Oral Histories

Interview of Dolores Sanchez

Co-founder, publisher, and editor in chief of Eastern Group Publications, a Hispanic newspaper company. Member of the Mexican American Political Association, the Chicana Service Action Center, and Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional.
Series:
Mexican American Civil Rights Pioneers: Historical Roots of an Activist Generation
Topic:
Latina and Latino History
Interviewer:
Espino, Virginia
Interviewee:
Sanchez, Dolores
Place Conducted:
Eastern Group Publications offices in Highland Park, 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.
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. Sanchez was then given an opportunity to review the transcript but made no corrections or additions.
Length:
11.5 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
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.
Great-grandfather’s family roots and his early life–-Great-grandfather moves to New York to play baseball-–Great- grandfather goes to work in Arizona to build a spur-– How Surprise, Arizona got its name-–Great-grandfather meets future wife, Modesta, and they decide to run away and get married-–Great-grandfather’s stories-–Grandmother’s early life-–Maternal family tree--Grandmother’s life after marriage and period of extensive travel--Mother’s early childhood--Father joins the navy in 1940 and mother goes to work in defense plants-- Mother’s belief in unions--Father comes back from the war as an alcoholic, soon passing away--Times spent with her father--A first episode with racism--Life during the war and the lifestyle of that time--Paternal grandmother--Religion in family and the values Sanchez learned as a child--The value of work for her family--Learns perfectionism from her parents--Father's combat experience--The sudden disappearance of the Japanese from Los Angeles--The Japanese come back to Los Angeles as if nothing had happened--Experience during the war with sailors--Personal independence since a little girl--Experience with Japanese people--Childhood and her family--Meeting people from different cultures--Bunker Hill gets redeveloped--Catholic school system.
Attends Catholic school--Parents' participation in community--Union activities--Latino participation in unions--Style of education at Catholic school--No usage of the word “immigrant” while growing up in a diverse community--Lesson learned at school--Personal liberty while growing up--Education first and then responsibilities--Catholic school expands despite tight finances--The religious calling of the nuns--Celebration of the Virgin Mary--Teachings at Catholic school about members of the Jewish faith--The Jewish community in Bunker Hill.
Family is evicted from their home in Bunker Hill--What it meant to be educated by nuns--Forms of discipline at home--Mother's physical appearance and where the family would get their clothes and accessories--The responsibilities inherent in being the oldest--Parents' separation--Mother's silence about her work experience--Attends school in the Sacred Heart Parish in Lincoln Heights--Differences between the educational philosophy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary nuns and that of the nuns of the Dominican order.
Activism and participation in unions with her mother--Goals and dreams in comparison with those of her mother’s-- Gets married and supports ambitious husband and his business--First husband--Growing up Catholic and life as a married woman--Raising her children while helping her husband in his business--Relocates both home and business--More on raising her children--The lack of a sense of danger out in the streets while growing up--Her sheltered life as a child growing up in Bunker Hill--The presence of alcohol in her life--Reaction on the part of the Bunker Hill community to "pachucos"--Family's reactions to the "pachuco" riots--The lives of two aunts--Introduction to computers--Mother’s education and work life--Moving to Hillside Village--The ease of buying real estate in the past--An emphasis on the best education for her kids--Begins the Mexican American Grocers Association with her ex-husband--Involvement with Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)--MAPA’s purpose--Becomes associated with communism because of relationships with people such as Dorothy Healey--The relationship between MAPA and the Democratic Party--Issues with public education--The lack of activism among minority groups--A parents' responsibility to send their kids to school--Works for the United Farm Workers (UFW) and Cesar Chavez--Serves as the president of the Chicana Service Action Center--Issues with women being on welfare.
Diversity in MAPA--Discrimination against minorities and efforts to prevent them from buying homes--Role in MAPA--Deals with push back in efforts to get Mexican Americans elected for office--Works for the Women’s Commission on Civic Government--Difficulties in getting women into the fire department--The Antonio Villaraigosa mayoral campaign--The issue of the annexation of East L.A to Los Angeles-- Rapid turnover of businesses in Highland Park--Gentrification in Bunker Hill--Chavez Ravine and Dodger Stadium--That L.A. Live was built downtown and not on Elysian Park was a big accomplishment for community activists--Her role in the development of the newspaper MAPA Outlook--MAPA 40th and its membership--Difficulties in being an activist and having to take care of her family--Controversy about a spy in MAPA from the Los Angeles police department--Dangers active members of MAPA faced from police, the community and in their jobs--Process of registering people to vote and how MAPA became a respectable political organization--Politicians begin to see that MAPA's endorsement is valuable.