various cultures who were brought to the San Sebastian (Tejon) Indian reservation in the 1850s-1860s (and some of their descendants), e.g., Chumash (specifically ex-Mission Santa Barbara), Tataviam (ex-Mission San Fernando), Kitanemuk, Tongva (ex-Mission San Gabriel), Southern Paiute (removed from Owens Valley), etc. We don't know how long Joseph/Pete's ancestors were living at Elizabeth Lake prior to his birth there; if they were indigenous to the area, they were likely Tataviam.

As stated, Joseph/Pete married his (first?) wife, Petra Garcia, in 1899 when Joseph/Pete was 22 and Petra was 17. Later that same year, Petra gave birth to a daughter who, in 1914, married Eldridge Ward, thus estabishing the local Ward line of Native Americans. (Petra's ancestors lived at the Tataviam Indian village of Chaguayabit/Tsawayung at Castaic Junction prior to European contact.)

Pete and Petra's marriage didn't last. Both remarried.

We don't know when Joseph/Pete married Addie M. LeBrun, but their eldest child, William Peter Rivera, was 24 when he died in 1928, so it was probably around 1904. (Petra remarried in 1907.)

According to St. Francis Dam researcher Ann Stansell, Joseph/Pete and Addie and their children were living on The Newhall Land and Farming Co.'s ranch, probably west of the L.A./Ventura county border near Rancho Camulos. (See map of flood-damaged Newhall Land property.) Joseph/Pete's body was found and taken to a morgue in Fillmore.

Addie's body was not found; nor was son William Peter Rivera's. Also killed was 6-year-old son Albert Rivera, who was probably carried farther by the floodwaters because his body was taken to a morgue in Santa Paula.

Joseph/Pete's cause of death on March 13, 1928, is listed as "Drowning or being struck by objects in Santa Clara River Flood."

The informant, Grace Rivera, possibly a sister or cousin of Joseph/Pete, filed a claim with the city of Los Angeles in the amount of $20,000 for the wrongful death of five people, not four — three adults and two children — and the city paid that amount. We don't know who the fifth person might have been, if there was one.

One of Joseph/Pete and Addie's surviving sons was Louis Rivera, the young man seen in the famous "Hero Medal" photo, where actor William S. Hart and Rev. Wolcott Evans are pinning a medal on his chest for his heroic efforts to save the lives of his two sisters, Mary and Belle.

Also of note is another famous photo showing William S. Hart and the Newhall Cowboys at a gravesite in the Ruiz Cemetery after the dam disaster. One of the cowboys in the photo is an Indian — Petra Garcia's nephew Cy Cooke, a son of Chief Frances Garcia Cooke (Petra's sister) and father of Chief Charlie Cooke (born 1935).  

Joseph Pedro "Pete" Rivera was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth, CA on March 15, 1928


Courtesy of Ann Stansell

Sent by Lorraine Frain

San Diego FP Writer Maria Garcia Honored by CA Senator Ben Hueso 

Six Women Selected as 2015 Women of the Year by Anna Daniels 
On Saturday March 7, State Senator Ben Hueso paid tribute to six women, one posthumously, in his 40th district. The event was held on the grounds of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in National City. Maria Garcia is well known in San Diego as both an educator and Chicana activist. She is a retired elementary school principal with an academic background as a bilingual resource teacher. Maria has received numerous awards in recognition of her community service and contributions to education. Maria received recognition this past Saturday for yet another contribution-- that of a historian recording first person accounts about Neighborhood House and life in Logan Heights and Barrio Logan since Neighborhood House's inception in the early 1900s.

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s by Maria E. Garcia

Posted: 28 Feb 2015 

Part II of the Lives of Girls By Maria E. Garcia Today's article is a continuation of last week's conversation with Amparo “Tuti” Zumaya, Consuelo Zumaya Lopez, Noralund Cook Zumaya, Rosa Zatarian Ramirez, Armida Piña, and Bertha Castro Zumaya. While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. These women all provide rich details about the lives of girls who grew up during the war years. Rosa Zatarian has her own memories about Neighborhood House and about Logan Heights. She and her sister would lay in bed on Friday night and listen to the Latest Hits program. This program came on at 9 p.m. every Friday and they couldn’t wait to listen to the music of the 1940s. Rosa also remembered that when her family lived in El Paso and did not own a radio, a neighbor would place his radio in the window. Neighbors would then bring chairs and sit in the yard to listen to President Roosevelt's fireside chat broadcasts. According to Rosa’s mother “Él nos quitó el hambre.” 
(He took our hunger away.) It seems that helping and supporting each other was a way of life all over our country.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s
by MARIA E. GARCIA on FEBRUARY 28, 2015 
Part II of the Lives of Girls

By Maria E. Garcia

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Whitney’s dress ad

Today’s article is a continuation of last week’s conversation with Amparo “Tuti” Zumaya, Consuelo Zumaya Lopez, Noralund Cook Zumaya, Rosa Zatarian Ramirez, Armida Piña, and Bertha Castro Zumaya. While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. These women all provide rich details about the lives of girls who grew up during the war years.

Rosa Zatarian has her own memories about Neighborhood House and about Logan Heights. She and her sister would lay in bed on Friday night and listen to the Latest Hits program. This program came on at 9 p.m. every Friday and they couldn’t wait to listen to the music of the 1940s.

Rosa also remembered that when her family lived in El Paso and did not own a radio, a neighbor would place his radio in the window. Neighbors would then bring chairs and sit in the yard to listen to President Roosevelt’s fireside chat broadcasts. According to Rosa’s mother “Él nos quitó el hambre.” (He took our hunger away.) It seems that helping and supporting each other was a way of life all over our country.

Rosa came home from working at the aircraft plant and found all her family waiting for her to arrive home.

Rosa shared a story about her first husband Armando. He was one of the many boys that played and hung out at Neighborhood House. All the women agreed that he was a nice quiet man. One day this all changed. Armando turned to robbing stores. Even today, over forty years later Rosa cannot understand his behavior. It seemed so out of character. Rosa came home from working at the aircraft plant and found all her family waiting for her to arrive home.

Someone handed her the green sheet (San Diego Tribune) and she read how Armando, aka “little rifleman,” had robbed nine places on Highland Avenue in National City. The family and community were shocked. Rosa had no idea Armando was capable of such a thing. She thinks that drinking is what changed Armando.

Coach Pinkerton from Neighborhood House went to court and testified as to Armando’s character. Armando was given five years to life for his crimes. Rosa waited for Armando while he was in prison. He was released after three years and Coach Pinkerton hired him to teach boxing at Neighborhood House.

Rosa and Armando would be invited to have dinner at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton. Coach Pinkerton was always reaching out to “his boys” and their families, trying to guide them in the right direction. Armando did get in trouble again and was told by a judge that he never wanted to see him in San Diego again. He moved to Los Angeles. Armando and Rosa had divorced.

After the divorce Rosa went to work at General Dynamics. A coworker of Rosa’s kept telling her he wanted to introduce her to another coworker. Rosa had been divorced and a single mom for eight years and was not interested in meeting anyone. As it turned out the person that the coworker wanted her to meet was Jerry Zatarian, a man she already knew but had not seen for many, many years.

Jerry had been a neighborhood boy and Rosa’s first boyfriend. Rosa was fourteen years old and Jerry was seventeen years old at the time. They would meet at the Cornet Theater and hold hands. Later Jerry went into the service and was sent to Japan.

They wrote each other for a period of time and then the letters stopped. Now Jerry was also divorced and had a daughter. Jerry and Rosa were married for nineteen years prior to his death. Today she refers to Jerry as the love of her life.

All the girls remembered Chencha peeking through the window to make sure her daughter was there and that she was behaving herself.
Bertha Castro Zumaya describes herself as mischievous teenager. Her mother did not allow the girls to go to the dances at Neighborhood House. Bertha was 15 or 16 years old and loved to dance. She would use any pretext to sneak over to the dance if only for an hour. At times her excuse was that she was going to the store or to ask a friend something. Instead, she would rush to the Neighborhood House. She always got in trouble for it.

The woman wore fishnet stockings, had bright red hair and had “Ginger” tattooed on her leg. To this young girl it all seemed rather glamorous. Bertha approached the woman and told her: “When I grow up I want to be just like you.”  She says it was worth getting hit to be able to dance for an hour. All the girls remembered Chencha peeking through the window to make sure her daughter was there and that she was behaving herself. Girls were kept close to home and constantly under the watchful eye of their mother.

Bertha also remembers walking past the La Bamba night club and seeing the ladies of the evening standing outside. She loved seeing the way they were dressed and did not understand what their profession was. One day she approached one of the women.

The woman wore fishnet stockings, had bright red hair and had “Ginger” tattooed on her leg. To this young girl it all seemed rather glamorous. Bertha approached the woman and told her: “When I grow up I want to be just like you.” The woman told her, “No you don’t” and proceeded to tell her she was never to walk in front of that club again. This is all it took to scare Bertha. She would walk across the street or down the other block to avoid walking in front of La Bamba.

The Cherry gang was well known for causing problems in the neighborhood. They were in constant fights with the Mute gang from National City. In general, anyone from National City was known as the “mutes.” The name was also used to describe any National City gang.

The women all remember members of the Cherry gang going to confession on Saturday or sometimes Sunday morning, then attending Mass on Sunday. The other days of the week were spent causing havoc in and around the neighborhood. Eventually a judge invited some of the members of the Cherry gang to enlist in the service or serve time.

Thank you to all these women for sharing their stories. A special thank you to Tuti Zumaya for hosting us.

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 
The Lives of Girls in Culture,
by Maria E. Garcia 
February 21, 2015

Maria E. Garcia is a retired school principal and has been an activist in the Chicano movement since 1968.
Families in Logan Heights faced grim financial hardship during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Childhood entertainment and opportunities were limited. Neighborhood House provided classes, programs and outings that are remembered sixty and even seventy years later by the many people that I have interviewed.

While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. Boys participated in the popular sports programs at Neighborhood House. Team members played in other parts of the city and even other parts of the country. Boys were also given a much greater freedom to explore their environs singly or with other boys.

Girls were raised in a socially conservative environment that emphasized marriage and raising a family. Their activities were often restricted or required a chaperone. I had the opportunity recently to meet with a group of women who are now in their eighties and nineties who came to share some of their experiences at Neighborhood House and to help everyone understand that Neighborhood House was the heart of the community.

This is an invitation to join the intimate conversation of Amparo “Tuti” Zumaya, Consuelo Zumaya Lopez, Noralund Cook Zumaya, Rosa Zatarian Ramirez, Armida Piña, and Bertha Castro Zumaya. Today they live in Alpine, Shelltown, Chula Vista and La Mesa.

Rosa remembered making her first chocolate cake at Neighborhood House. In order to make the cake each student had to bring two eggs and sugar. This was during the war and sugar was rationed, thus they had to bring their own sugar. Rosa also learned to bake cookies and cream puffs. Her brother would ride his bike to pick her up and she remembers that her mother’s all-time favorite was the baked biscuits. Harry Cunningham and Bobby Riverall were known for taking baked goods away from any girl walking home alone.

The girls also leaned to knit. A group of girls would make a bunch of squares that were then sewn together in order to make a blanket. The blanket was then donated to service men. Often the donation went to men that were returning from war, wounded and in need of a blanket.

They were able to go on field trips to Mission Beach. The girls considered this a special treat. They had to bring a swimsuit, a towel, and a dime. They went by truck and rode in the back. The dime was used to pay for gas for the truck. Gas was also rationed and thus the need for the dime.

Consuelo ditched school one day and went to the beach. When she came home completely sunburned she made up a story explaining to her mother that they had been made to play two baseball games in the hot sun at Memorial Junior High.

Armida says they were lots of services and opportunities available at or around Neighborhood House. Her mother had fourteen children of which twelve survived. (There will be more about Armida’s sister Tulie and her brother Tuti in future articles.) Armida’s family was very poor and relied upon the services at Neighborhood House for a great deal of assistance.

Armida says camp was special because it gave the girls a freedom they did not have at home.

One summer two of the other girls had canceled out on the Neighborhood House camping trip to Camp Dehesa. Mrs. Brackett who worked as an assistant nurse, translator and social worker at Neighborhood House called Armida’s mother and asked if two of her girls could go. They were very excited about the opportunity to go to camp because they had never been away from the barrio.

They started scrambling around looking for the clothes they could take on their camping trip. That evening Mrs. Brackett dropped off two boxes full of clothes. The clothes were left on the porch for them to choose what clothes they could use. The next day the girls were off to camp and ready to enjoy the clothes that they had selected. Armida says camp was special because it gave the girls a freedom they did not have at home. They slept outside on old cots and during the day they learned about birds and nature. She remembers enjoying everything they learned.

In addition to enjoying the outdoors there were boxes of toys to play with at camp. There was some conflict with the “rich girls.” Armida felt that the rich girls who came from around the Hoover area in what was called East San Diego at the time looked down on the girls from Logan Heights. One evening there was a variety show and Armida and her sister decided they would sing “La cucaracha.” This was to show the rich girls that they were proud of speaking Spanish. One of the women describes this incident as “in your face.”

Whenever Armida’s mother was about to give birth they would run to Mrs. Brackett’s house,two doors down from Neighborhood House, and ask her to come to their house and help her mother deliver another baby.

Armida stresses that they were able to “make do” in part because of the support they received throughout the neighborhood. At that time her uncle owned La Central Market and he would set aside meat that was still good but could not be sold for customers to eat. Milk came from Neighborhood House. One of Armida’s family would take a wagon with a large milk bucket and fill it there.

The old wagon was also used when they went to the Weber Bread company and picked up bread. At times they were given bread, or purchased day old bread. At other times they would steal bread which had been left outside on the racks. Bertha also remembers stealing bread from the same location. As Bertha looks back now she is sure the employees were aware that these kids were helping themselves to the bread and simply overlooked it.

The fruit trucks also supplied such things as watermelons and peaches. At times the watermelon truck would pull up to Neighborhood House and the boys in the neighborhood would rush over to help unload it. They would also drop some of the better watermelons in order to eat it them themselves. Once they had eaten the best parts they would have watermelon fights. There would be one group of kids on one side of the street and the other group of kids on the other side of the street flinging pieces of watermelon back and forth at each other.

Vegetables and fruit were provided with the help of Armida’s brothers. Her brothers would go early in the morning to work at the warehouses near what is now Petco Park. It was their job to separate the good fruit and vegetables from the spoiled or blemished ones. The ones that were considered too ripe to sell would make their way to their house to be used for the family’s dinner.

Neighborhood House would spread the word when the cannery needed extra workers. No one can remember how this was done since telephones were not found at every house. Somehow, and probably by word of mouth, the word would spread that the cannery needed extra help. The cannery itself would use a whistle that could be heard throughout the community announcing that workers were needed. Once the word was out that the cannery needed extra workers Armida’s brothers would rush to the cannery.

The judge ordered Armida’s mother to stay home and take care of her children.
Mrs. Piña, Armida’s mother, had to quit her cannery job and stay home to supervise her sons. Both Armida and Tulie remember her mother crying and crying over having to leave her job at the cannery.

When Armida’s mother was hired at the cannery, their life changed. Her mom was eventually able to buy a stove, ice box and new beds for their family. Their life was improving until the night her brothers broke into the Pepsi Cola Company located on National Ave. This was probably a boy’s idea of a prank. The police, however, did not see it as a boys’ prank. They arrested the boys and they had to appear in court. The judge ordered Armida’s mother to stay home and take care of her children.

Mrs. Piña, Armida’s mother, had to quit her cannery job and stay home to supervise her sons. Both Armida and Tulie remember her mother crying and crying over having to leave her job at the cannery. Once again their lives changed since public assistance was not anywhere near the money she had earned at the cannery.

Some of the women remembered the girls working as housemaids and babysitters. Neighborhood House would give them bus fare to get to their jobs. Sometime the girls were given a ride to their work assignment. This is part of the settlement house’s profile, helping the community members to help themselves. When the girls attended the USO dances in the building behind Neighborhood House, they were provided cab fare to assure the girls were able to get home safely.

The USO was considered an important part of the neighborhood activities. It was also understood that the girls had to be kept safe. The girls were allowed to attend these dances because they were so well chaperoned. The general consensus was that allowing the girls to attend the USO dance was the patriotic thing to do.

The second part of The Lives of Girls will continue in next week’s column.
The complete History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights series is available here.

Sent by Doriinda Moreno 

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tulie’s Story

7 Mar 2015 

How Neighborhood House helped to nurture an indomitable spirit By Maria E. Garcia Obdulia "Tulie" Trejo is the 91 year old sister of Armida Piña, one of the women who shared her Neighborhood House stories in the article "The Lives of Girls". Tulie says that she raised her younger sister Armida. She invited me to her home in Chula Vista to show me her many baking trophies and to talk about her own memories of Neighborhood House. Neighborhood House was a place where Tulie, a bright young girl in the 1930s, could learn and excel.


Tios and Tias - Herrera Family by Jerry S. Herrera

Dear Family and Friends,
My cousin Jerry Herrera has written an inspiring story about his Herrera Tios and Tias (uncles and aunts). Jerry E-mailed his story to me and I would like to share it with you. Jerry's parents were Henry Herrera and Margaret Ruiz Herrera (both deceased). (Aunt Margaret Ruiz Herrera and my Father, Ralph Ruiz, were brother and sister, children of Nicholas M. Ruiz and Virginia Gradillas Real of Santa Paula, Ventura County, CA.) 

Congrats to cousin Jerry for a job well done.
Lots of Love and Blessings, Lorri 
Lorraine Frain 

Tios & Tias Years 

1945 thru 1957 

My Dad reminded me that his Mom told him “that they needed to be there for each other” and this I know is what they did because whenever one would find work the others would follow and it pretty much was field work. I think of how they started and how all of them were successful in their own rights.

I remember us living with Tia Becky’s family in Santa Maria and taking a bath in a tin tub outside, the bathroom was outside and my Dad chopping wood early in the morning to feed the wooden stove. We went to school there and our lunches were burritos and we would eat them far away so no one would see us eating them.

Then, moving to some Army Barracks where Ta Sam lived across from us and Tia Mary would always make sure we had HO (oatmeal) for breakfast. Even to this day, I look and see if they sell HO in the super markets and they don’t. Ta Sam would always check on us. 

During much of this time my Dad was a field contractor so that would often take him away from home. I think my Dad enjoyed this the most of the work he did in his lifetime. The movie “McFarland” has a scene of pickers that might help you understand what our parent’s life started like and even our cousins. I hated going to school with black stain from picking walnuts. Good memories, though. 

We moved to Sisquoc where my grandpa Nick (Ruiz) lived with us until he passed away. While we were there, we went to our first Drive-In Movie which I’ll get back to later.

We moved to Mountain View where we would cut apricots and pick prunes before starting school--they were the summer crop. 

While living at 99 No.17th Street in San Jose, we had the Medina family living with us and I remember our Mom getting up and fixing breakfast and lunch for them because they would go to Salinas to top carrots. I think of Tia Linda and how she would work right along with her family even though she probably could have stayed at home; what an example of a Wife and Mom working so hard. Yet, the most important thing I remember of Tia Linda is her willingness of getting up before everyone else to make sure that her Menudo was ready to have whenever the rest of us would get up at the family reunions--that, my friends, is called sacrifice for others. 

Sometimes on Sunday nights, Tio David, Tia Lily's husband, would come and takes us to church. That’s not the only thing he did. He always brought homemade Bico (sweet rice) and even today I can say that this is my favorite dessert. During those years at 99 No. 17th Street is where I learned the true meaning of “Others”. 

It is no coincidence that on this city block there is a hospital now where, at one time, on one of the corners there was a home that was a haven for others. 

Our Mom got sick and we moved to 34th Street and San Antonio Street and this is were we were living when Our Mom passed away on Dec.8th, 1951 (Margaret Ruiz Herrera). Tio Able (Herrera) is the one who told us the news. It always seems that one of our Tios or Tias were around when we needed them. 

During the Family Reunions, I can still remember My Tias and Tios always having time for us and wanted to know how we were doing. One thing I know is that they had our respect and we knew that if one of us did something wrong that they had the right to correct us. I always thought that our Tios and Tias didn’t love us as Nephews or Nieces but rather like one of their own; they were always there for us.

What stands out the most for me was their walk with God; they might not have said much but WOW their walk and gentle spirit sure was an example for the younger generation. We all listened when Mama Orta (Tia Margret Herrera Gonzales) spoke (smile) and she was always dressed so properly. 

In the late 50’s, Ta Sam, Tia Mary, Red (Henry Herrera)and Pops worked at a packinghouse with my Dad in Los Angeles. Tia Mary would make sure that my Dad had his crème of wheat where he could drink it and she always made an extra lunch for him. I think she spoiled him.  Smile . . . 

Jumping to 1973 & 1974
I was part of the group that was responsible for the 1974 Family Reunion and Tio Able was our senior adviser. He helped us write, mail out four newsletters regarding our Family Reunion updates and stories--this is when we didn’t have computers. We needed to look for a spot that year so we had to pass through Oil-Dale, which is close to Bakersfield. So we decided to stop by my sister Margie's home for breakfast. She fixed us omelets and man they were sort of big so I asked her how many eggs she used? Her reply was "you each had a six-egg omelet”. Margie, I never eat six eggs at one time, who does that? Her reply was "my husband Dave does”, with a smile on her face. So during this time, I became very close to Tio Able. After that, my Tio and I would meet for coffee once in awhile and he became some one I could confide with. I think of him as a friend even today.

While my Dad and Jennie (Grandma) lived in Santa Barbara, our Tio Frank (Rev. Montoya)and Tia Alice (Herrera Montoya) started a church there (Templo Cristiano El Salvador) and they allowed Dad to be their worship leader and with other responsibilities in the church. Dad would later tell me that those were one of the best times of his life and I know that my Dad enjoyed every moment of being there. 

Dad would always tell me that if I ever had questions regarding the Word to make sure to call my Tia Jane (Herrera) because that is who he went to for answers. 

Older Cousins 1945-1957
When we were living in Sisquoc, our cousin Ti-Ti (Lydia Perez) took us to our first Drive-In Movie. The movies were Dumbo & Red Rider. Not only that, she also introduced us to Chinese food. Even today going to a movie or having some type of Asian food is OK with me. 

Between living in Sisquoc and Mountain View, we lived with Tia Amy (Cousin Amy) in Salinas. We must have spend part of a school year there because Jr. and I were in 3rd grade together. One time, Tia Amy's husband BBQed a pig in the ground and man that was the best pork I ever had. Today there is a place in Bell, California 
that prepares it that way every weekend. 

I remember always going to Tia Amy’s home when she moved to San Jose to see the Friday night fights and sometimes we would go and get wet at a creek near by. For some reason Tia Amy’s home was the place to be because she always made us feel welcome. That’s some thing I’ll always remember "her open door policy" for whomever. 

While living at 99 No.17th street, I remember that our cousins Joel, Pops and Barney would drive up with their Motorcycles and park them on the front lawn and just hang out with us for awhile. 

When my Mom passed away the funeral was in Santa Paula so Bobbie and I would go and stay with our Cousin Johnny Perez and his wife in Santa Maria for a week. Tia Edna would bring us lunch and when we left them Johnny brought us our first BB-Rifle to take home. 

At one of our Family Reunions, maybe 1953, Sonny (Cousin Paul) came dressed in his Army uniform and did the Sunday Morning service. I thought to myself that someday I, too, would want to be in a uniform. Ever since that Sunday morning I thought of Sonny as our Spiritual leader for our family and he did have our respect. He was a type of man that another man could look up to. 

In the mid-fifties we moved to San Gabriel. Ruben, David and Ruth would stay with us on weekends. Ruben was in the Navy, David & Ruth were in Bible school. What stands out during these visits was Ruth reminding me of my Mom and in turn hearing my Mom's voice “Jerry you were prayed for” those words would forever be planted in my heart. (Mama, by Il Divo is a great song.)

During my high school years, my cousin Red (Hank) was like an older brother to me and during one of our visits, his brother Paca (Abel Herrera, Jr.) was with us and he told me “not to join the Marine Corp”; well, you know when someone tells you not to do something you go ahead and do it, which I did. I’m glad I did because it helped me a great deal most of all to be responsible for my actions. 

Bottom Line

Those who have gone before us have left us with a spiritual inheritance with their footprints in the sand that leads us to the cross and one day soon we will have a Family Reunion with them and our Lord and Savior. Rev.19: 6-9

Not only doing that, Grandma made a statement when she told her children to take care of each other. The word “Others” has been interwoven in our family members' lives in so many ways. The Statement is “Others, Our life is not our own”. Matt.25: 34-40

Even today, we have different family members in some type of Ministries, Teachers, working for non-profit organizations, doing volunteer work, supporting and being involved with a cause that is dear to them, and, most of all, praying for one another. 

We can only thank God for His hand upon our Grandparents showing their children the way and may we continue to pass that baton to the next generation. 

In closing, I would like to end with one of my Father's favorite verses.

III John 1:4 I have no greater Joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

Love is a never-ending road.  Take care

P.S. This is not my life's story and it’s only my memories of my Tios, Tias and 1st cousins. I’m truly grateful to my wife Carmen, our little family and to my extended family members. I’m truly blessed and am a very rich man because of them. 
Written by Jerry S. Herrera

29 November 1777

The founding of the Pueblo de San Jose, Alta California's oldest city.
The list totaling sixty-eight includes a herdsman and his wife.
Of the sixty-six Pobladores/families, there were only fifteen men (nine soldiers, five Pobladores, and the herdsman).

1. Corporal Valeric de Mesa, wife Maria, seven children.
2. Soldier Manuel Ramirez de Arrellano, wife Maria, son Juan, four years old.
3. Soldier Xavier Beltran, wife Gertrudes, two adopted orphan girls, one and eight years old, an Indian servant.
4. Soldier Joaquin de Castro, wife Maria, five children including Maria de la Encarnaclon, nine years old.
5. Soldier Jose Manuel Higuera, wife Antonia, four children, two daughters, two sons, & a 16-year old Indian boy.
6. Soldier Zeferino Lugo, wife Gertrudes.
7. Soldier Gabriel Peralta, wife Franclsca, three children, two sons, one daughter.
8. Soldier Felipe Tapia, wife Juana, eight children, five sons, three daughters.
9. Juan Manuel Villela, bachelor, thirty years old. 

10. Manuel Amestica, widower with a one-year old son, Joaquin Gabriel.
11. Ignacia Archuleta, wife Iganacia.
12. Manuel Gonzales, wife Micaela, five children, three sons and two daughters.
13. Jose Romero, wife Maria, baby daughter, Maria Ignacia.
11. Jose Tiburcio Vasquez, wife Maria.

Jose Sinova, wife Maria Gertrudis Bojorquez.
Eight of these men had come to California with the De Anza Expedition end were from San Francisco and the Monterrey Presidios; Arrellano, Mesa, Castro, Peralta, Tapia, Amestica, Gonzales, and Vasquez.

Sent by Eddie U. Garcia


National Hispanic Cultural Center, Our Penitente Land Exhibit
Update: Southwest Oral History Association Conference and Latina/o by Miguel Juárez
The Lady in Blue . . . Clarification . . . Somos Primos March 2015 issue
Rodolfo "Corky' Gonzales new Library in Denver Honors Chicano
Santa Fe's Unexpected Colonial History by Tom Wall
No European could enter Texas territory without official authorization.


                                              Blue Christ                                                                                                 Rostro

Each year during Good Friday thousands of penitent pilgrims follow the routes of the world famous Santuario de Chimayo, and Tome Hill in New Mexico.  These two iconic landmarks hold a tradition that is centuries old.  At the sanctuary known as the Santuario people seek comfort and the spirituality associated with physical and emotional well being.  At Tome Hill people follow a trail that leads to a summit with three massive crosses.  This place has been known for generations as the Monte Calvario, the Mount Calvary honoring the place of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.  Hundreds of visitors to New Mexico join in on the pilgrimages snapping pictures of these marvels for posterity.

These internationally recognized landmarks were established by Penitentes, a lay religious confraternity of men and women dedicated to works of mercy.  The Santuario de Chimayo was erected in 1816 over what is regarded as a holy site containing miraculous dirt used for curing illnesses. At  the El Cerro de Tome, called Tome Hill, Penitentes have used the site to re-enact Christ’s crucifixion with a Via Crucis, The Way of the Cross Passion play since the eighteenth century.  Edwin Baca Berry a World War II veteran promised to rebuild the landmark with three dynamic crosses that could be seen from miles away as a testament to the centuries old Roman Catholic worship in New Mexico dating back to 1598.  He also sought to preserve this rich history, traditions, and culture by stimulating Penitente membership.  At one period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century there were well over one hundred active moradas (chapels of Penitente worship), with over fifteen thousand members throughout New Mexico.  

While attempting to further enrich this marvelous Spanish heritage in New Mexico, santero artists, Rosa Maria Calles, who is a native of Tome, and Ray John de Aragon from Las Vegas, New Mexico, created artworks associated with the Penitentes.  New Mexico santeros are widely known as makers of religious images.  Modern, or contemporary santeros carry on a tradition dating from the early colonization of the area.  Their work is shown at the Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe and early pieces that are centuries old can be seen at the Spanish Colonial Arts Museum, also in Santa Fe.   The most famous wooden religious image is La Conquistadora, Nuestra Senora de la Santa Fe (Our Lady of the Holy Faith), which is a statue of Mary, the mother of Christ dating to 1634, saved during the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680, and brought back to New Mexico by Don Diego de Vargas and the settlers in 1692. The world famous image is housed in the Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.  A very active penitent confraternity known as la Cofradia de la Conquistadora as the conqueror of souls, is dedicated to this particular statue.

Rosa Maria Calles is the fourth generation great-granddaughter of Don  Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco, a Spanish cartographer, and santero during the eighteenth century.  He is considered as the progenitor of the famous santero folk art tradition in New Mexico, one that is unique in the United States.  She follows this family tradition in her images painted on retablos, wood panels, and bultos, images in the round.  Ray John de Aragon comes from a long line of Penitente members in his family, and he seeks to recreate the popular work associated with this group.  Some of his figures representing Christ, his mother Mary as Our Lady of Solitude, and la Sebastiana, The Angel of Death astride her Death Cart holding a bow and arrow, are life size.  Both santeros are collectors of Penitente artifacts and have built up a distinguished collection of hundreds of pieces with some dating to the sixteenth century.  A large sampling of their artwork, and relics of the Penitentes can be seen at the “OUR PENITENTE LAND” exhibit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, a show which commemorates this important part of New Mexico history arts, and culture. 



Ray John de Aragon’s book, the Penitentes of New Mexico, published by Sunstone Press is available at the Center.  For more information please contact the NHCC. 

Sent by Ray John de Aragon 


Update on the Southwest Oral History Association Conference and Latina/o Participation

Text and photographs by
Miguel Ju
Doctoral student in Borderlands History, University of Texas at El Paso

Hosted by the Del Mar Historical Society, this year the Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) Annual Conference was held in Del Mar, California from March 19-21, 2015. 
Sessions were held at various locations in the Village of Del Mar.Del Mar is located 20 miles north of San Diego.  

The SOHA 2015 conference was attended by more Latinas/os than the Texas Oral History Association (TOHA) annual meeting. They who were presenters, moderators, as well board members, program committee members, keynote speakers, conference honorees and scholarship recipients.


Latinas/os participated in the following activities and sessions at SOHA 2015:  
Carlos López,
2nd Vice President on the SOHA Board and part of this year’s conference planning committee. Carlos is a Doctoral Candidate in History at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.

Panel,“Recording and Remembering Community Conflict and Unity”: Juan David Coronado, Julie Wojtko, Carlos López, Moderator/Commentator.  

Panel,“The Queer Gayborhood: Transnational Narratives of LGBTQ Lives”: Ian Baldwin; Steven F. Dansky; Miguel Juárez, session coordinator and presenter; Marcia M. Gallo, Moderator/Commentator.Miguel, who is a lifetime SOHA member,was also part of this year’s conference planning committee(he was the program chair of the SOHA conference in 2009) and he received a general scholarship to attend the conference.   

One of several plenary keynote addresses was given by 
Dr. Paul Ortíz
, President of the Oral History Association and Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.  

Panel, “Oral Histories Rooted in the Community: Paul Barba; Miguel M. Chávez; María Cecilia Ruíz;Maria Eugenia Trillo; Miguel Juárez, Moderator/Commentator.  

Panel, “Reimagining the Stay: Voices from the Stony Brook Retreat and Over the Bridge: Creating a Sustainable Oral History Program: Olivia García; Cynthia Keil; Jennifer Keil; Alicia Rodríguez; Joyce Marshall Moore, Moderator/Commentator.  

Panel, “Recording Local Activism Through Oral History—Three Student Projects”: Summer Cherland; John Grygo; Shannon Nutt; Carlos López, Moderator/Commentator.                                                                                               Dr. Paul Ortiz

Closing Performance at the Powerhouse Community Center Showcasing Fringe Narratives; Grassroots Latina Activists in Southern California: Kevin Cabrera; CarieRael; Natalie Navar; Karen L. Harper, Moderator/Commentator.  Kevin, Carie and Natalie were students from UC Fullerton.  

The Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) was founded in 1981 to serve practitioners of oral history in Arizona, Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico and contiguous areas. SOHA will be 35 years in 2016 and according to the conference website: “The Purpose of the organization is to provide a vehicle for communication among persons, programs, and institutions using oral testimony; to encourage cooperation among its members; to promote standards among oral historians, to foster an understanding of and use of oral history; to provide guidance to projects; to create educational programs and resources; to aid in securing financial funding for members' projects.” [Source:             

Some suggestions to increase the attendance of Latinas/osat future at future SOHA conferences were to add West Texas as one of the regions that are under the association, to add U.S./Mexico border regions, and to incorporate bilingual oral history sessions as part of the conferenceprogram.  

The Del Mar Historical Society is an independent 501(c)(3), California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation founded in 1985, striving to fulfill its long-time mission to discover, record, collect, preserve, perpetuate, and display for public benefit the historical facts, artifacts, properties, and other material concerning the history of the village of Del Mar.”

One of the noted histories included in the oral history collection at the Del Mar Historical Society is an interview with Tensia Moriel Trejo, who’s parents migrated from Chihuahua to California and eventually settled in Del Mar, Calif.Tensia, who was a former President and one of the founders of the Del Mar Historical Society, was awarded a service award for exemplary service to SOHA and to the Del Mar Historical Society at the conference. [Source: ]                                                          

Please see program overview at:


Next year’s conference will be either in Palm Springs, Las Vegas or UC Irvine.   Look for a call for papers for SOHA 2016 in SOMOS PRIMOS in Fall of this year.  

Dr. María Eugenia Trillo, an Associate Professor of Spanish at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, thanks the panelists for "respect" and "responsibility" to the communities that we interview in the comments part of the “American Indian Community Oral History Projects” panel.  

Longtime resident of Del Mar, Calif., Tensia Moriel Trejo, receives a service award for exemplary service to SOHA and to the Del Mar Historical Society at the conference. 


THE LADY IN BLUE   . . .  Clarification . . . . .  Somos Primos March 2015 issue

On the attachment of Fr. Margil and The Lady in Blue, there is a great error on historical chronology. It states that the longest on-going mission in the U.S. is the Mission at Ysleta del Sur at Ysleta Pueblo in the El Paso area. That mission did not come into existence until after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The oldest on going mission is the Mission of San Miguel, in Socorro, NM started in 1598, followed closely by the mission of San Antonio at Isleta Pueblo, which was burnt during the Pueblo revolt, but reconstructed by the 1620s, but name changed to the Mission of St. Agustine, and still in use today. Nevertheless, the oldest mission in Texas was in San Angelo,Tx. in 1631; but to non-Catholic historical scholars, a mission means a building or structure, but in the Catholic doctrinal sense it is any place where the word of God is taught, whether it be in the open prarie or under the shade of a tree, as the Lady in Blue, conductioned her "missionary" work.

Jerry Javier Lujan

Image result for Corky Gonzales new library
Photographer Juan Espinosa

New Library in Denver Honors Chicano  Rodolfo "Corky' Gonzales 
Diego Aparicio

During a recent exhibit opening at History Colorado in downtown Denver, people gathered to honor the past and reflect on how it still impacts the present.  Many walking through the halls, looking at and listening to images and footage from the exhibit, "El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Colorado," had both sweet and sour memories.

Some could see themselves or people they knew in photograph and video installations displayed along the walls; an older lady was humming a song she wrote that was playing in the background.

One person was watching the images with particular attention because a significant number of them were his.  "I always thought that they would have some sort of historical significance, because of the people that are in many of the photos are historically significant," said photographer Juan Espinosa, who documented civil rights leaders like Cesar Chávez, Dolores Huerta and Reies Tijerina. "There was always the feeling that history was being made before your eyes."

The feeling Espinosa had 40 years ago while documenting rallies will reach a new milestone Saturday: The legacy and struggles of Mexican-Americans who paved the way for a better life for new generations of Latinos living in Denver takes a giant step with the grand opening of the Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch Library at 1498 N. Irving St.

Although tension among the Latino community — some 700,000 in the seven-county metro area — is notable between those who identify themselves as Chicanos (Mexican-Americans born and raised here who share common indigenous roots) and new immigrants (most who came from Mexico and Latin America in recent decades), there's no question that Gonzales' struggles resonate with everyone.

" 'The Movement' paved the way, and I'll tell you how, because right now if we didn't have attorneys, if we didn't have people that had education, if we didn't have people that had fought and knocked down many of the doors through their blood, sweat and tears in the movement, we wouldn't be where we are with immigration today," said Ramón del Castillo, chairman and professor of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The History Colorado exhibit was produced in collaboration with "Chicano," an exhibit recently opened at the Museo de las Americas in the Santa Fe Art District, which focuses on art produced inspired by the Chicano Movement in the 1970s.

"Think about it — we fought for the whole issue of Spanish for a long time," said Del Castillo. "The Mexicano who is here doesn't have to have that fight necessarily, because there's a lot of people who laid the pathway and who said, 'We believe in bilingual education, we believe that we have the right to speak a different language.' "

The Gonzales library will be the first named after a Hispanic person. (There is another co-named after Bernie Valdez and John Perry, the first an educator and the latter a local businessman who owned the land of the Valdez-Perry Library.)

According to Victoria Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for El Museo, the library is what the Hispanic community needs in west Denver.

"It's a place where people go and can educate themselves, and it's public, it's available to anyone, it's community," said Gonzales, who describes her parents as Chicanos but herself as Latina or Hispanic or, more precisely, a Texan. "I think it's going to be a great space for our community to come together, for our culture to connect with each other and to continue gaining knowledge and to move forward."

Gonzales led protests across Denver during the turbulent civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But this honor is not for his political crusade. It is his poem "I Am Joaquín" that inspired a literary genre that is taught in universities across the nation. He also advocated for equal education access for Mexican-Americans in west Denver and opened Escuela Tlatelolco, a charter school his daughter, Nita Gonzales, continues to operate today.

She spoke of the pride the Gonzales family feels when it comes to the new library.

"Corky inspired compassion, humanity and action through his work as a writer, boxer, organizer, activist and leader," she said in a statement released by Denver Public Library. "The new Rodolfo 'Corky' Gonzales Branch Library ensures that the works and history of his life and the Chicano movement will live on."

Del Castillo goes further: "It also let the system know that we have the right to choose our own heroes. For the longest time, they've tried to tell us who our heroes were, and our heroes don't happen to be the same heroes they believe in necessarily."

Diego Aparicio: 303-954-3382, 
daparicio@denverpost .com or "corky" gonzales branch library
When: Sat. Feb. 28, starting at 11 a.m.
Where: 1498 N. Irving St. (at Colfax)

Who: The public is invited to join Mayor Michael B. Hancock, District 1 City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd and other officials.


Santa Fe’s Unexpected Colonial History
By Tom Wall
Preservation Nation

Where do you think the oldest colonial-era building in the United States is located?

At first glance, you might assume that the oldest ones in the continental United States would be found somewhere near the Jamestown or Roanoke in Virginia, or in Massachusetts, near Plymouth, or other early English settlements along the eastern seaboard, right?

The truth is, to find the truly oldest colonial buildings in the country, you need to look westward.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the oldest continuously inhabited state capitol in the United States. Founded in 1607 by New Mexico’s second Spanish Governor, Don Pedro de Peralta, as the “City of Holy Faith,” or “Santa Fe” in Spanish, the city has remained the capitol of the province of New Spain, the New Mexico Territory, and eventually the state of New Mexico, for more than 400 years now. And with a pair of structures both built in 1610, Santa Fe also boasts two of the nation’s oldest places: The San Miguel Mission and the Palace of the Governors.

The San Miguel Mission, also known as San Miguel Chapel, is said to be the oldest church in the United States. The Spanish colonial mission church is located within Santa Fe’s Barrio de Analco Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

San Miguel is a remarkable historic building by many standards, and having a 400-year-old continuously used building would be unique in almost any other city. But, in Santa Fe, it shares this distinction with the gem of the city’s historic plaza, and our newest National Treasure: The Palace of the Governors.

The Palace, first constructed in 1610, is the oldest in-use public building in the United States. Built by then-Governor Peralta, the adobe structure has served as a seat of government under various flags throughout its history years — from Spanish to Mexican rule, to Confederate occupation, and through the creation of the State of New Mexico. Currently owned and operated by the state of New Mexico, it has served as the state museum since 1909.

“Spanish governors were sleeping in the Palace of the Governors nearly 200 years before a president slept in the White House,” says Jon Hunner, history professor at New Mexico State University, and former Interim Director for the Palace. “[The building] provides an overlay of the history of our country, not just of New Mexico.”

Dr. Hunner, along with National Trust leadership and dignitaries from across the state of New Mexico, including Mayor Javier Gonzales and Secretary of Cultural Affairs Veronica Gonzales, were on hand last month to celebrate the Palace’s designation as a National Treasure.
Left to right: Trust Regional Vice President Barbara Pahl, President of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Jamie Clements, New Mexico Secretary of Cultural Affairs Veronica Gonzales, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Mexico Keith Gardner.

Left to right: Trust Regional Vice President Barbara Pahl, President of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Jamie Clements, New Mexico Secretary of Cultural Affairs Veronica Gonzales, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Mexico Keith Gardner.

The Palace was selected as a National Treasure because of its significance as a symbol of Spanish and Mexican culture in American history. The designation also highlights a now-common national theme of state-owned buildings falling into disrepair due to lack of investment during our recent recessions.

National Treasure designation is an important step forward as we work to raise awareness for much-needed funding that will address deterioration and deferred maintenance, and save this important piece of American history.

“The Palace of the Governors isn’t a magnificent palace building, but the history that it holds is magnificent,” says Kate Nelson, marketing manager for the Palace of the Governors. “This is the emblem of Spanish life in the Americas. This was where it all happened, and at a time in our history where we’re more aware of how many [groups] make up who we are as a people, this building tells an important story.”
A group of local middle school students tours the Palace during the National Treasure launch event.

A group of local middle school students tours the Palace during the National Treasure launch event.

Despite not officially becoming a state until 1912, New Mexico hosts much of our nation’s history. The state’s historic roots are among the deepest in the country, and the historic buildings of Santa Fe stand as living proof.

They also serve as a reminder that we have a responsibility to preserve it, so that 400 years from now, future generations can visit what we hope will still be the oldest continuously used public building in the United States.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Tom Wall is the Associate Manager of Community Outreach. His background includes television production, journalism, nonprofit communications, and marketing. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tom is a graduate of the George Washington University, with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Santa Fe’s Unexpected Colonial History BlogBeat zNew Headline

Sent by Dorinda Moreno

No European could enter Texas territory without  official authorization."

Rochin Refugio []
Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 11:14 AM
To: Jose Antonio Lopez

Dear Jose
I enjoyed your article, Of Missions and Presidos (Somos Primos, March, 2015 by Jose Antonio Lopez). 
Made me wonder more about the TEXAS border in the 1700’s. What defined Texas and what makes a place a Gateway? How was authorization carried out? Who cared?

I relate my question to your paragraph, to quote:  "Presidios, on the other hand, were entirely military and headed by Spanish Army officers. The first walled defensive presidio in New Spain was built in 1570. As the Spanish ventured north from Mexico City, the first garrison was built near Zacatecas to defend against hostile tribes. In a few years, dozens of presidios dotted the territory. As for Texas, the first one is Presidio San Juan Bautista del Rio Grande, completed in 1703 in present-day Guerrero, Coahuila, across from Eagle Pass, Texas. Because of its strategic location, it was called the “Gateway to Texas.” No European could enter Texas territory unless they first reported to San Juan Bautista to receive official authorization."

From: Jose Antonio Lopez []
Sent:  3/4/2015  
To: Refugio Rochin

I try to relate borders, boundaries, territories to reality.  Back in 1700, there were limited maps, few communities and wide open spaces for Native communities, I ask:  What defined, defended or lined the “border” - was there a geographic map and line of demarcation? Was there a portal for entry/exit?

Coincidentally, Cassie (my wife) and I drove 3 hours east from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona, the border between California, Arizona and Mexico. We stayed the night. 

I drove through Yuma dozens of times - from when I was a graduate student at the University of Arizona (1967-68) to present times to see my family in Phoenix. 

In all those years of driving through Yuma, I rarely stopped. It is desert, flat land, that serves Winter Snow Birders from cold mid-west, from November through Marck. All other times Yuma is very hot.

Cassie and I went to Yuma to look into Cassie’s family history. Her mother was born in this “Territory" but Cassie’s mother left there at age 5 with her mother. Cassie didn’t get to know her grand-father from Yuma. 

So - within a day our perceptions of Yuma and knowledge of her grand-father expanded. We went to a wonderful Library (surprised me) to search for files in a well-maintained archive with a gracious archivist. We not only found out that Cassie’s grand-father was the area Fire Chief (died in 1937) and served with distinction. We found his gravestone in a historical cemetery of the old west.

We went to Yuma's historical prison that was active during the 1800s and well into 1920s. We saw movie trailers about Yuma - several big time Westerns were filmed in Yuma and the prison was part of the scenery for gun fights, rescues, etc.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY - with regard to my question above - we saw what Yuma was in those times. 

Yuma was a bustling border area between Mexico and the territory of Arizona. It had several Native Indian groups as well as well-established city folk. People crossed the border because of its thriving economy - supplied by the Colorado River and supported by a cross country rail line that was added in the late 1980s.

More surprising, Yuma was seeing pictures of a once-wide Rio Colorado. Huge steamer ships transported huge amounts of supplies, building materials, train cars, etc. I saw Yuma like I never saw before.

I relate all this because the border town of Yuma was clearly different one hundred years ago. Today the Colorado River is a thin river that can run dry. It no longer reaches the Pacific Ocean via the Bay of Cortez. 

Yuma has transformed from a robust border town with steam ships to a desert town with Snow Birders who fill mobile parks con viejitos. 

I hope you can imagine like I do: What was the TEXAS border, boundary back in 1700?

Was the Texas border a fortress and small portal for provisions, settlers and soldiers? Was it known and respected as a place to register and get permission to enter TEXAS?

Best wishes and thanks for sharing your writing.

Jose Antonio Lopez  3/4/2015  To:

Refugio, thank you for your email. Sorry for the length of my response, but it’s important.

As to why San Juan Bautista (Rio Grande) Presidio (completed in 1703) is known as the “Gateway to Texas”, here’s my thoughts.

(l) Texas was born in 1691 with the naming of Domingo Terán de los Rios as its first governor (there were 30 in total from 1691-1821). Although Texas had a name, Coahuila was initially responsible for the region. Also, the Spanish did not populate it until the early 1700s. (San Antonio area, 1718; Los Adaes/Nacogdoches, 1721; La Bahia/Goliad, 1749). Also, Las Villas del Norte in Nuevo Santander (now part of Texas) were settled between 1749 and 1755.

(2) Totally agree with you re: “borders” in those days. For the record, Texas had four natural boundaries “más o menos”. (a) The Gulf of Mexico Coast; (b) the Red River on the Northeast; (c) the Sabine River to the East, and (4) the Nueces River to the South. Its Northern and Western borders were undeclared.

(3) Once Spain decided to settle the territory, the Viceroy decreed that all travelers to Texas had to process through the Presidio on the Rio Grande, hence the name, “Gateway to Texas”.

(4) As regards Mimi’s point referring to the lame rationale typically used by Anglophiles that the territory was unpopulated, nothing is farther from the truth. Historian John Francis Bannon puts it this way:

“The Anglo Americans who came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin were not in the true sense pioneers; they found not a wilderness but a society already in existence and a foreign power in possession; neither were the traders who came across the Great Plains.

Folk of European origin were already well established and had a society ready to do business. U.S. ships in the Pacific Coast, as well as mountain men and settlers, found the same type of thriving communities in California…

… The Borderlands story is a fundamental starting point for the comprehension of the problem of one of the nation’s contemporary minority groups – the Mexican Americans.

They are descendants of those sturdy Borderlanders of yesterday who made real contributions to that real, but somewhat nebulous thing called American civilization.”

Let me add the info that the U.S. Mexico was much more than just an imaginary line between the two sides. Beginning from the west, there was California, Nueva Navarra, Nuevo México, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Extremedura (Coahuila), Nuevo León, y Nuevo Santander. (Conventional history books don’t tell us that.)

(5) On an equally important vein, the reason such info isn't known better is that of course, mainstream history books pretend that Texas history begins in 1848 after the end of the U.S. Mexico War of 1846-48 and the arrival of the Anglos.

Bottom Line: Serious discussions regarding this important era are rare, sketchy, and at best blurry, because as I mentioned above, New Spain history has not as yet been accepted as part of mainstream US history. That’s what I write mostly about and helping to try and fix.

Saludos,  José Lopez

Editor Mimi: I also noted with great interest Jose's inclusion of the statement: No European could enter Texas territory unless they first reported to San Juan Bautista to receive official authorization."  I remembered reading about the strict laws to which Spanish citizens were to adhere in settling towns.  Described in Los Paisanos, Spanish Settlers on the Northern Frontier of New Spain (1979) by Oakah. L. Jones, Jr.  "To a far greater degree than any other colonizing powers in the New World the Spanish followed a system of land settlement and town planning formalized in written rules and regulations."  

The orderly fashion in which Spanish towns were settled contrasted sharply with the helter-skelter of the westward movement, people squatting on lands and property, regardless of ownership.    

Dr. Refugio Rochin, was the former director of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.  He has been designated as one of "America's Top 100 Influential Hispanics," by Hispanic Business magazine.    Dr. Rochin is a long-time leader in promoting innovation and change in higher education settings and a published author and internationally recognized expert in his field of economics and international development.



La escultura de Don Juan de Oñate en El Paso, Texas, busca hermanarse con una homóloga en Madrid

 Por José Antonio Crespo-Francés*

Desde antes de 1992 un grupo de entusiastas norteamericanos trabajan, de forma ilusionada y con el apoyo de mecenas privados, para estudiar, mantener y difundir el legado que hoy forma parte del pasado del suroeste de los Estados Unidos de América.

Los trabajos de la Fundación XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwestcomenzaron con el objetivo central de revitalizar la ciudad de El Paso en Tejas, reactivar el desarrollo económico, el turismo y la calidad de vida. El monumento es un homenaje a través de la escultura a la historia que honra a unos hombres y mujeres y la diversidad cultural con la que contribuyeron al desarrollo histórico de la ciudad y de la región. La Fundación se propone la erección de doce esculturas en broce que dramaticen la historia de El Paso y del suroeste norteamericano.

En el mes de abril, previo a las celebraciones de día 30 de ese mes de 1998 (400 aniversario de la fundación de Nuevo México por el Capitán General y Gobernador Don Juan de Oñate, antecedente norteamericano de la Guardia Nacional) tuve la oportunidad de conocer personalmente, a través de Don Manuel Gullón de Oñate, tanto al maravilloso artista John S. Houser, como al Honorable Cónsul de España en el Paso, señor Sheldom Hall (†), quien desde años antes había tenido la iniciativa, de forma privada, de recorrer y promocionar en colegios y centros educativos de muchos de los estados que componen ese inmenso país para mostrar y explicar lo que fue el Primer Día de Acción de Gracias Español (The First Thanksgiving Spanish Day) anterior al de los peregrinos de Virginia.

A partir de 1992 comenzó su andadura la Fundación Memorial XII Travelers del Suroeste, XII Travelers.

Memorial of the Southwest, Inc., como organización sin ánimo de lucro, cuya mesa directiva presidía en ese momento Keith James (executive board of directors) que contaba con Antonio P. Piña como miembro de la mesa de asesores, se marcó como objetivo la pretensión de recordar dentro de un ambicioso proyecto el legado de aquel territorio mediante una serie de esculturas conmemorativas, en este caso al que nos referimos a través de una escultura grandiosa, en honor de Juan de Oñate Primer Gobernador y Capitán General de Nuevo México, primero en la lista de sus Gobernadores, elaborada por el artista John S. Houser y que nos habla de la historia de la Ciudad de El Paso en Tejas.

Esta obra y la Fundación trata de promover y recordar la rica herencia, la diversidad cultural, y la atracción hacia las tierras de El Paso del Norte y territorios circundantes, que dan entrada a lo que fue el gran suroeste español que iba de Tejas, pasando por Nuevo México, Colorado y Arizona hasta California, y de esa manera llamar la atención del público en general, estudiantes, educadores, visitantes, artistas y amantes del arte, e historiadores.

John S. Houser y Ethan Taliesin Houser. En esta foto se puede apreciar el colosal tamaño de la estatua dedicada en memoria de Juan de Oñate en la ciudad norteamericano de El Paso, en Texas. Se trata de la estatua ecuestre  de bronce más grande del mundo obra del escultor John Sherrill Houser, que fue realizada entre 1997 y 2006, con 18 toneladas de peso y 10 metros de altura. El monumento fue inaugurado en abril de 2007, momento aprovechado por algunos descendientes de los indios Acoma para protestar por la erección de la estatua, manipulados claramente por los enemigos de la cultura española que bien podrían recordar el genocidio sistemático cometido en Norteamérica contra los pueblos indígenas. Sin duda existió crueldad, como en toda guerra de conquista, pero también hay que señalar que eran apenas dos centenares de soldados españoles en un territorio hostil, con miles de indios que podían acabar con ellos si se unían, fue una cuestión de supervivencia. No es fácil juzgar los actos de los hombres en circunstancias fuera de tiempo y lugar. Ahora Houser y un grupo de entusiastas buscan un lugar en España donde emplazar una reproducción exactamente igual en tamaño como homenaje a nuestro explorador.

Una grandiosa escultura ecuestre de Don Juan de Oñate, explorador y colonizador novohispano de los siglos XVI y XVII, fue instalada en la ciudad estadounidense de El Paso, Texas, en octubre de 2006, como la segunda de doce esculturas en bronce que se pretenden erigir dramatizando la historia de esta ciudad y del suroeste norteamericano.

Un martes lluvioso, precisamente el día 24 octubre de 2006, la estatua ecuestre de Don Juan de Oñate a caballo fue descendida lentamente por dos grúas sobre la base del monumento a la entrada del aeropuerto de El Paso, obras de exquisita manufactura del escultor John Sherrill Houser y su asociado, Ethan Taliesin Houser. La estatua de bronce de 16 toneladas de peso, 36 pies de altura, unos 11 metros, fue anclada fuertemente a una base cimentada de casi tres metros por el equipo de la fundición Eagle Bronze Foundry. Este acontecimiento trascendental, culminó 8 años de esfuerzo en su delicada elaboración más dos años para llevar a cabo su fundición e instalación, lo que hace un total de 10 años.

Los ciudadanos de El Paso, las autoridades civiles, personal del aeropuerto, viajeros y curiosos quedaron impresionados por la fuerza y majestad del bronce. El proceso de instalación se prolongó durante ocho días, del 24 al 31 de octubre. La comisión de la Fundación XII Travelers fraguó la conjunción de esfuerzos entre la ciudad de El Paso, el departamento de aviación, y el sector privado. Finalmente el jinete fue dedicado e inaugurado el sábado 21 de abril de 2007.

Esta Fundación se propone, en un gesto similar al de la torre Eiffel entre París y Nueva York, como agradecimiento a España y al pueblo español, cree que el territorio de la Comunidad de Madrid es la representación capital de todas las comunidades españolas, y sería el lugar idóneo para la erección de una estatua gemela a la de El Paso que mantenga y recuerde el hermanamiento de las gentes y las culturas de ambos lados del océano para con ello reactivar una corriente permanente de intercambio en un canal de doble dirección en todos los campos, desde el cultural e histórico, al turístico y económico.

Sobre el lugar idóneo se pueden citar muchos lugares, la propia capital Madrid, o la bella Aranjuez que fue protagonista en primera persona de todo lo que tuvo que ver con América desde los Austrias hasta Carlos III y las ayudas a los patriotas norteamericanos para la Independencia.

*José Antonio Crespo-Francés es Coronel de Infantería en situación de Reserva. 




A la izquierda escultor John Houser esculpiendo la 
obra y a la derecha escultura al amanecer

Detalle de la escultura. Emplazamiento


October 8-10, 2015: 36th Annual Texas Hispanic Genealogical & Historical Conference
Documenting the Legacy of Cesar Estrada Chavez, Fort Worth Exhibition
Unveiling of  a cenotaph honoring José Antonio Navarro
Flags of the Texas Revolution
Texas Independence Day, March 2, 1836 : Happy 179th Birthday, Texas!
George C. Childress
March 5th, 1842 -- Mexican Army captures San Antonio; Republic of Texas totters
April 11th: Green Flag Republic, Celebrating the First Texas Republic,
March 12th, 1836 -- Falvel given command of privateer vessel, the Flash
Identifying the Alamo by José Antonio López  
Preserving Early Texas History,  Zapata by Jose Antonio Lopez
March 3rd, 1898 – Prominent black Texas political leaders dies
The French Connection  to the Alamo



1000 Zaragoza St., Laredo, Texas 78041(956) 722-1701($99.00 + tax per room- one to four persons per room-breakfast included)For this room fee request Villa San Agustin de Laredo Genealogical Society and speak to Mara Maldonado or e-mail her at ) Registration Fee: $75.00 per person: (after September 1, 2015)-$85.00 Program events include Las Villas del Norte Tour, Lectures, Cine Mejicano, Lively entertainment, and a Taste of Laredo. For additional information contact: Sanjuanita Martinez-Hunter Ph.D (956) 722-3497, or vmayers.


April 14: Fort Worth Exhibition & Talk
Reception, speakers, music, refreshments

Documenting the Legacy of
Cesar Estrada Chavez


Jesús Manuel Mena Garza, Photographer
Exhibitions, communication and education
Fort Worth, Texas USA
682.365.8702 EMail 
Garza's Website

Sent by Jesús Manuel Mena Garza 

Unveiling of  a cenotaph honoring José Antonio Navarro, 
Texas State Cemetery, Austin, February 27, 2015
A native Texan and revolutionary patriot.

“He was highly respected by his peers, intelligent, had a deep love for Texas and freedom and was the most influential Tejano of his generation,” said Sylvia Tillotson, on the right, with family members.  Sylvia is a descendent of Navarro and an organizer of the monument project.“When I first visited the State Texas Cemetery about four years ago, I wondered why Navarro wasn't buried there. That's when the idea was first born and thoughts of a monument in his honor began to take root.”Navarro was instrumental in allowing settlers from the United States to immigrate to Texas. He formed a strong friendship with Stephen F. Austin and helped the fledgling Republic get on its feet. He signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and suffered for his vision. He was imprisoned in Mexico after the Sante Fe Expedition and was sentenced to death, but never renounced his allegiance to Texas. He eventually escaped and went on to support Texas’s annexation into the United States, helping to draft the state constitution. He served in both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate. Throughout his life he championed the idea of Texas and tried to protect Tejano rights.

“He is one of Texas’s true founding fathers,” said Will Erwin, historian at the State Cemetery. “He was there at just about every great decision point in the history of the Republic and the State. It is appropriate that he has a monument at the State Cemetery and we will be proud to have it.”

The Texas State Cemetery hosts 20,000 school children a year and about 5,000 adults. With a prominent spot in the Cemetery’s oldest and most prestigious areas, the Navarro Cenotaph will be seen by school children and visitors alike.

The monument dedication took  place at 11 a.m. Dignitaries who spoke at the dedication include The First Lady of Texas, Cecilia Abbott; Carlos Cascos, Designate- Secretary of State; Senator Don Huffines, Rep. Jason Villalba and Senator Leticia Van de Putte. Dignitaries, Navarro descendants, friends, and invited guests will be in attendance to honor a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and the only native-born Texan to help write the Texas constitution.

City of Corsicana Officials 

Master of Ceremony historian Dr. Felix D. Almaraz, above photos.   

To view the ceremony go to: 

Braving cold weather and strong winds, a crowd of several hundred gathered at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin this morning to unveil a cenotaph honoring José Antonio Navarro. Though the statesman’s remains are interred in San Antonio, the newly-installed marker permanently honors the signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence in the place where many other Lone Star heroes and dignitaries are buried. This is the first monument to Navarro in Austin.

A 2014 grant from the Texas Historical Foundation helped fund the completion and installation of the cenotaph.

Texas Historical Foudation’s contribution was acknowledged from the podium and in the event program. Foundation board member and Navarro’s great-great-great granddaughter Sylvia Navarro Tillotson, of Dallas, spearheaded the event, which included remarks from politicians, historians, and First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott. 
Representing the Texas Historical Foundation this morning were Tillotson, Board President David Martinez, Directors Elizabeth Susser, Pat Rayes, and Shannon Callewart, and staff members Gene Krane and Bonnie Tipton Wilson.



For more photos, go to: 
(1) Dustin Meyer Photography and (2) Dropbox 

 Navarro Genealogical Research

In 1976, Mrs. Gloria Cadena, widow of Judge Carlos Cadena and founder of the Los Bexareños Genealogical Society, together with Mr. John Ogden Leal, the Bexar County Archivist, began translating the San Fernando Cathedral baptismal, marriage and death records.

Starting with the oldest records, Mr. Leal completed 2,400 pages of translations (1731-1898) before he died in 2004. This extensive set of translations allowed the development of a documented genealogy of the 
descendants and relatives of José Antonio Navarro.  From 1991 to 1997, Mrs. Angelina Ogden Flores 
Gerdes extracted the Navarro and Ruiz genealogy 
from the San Fernando Cathedral translations and furnished copies of A Navarro Family Heritage to descendants. In 1996, the Los Bexareños Genealogical Society began renting the two story corner building of the Casa Navarro State Historic Site.

The Casa Navarro State Historic Site is located at 228 South Laredo Street in downtown San Antonio. In December 2005, the Friends of Casa Navarro was formed with Sylvia Navarro Tillotson, president. In 2007, the Los Bexareños Genealogical Society vacated Casa Navarro to accommodate the Renewal Project, and in 2008, Casa Navarro was transferred from the Texas Parks & Wildlife to the Texas Historical Commission. .

Source: Los Bexarenos Genealogical Society e-Newsletter,   March 2015, Volume 4, Issue 3.
This LBGHS e-newsletter has considerable Navarro genealogical information. 
Contact: Sylvia Morales  
(210) 291-7702


Our richly detailed flags are keepsakes that make stunning additions to homes, offices, and board rooms. They also make the perfect gift for any Texas history lover. All Flags are on sale and ship for free.

The unique history of Texas has produced heroic leaders and truly epic stories. The flags carried in the fight for a free Texas and the independent Republic of Texas shine as hallmarks for the can-do spirit known throughtout the world as uniquely Texan.  _3_3_22_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e1e089ded4-7d71318407-174501321&mc_cid=7d71318407&mc_eid=18cc48cd42 

March 19th, 1697 - Spanish priest and chronicler of Texas enters Franciscan order 


On this day in 1697, future Texas chronicler Isidro Félix de Espinosa was professed as a novice at the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, a Franciscan missionary institution in Mexico. He probably arrived in Texas in 1703. Espinosa's missionary activities in Texas included his participation in several expeditions. Dubbed the "Julius Caesar of the Faith in New Spain" because he worked by day and wrote all night, Espinosa left behind several works on early Texas, including a biography of his friend Antonio Margil de Jesús. Espinosa's Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España has been called the "most important contemporary account of the Franciscans in Texas."

Source: online Texas State Historical Society   Day by Day 

Texas Independence Day:
March 2,1836, Happy 179th Birthday, Texas! 

On this day, March 2,1836, Texas became a republic. On March 1, delegates from the seventeen Mexican municipalities of Texas and the settlement of Pecan Point met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to consider independence from Mexico. George C. Childress presented a resolution calling for independence, and the chairman of the convention appointed Childress to head a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. The committee consisted of: George C. Childress, James Gaines, Edward Conrad, Collin McKinney, and Bailey Hardeman [Mimi: Hum m . .  not a Spanish surname in the group.] Childress was named chairman, and it is generally conceded that he wrote the instrument with little help from the other members. In fact, there is some evidence that he brought to the convention a proposed declaration that was adopted with little change by the committee and the convention This view is substantiated by the fact that the committee was appointed on March 1, and the declaration was presented to the convention on March 2. 

The Texas edict, like the United States Declaration of Independence, contains a statement on the nature of government, a list of grievances, and a final declaration of independence. The separation from Mexico was justified by a brief philosophical argument and by a list of grievances. The declaration charged that the government of Mexico had ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people; that it had been changed from a restricted federal republic to a consolidated, central, military despotism; that the people of Texas had remonstrated against the misdeeds of the government only to have their agents thrown into dungeons and armies sent forth to enforce the decrees of the new government at the point of the bayonet; that the welfare of Texas had been sacrificed to that of Coahuila; that the government had failed to provide a system of public education, trial by jury, freedom of religion, and other essentials of good government; and that the Indians had been incited to massacre the settlers. According to the declaration, the Mexican government had invaded Texas to lay waste to the territory and had a large mercenary army advancing to carry on a war of extermination. The final grievance, listed in justification of revolution, charged that the Mexican government had been "the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrannical government." After the signing of the original declaration by fifty-nine delegates, five copies of the document were dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. The printer at San Felipe was also instructed to make 1,000 copies in handbill form. The original was deposited with the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C., and was not returned to Texas until some time after June, 1896. [Note: 60 years later.] We hope that you enjoy this insight into the lives of the early days of Texas. Own a piece of Texas history, and share the spirit of the Legacy of Texas! 

Source: Texas State Historical Association, Day by Day 

George C. Childress

Childress was born in Nashville, Tennessee January 8, 1804 to John Childress and Elizabeth Robertson. In 1826 he attended and graduated from Davidson Academy. Two years later, he was admitted to the Tennessee Bar. George C. Childress studied law for two years later he became chief editor for the Nashville Banner which he remained for 10 years. 

After spending some time raising money and volunteers in Tennessee for the Texas army, Childress left permanently for Texas. He arrived at the Red River on December 13, 1835, then illegally crossed the Red River into the nation of Mexico in violation of the Law of April 6, 1830. 

On March 19, 1836, Childress and Robert Hamilton were sent to the United States to gain recognition of the new Republic of Texas.  

Childress attempted three times, in 1837, 1839 and 1841, to start his own law practice, but each attempt failed. In despair at his fortunes, on October 6, 1841 while living in Galveston, Childress took a Bowie knife and committed suicide by cutting open his heart. 


March 5th, 1842 -- Mexican Army captures San Antonio; Republic of Texas totters  

On this day in 1842, Mexican general Ráfael Vásquez, with 700 soldiers, occupied San Antonio. Unable to raise an army in time to resist this invasion, the Texans surrendered and evacuated the town without a fight. Vásquez raised the Mexican flag over the town, and declared Mexican laws in effect. On March 9 the Mexican army abandoned San Antonio and began to withdraw to Mexico. The incident was part of a series of raids and counter-raids in 1842 as Mexico sought to recover Texas and the Texans fought to maintain their independence.

Source: Texas State Historical Association, Day by Day 


April 11th at 1PM: Green Flag Republic, Celebrating the First Texas Republic

Celebrating the First Texas Republic
The public is invited to the annual celebration of the Green Flag Republic founded by our Tejano ancestors under the leadership of Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara y Uribe Saturday April 11th at 1PM at the Spanish Governors Palace in downtown San Antonio . Last year in House Resolution 709 the 83rd Texas State Legislature officially recognized the fact that Texas has been a Republic twice; March 2nd 1836 and April 6th, 1813 . This part of Tejano History will be taught in Texas schools in the 7th grade which makes it now more important than ever that we teach our children the real story of Texas , not the myths, legends or fairy tales.
On August 7th 1812 the Republican Army of the North as they called themselves crossed the Sabine River with a mission to drive out all Spaniards out of Texas and create a Republic. Crossing the Sabine River with the Emerald Green Flag were 148 US Citizens and 152 Tejano volunteers. This Green Flag would fly over Texas for a year and eleven days and the army would grow to over 1400 strong; 900Tejanos, 300 US Citizens and about 200 Lipan Apaches and defeated the Spanish in every battle and every skirmish. On April 6th 1813 Texas would have its first written Declaration of Independence creating the First Republic of Texas, followed 10 days later with the first written Constitution.
Join us now for this historical and educational event. There will be speeches and possibly some entertainment. SCHEDULED TO SPEAK; City Council member Rebecca Villagran
It is a free event and you are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Dan Arellano Author /Historian
President Battle of Medina Historical Society

March 12th, 1836 -- Falvel given command of privateer vessel, the Flash

On this day in 1836, Luke A. Falvel was commissioned captain of the Flash. On the same day, the crew was sworn in. The vessel was a privateer fitted out for service in the Texas Revolution. Privateers, private ships carrying letters of marque from the Republic of Texas, were used to supplement the small Texas Navy. The Flash was ordered to proceed to the Brazos River to pick up victims of the Runaway Scrape, take them to Morgan's Point, and defend that place in case of a Mexican attack. The ship sailed on several more missions before it ran aground and was lost in May 1837.

Source: Texas State Historical Association, Day by Day 

Identifying the Alamo by José Antonio López  
March 3, 2015  

Earlier this year, a ceremony was held in downtown San Antonio featuring a small cannon “thought” to have been fired at the 1836 Battle of the Álamo.  

It is the latest artifact that regardless of its origins, those in charge insist on placing it in Mission San Antonio de Valero, a structure they mistakenly call the “Álamo.” In truth, it was Presidio San Antonio de Béxar that was nicknamed the “Álamo,” and it was done for a very practical reason.  

By way of history, Álamo de Parras, Coahuila was home to the Compañía Volante (Flying Squadron) soldiers and their families stationed at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar in the early 1800s. That is, the troops were stationed at the presidio (military post), not the mission (church). Local inhabitants (Bexareños) referred to the presidio compound as “El lugar donde vive la gente de Álamo de Parras” (The place where the people from Álamo de Parras, Coahuila live). Soon, Bexareños shortened the long phrase to “El Álamo”, meaning the Presidio. As such, the term “Álamo” has organic roots to Coahuila, not Texas.  

Since 1848, conventional historians in the U.S. have attempted to force-fit the 1836 Texas battle into U.S. history by describing it as equal to, for example, the Battle of Concord in the U.S. The comparison is incompatible. Battles of the U.S. War of Independence happened in New England, while the 1836 Battle of the Álamo happened in New Spain. Specifically, in soil of the sovereign nation of Mexico. Keep this key point in perspective, because remember that Mexico did not lose Texas (including South Texas and the Southwest) to the U.S. until 1848.  

The question is, how come certain civic groups, media, and tourist agencies ignore historical facts? Contrary to their prevailing perception, that is, missions and presidios are not equivalent in purpose or deed.  

It is a matter of record that contact between these two Spanish institutions in America was mostly always contentious. Thus, the viceroy forever acted as the referee in constant disputes between catholic bishops and presidio commanders. The reason is that Spanish missions and presidios in America had distinguishing characteristics that set them totally opposed to each other. Clearly, in dealing with Native Americans, the padres relied on benevolence, while contact with presidio captains usually resulted in violence. See below for a comparison between the two entities.  

Missions were entirely religious in nature. Headed by Roman Catholic clergy, missions were set up with only one special assignment. That is, to Christianize Native Americans. Setting them further apart from military presidios, missions were (are) houses of worship. Their “mission” was complete when the local indigenous population they were assigned to serve became Christians. Once that was determined, the structure was secularized (made into a regular church or closed as a religious institution).  

The list of Texas missions (built in the late 1600s to mid-1700s) is long. In his book, “Spanish Texas, 1519-1821,” author Don Chipman writes that San Francisco de los Tejas in East Texas was the first mission; with Roman Catholic Mass celebrated on June 1, 1690.  

Also included are Santísimo Nombre de Maria, San José de los Nazonís, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, San Miguel de los Adaes, San Antonio de Valero (formerly San Francisco Solano), Concepción, Espada, San José, San Juan, San Francisco Xavier, San Ildefonso, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, and Espíritu Santo. San Bernardo and San Juan Bautista, located in present-day Coahuila also served Native Americans from Texas.  

Thus, as regards this latest display of a cannon within the mission, the heavenly choir of padres who served in Mission San Antonio de Valero must be horrified to see military weapons in their religious sanctuary.  

Presidios, on the other hand, were entirely military and headed by Spanish Army officers. The first walled defensive presidio in New Spain was built in 1570. As the Spanish ventured north from Mexico City, the first garrison was built near Zacatecas to defend against hostile tribes. In a few years, dozens of presidios dotted the territory. As for Texas, the first one is Presidio San Juan Bautista del Rio Grande, completed in 1703 in present-day Guerrero, Coahuila, across from Eagle Pass, Texas. Because of its strategic location, it was called the “Gateway to Texas.” No European could enter Texas territory unless they first reported to San Juan Bautista to receive official authorization.  

Interaction between the military and indigenous tribes was usually confrontational. Thus, few local Indios lived within the confines of the presidio. Initially and as a precaution only presidial soldiers and their families lived inside the compound. As the presidios outgrew their confining walls, they gave root to the region’s first towns in early Texas. By that time, most indigenous people had adopted Christianity. Intermarrying into Spanish European society, trying to avoid hostile tribes, and/or seeking trade opportunities/employment, local Indios were finally absorbed as part of the community, giving birth to today’s Mexican-descent Texans.  

Other presidios in Texas established in the early 1700s include San Antonio de Béxar, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Nuestra Señora de Loreto (La Bahia), Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Presidio San Sabá (San Luis de las Amarillas), San Gabriel, and San Xavier. Many others remained in the planning stage.  

Thus as integral parts, Missions and Presidios embrace much of the story of early Texas. Lest we forget, they are the source of the first Spanish European and Mexican footprints in Texas, whose realm extended from west to east Texas. Connected by the Camino Real system of roads, they initiated most of the modern-day communities dotting the landscape. Many of these sites (as well as rivers and regions) have Spanish names, Anglicized Spanish names, or were renamed in English.  

In summary, the following facts are worth reinforcing. (l) Make visitors aware that Presidio San Antonio de Béxar is the place that Bexareños tagged as the “Álamo, not Mission San Antonio de Valero. Concede that the presidio was the victim of pure capitalism. It no longer exists, because city leaders tore the presidio down for commercial development. (2) The 1836 Texas battles (Álamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto) are a chronological chapter in the history of Mexico, not the U.S. (3) Nowhere else in history has one ethnic group robbed another group of its heritage to embellish its own. Yet, that’s what has been done to Mission San Antonio de Valero and La Bahia Presidio.  

Lastly, the general public must be told the truth. The building called “The Álamo” is in fact a religious sanctuary. Yes, the structure is a “shrine,” but not one referring to the 1836 battle. Rather, just like other houses of prayer, its image, form, and function is clearly peaceful, not of conflict. It’s a Roman Catholic church, not a fort. Pre-1848 Texas historic structures must no longer be marketed only because armed Anglo expatriates from the U.S. died there. It’s time to honor them for their strength, beauty, and creativity of their Spanish Mexican builders. ¡Viva San Antonio de Valero! ¡Viva Texas!



“Preserving Early Texas History”  March 7, 2015, Zapata 
by Jose Antonio Lopez

Mimi, on March 7, 2015, Cordy and I were invited by the Nuevo Santander Genealogical Society (La Sociedad Genealógica del Nuevo Santander) in Zapata, Texas, where I gave a presentation entitled, “Preserving Early Texas History”. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, because since we were both born and raised in Laredo, Zapata always seems like going home because it adds meaning to the phrase “Somos Primos and Primas”..

Although the area’s significance in our state’s history is not well known outside South Texas, Zapata and the surrounding area is rich in history (Rancho El Uribeño, Roma, Falcón, Lopeño, Ramireño, Rancho Carnestolendas (now Rio Grande City), for example). 

Equally important, the bi-national community of Guerrero, Tamaulipas/Zapata, Texas is the birthplace of José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara Uribe, the first President of Texas. It must be noted that South Texas was then part of the state of Nuevo Santander (now Tamaulipas) and not Texas. It did not become part of Texas until 1848, when the U.S. took over half of Mexico’s sovereign territory after the U.S. Mexico War of 1846-48. 

By way of background, in responding to Father Miguel Hidalgo’s call for Mexico’s independence, Don Bernardo is the one who lit the spark leading to the first Texas independence in 1813. The torch of liberty was then carried to Texas. In short, the heavy lifting, sacrificing, and dying for Texas independence began with the Spanish Mexican founders of Las Villas del Norte. In short, Sam Houston took over a work in progress. 

A couple of additional tidbits on Zapata’s history are as follow:

Question 1. What do Spanish shipwreck survivor Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, naturalist painter John James Audubon, U.S. Army General John J. Pershing, and U.S. President (General) Zachary Taylor have in common? They all visited the area now known as Zapata & South Texas. 

Question 2. What do the Zapata-Guerrero International Bridge & the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado (highest bridge in the U.S.) have in common? They were both built by the same builder (George Cole). There’s much more that prove the Spanish Mexican roots of Texas run deep.

As such, I remind you and fans of Somos Primos that the Villa de San Agustín de Laredo Genealogical Society (VSALGS) is hosting the next Texas State Hispanic Genealogical and History Conference in Laredo, Texas, October 8-11, 2015. The Nuevo Santander Genealogical Society is also involved in helping to make it a great success. Please do plan to attend.


José Antonio López 

March 3rd, 1898 – Prominent black Texas political leaders dies
On this day in 1898, Norris Wright Cuney, Texas politician, died in San Antonio. Born to a white planter father, Philip Minor Cuney, and a slave mother, Adeline Stuart, in 1846 near Hempstead, Texas, Cuney was educated in Pennsylvania. After the Civil War Cuney studied law and was appointed president of the Galveston Union League in 1871. In 1873 he was appointed secretary of the Republican State Executive Committee. Over the next twenty-odd years he held a number of important positions in the Republican Party. In 1886 he became Texas national committeeman of the Republican party, the most important political position given to a southern black man in the nineteenth century. One historian of the Republican party in Texas characterizes the period between 1884 and 1896 as the "Cuney Era." Among his achievements was the organization of the Screwmen's Benevolent Association and he was a supporter of the black state college at Prairie View (now Prairie View A&M University). Maud Cuney-Hare, the noted musicologist, was his daughter.

Source: Texas State Historical Association, Day by Day 

The French Connection to the Alamo
Dan Arellano

This is my current (condensed) lecture at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. Since the La Belle exhibit
is drawing huge crowds I decided to encourage people to attend my lecture by making a connection to mission San Francisco de Solano which would become known as the Alamo. In the film clip being shown there is a mention of Spanish soldiers being sent in 1689 to seek and destroy Fort St Louis. What they forget to mention is that these soldiers were led by General Alonso de Leon. He and Father Damien Massanet would write in their journals that when they arrived the Karankwa Indians had already accomplished their mission and that they discovered the remains of a French lady with an arrow still stuck in her back. Being that they were all Catholics they would gather all of the remains and buried them in a common grave. La Salle is remembered because of the La Belle but
unfortunately, another Frenchman that had no boat for us to discover 300 years later and played a much bigger role was Louis Juchereau de St Denis, has been lost to history. 

St Denis would arrive at San Juan Bautista now known as Guerrero Coahuila Mexico, in 1714, where Mission San Francisco de Solano was located with two of the La Belle survivors; Pierre Talon and his brother. They had been living amongst the Karankwas for over 25 years and can you imagine the tan they must have had living in the South Texas sun for over 25 years, were mistaken as Indian. 

Going so far as tattooing their faces; however they are all immediately arrested by Spanish authorities with St Denis placed under house arrest and accommodated by the Governor himself. The governor however had a beautiful grand daughter and St Denis would fall in love. In the meantime St Denis manages to convince the Spanish Cortes that he wishes to become a Spanish citizen he is after all, marrying the Governors Granddaughter. (Long romantic
story they have 10 kids and eventually live in Louisiana) St Denis would become a procuring agent authorized by the Viceroy to secure volunteers and to buy the needed supplies for the first permanent colony in Texas which would be led by Diego and Domingo Ramon in 1716 with St Denis as their guide to San Antonio. St Denis is
remembered as the founder of Natchitoches and streets are named after him in Quebec and Montreal unfortunately he is not remembered here and that’s a shame.

In 1718 Mission San Francisco de Solano would be permanently closed and moved to the banks of San Pedro creek and renamed Mission San Antonio de Valero, still not known as the Alamo. In 1803 La Segunda Compania Volente del Alamo de Parras, which included my gggggGrandfather would be sent to Mission Valero and would be stationed there for over thirty years. Eventually the Valero name would be forgotten and the Alamo name was
adopted and that is the reason it is called the Alamo to this day. I will be writing in much more detail on the Alamo de Parras Companyat a later time. For know let us learn from where the Alamo came from and be proud of our Tejano ancestors.

Dan Arellano Author/ Historian
Our Mission: To preserve, promote and protect Tejano History


 by Gloria Candelaria
de Rodriguez

Gabriel1.jpgI spoke with Mr. Gabriel Rodriguez in Houston, Texas, at his home where he lived alone, when he was about 70 years old. I asked him when and where he was born, and his reply was "No, the town I was born in does not exist anymore." Of course I asked what the name of the town was so I could look it up and he replied "it was called la Bahia." Well! I told him La Bahia used to be called that but it was also called GOLIAD, TEXAS. He said he was born there and he remembered his mother, but never knew his father. His mother was a Rodriguez, and he said the last time he saw his mother she was sitting on a huge white horse, behind a man who had a huge sombrero on him, and she had "belts of bullets" strapped around her body. She told her son she and her man were going to fight the "rebels" in Mexico and she would come back for him.  
His mother was was referring to PANCHO VILLA and his supporters who seized hacienda land for distribution to peasants and soldiers. He robbed and commandeered trains and, like the other revolutionary generals, printed fiat money to pay for his cause. Villa's men and supporters became known as Villistas during the revolution from 1910 to roughly 1920. 
(NOTE: November 20 is the day the Mexican Revolution which is celebrated: that long war (1910-1920) that ended the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and began a new age for Mexico. Every year it seems we only celebrate the heroes: Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, and the politicians: Francisco Madero and Venustiano Carranza. 

Gabriel7LaAdelipas.jpgBut the heroes we tend to forget are the Soldaderas, the women of the Mexican Revolution who fought right alongside the men. The name Soldadera comes from the Spanish soldada, which is a term used to define the payment to the person who cares for soldiers. During the Mexican Revolution there were two types of Soldaderas. There were the female soldiers, and there were the majority of the Soldaderas—the woman who accompanied the soldiers but was not soldiers themselves. The fighting, or soldier Soldadera, usually belonged to a roving column of rebels fighting against government troops. Many of them had to dress like men, act like men, ride horses, march and fight like any of the other revolutionaries. While few names of Soldaderas exist, there is a classic corrido from the Mexican Revolution called, La Adelita. This famous song plays homage to all the Soldaderas, and tells the story of Adelita, who is in love with a sergeant, and he with her. Adelita is beautiful and brave; she has even earned the respect of the colonel. The song is a powerful ballad of love, bravery and patriotism.) 

GabrielSS 001.jpgIn the meantime, Gabriel lived with the family named RUBALCAO. She entrusted them with her young son until she returned -- she never did.  And he does not know what happened to her. I went on the information he had given me, and checked the birth records of Goliad and found an entry of a Rodriguez woman, giving birth to a male child in March, 1903, in Goliad.  The child was not named, nor was the father’s name given.  But the mother’s name was what Gabriel told me his mother’s name had been.   I assumed it was Gabriel's birth record. In later research I found Gabriel living with the RUBALCAO family in the 1920 census records.  The family was living in DeWitt County on January 22, 1920 when the census was taken.  There was Juan Rubalcado, 45 years old, and his wife, Feliciana, 41 years old.  The children at home were Isidro Rubalcado, 18 years old, Gabriel RUBALCADO, 14 years old (born circa 1905), Albert Rubalcado, also 14 years old, sisters, Carlotta Rubalcado, 9 years old, and Tomasita. Age 5.  At this time I decided to apply for Gabriel’s Social Security application which would name his parents and birth information.  What I found was shocking!  It named his RUBALCAO family as his parents, and gave his birth date as March 25, 1903.  He worked as a laborer at odd jobs.  It did not mention that he was a preacher.   

According to my mother-in-law, Lupe Sanchez, this is how that worked out.   Gabriel grew into a young and handsome young man. He attracted several people with his speech, and found he had a natural ability to be an Evangelist. He was preaching and travelling from town to town, which is not surprising, because in the early 1930s, there was only manual labor, picking cotton, and basically non-employment. The popular image of the Twenties is that of a "roaring" era, replete with "flappers," Fords, raccoon coats, jazz, movies and radio, speakeasies, Florida real estate promotions, mail-order stock schemes, bootleggers, gangsters like Al Capone, flamboyant preachers, and the "Lone Eagle," Charles A. Lindbergh. 
Gabriel5Cotton.jpgAccording to Wikipedia, Although there was a steady stream of Mexican immigration into Texas during the 1890s, the flood began about 1920. According to the census figures, the number of people of Mexican descent in the state increased in 1930, when 38.4 percent of them were foreign-born. Large numbers came across the border during World War I, and in the postwar period another heavy influx occurred. The rapid expansion of Texas agriculture was primarily responsible for the migration of Mexicans from 1900 to 1930. ‘Cotton picking suits the Mexican,’ was the unanimous opinion of Texas growers. Farming areas in Texas between 1910 and 1930 came about by the opening of new irrigation projects and the availability of cheap Mexican labor, the Literary Digest judged, ‘The Mexican has put Texas on the map agriculturally.’ In a completely unorganized labor market, white, black, and Hispanic agricultural workers roamed throughout the vast reaches of Texas trying to pick up temporary employment. Because Mexicans moved readily from area to area and were available in any numbers desired, they rapidly displaced both black and white tenants and farm laborers. "There is a bird in Texas," a Mexican said, "called the road-runner, which cannot be like other birds, although it has wings. It stays on the ground and dodges in and out of the brush. The bird reminds us of our humble selves so much that we call it the paisano, which means countryman." Immigration authority Carey McWilliams remarked, "To the road-runner, as to the Mexican, `the next field, the next season, always looks as if it might be better.’" 

So it was with Gabriel.  He was not happy working in the fields, and as the critics wrote, Gabriel was one of the “flamboyant preacher.”  Most of his sermons were in Spanish to the cotton-picking crowds who truly loved him.  One of his frequently stops was to the home of Annie Garza and Florencio Sanchez, passionate Christians, who had a brew of boys and only one daughter: Guadalupe. Because she was of age, and there were so many in the home, Annie willingly gave permission for her daughter, Lupe, to marry this “fine Evangelist with a golden tongue."  The couple married in Yoakum, Dewitt County, and a year later when the 1930 census was taken in January, 1930, the couple had a son named Jose, a few months old, in their home. 

           Maybe the Evangelist got carried away to another area nearby because within four years or so he was gone from the home and already committed to marry another woman, Nasaria "Sally" Flores, a beautiful Spanish woman with bright blue eyes [which she passed on to her children].  Guadalupe, however, went astray and became involved with an admiring neighbor named Barela. Lupe was a single woman now, with not one, but two young babies at home.  Joel, a second son, was born to her in 1931.  As a single mom, she cared for her invalid and widowed mother, Annie, who suffered because she had lost both legs from the knee down to a disease called Diabetes, and was restricted to a wheelchair [actually, the “wheelchair” was a wooden kitchen chair with rollers attached to the bottom, manufactured by a neighbor.]  Lupe eventually became enamored with Barela, and love has a way around obstacles – to begin with, Barela’s mother was extremely dominant and overbearing on him.  Therefore, because Lupe was single, alone, unemployed, and now very pregnant (such a thing was truly a hush-hush item) the two women, Lupe and her mother, Annie, agreed that the child should be raised by Mr. Barela and his mother.  So when baby Ramon Barela was born, he was entrusted to Mr. Barela and his mother, who moved away from Yoakum to Corpus Christi, where the child was raised.  

          Lupe and her two sons also moved away from Yoakum, Texas, after her mother died.  They buried her in the family plot where other Sanchez relatives were, and Lupe moved to Victoria, Texas, with her two young sons, Joe and Joel Rodriguez.  The young men were raised in Victoria, married, and lived near their mother and wife’s families.  Lupe died and was taken back to Yoakum, Texas, for burial, to be with her family, where they rest for all eternity.   Joe Rodriguez went into the military, became a Paratrooper, married a Victoria lady named Matilde Farias, and eventually had three boys.  The family moved to Houston, Texas, where they still live.           



A few years after the birth of Ruthie, Margaret died.  Joel found solace in the Presbyterian Church where he and Margaret had married, and soon found someone to be a mother to Ruthie, and perhaps a mother to additional children he wanted to have. He married a Presbyterian woman, Gloria Candelaria, and they too moved away to Houston, Texas.  A few years later they returned to make Victoria, Texas, their permanent home.
Rodriguez Pix.png Joel and Gloria (Candelaria) Rodriguez had four children: Diana, Denise, Darren, and Derise Rodriguez.  I am their mother, and I ever telling them of their family history such as this little short story of their grandparents.

As for Gabriel, he married Nasaria “Sally” Flores in 1937 in Simonton, Ft. Bend County, Texas.  The children born to them were: Esther, Angelo, Abel, Emma, Eva, Adam, and Gabriel, Jr.  The Rodriguez Clan live in the Houston/Galveston area [except for Esther and Gabriel Jr. who are deceased.] 

Gabriel lived in Brookshire, Texas, and I remember the story given to me by my husband, Joel Sanchez Rodriguez, about the first time he met his father.  Because Joel was raised by his mother and strictly disciplined by his grandmother, Annie, he never knew his father. 

Rodriguez6.jpg Yes, he was a typical teenager growing up loose and undisciplined after his grandmother passed away, and he was too unruly for his mother to handle.  In fact, she “gave him up” when he was about 10 years old to a family going North to pick cotton.

Since Lupe was alone and had to work, she had no time for her boys.  Joe, the eldest, was able to care for himself; but Joel needed a strict hand, and off he went with this family.  His main job was “babysitting.”  He did this very well, and when able, he went into the cotton fields to pick cotton. 
When two or three years passed, he asked one day where they were, and his care-father told him they were close to where Joel’s mother lived!  In fact, he said, we are in a community called Long Mott, and your mother is straight down that road to Victoria, only thirty minutes away!  With that information Joel packed his bundle of clothes and left immediately towards Victoria.  No sooner had he started out when a truck stopped and he hitched a ride to Victoria. [It was very common for people to hitch rides; no one was ever without the hope of a ride somewhere.]  When the truck stopped in Victoria, he told the boy “there’s the Valley Café there, go in and ask anyone because everyone stops to eat here.”  When Joel went into the Valley Café on Moody Street, next to the Guadalupe River Bridge, he was very hungry, and although the food smelled so good, he answered the owner’s question, who asked “What are you doing here boy, and who are you looking for?”  Joel said he wanted to find his mother, Guadalupe Sanchez, but did not know where to look.  The Owner, a man called Fuentes, took the boy by the arm, walked him outside, and went towards a little house in the back.  There, he knocked on the door and a woman answered.  Mr. Fuentes shouted to the woman “Lupe, your son is here looking for you.” And with that highly unexpected turn of events, Joel was home with his mother!  
GabrielPix 001.jpg It wasn’t long, however, for Joel to fall into the wrong group of boys, who refused to go to school, but rather spent their time in the pool halls, sometimes, shining shoes for fellows, which was very popular way to gain some money.  Joel did this for a couple of years and again, when he was only seventeen years old, his mother was fed up with his carefree ways and took him to register for the military.  She added a year to his age, and added a couple of weeks to the date he was born.  

His registration now read he was born July 19, 1930 (instead of July 29, 1931) so that he could be drafted then and there!  It worked, and Joel was drafted into the U. S. Marine Corps.  He left for the Marine base in California, and unfortunately, saw a whole year of fighting (instead of the regular six-months) in Korea.  He never got a scratch in all the fighting he was involved in – but he learned to appreciate his home when he came back in 1952.   


It was then he thought of looking for his Dad, and with the information obtained from his mother, he began to search where Gabriel might be.  When he found the small community of Brookshire, Texas, it wasn’t difficult to find the Rodriguez home.  He went up to the man and said “Mr. Rodriguez, I am your son, Joel.  It is a privilege to meet you.” 

Mr. Rodriguez was very surprised, and didn’t say anything, but invited the young man [yes, he was dressed in his U. S. Marine Corps uniform] into his home and asked his wife, Sally, to give “the boy” something to drink.  And the two men sat and chatted – not about the past – but instead about how things were going on in the area that were of interest to the young man back from “the war.”  Many stories were exchanged but mainly, the two men studied each other to see if perhaps they might recognize a moment lost to time past.  At last the visit was over and the men exchanged promises to see each other again.  About the best thing that did happen to Joel was meeting his step-siblings, and they became such close friends that to this day they communicate with the family.  That is the most exciting thing that happened.   


When I finally went to Mr. Rodriguez’ home to meet with him and ask him about his past, he mentioned what he remembered about his mother and growing up with the Rubalcado family.  He stated he had lost communications with them when he married Sally, and never bothered to look for them.  He said he survived doing odd jobs and mostly catering to his baseball teams’ necessities. 


He had even constructed a baseball diamond in the back field of his home in Brookshire and all the teams in the area would meet and compete quite often during the summer months.  It was Mr. Gabriel who sponsored the games – and never failed to sell hot dogs and cold drinks to the crowds who would gather at the Rodriguez Field.  Mr. Rodriguez had a wonderful life, and we still gather and “Play Ball!” whenever we can.  Thanks Dad!!  

By: Gloria Candelaria de Rodriguez
February 25, 2015, Victoria, Texas



A Mexican Connection to New Orleans
Chicken in a blizzard . . . .The real America!
A true Superman: A hero takes on the Klan 


A Mexican Connection to New Orleans

During the Texas War of Independence many Mexicans were opposed to Santa Anna's regime, but felt loyal to Mexico and its 1824 constitution.[33] Brigadier General Thomas Jefferson Rusk ordered the evacuation of Mexican families "...who were likely to afford information to the enemy." The Carbajal, Benavides and De Leon families evacuated to New Orleans, leaving behind their wealth and everything they owned.[34]
I'm hoping to find our great grandfather Antonio Cavazos in New Orleans. The Cavazos family were ranchers. The would herd their cattle to sell in New Orleans

Sent by John Inclan 

Chicken in a blizzard . . . .The real America!

Two years ago Chick-fil-A made national headlines when company president Dan Cathy spoke out in support of traditional marriage. Liberals and gays came unglued and launched massive protests against the restaurant chain. Several mayors spoke out saying they would not allow any more Chick-fil-As to be built in heir cities. 

They tried boycotting the Christian owned company, but that backfired. Instead, Chick-fil-A had a world record day with many locations selling out of food to the hundreds of thousands of supporters. Is it any surprise that the only news the liberal mainstream media has reported concerning Chick-fil-A has only been the negative?

Remember last week when the ice storm hit the south? The mainstream media showed footage of miles of cars stranded on the frozen interstates. Several national news broadcasts that I saw
reported about school kids trapped on busses for almost 24 hours because of all of the ice and parents going frantic wondering where their kids were. 

In all of the icy gloom and doom, I bet you didn’t hear about the heroic and generous actions of a Chick-fil-A along Highway 280 in Birmingham, Alabama, did you? 

Mark Meadows, owner of the Chick-fil-A closed early the day of the storm and sent all of his employees home. However, the employees and Meadows soon discovered that they were not going to be able to get home with all of the stranded motorists stuck on the roads. Some of the cars near the restaurant had been stranded for up to 7 hours.

Audrey Pitt, manager of the Chick-fil-A described the conditions: “Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate and it took me two hours to get there. It was a parking lot as far as I could see. At one point there were more people walking than driving.” 

Meadows and his employees fired up the kitchen and began preparing chicken sandwiches as fast as they could. They prepared several hundred sandwiches and then Meadows and his staff headed out and began distributing the hot meals to the stranded motorists on both sides of Highway 280.

Some of the drivers tried to pay them for the sandwiches, but Meadows and his employees refused to take a single penny. Pitt explained why: “This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit. We were just trying to follow the model that we’ve all worked under for so long and the model that we’ve come to love. There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could.”

However, Meadows and Pitt were not through with their Good Samaritan efforts. They helped push cars off the roads, up inclines and whatever else they could do to help. Then they kept the restaurant open overnight so that stranded motorists could have a warm place to be. A number of motorists slept in booths or on the benches.

Then in the morning, they again fired up the kitchen and prepared chicken biscuits for their overnight guests and once again they refused to accept any payment. During that 24 hour period, this Chick-fil-A restaurant opened their kitchen, their doors and their hearts to hundreds of stranded motorists and they did so refusing to accept any payment. As one source put it, Meadows and his staff lived up to the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:35 which states:  “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in…”

Their actions were truly generous and heroic as they also braved the frigid temperatures to hand out hundreds of hot meals to complete strangers. And I bet you never heard anything about this from the mainstream media: a Christian company doing something so positive for so many.

Jan. 2014 Truth or Fiction says: Truth  
Sent by Sally Gidaro 

A true Superman: A hero takes on the Klan 

The first time I met Stetson Kennedy I knew nothing about him. I should have. He was an American hero, a leader in civil rights before civil rights became a movement. 

Kennedy was a regular guest speaker at the annual ZoraFest celebration in Fort Pierce in honor of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston — the 'Queen of the Harlem Renaissance' — who spent her final years in Fort Pierce, where she is buried. 

As a young white man from an affluent Jacksonville family, Kennedy had been Hurston's supervisor and traveling companion when they collected folklore as part of the WPA Florida Writers' Project during the Depression . 

While their research became an important addition to the archives of the Library of Congress, Kennedy also made a major impact on American life after World War II when he launched a one-man war against the violence and racism of the Ku Klux Klan. 

During his work with Hurston, Kennedy had seen firsthand the ugliness of racism and the power the Klan had over many communities in the Jim Crow South. 

Determined to expose the Klan, Kennedy infiltrated the Klan headquarters in Atlanta, posing as an encyclopedia salesman named John S. Perkins. He officially became a member of the Klan in 1946 during a massive ceremony at Stone Mountain in Georgia . 

Kennedy turned over the inside information he learned about the Klan to law enforcement, but law enforcement, including the FBI, had little interest in taking on the politically-connected and secretive white supremacists. 

So, Kennedy turned elsewhere and what followed was one of the most remarkable episodes in the fight against injustice in America. That story was told in a documentary, 'How Superman Defeated the KKK' that aired on the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel), appropriately, this month on Martin Luther King Day. 

Kennedy contacted the producers of the wildly? ?popular radio series 'The Adventures of Superman.' Superman, having defeated the Japanese and German Nazis, needed a new villain to fight. Why not the Ku Klux Klan? 

So, with information provided by Kennedy, 'The Adventures of Superman' presented a 16part serial, 'Clan of the Fiery Cross,' which not only revealed the secrets of the Klan, including code words and ceremonies, but exposed the Klan to public ridicule. 

Millions of children along with their parents gathered around their radios as Superman fought against the injustices of the Klan and won. And membership in the Klan, along with the Klan's power, plummeted. 

But, although Superman defeated the KKK on the radio, the Klan, though greatly diminished because of its public exposure, was not entirely destroyed. 

As a teenager in a small North Carolina town, I had been invited to join the Klan, which still had a lot of power in that town, including an annual parade led by the mayor in his Klan robe. I declined the 'honor' of membership and actually felt offended to be asked. 

As a reporter, I covered Klan rallies and marches by an offshoot, the White Patriot Party, which had run a candidate for the local school board. I also covered the murders of three gay men at a video store by a group of right-wing extremists. Even after arriving in Florida, there were Klan rallies early in my time here. 

But, the Klan was no longer as strong and growing as it had been when Kennedy courageously took it on. The documentary includes excerpts from an interview with Kennedy, who died in Jacksonville in 2011 at age 94. It was nice to see him again. 

Also on Martin Luther King Day, CBS Evening News interviewed Bernard Lafayette, who had been a 27-year-old aide to King when he was murdered in 1968 and is now a professor at Emory University and chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King himself had once led. 

'You see,' Lafayette said, 'violence is the language of the inarticulate.' 
His words rang out as I watched how Kennedy so eloquently fought for peace and justice. 

Michael Goforth is a former member of the Editorial Board and a columnist for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Email: Twitter: @michaelgoforth2   Quentin r Hand jr 

Thanks Quentin, this is dearly appreciated.
Sent by Dorinda Moreno


‘With Malice Toward None’: Lincoln and the Jews
Projects To Honor Borinqueneers In Connecticut, On the Move  by Bill Sarno
NYC schools adding 2 Muslim holidays to calendar
Phoenix Rising, From Bravo Road: A memoir By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

‘With Malice Toward None’
Exhibit at New-York Historical Society reveals rich relationship between Abraham Lincoln and the Jews.
Sandee Brawarsky, Culture Editor,

Lincoln’s letter to Secretary of War Stanton on behalf C.M. Levy, who applied for the position of quartermaster.
On June 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a parole pass to Charles Jonas, a Confederate prisoner of war, to return to Illinois to see his father on his deathbed. The soldier arrived in Quincy just in time to see his father, Abraham Jonas, still alive.

During the Civil War, Abraham Jonas and several of his sons, including Charles, were divided in their allegiance. Abraham Jonas, an English-born Jew, was a lawyer and political ally of President Lincoln and the only recorded person Lincoln referred to in a letter as “one of my most valued friends.” The small handwritten note that enabled Charles Jonas to take a three-month leave was a testament to Lincoln’s long friendship with his father.

That note, smaller than an index card, is on display at the New-York Historical Society, part of a stirring exhibition that opens to the public on March 20, “With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews,” created in collaboration with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, with many original letters, documents and images on display for the first time. The exhibition is inspired by the publication this month of “Lincoln and the Jews: A History” by Jonathan Sarna and Benjamin Shapell, a beautiful illustrated volume combining highlights of the Shapell collection and an engaging historical narrative.

Not only has it been 150 years since the end of the Civil War, but the first night of Passover this year, April 3, aligns with significant anniversaries. On that date in 1865, the Union Army captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va., leading to Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant six days later. Five days after that, on April 15, which was the fifth night of Passover and also Good Friday in 1865, President Lincoln was shot. This year, the first night of Passover falls on Good Friday. The life of President Lincoln aligns so well with the holiday’s themes of freedom and liberation from slavery and oppression, that the book and exhibition are particularly timely — and may spark new seder conversations.

“One of the exciting things was working on material that nobody had seen,” Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, says in a telephone interview from his Massachusetts home, noting that many of the documents had previously been in private hands. “I did feel that looking at Lincoln through Jewish eyes allowed me and the reader to see Lincoln in a different way.”

Sarna, who speaks with the skill of a natural teacher, says, “It’s not a small matter that Abraham Lincoln had a Jewish friend.” As the authors point out, Lincoln had more than one, and was the first president to have Jews in his circles of friendship and acquaintanceship.

“Sometimes you read a person’s private letters and you’re disappointed,” Sarna says. “For James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, the private is unappealing. That is not true of Lincoln. One comes away from reading the private letters just as impressed, even more than the public materials. I understood why people can spend their whole careers on Lincoln. He’s remarkable. America was extraordinarily fortunate to have had him at that time as president.

“Lincoln held himself to a higher standard. He judged people as individuals. That’s what comes through here.”

The authors tell expansive stories of Lincoln’s friendship with the enigmatic Issachar Zacharie, a chiropodist who sometimes served as his emissary; his appointments of the first Jewish chaplain and quartermaster to serve in the military; his interest in theater with Jewish themes (even seeing “Gamea,” or “The Jewish Mother,” a play dealing with anti-Semitism, twice in one week); his rescinding of Grant’s General Orders #11, which expelled Jews from Northern Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky; and his death on the intermediate Shabbat of Passover. The first eulogies about him were offered in synagogues that Shabbat morning.

In great detail, they tell of the 1863 episode at Beverly Ford, Va., where a Jew, two Catholics and two Protestants were shot for desertion, in front of a rabbi, priest and minister, despite pleas to General Meade and a visit by Rabbi Benjamin Szold to Lincoln.

The authors describe many Jews that Lincoln knew, whether a photographer whose velvet-trimmed coat he borrowed for the photograph, tailors, clothiers, doctors, his optician. “These and similar interactions between Lincoln and Jews might, on their own, seem trivial. For the most part, they have escaped historians’ notice. Aggregated, however, they form a pattern. The President of the United States, they show, insisted on treating Jews on the same basis as everyone else. For Lincoln, we have seen, this was nothing new,” they write.

For Lincoln buffs and academics, these stories may seem familiar, but the level of detail the authors convey is truly impressive.

For the general reader and viewer, there’s something about looking at letters close up that’s profoundly appealing — they’re immediately accessible moments that are historical and private, remarkable that they’ve survived in their fragility, with the handwriting and rhetorical flourish of another era. Like the man, Lincoln’s distinctive signature is modest but strong. He often signs off as A. Lincoln, with the crossbar of the A flowing into the top loop of the L (and a bold period between them) and each of the rest of the letters leading into the next.

Also evident is how much Lincoln cares about words. He writes — and speaks — in a simple, eloquent style, with rhythms that are poetic and homespun. And he liked word play. 

In a telephone interview from Israel, Shapell, founder of The Shapell Manuscript Foundation, says, “This is a book I always wanted to share.”

“Lincoln has an amazing curiosity about Jews. And they had the same about him,” he says. “What will surprise people is that he seemed to latch onto Jews.”

During the Civil War, bigotry and mistrust of all minorities was common. In the military, anti-Semitism was casual but omnipresent. Lincoln stood against the grain, as Shapell explains. “When Grant was expelling the Jews, Lincoln was freeing the blacks; as anti-Semitism was going out of control in the army, Lincoln was appointing a Hebrew,” referring to his appointment of an Orthodox Jew as assistant quartermaster with the rank of Captain in 1862. At the time some 50 other Jews also served as quartermasters.

About Lincoln’s religious nature, Shapell says, “Lincoln never joined a church, although his wife Mary may have. He was always searching for answers. He had a private religion.” He explains that Lincoln came to believe that what happens is really out of human hands; but that perhaps, by individuals doing the right thing and being fair, outcomes might be changed.

With the passion of a collector, Shapell quotes documents with ease and explains that Lincoln knew the Old Testament very well and made use of verses both well-known and obscure. As war threatened, Lincoln referred to a line from the Book of Daniel, writing that he lived in “troub’lous times.”

“While he is acknowledging that he is essentially in the lion’s den,” Shapell explains, “he is also confident that, like Daniel, he will prevail.”

And, in his second inaugural address, Lincoln leads into his famous utterance “with malice toward none” — a theme of his life — with a reference to the 19th Psalm, “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

“He had to answer to 700,000 human beings slaughtered. Why did God let the war go on? He was unschooled but not uneducated — he took this half verse that no one heard of. That was his consolation.”

For more than 35 years, Shapell has been building the collection. He describes himself not as an eclectic collector but as someone who focuses upon specific themes, like American presidents, Mark Twain, the Holy Land. “What interests me most,” he says, “is the human aspect: moments of humility, honesty, irony.”

Shapell is particularly drawn to a handful of items from the collection that are highlighted in the exhibition’s final gallery; they relate to Lincoln’s last days. Lincoln signed a travel pass on April 14, to “Mrs. Dr. Stone,” the wife of his doctor. “That could be the last thing he signed. It ties into the irony. It’s not a Jewish item, but a very impressive thing that tells a story of what he did that last day.”

It was Dr. Robert K. Stone who was called to Lincoln’s side when he was shot, and who signed the autopsy report, shown in the exhibit, stained with blood. So Lincoln was connected to both of the Stones on his last day. Also mentioned in the report is Dr. Charles Lieberman, a Jewish ophthalmologist, who was also at Lincoln’s deathbed vigil and who is depicted in the 1867 painting on view by Alonzo Chapel, “The Last Hours of Abraham Lincoln.”

The authors recount how Mary Todd Lincoln recalled, after her husband’s death, that they used to speak of visiting Jerusalem — that even in the final days of his life, he expressed a yearning to travel there. But Lincoln never got to see Israel firsthand. In the last gallery of the exhibit, Frederick Edwin Church’s luminous oil painting, “Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives” (1870), suggests what he might have beheld.

“With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews” is on view at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, 170 Central Park West, Manhattan, from March 20-June 7. Much of the material is available for viewing at

On June 2, Jonathan Sarna will discuss Lincoln’s relationship with American Jews, moderated by Harold Holzer, 6:30 pm. Tickets are $37 (NYHS members, $24).

Projects To Honor Borinqueneers In Connecticut, 
On the Move  by Bill Sarno

Recognition for the contributions and sacrifices made by the Puerto Rican soldiers of U.S. Army’s 65th infantry, the famed Borinqueneers, in three wars continues to advance in Connecticut with an effort to establish a memorial park in New Britain under way and, more recently, with legislation introduced to name in their honor a stretch of East Main Street in the Latino section of Bridgeport.

While work on the New Britain project is moving forward, primarily at this point  on the organizational and planning levels, the street renaming proposal, introduced in January by Rep. Christopher Rosario (D-128) of Bridgeport, has been gaining significant support both at the state level and from a national organization that spearheaded the successful drive to have a Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to the 65th Regiment.

Rosario’s bill is being considered with other street name requests, according to Rep. Angel Arce (D-4), the committee’s vice chairman. “I am in support of Rep. Rosario’s bill to recognize the service, sacrifice and magnitude of what the Borinqueneers did as they fought our wars,” said Arce last week. The Hartford legislator added, “It would be a great accomplishment if we can make this happen.”

Rosario, whose district includes the East Side neighborhood which contains the area that would be affected, said recently, “It is up to us, the current generation, to not forget what past generations of our own people have done.”

Site of the future memorial park in New Britain dedicated to the ‘Borinqueneers”
The 65th Regiment was organized in Puerto Rico after the island was acquired by the United States in 1898. The regiment, which was the military’s last segregated unit, was active during the two world wars, gaining  distinction during combat in the Korean War when it had to endure hardship and often a numerically superior enemy. Despite the discrimination they endured, they nicknamed themselves the Borinqnueneers based on the original name of Puerto Rico – Borinquen.

In New Britain, an organization was set up last year to create the first memorial park in the U.S. dedicated to the Borinqueneers.   The National 65th Regiment Historical Society acquired a parcel of land at the intersection of Beaver and Washington streets near Farmington Avenue in that city.  The memorial project is on track said Dan Garcia, who helped initiate this campaign and is its executive director.  Garcia said, ” We are excited to have formed an excellent board of directors from across the state, and we are basically waiting for a non-profit 501(c)3 designation from the government so we can begin raising funds for the park,” which Garcia and others say will also be an educational focal point for scores of young Puerto Ricans and non-Latinos.

In 2013, the first Veteran’s Day ceremony took place at the site and last May a ground-breaking ceremony and flower planting took place.  The group also has placed a sign indicating that this is the future site of the 65th Infantry Regiment memorial park. Eventually, the group hopes to erect a monument in the park, Garcia said, the board is working on the logistics and costs.

In 2014, President Obama signed the bill that awarded the legendary ‘Borinqueneers’ the Congressional gold Medal of Honor.

In both New Britain and Bridgeport, interest in honoring the Borinqueneers was heightened last year when the unit received the Congressional Medal of Honor, an award already accorded to similar units such as the Tuskegee Airman and the Native American Code Talkers.

Rosario said that as he went door to door campaigning last summer, the message he heard from some residents of Bridgeport’s largely Latino East Side essentially came down to “they are honoring everybody else in Connecticut, but never honoring our people.”

Rosario said he approached the mayor and council members from eastern Bridgeport about renaming part of East Main Street for the Borinqueneers and they were behind this “110 percent.”

However, since East Main Street is technically a state road, the name changing campaign had to go through the legislative process at the Capitol. One of the first actions Rosario took upon taking office in January was to sponsor a bill, HB 6336, for the renaming.

His proposal, whose co-sponsors include Rep. Ezequiel Santiago (D-130) of Bridgeport, was assigned to the Transportation Committee  and was the subject of a hearing in February, at which those providing support included Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Milta Feliciano, the council person in whose district the street designated for renaming is situated.

Finch said this change would “honor our Puerto Rican community as a whole.”

Feliciano, who also is the city’s Director of Veterans Affairs, said, “There are only a few (Borinqueneers) left, so let’s honor the story of these forgotten soldiers while they are still with us.”

The state’s Latin and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission also backed the renaming as “a positive gesture for the community,” said Werner Oyanadel, executive director. “Connecticut should recognize the accomplishments of Latinos,” he said.

Additional support came from Orlando, Fla., in the form of a letter put into testimony at the public hearing from Frank Medina, who organized and lead the successful national campaign to obtain a Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Regiment.

Medina, who was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Bridgeport neighborhood where the street would be renamed, said as a youth “he envisioned making a meaningful difference in the East Side of Bridgeport.

A former U.S. Army captain, Medina said last week that he was “keenly aware” of both the New Britain and Bridgeport projects, but particularly of the latter and has been corresponding with Rosario. He said the legislator can definitely count on his support and that he looks forward to attending the street renaming ceremony.

Medina said he would like to see the entire length of East Main Street named, not just the portion from Boston Avenue and Artic Street which lies in Rosario’s district.

Rosario said that getting the whole street renamed was “something he has been thinking to do” and that working with Santiago, whose district also includes part of East Main, this remains a possibility for the future.

For now, he said, his focus is on the section that runs through the “heart of the Puerto Rican/Latino community.” Rosario said that as an “East Side guy” he is “prideful and confident this will get done.”

Update: 3/9/15: 12:58 pm -  Rosario said Monday that Transportation Committee Chairman Anthony Guerrera (D-29) said he is on board with the street renaming bill.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno 
and Mercy Bautista Olvera


NYC schools adding 2 Muslim holidays to calendar By Yaron Steinbuch 
March 4, 2015

New York City schools will add two Muslim holidays to the calendar this year, Mayor de Blasio announced on Wednesday, March 4th.  “Today we’ll announce the addition of Eid al-Adha & al-Fitr to @NYCSchools holiday schedule, a change that respects the diversity of our city,” Hizzoner tweeted. The first holiday, Eid al-Adha, will be marked on Sept. 24. The second falls during the summer and will be designated a holiday for children attending summer school. Eid al-Adha is known as the Festival of the Sacrifice and Eid al-Fitr marks the end of fasting for Ramadan.

From Bravo Road: A memoir By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

I was 14 when I first heard the name “Carnegie” in association with the word “steel.” As a wild orphan waif from the sun, in 1940 I was taken in by my father’s cousin Rumaldo Mendez and his wife Mrs Lucy. They lived in Brinton, Pennsylvania, halfway between the Carnegie steel works in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and the Westinghouse Electric plant in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A trolley line from Pittsburgh ran through Braddock ending in East Pittsburgh, cutting through Brinton. 

I didn’t learn about the history of Carnegie until I studied American labor history at Pitt during the years I was an undergraduate there from 1948 to 1952. However, my first job in 1946 after my Marine Corps years during World War II (1943-1946) was as a laborer at the Carnegie Steel Works in Braddock, Pennsylvania. As a laborer I was assigned to a gang of workers for manual and menial work throughout the plant. 

Quite often gangs were used to “break down” the Bessemer blast furnaces which turned out the steel. That is, to “tear down” the interior brick lining of the furnaces. More often than not, the furnaces were still “hot”—that is, the bricks were hot enough to burn exposed skin. When “tearing down” those still hot furnaces, we worked with asbestos vests and gloves and shields. We also wore wooden clogs to keep our shoes from igniting as we traipsed across the floors of the furnaces strewn with embers of hot bricks. 

When we were through, masons would put up a new lining of bricks on the inside walls of the furnaces. The Bessemer process was the first industrial process for the mass-produc-tion of steel from molten pig iron. The process was named after Henry Bessemer, who patented the process in 1855. The slow Bessemer furnaces were replaced by Open-Hearth furnaces which were ultimately replaced by Electric-arc furnaces.

Oftentimes, gangs were taken down into the flues of the furnaces, there to “bag-out” the crust of soot that accumulated on the walls of the flues. We did the clean-out work without masks or respirators. Our work clothes had to be washed immediately. Showers were essential. Cleaning the flues was not one of my favorite jobs.

Neither was working on the Ore-Trestle, that part of the steel mill where standard-sized gondolas and half-sized gondolas filled with “ore” from mining sites were shunted for discharge into waiting chain-driven metal carts routed on rails to the top of the furnaces where they spilled into the mix with other products in the steel-making process.

To empty the gondolas of their ore, laborers released the locks of the chutes at the bottom of the gondolas. In warm weather, the ore would just slide out of the gondolas into the waiting buckets. In cold weather when the ore was most likely frozen in the gondolas, laborers would bang the sides of the gondolas with 50 or 75 pound sledge hammers to induce the slide of ore. 

Particularly hard cases of frozen ore in the gondolas required someone to climb the gondola and with a long metal lance (bar) poke at the ore to urge a slide. To avoid losing a man with a suddenly unexpected surge, the lancers were tethered to the rim of the gondola. Though I never witnessed the loss of a lancer, stories circulated with gruesome details about lancers who failed to get tethered and disappeared with the slide of ore into the buckets. The details that followed were lurid. 

In the drawing, the Stock House would be the Ore Trestle. Below the Ore Trestle the skip cars are filled with ore, coke, and limestone and shunted along by a chain-driven belt to the top of the Bessemer furnace where the contents are dumped into a mix that produces a molten lava that becomes steel.

I was young and barely into my twenties but strong. That 129 pound kid of 17 who went off to Parris Island in South Carolina in August of 1943 emerged from the Marine Corps as a strong 140 pound man of 20 in search of the promises of life, ready to tackle it with 75 pound sledgehammers. Good naturedly I was the Mexican kid who had been a Marine. We were all aware of the boundaries of being good natured. The teamwork of the military was evident in the teamwork of the gangs on the Ore Trestle. Most of the gang had been in the Army, some in the Navy, I was the only one who had been in the Marine Corps during the War. 

Wherever the labor gangs worked or converged, there was a lot of ruckus, cursing, and kibbitzing. The secret was not to take anything said personally, to become adept with reposts that let everyone know you were a regular guy who took in stride the ribbing that depended heavily on stereotyping. We were wops, spics, krauts, and—unfortunately—niggers. Despite the labels we were a reasonably cohesive group.

The Machine Shop section of the Mill attracted me most. The Old-time machinists were a no-nonsense group of professionals. On my rounds, I’d stop long enough to chat with them. I explained that in addition to being a Rifleman in the Marine Corps I had been an Aviation Machinist Mate, working on Corsair airplane engines to keep them aloft with Marine Corps pilots. That caught the attention of the Chief Machinist who had me assigned to the machinist group as an apprentice machinist. It didn’t take long for me to become one of the group—the Mexican kid . . . a Marine during the War.

In 1948 some gnawing awareness had wormed into my consciousness that urged me to consider college. The two colleges nearby were the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Tech. Going to college was actually spurred by an incident with two Carnegie Tech students working part-time at the Mill with one of the gangs I was attached to. A kibbitzing bout with them turned ugly, growing into a fist fight. They did a number of me but I gave as good as I got. Se me subio lo Mexicano. Their elitist comments got my Mexican dander up. Strange feelings of low esteem invaded my confidence and self-worth. 

I sought out the local office of the Veterans Administration. Thanks to the V.A. in 1948 when I was 22 I was enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh as a provisional student with only one year of high school. As a student on the G.I. Bill I received a $125 dollars a month stipend from the government for my service during World War II. All my education expenses were covered by the G.I. Bill. That was the start of my academic career as a high school teacher first then as a professor in higher education, spanning 50 years. 

Focusing on my studies at Pitt, I was unable to continue as an apprentice machinist at the Carnegie Steel Works so I signed on to the labor gangs at the Jones & Laughlin Steel Plant closer to the University of Pittsburgh on the north side of the Monongahela River near the 22nd Street Bridge leading to the South Side of Pittsburgh. I needed the money at the time to support a wife and a growing family. Eventually I went to work at the Homestead plant of U. S. Steel where I learned about the labor tactics of Andrew Carnegie and the Homestead Strike of 1892 during which Carnegie’s administration brought in Pinkerton agents as strike breakers. The melee was brutal. I vowed to continue my union membership with the Mine & Mill Workers of America which I kept up until 1952 when I finished my studies at Pitt.

In 1950 I was accepted into the Advanced Air Force ROTC Program at Pitt from which I received a stipend of $28 dollars a month. Every little bit helped to keep me and my family afloat. During the years from 1946 to 1952 I was also working as a jazz guitarist with different groups and combos around Pittsburgh, travelling a circuit when my studies permitted from Pittsburgh to Chicago. My life was filled with promise, purpose, and hope. My life would be different from the lives of my parents. 

As a Comparative Studies major at Pitt I focused on languages (English, Spanish, French), literature, and philosophy. At graduation exercises at Pitt in 1952 I received a gold bar as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve. In six years I had moved forward in life by leaps and bounds. My regret was that my parents were not there to share that moment with me and my family.

Short of pilots due to the Korean Conflict, in 1952 the Air Force put out a call for pilot training. I applied and was accepted. I was 26 ½ years old. A waiver from the Secretary of the Air Force kept me in the program since 26 was the maximum age. I reported for pilot training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, the day before my 27th birthday—the absolute cut-off date.

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.   


Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s black president abolished slavery before U.S. Civil War
50 years after the death of Malcolm X
African Slave Trade Ships and Manifests
Whitney Plantation in Louisiana
Native Son by Richard Wright published 75 years ago
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Here’s where "white" Americans have the highest percentage of African ancestry
Latinos and Afro-Latino Legacy in the United States: history, culture, and issues of identity.  By Refugio I. Rochin, Ph.D.

Mexico - Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Guerrero, 
Mexico’s black president abolished slavery before U.S. Civil War

Apr 10, 2013
By Hispanic Link News Service

Only a few of us Chicanos have read or heard of Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s second president. He’s best remembered by our neighboring country’s school children for his words during those revolutionary times,”Mi patria es primero.” “My motherland comes first.”  [Served as Mexico’s second president]

Since the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President four years ago and his re-election in November, Guerrero is gaining extra recognition in Mexico and the United States as well, on two counts.

Mexico abolished slavery a third of a century before the U.S.
First, he, not Obama, is the first man of African heritage to be elected president of a North American country. Historians write that Guerrero’s paternal grandfather was either a slave himself or descended from African slaves. Second, Guerrero abolished slavery in Mexico in 1829, a third of a century before the United States fought its bloody Civil War and the U.S. Congress passed the 13th Amendment to our Constitution.

Guerrero, the son of African-Mexican Pedro Guerrero, was assassinated two years after taking office. His mother Guadalupe was born to indigenous Mexican parents. Herman Bennett shares their story in his book “Africans in Colonial Mexico”. The first African slaves were brought to the New World before the Mayflower showed up in 1620. By the early 1600s the number of Africans dropped off at Mexican ports “collectively rivaled, if not outnumbered, Spaniards throughout New Spain,” writes Bennett. “At Veracruz, persons of African descent constituted 63 percent of the non-indigenous population.”

As African Americans pay tribute to their forebears this month, we should examine our southern neighbor for the prominent role Africans played there. Their contributions have been flimsily acknowledged and grossly under-appreciated in Mexico, say their historians.

The third root
Indoctrinated through a Eurocentric system of education much like our own, most Mexicans know little or nothing about “the third root” that blended with their Spanish and indigenous heritages. The closer you look at this historical image, the easier it becomes to realize how African influences significantly enriched it through art, music, language, cuisine and dance.

As Mexico’s second president following the toppling of Spanish rule, Guerrero, a gallant Mexican Revolutionary War general, was sometimes mocked as “el Negro Guerrero.” But today the state he served carries his name. His family settled in Tixtla, a town 100 kilometers inland from Acapulco, a key port of entry for slave ships which consequently has a large African population.

During Mexico’s War of Independence, Guerrero’s father Pedro, a supporter of the Spanish rulers, asked his son for his sword to present to the viceroy of New Spain as a sign of good will and surrender. Vicente refused, proclaiming, “The will of my father is for me sacred, but my Motherland is first.” His quote became the motto of its southern Mexican state of later named Guerrero in his honor.

(Andy Porras, a retired teacher and publisher, has been a contributing columnist with Hispanic Link News Service for nearly three decades. He resides in Sacramento, Calif., and can be reached at

Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla abolished slavery first when he declared independence from Spain in 1810. The Palacio Municipal of Guadalajara has Padre Hidalgo's words to that effect inscribed in that hall. And he figures in my father's family tree, according to a genealogical drawing by one of our Bernal Rábago ancestors. My grandmother, Dolores Rábago Castillo is the closest relative on that branch of the family.

Sent by Refugio Rochin 

FOCUS: 50 years after the death of Malcolm X
Orange County Register, Feb 21, 2015
Featured article at: 

Fifty years ago today, Malcolm X, who had changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was shot by three gunmen during a speech.  Malcolm was a divisive figure-some believed he was a strong advocate for black rights, others accused him of preaching anti-white violence.  Some historians consider him one of the most influential African Americans.
Three men, all members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of killing Malcolm X.  He was assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York City.

Convicted were Norman Butler (Paroled 1985), Thomas Johnson (Paroled 1987), Thomas Hagan (Paroled 2010)















BECOMING X:   Malcolm Little was serving a 10-year prison sentence for a series of crimes when he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI). The movement preached black self-reliance and that whites were devils. It called for the eventual return of U.S. blacks to Africa, where they could be free from white domination. After his parole in 195Z, Malcolm; became an influential leader of the NOI, espousing black supremacy and deriding the nonviolent civil rights movement of Martin Luther King Jr.

GROWING NATION OF ISLAM:  For much of the next 10 years, Malcolm was a successful recruiter for the NOI. The FBI started surveillance on him, thinking he was a communist. The NOI set up its own schools, stores and restaurants. Strict discipline and a clean-cut appearance were mandatory for members.

TENSIONS W1TH ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:   Malcolm grew resentful of the lack of action his mentor took against the authorities. Muhammad and top NOI leaders became jealous of Malcolm's power and media prominence. Malcolm was dismayed and angered when he confirmed rumors that Muhammad had multiple affairs with young women on his staff, fathering numerous children - a serious violation of his own teachings. ,

KENNEDY ASSASSINATION:   After the assassination of President Kennedy, i #wss Muhammad told Malcolm to not comment publicly. But on Dec. 1,1963, Malcolm said that the JFK killing was a case of "...chickens coming home to roost... and that never made me sad; they've always made me glad." Muhammad forbade Malcolm from public speaking for 90 days.

CONVERTING CASSIUS CLAY:   Malcolm took his family to visit the boxer Cassius Clay, who had invited him for religious counsel at his compound in Miami. Malcolm persuaded Clay to join the NOI. Elijah Muhammad gave Clay the name Muhammad All. Ali would later leave NOI and convert to Sunni Islam.

LEAVING THE NATION OF ISLAM:   On March 8,1964, Malcolm announced his departure from the NOI. He created his own organization, Muslim Mosque Inc. He said he wanted to work with other civil rights leaders and that Muhammad* had prevented him from doing so in the past.

GOING TO MECCA:   In 1964, Malcolm went to several African countries and Saudi Arabia to start his pilgrimage to Mecca. He returned to the U.S. a different believer. When asked what had impressed him the most, he said "The brotherhood!" He saw that many white people were accepted by Islam and living in harmony with other races. It changed his attitude that there could be peace between the races. 
After returning from Mecca and breaking away for the Nation of Islam.
" I did many things as a [Black Muslim] that I am sorry for now.  I was hypnotized, pointed in one certain direction and told to march.  Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he is ready to pay the cost.  It cost me 12 years."

THREATS ON HIS LIFE :  For years, Malcolm had received death threats. The NOI believed he had betrayed it by leaving it and criticizing Muhammad's adultery. On Feb. 14, his house, with his wife and children inside, was fire bombed.


African Slave Trade Ships and Manifests
Kimberly Powell
Genealogy Expert
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database comprises nearly 35,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. Records of the voyages have been found in archives and libraries throughout the Atlantic world. They provide information about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. A variable (Source) cites the records for each voyage in the database. Other variables enable users to search for information about a particular voyage or group of voyages. The website provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, or on a timeline.


Whitney Plantation in Louisiana

Extensive article: Building the First Slavery Museum in America
Go to the original for this article by David Amsden, Feb 26, 2015 at the Times website to see the pictures of Whitney Plantation in Louisiana, which recently had its opening to the public.

At the Allée Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, there is an alley of granite plaques that list more than 13,000 individual names from Gwendolyn Midlo Hall's Louisiana Slave Database. 
There's also an NPR story about the plantation here. Note the correction at the end of the article.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno


 "Native Son" by Richard Wright published 75 years ago

March 1, 2015: 75 years ago today the great novel "Native Son" by Richard Wright was published and Harry Belafonte celebrates his 88 birthday.

"Each and every one of you has the power, the will and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live in. … You should go through life knowing, "I am somebody."
“They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged."  ~  Richard Wright, Native Son

Belafonte waves to Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1965 civil-rights march in Montgomery, Alabama.

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

African Americans in Full Color

In the first half of the twentieth century, Americans became fascinated with photo journalism. Pictures were literally “worth a thousand words” as full-color magazines and tabloid newspapers became the rage.

Publications targeted to African American audiences that featured illustrations and photographs began appearing in the early 1900s. One of the earliest to effectively use illustrations and photography was The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP. Seeking to educate and inform its readers with scholarly articles, the covers of the journal and its entertainment section were designed to appeal to the masses of African Americans.

In the 1930s, we see pictorial magazines such as Abbott’s Monthly, published by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper, and Flash, which billed itself as a “weekly newspicture magazine.” Published in Washington, D.C., Flash contained a mixture of news, gossip and advertisements and articles on racial issues, providing an overview of the highs and the lows of Black life in the 1930's.

In 1942, African American businessman John H. Johnson founded the Johnson Publishing Company, a corporation that would go on to publish the well-known magazines Ebony, Jet, Tan, and Ebony Jr. The magazines promoted African American achievements and affirmative black imagery in popular culture, which appealed to readers … and to advertisers. Mr. Johnson was a savvy businessman and used the statistics of a rising black middle class to persuade companies and businesses that it was in their economic “self-interest” to advertise in his magazines to reach African American consumers.

With the success of the Johnson Publishing Company’s magazines, other magazines targeted to African Americans quickly came on the scene. For example, in 1947 Horace J. Blackwell published Negro Achievements, a magazine highlighting African American success articles and featuring reader-submitted true confessions stories. After Blackwell died in 1949, a white businessman named George Levitan bought the company and renamed the publication Sepia. This publication featured columns by writer John Howard Griffin, a white man who darkened his skin and wrote about his treatment in the segregated South, that eventually became the best-selling book Black Like Me.

Whether featuring positive images of African Americans, inspiration stories, news features or commentaries on racism, the rise of African American magazines defied long-held racial stereotypes through rich storytelling, in-depth reporting, and stunning photography.

Due to a variety of economic, editorial, and other factors, most of these magazines have ceased being published. Yet today some African American magazines are still a thriving part of popular culture. Johnson Publishing Company’s Ebony and its digital sites reach nearly 72% of African Americans and have a following of over 20.4 million people.
All the best, Lonnie Bunch, Director 

To read past Our American Stories, visit our archives. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution's family of extraordinary museums. 
The museum will be far more than a collection of objects. The Museum will be a powerful, positive force in the national discussion about race and the important role African Americans have played in the American story — a museum that will make all Americans proud.


Here’s where "white" Americans have the highest percentage of African ancestry
Updated by Jenée Desmond-Harris on February 20, 2015,


In a study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics in December 2014, researchers used the ancestry data compiled by the commercial genetic testing company 23and Me to measure the percentage of African ancestry of people who self-identified as white. It turns out that self-identified white people who live in the South have the highest concentrations of African DNA.

The researchers also used genetic information to determine the genders of the specific people who were responsible for some Americans' mixed ancestry. They found that many more (19 percent) of the ancestors of self-identified black people were European male, while only 5 percent were European females. They could even pin down the timing: the mixture generally occurred in the early 1800s, when slavery was legal. That, of course, reflects what historians know about white slave owners raping enslaved women who descended from Africa.

Just like white people in the South had the most African ancestry, so did black people. The lowest percentage of African heritage in people who called themselves black was found in West Virginia. Next: Washington State.

Comparing ancestry data to how people self-identified, the researchers found that Americans tended to identify as European-American, rather than African-American, when they had less than 28 percent African ancestry.

Go to the following for maps and more information:

atinos and Afro-Latino Legacy in the United States: history, culture, and issues of identity.
Refugio I. Rochin, Ph.D.
Director, Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives
Professor Emeritus, University of California Davis

Presentation at the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference in Tuskegee, Alabama, 
December 3, 2001

Acknowledgements: To my hosts and amigos of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, President Benjamin F. Payton and Dean Alton Thompson, I am honored by your invitation to speak at the 59th Annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference. I am also indebted to the conference Chair, Dean Walter A. Hill, for this opportunity. And I am very delighted to be here with this year’s recipients of the George Washington Carver Hall of Fame Awards.

Since my first visit to the campus in 1992, I have looked forward to this event. Tuskegee University is a world famous campus with many firsts in science and higher education. And it gives me great pleasure to speak about Latinos and Afro-Latinos. My presentation has three objectives: First, to address the historical origins, and challenges facing U.S. Latinos. Second, to expand on the national interest in U.S.
Latinos and the surfacing issues of our relations with African-Americans. And, third, to advocate for coalition building, suggesting ways of working together.

Preface: Some Caveats:I wish to begin by citing a few caveats from Earl Shorris, author of Latinos: A Biography of the People, (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1992): First, according to Shorris: Any history of Latinos stumbles at the start, for there is no single line to trace back to its ultimate origin.

This statement reminds us that the historic origins of Hispanics and Latinos have many roots and branches. As such, the issue of our identity depends a lot on where our story begins and our knowledge of history.

Second, according to Shorris: Latino history has become a confused and painful algebra of race, culture, and conquest, it has less to do with evidence than with politics, for whoever owns the beginning has dignity, whoever owns the beginning owns the world.

Shorris reminds us that speeches like mine are assertions of pride and essentially political, i.e., presented with a desire to persuade and convince of a particular viewpoint or position about Latinos and Hispanics. He is correct about “dignity” and it is clearly my intent to show the historic “firsts” of U.S. Latinos.

I should add that the Center I head is currently aimed at enhancing Latino heritage within the Smithsonian’s exhibitions and collections of its 16 museums and galleries of history, art, science, air and space and the National Zoo and research centers. In fact, I am on a mission to address a scathing report entitled: “Willful Neglect: The Smithsonian Institution and U.S. Latinos.” (Smithsonian, May 1994)

The report concluded: “[the] Institution almost entirely excludes and ignores the Latino population in the United States. This lack of inclusion is glaringly obvious in the lack of a museum facility focusing on Latino or Latin American art, culture or history; the near-absence of permanent Latino exhibitions or programming; the very small number of Latino staff, and the minimal number of curatorial or managerial positions; and the almost total lack of Latino representation in the governance structure. It is difficult for the Task Force to understand how such a consistent pattern of Latino exclusion from the work of the Smithsonian could have occurred without willful neglect.” I mention "willful neglect" to assert my belief that politics and dignity play a big role in my work and comments, "… for whoever owns the beginning [of history] has dignity, whoever owns the beginning owns the world."

But, quoting from another caveat from Shorris: Third, According to the rules of conquest, the blood of the conquered dominates, but the rules are not profound, they are written on the skin.

Shorris reminds us that every version of history has its adherents. Every history that is taught evokes the bias of the dominant group. He also intimates that white Americans have their version of history. Likewise, black Americans have their own version of history. That is the result of a race conscious society. But a question also raised is: “If people are brown, “multi-racial” - what part of their racial make-up dominates their history?” Do Latinos relate their identity to race and racial treatment? Are brown people more white oriented than black? What's "written on the skin," of Latinos? If, for example, a Latino appears to be European, what history will they choose? Will the history be of the "dignified" or the "conquered?"

Part 1. Latinos and Hispanics: Who we are and our heritage For several decades, Latinos have been identified as "brown" people, referring to a mixture of colors. For many Latinos, color and race, Black, White, Yellow or Red, do not apply to them. Being a "brown" Latino usually means being “mestizo,” i.e. a person of mixed blood. In fact, the Census of 2000 showed that most Latinos accept the category
for multi-racial background, over single race choices. But the margin of choice is small. The Census of 2000 was the first attempt to understand the multi-racial cross section of the United States and Latinos proved that being multi-cultural and ethnic is important tothem.

It may interest you to know that my birth certificate from San Bernardino County, California, shows that my race is "Mexican." My mother’s birth certificate, born in the same house in 1913, shows that she is racially Mexican. Yes, California’s records show that Mexican people were a racial group well into the 1940’s. So where do people like myself fit into the question of race and color? What is our identity?
Given my birthplace and situation, I identify as “Chicano,” i.e. a Mexican American with an attitude. Like Ruben Salazar, Los Angeles Times reporter, now deceased, I have long felt that I am “a Mexican American with a non-Anglo image of myself.” Like others of my generation from California, I have a cultural identity that is forged in large part by discrimination against Mexicans, the Anglo-dominance of local business and public positions, and the history of being born in a “Mexican town” of California.

Historian David J. Weber described being brown or mestizo this way: Despite the enduring myth that 'Spaniards' settled the borderlands [the southwest], it is quite clear that the majority of the pioneers were Mexicans of mixedblood. In New Spain [including California and Texas], the three races of mankind, Caucasian, Mongol, and Negro, blended to form an infinite variety of blood strains,and this blending continued as Mexicans settled among aborigines in the Southwest. Thus, 'Mestizaje' or racial mixture, was so common that today the vast majority of all Mexicans are of mixed blood.

Latino heritage is complex and yet challenged by individual circumstance like mine. We live in a society that promotes racial categorization. Because there is no physiological litmus test to define Latinos in racial terms, Latinos have opportunities to assert unique identities, such as Chicano, Tejano [Mexican-American of Texas], Hispano [Hispanic of New Mexico], Boricua [Puerto Rican of Borinquen - "land of the brave lord"], Nuyurican [Puerto Rican in New York], Dominicano, etc. And that is what is
happening across the United States. In fact, it is now apparent that new Latino identities are sprouting wherever new concentrations of Latinos of different nationalities and cultures are growing.

Not long ago, for example, the Taino Inter-Tribal Council of New Jersey was organized to give Puerto Ricans an opportunity to be identified as Taino Indian (Nataio or Guatiao). Their application calls for pictures and information to be judged accordingly. Interestingly, the native Taino (Nataio) tends to be relatively light skinned with high  cheekbones, and the darker person tends to be identified as Taino - Guatiao, or "adoptive brother." The later are considered Taino with an African legacy.

However, this mosaic of Latino identities can cause confusion by the plethora of terms used to describe this population. A lot of our identity is subjective decision making. As indicated in the rest of my presentation, the range of terminology arises from the very social, economic, and political heterogeneity of the Latino population. Consequently it is very difficult to define a Latino or Hispanic in specific terms as some type of homogeneous group. Yet, that is what most non-Hispanics expect of our population.

• Hispanic or Latino?
The relatively recent terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” emerged from the Civil Rights movements of blacks during the 1950s. Chicanos and other minority groups benefited from the black crusades for justice, education and equal rights in many ways. During the sixties and seventies, with the efforts of Cesar Chavez and several Latino activist organizations, the nation moved ahead to address Latino issues. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget crafted a common identifier under the rubric “Hispanic” to
measure and implement programs. However, as I will intimate later on, Latinos who felt that the Spanish past was either too horrendous or too Spanish oriented, rejected "Hispanic" and took the identifier "Latino" for themselves. Many non-Hispanics did not appreciate nor understand this issue. The expectation was for common use of and support for the term "Hispanic."

Still, as we enter the 21st century the use of either “Hispanic” or “Latino” is with us and probably more controversial than before. There are significant differences in the meaning of each, although some people tend to use “Hispanic” and “Latino” interchangeably, especially when working with non-Hispanic people. A course on introductory Latino studies would teach you that the word Latino comes from Rome and derives from the Romance language of Latin. Since we have a region called Latin America, then, it is argued, people of Latin America are Latinos. Latino refers to people with mixed national, ethnic, racial and linguistic backgrounds from Latin America. It can include Portuguese-speaking Brazilians and Indians of Latin America who speak Spanish as a second language. As an aside, in 1493, Pope Alejandro VI issued a proclamation called the Tratado de Tordesillas, which literally drew an "imagined" line from the North Pole to the South Pole that gave Portugal land to the east and Spain, land to the west. That line coincidentally gave Portugal the current region ofBrazil in Latin America.

Introductory Latino studies would also teach that "Hispanic" derives from the word “Hispania” or Spain and, therefore, only Spanish descendents are "Hispanic." In essence, a Hispanic is someone whose culture or origin is Spanish, encompassing native Spanish-speakers and Spanish-surnamed people. This definition excludes Brazilians, English and French-speaking nations of Latin America.

The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) now uses Hispanic or Latino interchangeably. Either term is defined as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race." This categorization leaves out Portuguese descendents, for example. In data collection and public records, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino."

Obviously this dichotomy does not address the multiple issues of distinct Latino groups, including: Tainos, Chicanos, Tejanos, Hispanos, Boricuans, Cuban-Americans, Dominicanos, Salvadorenos, etc. And on top of the current debate, the United States has many recent Latino immigrants of direct Indian descent coming from Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador whose first language is native like Nahuatl (Mixteco), Mayan (various dialects), Quechuan (various dialects), etc.

I welcome them as "Indigenous, transnational Latinos." They add a rich heritage to our Latino culture and identity. It is probably more correct to consider these people as American Indian within the United States because of their own desire to preserve their histories and traditions that are pre-Columbian. But Indians or "native Americans" fromLatin America are also Latino and some may prefer to identify by this term than their Indian heritage.

So what is a Hispanic or Latino? The question has no easy answer. Webster's College dictionary defines a “Hispanic-American” as: "a U.S. citizen or resident of Spanish or Latin American descent.” And a “Latino” is someone from Latin America. Personally, I don't argue with this simple definition when developing programs at the Smithsonian Institution. I focus on moving forward with programs and exhibitions on Latinos, especially with regard to presenting the contributions of Latinos to U.S. music,
arts, culture, history and scientific discovery. But I acknowledge that the use of “Hispanic” or “Latino” alone, without qualification, tends to obscure huge differences among Latinos, Hispanics and their personal identities.

Nonetheless, I believe that a brief review of our history can help to sort out the reasons why "Hispanic" and "Latino" are different and significant today. In the long run it is important for the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives to know and encompass its base of constituents for public programs. Therefore, I venture forth with some added information on our Latino/Hispanic legacy.

The Foundations of Hispanic and Latino Heritage – Diasporas! 

First, there is a common denominator for both Latinos and Hispanics, now couched in terms of Diasporas. That is, the knowledge that Latinos and Hispanics have a unique foundation within the United States dating back to medieval Spain a
unique foundation within the United States dating back to medieval Spain and 1492, when Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean region, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Second, both Latinos and Hispanics proudly note the first settlement by Ponce de Leon who also landed on the southern peninsula he named"La Florida" in 1513, establishing the first European claim to U.S. mainland. These points of time give Hispanics and Latinos a common sense of identity and dignity that is irrefutable. Being first among immigrants in the United States establishes a clear benchmark in American history that should not be ignored in American texts, schools and national programs.  

The exact landing site of de Leon is not known but it may have been near St. Augustine, Florida. It is the place where Ponce de Leon thought he would find the "Fountain of Youth." St. Augustine was settled on September 11, 1565 by the Spanish colonizers under Menendez de Aviles, making it the oldest community of European settlement in the United States, many decades before Jamestown, Virginia. St. Augustineis also the first place for American laws of governance and the place of the first birth to immigrants recorded in United States history.

There are many other historic firsts for Hispanics. Several more Spanish expeditions traversed what is now the American "Sunbelt" from Florida to New Mexico and California, before the thirteen English colonies were established. They wrote the first adventure books, drafted the first maps, and recorded the fascinating ethnographies of American Indians. Spaniards were first in 24 of the states of America before other Europeans, including: Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska (after the Russians) and Hawaii.

From this perspective, the national heritage of both Hispanics and Latinos is centuries old within the United States, a source of pride and dignity. What's more, the Spanish flag flew within the mainland from 1513 to 1821, a period of over 300 years. Add the time that Mexico ruled in the Southwest, 1821 to 1848, and we can see that the
Spanish and Mexican hold on U.S. land spanned 335 years. Both Latinos and Hispanics would not ignore the fact that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (signed February 2,1848) ended the U.S. war against Mexico and resulted in the growth of the United States by one-third, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas. In a war of two years, the United States in pursuit of Manifest Destiny, conquered half of Mexico's territory, established the current border with Mexico, all for $15 million.

Regrettably, many textbooks of our schools do not teach this history. Many Chicanoslikewise argue that historically they are not immigrants, they did not enter the United States, the United States took their land. In return, the United States was to respect Mexican land rights, Spanish language and the citizenship of Mexicans who stayed on the U.S. side of the border. Very few of  the American promises were upheld and soon the Mexicans in the United States faced loss of land, harassment, discrimination, unequal treatment in schooling and employment.

Texas Rangers often acted against Mexicans, leaving a long list of inhumane and uncivil conditions. Since 1848, the border with Mexico has been an impoverished and contentious area, covering nearly 2000 miles. Today, most Latinos and Hispanics who know the history of the U.S. and Mexico border, have a different point of view from non-Hispanics about immigration, policing, security, bilingual education. They tend to see eye to eye on ways to address these issues. In a sense, Latinos and Hispanics have common social agendas.

In addition, many Latinos and Hispanics have common concerns about the Caribbean region, an area dominated by the United States since its war with Spain, which ended in 1898. The United States claimed Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Spanish territory and obligated itself to protect the region. Now, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United 
States and, since 1917, people born on Puerto Rico have U.S. citizenship but no representation in Congress. There is also the use of Vieques for U.S. bombing that is very contentious politically. Latinos and Hispanics have strong feelings about being Americans but also have issues with the way that Latinos of the region have been treated.

Continuing with the refrain that "whoever owns the beginning owns the world," it is important to realize that Latinos and Hispanics are very patriotic Americans and proudly identify with stories of Latino patriotism. Forty Medals of Honor for  extraordinary heroism in combat, Spain's military support for the American revolutionaries, and America's first four star Admiral and Civil War hero, David G. Farragut, and other stories abound. For example, in the late-1700s, in the face of British and Russian designs on the Pacific coast of North America, the Spanish Crown under General Jose de Galvez, minister of the Indies, utilized three institutions to carry out the occupation of California: mission, presidio (fortress), and pueblo, or civil town. As a result of these reinforcements, the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), considers the descendants of these places as qualified for the SAR, just as descendants of Spanish soldiers on the Southern coast or descendants of other soldiers in
the former English colonies on the East Coast. 

The Hispanic heritage in United States is worthy of recognition and celebration and a source of dignity for Latinos and Hispanics. At least I should mention, the U.S. cowboy tradition was first introduced by Spanish and Mexican vaqueros ("cowboys"), dating back to the time they introduced horses and cattle to the Americas.

Why Hispanics and Latinos Differ in Terms of Their Identity
Despite what I noted above with regard to the mestizo concept and the studies of diasporas, Latinos and Hispanics tend to differ in their identity for political and personal reasons, mostly with regard to the amount of attention given to their Spanish roots. 

I believe that the different feelings of the so-called “man on the street” can be mostly related to how much they know about the earliest Spanish exploitations into the Americas. For those who consider themselves Hispanics, the past history of nearly four centuries ago does not factor inter their reasons for saying they are Hispanic. What tends
to be their rationale for being Hispanic is the fact that Spanish is their first language and their names are Spanish-origin.

For those who prefer to be called Latinos, the historic past is a big concern and the Spanish acts of the past cannot be ignored. Specifically, what Latinos tend to note is that Hispanics raided Indian communities, took Indians for slaves or forced them to work as guides and laborers, and destroyed villages and places when they found resistance? Many Latinos also assert that they are more Latin American than, with new customs and traditions, than Spanish, despite a Spanish surname.

How deep is the rancor of Latinos towards the name Hispanic? It is estimated that an average of a million Indians perished annually for most of the sixteenth century,  in what has been called the greatest genocide in human history. The findings of slavery, death and destruction by Hispanics against Indians have divided Latinos into those who
cherish their Spanish heritage as thicker than blood and those who believe that their Spanish blood is tainted with disgrace and brutality. Moreover, the new demographics of Latin America show a continent of many other national and ethnic groups, including Japanese, Italian, Russian, German, etc. Thus, Latin Americans are more likely to be
identified as Latinos.

Part 2. Afro-Hispanics and/or Afro-Latinos
More recently, research has opened-up a new line of enquiry into the African backgrounds of Hispanics and Latinos. This interest is due in part to the greater number of Spanish chronicles and documents that have been "discovered" and translated into English. We know much more today about the Spanish explorers who migrated five hundred years ago to the Americas. Also, the recent "Latinization" of American communities, and the further immigration of Latinos from all parts of Latin America have generated diasporas studies with new insights into Latino culture and heritage. 

Recent studies of Latino migrations and contemporary Latino culture have revealed that black Latinos face prejudice and discrimination within U.S. Latino communities and that racism prevails in Latin America. These are not the first studies to show this. Arturo Schomberg (born in Puerto Rico in 1874 to a black mother and German
father), founded the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York in 1891, dedicated to the study of race in Latin America. The Center is in the City library.

It is apparent that "dark-skinned" Latinos face class differentiation as mentioned earlier on Tainos. I believe that the class differentiation is mostly derived from an ages old system of castes or castas developed in Spain in the late 15th century. Moreover, the racism within Latino communities has something to do with the fact that some Spanish
descendents are naturally dark-skinned and there are Latinos who are more direct descendents from Africa. It is not a question of a drop of blood making a person either Black or White, for Latinos, shades of color are the basis of discrimination. I would like to offer some comparisons of what I refer to as Afro-Hispanics and Afro-Latinos.

• Afro-Hispanic Heritage
For people who prefer to be known as Hispanics, they themselves carry African blood derived centuries ago from the Moors. A Muslim army from Africa invaded Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar in 711. By 719 Muslim power was supreme and the Spanish peninsula was held as a dependency of the province of North Africa, a division of the
caliphate of Damascus. The caliphate eventually split into a number of independent and mutually hostile Moorish kingdoms. Subsequent Muslim sects from Africa invaded Spain in 1086 (Almoravids) and in 1145 (Almorhads).

Eventually Christian kings expelled most of the Moors following a great battle fought on the plains of Toledo in 1212. However, the African Moors were not completely vanquished until 1492, when the new Catholic rulers, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, proclaimed Limpieza de Sangre, purity of blood, as the new way of
Spain. This is a phrase used in documents of the Spanish inquisition indicating that a person and his ancestry were not to be contaminated with a heretic religion nor the blood of Moors, Jews, or Negroes. On the other hand, one who converted to "Old Christian," could obtain advancement in royal service, entrance to certain schools, positions in the clergy and support for explorations.

Jews who converted to Catholicism, were called conversos and sometimes marranos (Spanish for 'swine). They had opportunities to escape the persecution by going to America. It is now believed that some of the Jews who converted, eventually settled in New Mexico. Today, some "Hispanos" in New Mexico believe they are Sephardim
(Spanish Jews and their descendents).

For Muslims or Moors who converted during the inquisition to Christianity, called moriscos , there were opportunities for them to join Spanish explorations and seek refuge abroad. Some Hispanics with last names ending in "Z" believe they are descended from the Moors, such as Alvarez or Velasquez, etc. The names are relatively easy to trace to Hispanic origins, however, it is not always easy to trace a direct blood lineage to some of these family names because of past efforts to hide identity.

With the advent of Christopher Columbus and co-mingling with American Indians, Spanish society also established a system castas, closed classes in which Hispanics were born as:

Espanol: Spanish, born in Spain.
Peninsulares: Born in Spain and living in the colonies.
Criollo/Creole: Born of Spanish parents within the Spanish colonies.
Indio/a: Indian
Mestizo: Spanish/Indian
Mulato: Spanish Negro
Zambo: Indian/Negro. Etc.

One of the first things to notice in the Spanish registries of settlers (usually in the parishes) is the fact that they are shown by their caste or "look." For example, in the Los Angeles register for September 4, 1781, you will find families like that of Lara, wherein Jose Fernando is listed as Espanol, age 50, and his wife, Maria Antonia, is listed as India, age 23. Their children are listed as Mestizo. Historically, Hispanics, are very conscious of skin color because the lighter they are the more likely they "look" Spanish. Obviously, the Spanish look has afforded more privileges in the system of castas.

Nonetheless, for most of the seven centuries prior to Spain's arrival in the New World, Muslim Africans and Moors lived-in and ruled Spain, and undoubtedly transmitted their bloodlines into the Spanish conquistadors and their American descendents. In which case we know of a few examples.

We know of Pedro Alonzo Nino, considered the great African navigator who piloted one of Christopher Columbus' ships. For another, there is Juan Garrido, known as el conquistador negro, the Black Conquerer. Juan Garrido traveled from Africa to Spain around 1500 where he converted to Christianity and enlisted in the service of Spain.
Garrido wrote in his memoirs that he fought beside Ponce de Leon in Puerto Rico and later took part in the conquest of Mexico. Garrido served Spain for more than 30 years. In 1538, he received an estate in Mexico as his reward. Some historical accounts assert that Juan Garrido was also the first one to plant and harvest wheat on the American continent.

In 1542 a book was published in Spain, written by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. Entitled "Naufragios" or shipwrecked, de Vaca wrote of his exploit with explorer Panfilo de Narvaez, the shipwreck he was on, and the 8 next years of capture and wandering from Florida through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Accompanying him and two otherswas a black Moroccan-born slave by the name of Esteban or Estebanico. From 1528 to 1536 the four survived out of a three-hundred man expedition and made it back to Mexico. Estebanico turned into a sorcero (a medicine man) for survival. He treated Indians and others he met and had a reputation that helped in most places. He was killed ultimately at the hands of Indians in Arizona. But the amazing thing about the ordeal of de Vaca and Estebanico is that they covered over 6,000 miles of unknown territory, stirred the imagination of other explorers and lived to tell about the great expanse of the south. Cabeza de Vaca's book is now available in English and is exciting to read. Also, what we have in “Naufragios” is America’s first adventure book, with detailed descriptions of Indian groups, land areas and stories of Estebanico, i.e., America’s first African-Hispanic, muslim explorer in the New World.

Other Spanish records account for many more Afro-Hispanics, descendents from Spain. For example, the Hernando de Soto expedition into Alabama included a black man called Robles, one of the first European settlers in that area. The expeditions of Bonilla de Leyva-Antonio Gutierrez and Juan de Onate, late 16th century, had black members. The stories and chronicles of many Spanish adventurers have yet to be published. We may find many more examples of Afro-Hispanics who entered the Americas from Spain.

• Afro-Latinos and Heritage in America
For Latinos whose origins are from the Caribbean region, there is relatively more African and Spanish heritage in their genes than Amerindian blood. That is because the Spanish settlements of the 16th century introduced deadly European diseases, such as smallpox. In Mexico, the Indians gave the deadly sickness a Nahuatl referent: cocoliztli.
The Arawakan groups living in the Greater Antilles were the Taino and Siboney. According to the records of Friar Bartolome de las Casas, an estimated fifty thousand Taino called the Caribbean home in 1492. But within a few decades they either died or were assimilated out of existence as culturally distinct Indians. The Caribs also lost
ground because of disease and conquest, leaving relatively few traits of their Amerindian heritage within the Caribbean region.

In 1505, the king of Spain sent 17 Africans to work in the copper mines of Hispaniola, known today as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In succeeding years he sent more to the island. In the years to come, this trickle of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic swelled into a flood of millions. Their journey started the largest forced migration of human beings in world history. It is estimated that as many as fifteen million Africans were transported to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries. Most of the African slaves brought to the Spanish colonies came from Nigeria, the Gold Coast, and the Congo basin.

The Spanish Crown had sent the Africans to replace American Indians who were dying by the thousands. Through settlement, interbreeding and intermarriage, the Latinos of the region became relatively more mixed blood of Africa, Spain and other Europeans. In the Caribbean, we here the word mulatto more than the term mestizo, to refer to darkskinned Latinos.

In 1521, in less than three years, Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs and Mexico. From Mexico City the Spaniards and imported slaves would spread northward into the southwestern part of the United States. They interbred and intermarried with local Indians who were not driven to complete assimilation and are still present in
Mexico and the southwest. Combined, the Spaniards and Indians influenced the racial and ethnic make-up of Mexicans, hence the predominance "mestizos" today. Likewise, Francisco Pizarro reached Peru in 1532 and shortly thereafter conquered the Incas. The resulting racial-ethnic make-up of most Latinos of the Andies is also largely mestizo. 

Throughout the twentieth century Latin America became home to immigrants from all over the world. They have intermarried and changed the face of Latinos in many ways. Thus, Afro-Latinos can be distinguished from Afro-Hispanics in that the former are mixtures of African slaves, American Indians and other immigrants and not
necessarily direct descendents of Spain. Afro-Latinos exhibit variations in cultural traditions and heritage, depending on their country of origin. The Latinos of the Caribbean and the mainland of Mexico, for example, have different linguistic forms, patterns of speech, and vocabularies. In essence, Afro-Latinos have similar racial compositions and cultures as opposed to Afro-Hispanics. Some religious practices, music and artistic forms originate in Africa. An example is the influence of Santeria and orishas (African gods), that came from Yoruba speakers of present-day Nigeria and Benin to Cuba. The Yoruba speakers adapted their culture to meet social pressures. Orishas are said to govern different aspects of human life and the natural world. The migrations from Europe and Asia to the Americas have clearly influenced Latino identities and multi-racial characteristics.

Some Afro-Latinos derived from African-Americans who escaped the English and sought refuge in the territory of Spain. Recall that Spain was dominant in the United States for nearly 300 years, until the 19th century. Near St. Augustine, Spanish Florida, there was a sight called Mossy, Mosa, and Moosa. Beginning in 1688, Negro slaves who escaped from the English colonies, came to this Spanish territory, were not returned to  their English masters. Beginning on October 29, 1733, the Spanish crown decreed that slaves fleeing the English settlement for Florida and desiring to embrace Roman Catholicism would be free. Slaves in Carolina and Georgia reportedly fled in increasing
numbers to become residents of Mose and a fortification was erected there in 1739. Since the mid-1800s, other Afro-Latinos have descended from American slaves who escaped to Mexico and Latin America. One group of cimarrones (as they were called) escaped to Veracruz, Mexico. They became so powerful that the city council
granted them freedman's status and the right to organize their own city, which they did.

This community known as San Lorenzo de los Negros is situated in the state of Veracruz. Today cimarrones could be part of the "Chicano" population of the southwest. Another group of Latinos descended from shipwrecked African slaves, survivors who settled along the Caribbean coast and intermarried with the indigenous Caribbeans.
European colonists called them Black Caribs. Today they are called Garifuna. More than 100,000 Garifuna have migrated to the United States. Many reside in Nicaragua and Honduras. They are unique in defining themselves by language and culture, a mixture of Arawak language with their African language of different nations.

Thus, African American heritage within this nation is also a part of Hispanic and Latino heritage and vice-versa. Historian Quintard Taylor suggests that U.S. Afro-Hispanic and Afro-Latinos are under-estimated in American history and culture. Research in the 1940s by the late Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran of the Universidad Autonoma
de Veracruz, Mexico, suggested that there were more Africans in Mexico than Europeans during the colonial era cited by Roberto Rodriquez). Although that research has not been confirmed, I believe on the basis of demographic information that we will have more Afro-Latinos within the United States than African Americans, within a generation. When that happens, our Hispanic heritage will be enriched that much more. For the time being, however, the Afro-Hispanic and Afro-Latino will have an opportunity to negotiate their positions with the African American community.

In a historic sense, I argue that a large proportion of Hispanics have genetic heritage from Moors and African heritage from former slaves. In times of racial discord between Latinos, Hispanics and African Americans, this historical confluence of cultures should serve as a reminder that both communities share common ancestors and cultures. In sum, “According to the rules of conquest, the blood of the conquered dominates, but the rules are not profound, they are written on the skin.” (Shorris)

• Challenges and Status of Contemporary Latinos
The U.S. Census 2000 set in motion a number of comparisons between Latinos and African Americans. The data indicate that the Hispanic population outnumbers African Americans by a small margin. There are currently about 40 million Latinos, including nearly 4 million of Puerto Rico and 36 million on the fifty states. The Hispanic population grew by 3 million more than expected, at a rate of 58 percent over the decade, from 1990 to 2000. Eighty-five percent of the growth of the Hispanic community over the past decade is attributable to higher fertility rates and lower death rates, while only percent is due to immigration.

• Several states in the south more than doubled in Latinos between 1990-2000, including:
State  1990 pop 2000 pop % Growth
• North Carolina  76,713  378,963  394
• Arkansas  19,878  86,866  337
• Georgia  108,807  435, 227 300
• Tennessee  23,761 123,838  278
• So. Carolina  30,571  95,076  211
• Alabama  24,620  75,830 

• The Census 2000 also notes that Latinos identify as multiracial. Forty-nine percent (49 %) indicated they were not white. But nearly 48% identified as white. Evidently some Latinos are race conscious and not willing to be classified as a racial minority.
White 47.9%
Black 2.0%
American Indian, Alaska Native 1.2%
Asian 0.3%
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island 0.1%
Some Other Race 42.2%
Two or more races 6.3%

• The Hispanic population is highly metropolitan and highly concentrated residentially, much like African Americans. Moreover, the vast majority of Latinos reside in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, Houston, Fresno, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Within these metropolitan areas, Hispanics are more likely to reside in the central city or inner city, in ethnic enclaves known as barrios or towns called colonias.

• Residential segregation is also a fact of life for the majority of Hispanics. They are concentrated in communities and in barrios within cities and can spend their daily lives within Spanish speaking neighborhoods with occasional intermingling with Anglos, Blacks and others that speak English. They even work in segregated settings. Spanish is spoken throughout the United States by as many as 40 million people, not all are Hispanic. African Americans tend not to learn Spanish.

• Nearly one-half of the mainland's 36 million Hispanics are under the age of 26, whereas the median age of non-Hispanics is around 35 years of age. Moreover, the Hispanic population ten years of age and younger is larger than the entire Asian population in the United States. Nearly 12 million Hispanics are in pre-kinder and elementary school at this time. The Latino youth in K-12, outnumbers the youth of African Americans.
• The next generation of Hispanics may not be prepared for college and professional positions within the United States. Hispanic youth still trail non-Hispanic white youth in educational achievement. On average, Hispanic students lag two years behind non-Hispanic white students through their elementary and secondary years. As a result, Hispanic students are significantly underrepresented on today's college campuses. 

• A Harvard study from the Graduate School of Education, Civil Rights Project, found that school segregation of Hispanics is growing nationwide as the number of Hispanics increase rapidly. In 1968, 23.1% of Hispanic students were in schools where enrollment was 90% or more minority. In 1998, dealing with a far larger number of Hispanics, that group had grown to 36.1%. The study added that segregated schools, particularly those in big cities, have stunningly high levels of high school dropouts and very poor records of preparing students for higher education.

• Adding to the growing demographics of Hispanics are recent immigrants.
Approximately 700,000 Latinos arrive as legal immigrants each year. Today, nearly 40 percent of U.S. Latinos are first generation immigrants, about 15 million people.

• The signs are clear that Hispanics are part of the social and economic fabric of the entire nation, adding to the consumer market and business community in a variety of ways. The Census 2000 indicates that Hispanics migrate within the nation, willing to move into non-traditional areas in the South, North East, and upper Midwest, where
they are actively working in a number of positions as poultry workers, meat packing workers, furniture workers, service workers and workers in labor intensive professions. They are also teachers, caseworkers, lawyers, business owners and experts in telecommunications and mass media.

Part 3 Building Common Pursuits and Interests

Despite the fact that Hispanics and/or Latinos share many historical connections with African Americans, Latinos are currently increasing in numbers and rising in dominance that juxtaposes them as competitors with African Americans. At least that is a growing point of contention.

The positing of one group against another group compels me to look not so much at their overlapping histories as to their common prospects and pursuits. I see the demographics, for example, being emphasized in terms of Latinos outnumbering African Americans and jostling for power. The news seems to convey Latino-Black tensions with alarm and concern. Some Latinos are now asserting that racism in Hispanic society runs deep, they look for support from African Americans, while some Latinos say they are white and not black or Indian. The black-white dichotomy is being incorporated within Hispanic society in swift and subtle ways, almost as if embarrassed to identify by other bloods or mestizaje.

I agree with Christopher Rodriguez's assertion that "The Black/White legacy in America further complicates the Latino's position in the United States because we are caught between the titan debate of the race question." (Latino Manifesto, p.132). Both Blacks and Latinos have more serious questions to cope with than fabricated issues of
competition. For me, race-based confrontations by their very nature have an exclusionary effect and tend to result in a zero-sum game.

What is happening to the cultural, historical richness of both communities of Latinos and African Americans? Will competition create an obsession among some Latinos to be perceived as white or for others to see themselves as "the other?" I am also concerned by the news that reports the demographic shift in society as a gain for Hispanics and a loss for African Americans? See what appears to be happening nationally, for example, in the article in the Appendix.

Also notice the particular tone of the following headline, repeated frequently throughout the United States during the government elections of November 2001: [Lee] Brown is the only black mayor in Houston's history, and [Orlando] Sanchez, if he wins, would make Houston the biggest city in the nation to elect a Latino mayor. [Dec. 2, 2001, page A2, the Washington Post]

We were witness to similar headlines from the race for Mayor of Los Angeles in the fall of 2001, when the black vote was blamed for the Anglo win over the Chicano candidate for mayor. In addition, some cynical American pundits continue to pit African American against Latinos over issues of immigration, police profiling, bilingual
language, welfare reform, and affirmative action. Looking at the demographics and the articles of competition, lead to self-fulfilling prophecies of a nation divided by race and class differences.

I believe that the public needs to de-emphasize Blacks and Hispanics as if both were monolithic groups of people pitted against each other. The Afro-Hispanic, Afro-Latino legacies should provide effective cultural links of unity. Competitive sparring serves few Americans who are poor, disenfranchised, segregated and politically marginalized.

Still, recent and increasing divisions have thus far prevented African Americans and Latinos from being able to build strong communities, more employment, more voter participation and leadership roles in government and higher education.

Steps for Working Together

What to do? To begin with I have posited a number of propositions regarding our common links and interests. I have argued for the increase and diffusion of knowledge on both our histories and culture. Now I say that we can do much together by working together on the bigger issues. And we can begin by developing new attitudes and actions towards each other.

Here I simply list some beginning points for discussion and community relations:

• Acknowledge our pasts and celebrate our rich heritages. 
Friction between immigrant Latinos and Caribbean peoples and African Americans has become a growing phenomenon. Avoid the assimilation model that suggests that white and English only is good and dark with an accent is bad. Color and accent do not define American-ness. Cooperation and supporting communities build this
nation. Integrate and accept differences in people's identities. Celebrate heritage as the enrichment of community and not the strengthening of one people over another.

• Educate our friends and demand an education that is culturally and historically rich and broadened.
Few college curriculums test for cultural competency. Few teachers have solid curriculums in cultural history, arts, humanities and related topics. If we produce graduates from colleges, doctors, nurses, attorneys, political leaders without requiring cultural competency, then we fail them, their professional practices and their role as citizens.

• Build coalitions.
We need to support meetings and forums to dialog and discuss issues that concern our respective communities. We must continue to convene sessions that are inclusive and open for different viewpoints. The outcome may be new forms of organization, political support and community building. The energy that divides can be converted into a powerful alliance of mutual support.

• Increase economic opportunities for one another.
The number of minority owned businesses is increasing. We have opportunities to enhance employment of diverse groups of people. The notion of another minority business should not be interpreted as another place that will hire minorities of the same group. Part of the reason for business success is tied to an understanding of consumers
and the opportunities they offer for reaching a global market.

• Denounce the issues of 'divide and conquer.'
Both African Americans and Latinos have been the victims of racism and oppression in this country. We cannot afford to be pitted one against another. We should consistently strive to work together and to avoid challenging each other for a fixed piece of the economic pie.

• Stick up for each other.
When "the other" is denigrated or put down or falsely identified as a problem, ask openly: What's wrong with this picture? Our silence in the face of oppression and denigration perpetuates the problem. We should also confront the situation with more knowledge and understanding of our common interests, not with rancor.

• Enlist support of the general public, the news media and leadership.
As we work toward unity, also work to extend commitment and understanding. Work for the betterment of all America. Living in this great country carries with it the responsibility to care for and protect the nation. Incorporate the media and leadership to work for the same common cause of American unity. In closing, I thank you for patience during my presentation. I touched much ground, several centuries of history and closed by relating demographic facts to actual, contemporary news. I probably said too much. But if I have accomplished anything, I
hope it is evident that I believe in working together through education and the increase and diffusion of knowledge about Latinos and Hispanics.

Thank you.

Recommended Reading:
African Roots/American Cultures: Africa and the Creation of the Americas by Sheila S. Walker, Spelman College, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2001). [See documentary: “Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora”]

Black and Brown in America: The Case for Cooperation by Bill Piatt (New York University Press, 1997).

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage by William Loren Katz (New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1986)

Black Latino Connections: Premier Historical Edition by The Black Chamber of Orange County in association with Somos Primos and the Hispanic Chamber of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA., June 2000). Telephone: (800) 494-4772.

"Black Pioneers: The Spanish-Speaking Afroamericans of the Southwest" by Jack D. Forbes, in Historical Themes and Identity: Mestizaje and Labels by Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (Editor) (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1995).

Brown: The Last Discovery of America, by Rodríguez, Richard. (New York: Penguin Putnam, 2002).

"Choosing an Identity: Defining our Spirit" by Roberto Rodriguez, El Aviso The National Association of Latino Arts & Culture, Spring 2002, Vol.4 (1): pp. 4&5.

Culture and Cultura: Consequences of the U.S.-Mexican War: 1846-1848 by Iris H.W.

Engstrand, Richard Griswold del Castillo, and Elena Poniatowska, (Los Angeles: Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 1998).

Dialog: Celebrating the African Heritage of the Americas, Journal of the Center for Latino Research, De Paul University, Chicago, Winter/Spring 2001, No. 5 (Contact online:

Disease, Depopulation and Culture Change in Northwestern New Spain, 1518-1764 by Daniel T. Reff (University of Utah Press, 1991) 330 pp. Has detailed information from Cabeza de Vaca's book "Naufragios."

Ethnic Identity: Formation and Transmission Among Hispanics and Other Minorities by Martha E. Bernal, Ph.D., and George P. Knight, Ph.D., Editors (State University of New York Press, 1993).

"Foreigners in Their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans" in Juan Perea, Los Ovidados: On the Making of Invisible People, NYU Law Review, 965, n.p52 (1995).

From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity by Juan Flores (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).

From Indians to Chicanos: The Dynamics of Mexican-American Culture by James Diego Vigil (Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.1998)

Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature of the United States by Nicolas Kanellos (editor) (Oxford University Press, 2002). Includes translations from Spanish chronicles.

Hispanic Presence In the United States by Frank de Varona (Editor) (Miami: Mnemosyne Publishing Co., 1993).

In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West 1528-1990 by Quintard Taylor (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1998)