Oral Histories

Interview of Lupe Anguiano

Organizer for the United Farm Workers and founder of National Women’s Employment & Education Inc., which helps single mothers move out of poverty. Co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Mexican American Civil Rights Pioneers: Historical Roots of an Activist Generation
Latina and Latino History
Biographical Note:
Organizer for the United Farm Workers and founder of National Women’s Employment & Education Inc., which helps single mothers move out of poverty. Co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Espino, Virginia
Anguiano, Lupe
Persons Present:
Anguiano and Espino.
Place Conducted:
The Oxnard Public Library in Oxnard, 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 by researching the Lupe Anguiano Papers housed at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center. The Historical Los Angeles Times database was consulted along with various secondary sources about Mexican Americans in the Southwest and Chicano history, 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. Anguiano 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.
16.5 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.
Mexican, Mestizo, and Catholic identity; Cultural awakening after a visit to Mexico; Losing Spanish literacy in school; Attending a farm worker school in Saticoy with an enforced shortened day; Receiving encouragement from an Anglo school teacher; Father's work ethic; Effort to close Saticoy farm worker school; Mother's strategy for managing economic hard times; Experience with World War II and a national identity; Awakening to social injustices during the 1960s; Horrors of Nazi Germany; Visiting the Yeto family in a concentration camp; Social life as a teenager; Grunion hunting with the family; Relationship with Joe Garcia and Tony Payan; Declining marriage for a religious life; High school social life; Encounters with sailors on leave during World War II; Experience with sexual intimacy before becoming a woman religious; Sexual awakening and Bill Williams; Mother's death and its aftermath; Father questions commitment to Catholic faith; Choosing religious life and initial experience as a postulant; First religious assignment; Educating non-Mexican priests about cultural traditions; Speaking out on behalf of farm workers in Arizona; Reflections on the Catholic Church and the Latino community; Importance of Chicano Studies; Catholic teachings and class issues; The importance of the Sermon on the Mound and the Beatitudes.
Vatican II and emerging ideas regarding the mission of the church and the rights of working people; Advocacy for integrated housing; Experience with the Rumford Act; Religious call for integrated communities; Cardinal McIntyre and Bishop Manning's opposition to activism among members of religious orders; First experience picketing with Habit; Silencing by the Catholic Church; Answering the call to community action and requesting dispensation from the Catholic Church; First experience with educating teens; Critique of unjust accumulation of wealth; Role of the Catholic Church today regarding environmental issues; Goals with Clean Air Act activism; Feelings about leaving the order of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters; Reflections on social justice and the Catholic Church; Advocacy for John F. Kennedy and his presidency; Position on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment; Purpose of the Women's Political Caucus; Political position on abortion and the value of life; Opposition to the prominence of "bedroom issues" in mainstream political discourse; Advocacy and support for Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug; Advocacy for women's economic independence; Transformative relationship with Jesus Christ; The Catholic Church's role and responsibility in sexual abuse accusations; Reflections on sexual abuse of women throughout the world; Involvement in the "No on Proposition 14" campaign and the fight against segregated housing in California; Skills learned as a missionary sister.
Work related to the defeat the Rumford Act aka No on Proposition 14; The Catholic Church and the its history of social justice involvement; Experience with racism in Texas; Choosing religious disobedience and social justice activism; Teaching experience at Garfield High School; Injustices witnessed while serving the Catholic Church; Argument in favor of building integrated communities; Political position on the welfare issue; Example of building integrated communities; Life after departure from the religious order; Experiences working with youth in East Los Angeles; History of the Cleland House and its role in community work; Role with the Youth, Training and Employment Project (YTEP); Importance of youth employment training for skilled and non-skilled union jobs; Working with the incarcerated; Political position against segregated communities and in favor of racially and economically diverse communities; Government expectations of the Youth Training and Education Project.
Impact of the Watts Riots on political activism; Explanation of the Mental Retardation Program; Language discrimination in the educational system; Reflections on the importance of Dr. Deluvina Hernández's book, Mexican American Challenge to a Sacred Cow; Impact of urban uprisings in the 1960s and 1990s; Working with the African American community; Issues presented at President Lyndon Johnson's White House conference on Mexican American issues; Efforts to end the mental retardation screening program; Working with the Mexican American Education Commission; Developing a position on bilingual education from President Lyndon Johnson's meeting on Mexican Americans at the White House; Issues raised at President Lyndon Johnson's meeting on Mexican Americans at the White House; Experience with White House appointment; Perspective on employment needs for women and the Latino community; Position on welfare and welfare rights; Problems encountered with War on Poverty programs while working for Youth Training and Employment Project; Experience as executive director of the East Los Angeles Teen Post program; Organizational structure of the Teen Post program; Lupe Anguiano's advice to the Teen Post youth; Violence erupts at a boxing match organized by Teen Post directors; Latino community and the police; One experience with the United Farm Workers (UFW).
Contemporary struggle with the South Shore Development Project; Importance of economically and ethnically diverse communities; History of segregated communities in Oxnard; View of an ideal housing development for Oxnard; Initial reason for involvement in the South Shore Development Project; Industrialization and environmental racism in South Oxnard; Political conflict with CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy) over the South Shore Development Project; Painful impact of CAUSE's public critique of Lupe Anguiano; Explanation of longstanding concern for the restoration of the wetlands; BHP Billiton's goals for a gas pipeline through the Ventura coastline; Political battle with the organization CAUSE; Dirty politics in Oxnard; Victory won on a redistricting issue in Oxnard and Ventura County; Philosophy of supporting candidates based on views versus ethnic or gender identification; The Equal Rights Amendment and Welfare Reform; Gendered argument for welfare reform; Conflict with Chicanas on the welfare rights issue.
Role in organizing around the Equal Rights Amendment; Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; Arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment; The Equal Rights Amendment and its benefits for working women of color; Organizing with the Spanish Speaking Diocese for civil rights and equal rights; Defending the Equal Rights Amendment to the Catholic community; Women of color critique of the "white" women’s movement; Reflections on being the first Chicana in Washington; Reflections on La Raza Unida Party; Critique of the Democratic Party; Rationale for changing party affiliation to Republican under Jimmy Carter's administration; Disappointment with Jimmy Carter's lack of support for the Equal Rights Amendment; Conflict with Chicanas for working with white women's groups; Importance of the Equal Rights Amendment and critique of the incorporation of "bedroom" issues into the debate; Role of sexuality in religious questions; Critique of the Catholic Church during the struggle for women's equality; Experience working with inter-racial coalitions; Efforts to achieve bilingual education; Bilingual education philosophy; Failure of a meaningful bilingual program.
Recent League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) convention highlighting educational issues; Conflicts with Oxnard educational leadership; Poor success rates for Latinos in Oxnard; Reflections on a recent meeting with Julian Nava and Rudy Acuña; Absence of women's leadership in the history books; Absence of Native Americans and Mexicans in history books; Contemporary issues in Ventura County; National Women in Employment and Education's health goals; Choosing to focus on welfare reform; Critique of welfare legislation; Applying strategy of the Equal Rights Amendment campaign to a critique of welfare legislation; Differing position from Alicia Escalante and Johnnie Tillman; Consequences of "being supported by the public"; Confrontation at International Women's Year conference around the "safety net" issue; Leaving Washington, DC to become head of the Office of the Spanish Speaking in San Antonio, Texas; Experiencing firsthand what life on welfare is like and what it means to live in a housing projects. Organizing women on welfare; Political position that United States welfare policy leads to dependency; Rosemary's story of moving from dependence on husband to dependence on welfare; Employment training for women on welfare; Implementing welfare reform throughout the United States; New York City experience; Encounter with Ronald Reagan; Receiving Volunteer Award under Ronald Reagan's presidency; Meeting Estee Lauder; Democrats cold to welfare reform; Root of problems in educational system; Importance of respecting the working poor; Disappointment with the Republican and the Democratic parties.