Interview of Grace Montañez Davis (2008)
Member of the Community Service Organization. Administrative assistant to member of the U.S. House of Representatives, George E. Brown, Jr. and first Mexican-American woman to serve as deputy mayor of Los Angeles.
- Mexican American Civil Rights Pioneers: Historical Roots of an Activist Generation
- Latina and Latino History
- Davis, Grace Montañez
- Persons Present:
- Davis and Espino.
- Place Conducted:
- Davis's home in Los Angeles, California.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- The interview was conducted by Virginia Espino Program Coordinator for Latina and Latino History, UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research B.A., psychology, UC Santa Cruz; Ph.D., history, Arizona State University. Espino prepared for the interview researching the Grace Davis Papers, 1940-1990 housed at UCLA's Chicano Studies Resource Center. The Historical Los Angeles Times database was consulted along with various secondary sources on Los Angeles Chicano politics and civic life.
- Processing of Interview:
- The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Davis was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a few corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
- 11 hrs.
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- The purpose of this series is to document the social justice activism of the Mexican American generation and to explore family and community life in war-time Los Angeles. Individuals selected for this series resided in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s and began their civic participation prior to 1960. Represented groups include a wide range of activists, including labor, political, and educational activists. Their combined experience underscores war-time community life and outlines the historical precursors to the Chicano Movement.
Family background in Mexico; Parents’ marriage in Fresno; Adopted brother; Biological brothers; Tuberculosis; Olive View Sanitarium; Lincoln Heights; Grace’s home birth; Italian neighbors; Our Lady of Help Christians; Religious processions; Albion Street School; Harassment by Italian children; Immigration raid; Early living conditions; St. Joseph altar table; Parents employment; Use of Spanish and English; Parents valued school attendance; Fear of immigration raids.
Early childhood; Immigration raid; Italian community of Lincoln Heights; 1930s earthquake; Our Lady Help of Christians; Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp; Penny Lunch; African Americans; Parents active in Catholic Church; Parents attend night school English classes; Tuberculosis; Olive View Sanitarium; Chico Montañez’s experiences growing up; Zoot Suits; World War II; Louis Mendoza’s experiences; Early living conditions; Brother worked to buy suits; Sacred Heart elementary; Mexican neighbors; Sacred Heart Academy; High value on education; Immaculate Heart College; Class dynamics at Sacred Heart; Young People’s Club, Our Lady Help of Christians Church; Science; Named most likely to succeed.
Early childhood; living conditions; Mexican neighbors; Church participation; Neighborhood life; Father’s ingenuity; Old Chinatown; Downtown movie theatres; Italian neighbors; Adopted brother; World War II; Religious practices; Parent’s hospitalization; Japanese internment; Upward mobility; Depression; Italian traditions; Immaculate Heart College; Science; UCLA science department; Ethnic diversity in department; Social life at Immaculate Heart; Neighborhood celebration of Immaculate Heart graduation; Parent support during college years; UCLA social life; Paul Robeson; Buddy Collette; Non-Mexican college friends; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); “Liberal” ideas; Dorothy Healy; Communism; Anti-communism; George E. Brown; Dionicio Morales; Employment at the University of Southern California (USC).
Marriage to Ray C. Davis; Dating a non-Latino; Community Service Organization (CSO) involvement; Roybal county supervisor campaign (1958); Voter registration campaign; Jewish activist Marian Graff; Gender roles; Participation of labor; Delaying childbearing; Working while pregnant; Parents' support of non-traditional gender role; Husband shared domestic responsibilities; J.J. Rodriquez; Working for Roybal’s campaign; Working for George Brown; Roger Johnson, Roybal’s campaign manager; Multiethnic support for Roybal; Congressional support between Gus Hawkins, Edward Roybal and George Brown; Brown v. Board of Education; Los Angeles’ segregated schools; Naturalization efforts; Teaching naturalization classes on the Westside; Teaching naturalization classes in Lincoln Heights; Naturalization class student make-up; Benefits of citizenship; Working at a polling location; Pat Brown;Issues of concern; Julian Nava’s election to the school board; Conflict with Julian Nava; Los Angeles buildings named after Edward Roybal; Roybal’s concern for the spread of tuberculosis; Henrietta Villasescusa; Health care; Roybal’s family; Tenth anniversary of the Community Service Organization; Fair Elections Committee; Voter irregularities during Roybal’s 1958 campaign for Los Angeles Supervisor.
Family planning; Pre-marital sex; Conflict with Catholic doctrine; Divorce; African American boyfriend; College prom; Skin color issues; Gender issues in Community Service Organization; Edward Roybal supervisor campaign; Voter fraud; Ideology; Roybal’s leadership skills; Lucille Becerra Roybal; Gender expectations; Julian Nava;Employment with George Brown; Employment with the Department of Labor; Watts Community Labor Committee; Husband’s infidelity; The “Holy Terrors”.