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.
Mexican American Civil Rights Pioneers: Historical Roots of an Activist Generation
Latina and Latino History
Biographical Note:
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.
Espino, Virginia
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.
11.5 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.
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.
The younger generation of women in MAPA start to pursue leadership positions--The different views on abortion between two generations--Expectations for her children-- Reading as an important part of her family’s life--More on her children--Ideas that one forms as a result of growing up Catholic--The organization of fundraisers for MAPA--Disagreements over the terms "Chicano", "Latino," and "Hispanic"--A dislike for the LA Times--Opinions on other newspapers--Dealing with divorce as a Catholic--The walkouts and their leaders-- Vahac Mardirosian and Bert Corona--The challenges that occur when Mexican Americans marry Anglo women--Getting involved with the farm workers and the UFW--Why MAPA endorsed Julian Nava and how things changed at that point--Difficulties being part of the Status of Women Commission-- Thoughts on Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr. and his ideas--More on the MAPA endorsement of Julian Nava--Thoughts on people leaving Congress to return home--Her relationship with her husband, a Republican--Types of stories that have been covered by her newspapers--Encounters problems due to the endorsement of the teachers' union--Problems with the education system and dealing with immigrant students--Thoughts on bilingual education in schools.
Changes that occurred between the sixties and the seventies--The importance of the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign for the Mexican American community--The impact of the Watts riots on organizations--Ron Dellums and Mayor Tom Bradley--Forming the Bradley "blue ribbon committee"-- Changes after President Kennedy is killed and President Lyndon Johnson assumes office--Working for Tom Bradley’s administration after his election--Women begin to assume leadership roles--The Jimmy Carter presidential campaign appoints more women to powerful positions--Political consideration of affiliations while being part of a campaign-- Joins Students for a Democracy Society (SDS)--SDS's awareness of Mexican-American issues--Differences in viewpoint with her colleagues on some issues--The importance of Manpower programs--Issues with unemployment compensation for small businesses--Participates in the start of the Mexican American Grocers Association--Struggles Latino markets faced and the development of a salvage grocery business--The political views of Raza Unida Party--The qualities a candidate must have to be endorsed in the current climate--Ideas implemented by La Raza magazine and newspaper--The barriers to informing the community on pertinent issues, such as the sterilization of women--The transition from one generation of political activists to another.
Works with the Chicana Service Action Center--The difficulties in branching out from Comisión Femenil--Develops programs for Chicana Service and adds staff members--The difference between Chicana Service Action Center and Comisión Femenil--The generation gap on issues--Tensions emerge after the separation of Chicana Service from Comisión Femenil-- How Chicana Service recruited women and the dangers they exposed themselves to-- The activism of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta--The impact the activism of Cesar Chavez had on a wide range of ethnic groups-- Achievements of Manpower programs through the years--Temptations when dealing with large amounts of money--Challenging the system and making a revolution for the Latino community--Her divorce--The impact of her divorce on the newspaper--Difficulties when deciding what political candidates to support or endorse-- Changing attitudes among the younger generation--Issues that immigrants and the Latino community face--The intractable nature of many of these issues--Contemplates a possible end for the newspaper--The role of the newspaper in helping people get started with their careers--How the newspaper works and its leadership--The changes to the newspaper over the years--Building infrastructure, such as the Letters to Santa Program--Organizations the newspaper works with-- Working to change the state statutes in order to better serve the community--Felix Gutierrez--Daughter, Gloria, starts to work at the newspaper--Second husband's position at the newspaper--Finding and training staff--Technology and social media-–Disputes between the women in Chicana Service and those in Comisión Femenil.