Oral Histories

Interview of Rosalio Muñoz

Mexican-American activist and co-chair of the Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Chicano journalist and member of the Communist Party.
Series:
"La Batalla Está Aquí": The Chicana/o Movement in Los Angeles
Topic:
Latina and Latino History
Social Movements
Chicano Movement
Interviewer:
Espino, Virginia
Interviewee:
Muñoz, Rosalio
Persons Present:
Muñoz and Espino.
Place Conducted:
Mexican Cultural Institute offices 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, UCLA Center for Oral History Research. B.A., UC, Santa Cruz (Psychology); Ph.D., Arizona State University (History). Espino prepared for the interview by consulting numerous secondary sources on the history of the Chicana and Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, such as Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement by Carlos Muñoz, Chicano Politics Reality and Promise 1940-1990 by Juan Gomez Quinones, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America by Vicki L. Ruiz, and Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice, by Ian F. Lopez Haney. The Historical Los Angeles Times database was consulted along with primary resources from the Chicana/o Movement housed at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center.
Length:
25 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
The interviews in this series document the ideological transformation of the Chicana and Chicano generation in Los Angeles. Dissatisfied with their position in U.S. society, Chicana and Chicano activists built a civil rights movement from the ground up. Interviewees were selected based on their experience as members or leaders of Chicana and Chicano Movement organizations from 1962 to 1978. Collectively the oral histories document a variety of social justice struggles that include, but are not limited to, educational improvement, union advocacy, voting and political rights, gender equality, and anti-war activism.
Early family history—Family culture--Mother graduates from college with high academic honors--Father's religious views--Father’s side of the family--Father moves to Texas--Segregation in schools—Father’s education--Challenges parents faced finding work due to discrimination against Mexican Americans--How parents met--Father joins the navy and returns home to work as a social worker--Move to Los Angeles--Father attends the University of Southern California to complete a master’s degree--Moves to Lincoln Heights--Childhood--Ethnic makeup of Lincoln Heights—Importance of sports in the family--Racism family faces while Muñoz is growing up--Two different religions in the family.
School experiences—The Los Angeles Times Boys Club experiences--Experience as a Mexican American student--Adventures with friends—Parental discipline--Relationship with siblings--Popular culture while growing up--Moves to Highland Park--Finds new friends in school and in neighborhood--Excels in school and is placed in advanced-level classes--Muñoz's differences with some of his teachers--Involvement in different school activities—Issues within the classroom--Works as a paperboy--Racism in schools--Travels to Mexico with father.
Experience as one of the few Mexican American students in school--Language choices made by parents--Education passed on from parents and siblings--Differences between parents’ families--Distinctions between Muñoz's cousins and himself--Political life as a student--Conflict with a right-wing teacher--Experiencing the Cold War--Adventures while traveling in Mexico for a year in 1962--Engages with Mexico’s culture--Experiences the carnival in Veracruz--Outcomes from traveling around Mexico--Mother's depression--Comes back to California and continues with school.
Influential teachers in high school--Favorite school subjects--Learning Spanish--Involvement in Spanish-speaking student organizations--Experience as a third-generation college student at UCLA--Muñoz's position on issues pertaining to African Americans in the sixties--The assassination of President John F. Kennedy--The importance of basketball in his life--The TJs and the Surfers--Interracial dating--First summer jobs and becoming politically active--Attends UCLA--Life at UCLA and first courses—Builds relationships with other UCLA students--Athletes from UCLA--The culture in the mid-sixties--Becomes a very active student at UCLA.
Second-year experiences at UCLA--Injures ankle--Academic and social life at UCLA--The Watts Riots--Gets a job at the Hall of Records--Starts the Experimental College at UCLA--Teaches a class called Affluence and Leisure--Initial ideas about the Experimental College--The start of instructor evaluations at UCLA--Forms part of the committee that reads the evaluations made by students--Classes took at UCLA--The dichotomy between the community and the university--The beginnings of the Chicano Movement--The UMAS (United Mexican American Students) conference--People involved in UMAS--Influential professors at UCLA, such as Lynn White--Starts to notice injustice in the university setting--Getting involved with UMAS--Experience listening to Reies Tijerina speak--Opening the university to diversity--Conflict between the Greek system and UMAS—Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign and UMAS—Beginnings of involvement in the Chicano Movement--Involvement with the admissions committee’s work at UCLA--Leading his first demonstration--Runs for student body president at UCLA.
Attire and identity issues--Embraces being a Chicano--The campaigns and the journey to the elections for student body president--Wins the election and becomes student body president at UCLA--Issues after his election--Support from the Chicano community--Challenges as president - Disarm Unicops (university cops)--La Follette hearings--The affirmative action program at the UCLA Law School--The University of California student body presidents' meeting with Governor Ronald Reagan--Experience in Upward Bound--Going to the University of California Board of Regents’ meetings--Differences between United American Students (UMAS) and the Black Student Union--Muñoz's commitment to the movement and the role he played.