The Latinx culture is an important aspect of our country today.

Latinas in World War II: A Little-Recognized Group

In the 1930s during the Great Depression, Americans were looking for scapegoats, and in an effort to save jobs for “real Americans” they began rounding up and deporting many people who had moved to the U.S. from Mexico, a good number of whom were “real” U.S. citizens. In addition to being a wrong thing to do, the “repatriation” was tragic for many, often resulting in the separation of parents and children.

Luisa Moreno, (1907-1992), Labor Organizer

Activist in the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement (which preceded Chicano activism)Luisa Moreno

Organized first National Congress of Spanish-Speaking People (1938)

Luisa Moreno was born in Guatemala in an upper-class family.  She later moved to Mexico where she married; she and her spouse moved to the United States in 1928 and settled in New York City.

By the early 1930s the numbers of jobs for anyone were severely limited but Moreno found work as a sewing machine operator in Spanish Harlem.  She quickly became aware of the poor conditions for workers and she founded a Latina garment workers union.  This brought her to the attention of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the mainstream organization for labor organizers.  They hired her to help organize, but she soon moved on to their more progressive rival, the CIO the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles (1928-2005): Poet and Activist

  • Professional Boxer
  • Poet
  • Leader in the movement for justice and equality for Mexican-Americans in the Southwest

Rodolfo Gonzáles was born in Denver, Colorado, the youngest of eight children. His mother died when he was two so the children grew up in a household with only their father. The family lived in a tough section of town, Denver’s “Eastside Barrio.”

Gus Arriola and The Comic Strip Character of Gordo

From 1941-1985, Gus Arriola (1917-2008) produced a comic strip a day (panels for daily and Sunday strips) about Gordo, a fellow who began his existence as a Mexican bean farmer. Arriola was exacting in his work and for the 44-year run of the strip, he did all the art, writing, and production himself. The comic was syndicated in 220 newspapers.

First Hispanic Governor of California: Romualdo Pacheco, Jr.

Governor (Jose Antonio) Romualdo Pacheco, Jr. (1831-1899)

  • American politician and diplomat
  • Only Hispanic (thus far) to serve as Governor of California
  • First Hispanic representative of a state in Congress (Hispanics had represented territories prior to Pacheco’s election)
  • First Hispanic to chair a standing committee in Congress (Committee on Private Land Claims)
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