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Oral History Interview with Feliz Abalos, July 15, 2016

Description: Feliz Abalos was born (1979) and raised in Odessa, Texas. Abalos graduated from Odessa High School in 1996 a semester early and attended one spring semester at Sul Ross State University. She graduated from the University of Houston in 2001 and then attended law school at Ohio Northern University Abalos has been chair of the Ector County Democratic Party. She has worked in various local political campaigns since she was a child. Abalos was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Premium Basin Planned Parenthood.
Date: July 15, 2016
Duration: 51 minutes 57 seconds
Creator: Abalos, Feliz & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Gilbert Flores, June 20, 2016

Description: Gilbert A. Flores grew up in Slaton, Texas where he attended a segregated “Mexican School” and then a integrated school where he faced abuse and discrimination alongside other Mexican American children. Upon graduating from high school, he moved to Lubbock and began to work in various jobs until he opened up his own successful auto-parts store during the early 1970s. In 1993 he became the second Mexican American to be elected into the Lubbock County Commissioner’s Court.
Date: June 20, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 23 minutes 51 seconds
Creator: Flores, Gilbert & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Antonio Jimenez, June 10, 2016

Description: Antonio Jimenez was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. during the 1980s. He worked at Cactus Feeders then Swift, a meat packing plant in Cactus, Texas. While at Swift, Jimenez felt that the United Food & Commercial Workers was not representing the meat packing plant’s workers well. Thus, he and others, inspired by Trini Gamez and Coco Medina, launched a local union that eventually initiated a strike that brought better conditions. He eventually left Swift and the independent local union when he felt his family was threatened by United Food & Commercial Workers operatives. He was sued by the United Food & Commercial Workers, but the suit was thrown out. Jimenez began a successful automotive body shop.
Date: June 10, 2016
Duration: 45 minutes 54 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Jimenez, Antonio
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Alphonso Vaughn, June 22, 2016

Description: Alphonso Vaughn was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. He lived through the integration of local schools as a high school student. From Amarillo, he entered the military and then attending the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. Upon his return to Amarillo, Vaughn helped start the city’s Juneteenth Celebration along with various civil rights and cultural organizations. He served five, two year terms as president of Amarillo’s NAACP. Since then, he has served as a Potter County Commissioner.
Date: June 22, 2016
Duration: 58 minutes 01 second
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Vaughn, Alphonso
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Maria Strong, June 27, 2016

Description: Maria Strong was born in Nebraska but grew up between Lubbock and California’s Coachella Valley. As a teenager, she left school and became the sole breadwinner for her household made of her parents and siblings. After obtaining her GED and working various jobs, she began to attend Texas Tech University, where she obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has worked with migrant farm workers (her family was once a migrant family), as a an adviser at South Plains College, and has participated in various community organizations.
Date: June 27, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes 03 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Strong, Maria
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Socorro Medina on June 5, 2016

Description: Socorro "Coco" Medina grew up in Amarillo and attending university in Denver, where she joined the Chicano Movement. She returned to Amarillo and began to push for social justice in the Panhandle through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other mainstream organizations. She also launched the first Spanish language radio station in the city alongside her husband and is currently helping preserve the history of the city's Mexican American population.
Date: June 5, 2016
Duration: 58 minutes 52 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Medina, Socorro
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with K.T. McLeaish, July 11, 2016

Description: K.T. McLeaish was born and raised Granbury, Texas. She briefly attended the University of Northern Colorado before returning to Texas. McLeaish is retired from a long-time, non-paying career of political activism (she was once an elected member of the Democratic National Committee). She's been married to a prominent West Texas criminal lawyer (Michael McLeaish) for 32 years and they've lived in Odessa, TX for the past 34 years. She has also been on the now closed Premium Basin Planned Parenthood.
Date: July 11, 2016
Duration: 38 minutes 10 seconds
Creator: Wisely, Karen & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Robin Green, June 17, 2016

Description: Robin Green was born and Raised in Clarendon, Texas. He attended McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. Afterward, he attended law school at Texas Tech University. He worked shortly as a prosecutor in Amarillo and later had a long career in Amarillo as a civil rights lawyer. He now practices law in Lubbock, Texas.
Date: June 17, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes 27 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Green, Robin
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Vilsen Salinas, June 15, 2016

Description: Vilsen Salinas was born and raised outside Lubbock, Texas. After graduating from Texas Tech University, Salinas joined the military and saw action in Vietnam. In Vietnam he suffered injuries and was exposed to Agent Orange. When returning to the U.S., Salinas held various professional jobs and eventually entered and graduated from George Washington University’s law school. He then began to practice law in Lubbock, Texas.
Date: June 15, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 11 minutes 16 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Salinas, Vilsen
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Irene Favila, June 30, 2016

Description: Irene Favila was raised in Lockney, Texas. As a child and teenager, Favila’s family would migrate to Kansas and Colorado during the summers to work in agricultural fields. After graduating from high school, Favila did not attend college—being discouraged by school officials—and entered the workforce. She then entered court reporting school in Plainview, Texas and worked as a court reporter in Amarillo, Texas—perhaps becoming the first Mexican American court reporter in the Texas Panhandle. Favila then moved back to the Plainview area and began working for Motivation, Education, and Training (a migrant farmworker services organization) from 1975 to 2015. Favila was elected as the first person of color in the Plainview City Council. She has been a lifelong member of LULAC and has been instrumental in promoting voting rights and educational rights in Plainview—helping launch Department of Justice investigations in the town and Hail County along with marches.
Date: June 30, 2016
Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes 50 seconds
Creator: Favila, Irene & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Vickie Gomez, July 5, 2016

Description: Vickie Gomez was born in Barstow, Texas. Both her father and grandfather tended goats when Gomez was a child. Her family moved to Odessa in 1945, and Gomez attended mixed Anglo and Mexican schools. Gomez first when to Odessa High School and then Ector County High School, where she graduated from in 1959. Gomez then went to Odessa College, after being discouraged from attending university by a high school counselor. At the same time, she became the first Hispanic to work for the city’s First National Bank. After attending Odessa College for six years, Gomez went to the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated from in 1972. When she returned to Odessa, she began working as an administrator for the University of Texas Premium Basin. In 1976, Gomez ran for Ector County ISD Board of Trustees. She won an at-large election with a black and brown coalition. Gomez helped push integration in Odessa schools.
Date: July 5, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 22 minutes 40 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Gomez, Vickie
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Ebelardo Lopez, June 10, 2016

Description: Ebelardo “Abe” Lopez was born in La Mesa, Texas to a home mother maker and father who drove large trucks and farmed part time. Once graduating from high school in La Mesa, he was sent by his parents and the farmer his dad worked for to Texas Tech University in Lubbock to sign up for classes. He entered Texas Tech, left to join the military, then returned to finish his degree. Once finishing his degree in history and leaving a graduate program in history, he obtained a job as a probation officer in Amarillo, Texas. There, he was inspired to go to law school at George Washington University. Upon returning, Lopez worked in a privet practice then as an assistant DA. Lopez was asked by many to run for state district judge, which he did. He won several times from the late 1980s to 2008 as a Democrat in a heavily Republican region.
Date: June 10, 2016
Duration: 47 minutes 46 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Lopez, Ebelardo
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Trini Gamez, June 4, 2016

Description: Trini Gamez was born and raised in South Texas, and her father died when she was a child. She married at eighteen and moved to Hereford, Texas with her husband as migrant laborer. She later joined the local PTA and joined the school system as a teachers aid where she began to see discrimination. Thus began her journey to register voters, run for office herself, work for legal aid groups, and promote labor rights.
Date: June 4, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes 22 seconds
Creator: Gamez, Trini & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Patricia Thomas, July 31, 2016

Description: Patricia A. Thomas was born in 1957 in Andrews, Texas, where she grew up. She entered elementary school in an integrated school where many of her classmates as well as some teachers physically and verbally abused the African American students. Thomas first attended Lincoln Elementary and then Jack and Jill Elementary. In junior high and high school, Thomas adapted many black nationalists or “radical” viewpoints, which led her to call for the teaching of African American history in her high school. She graduated from Andrews high school in 1976. After high school, Thomas moved to Dallas where she attended Bishop College. She subsequently lived in various communities that included Big Springs, Odessa, Amarillo, and Seminole, Texas.
Date: July 31, 2016
Duration: 44 minutes 17 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Thomas, Patricia
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Arturo Leal, July 16, 2016

Description: Art Leal was born and raised in Odessa, Texas. Leal graduated from Odessa High School, after which he joined the U.S. Army and served in the first Gulf War. He graduated from Odessa College and the University of Texas at the Permian Basin. Leal ran for mayor of Odessa in 2008. Leal has been Ector County Democrat Precinct 406 Chair, is a member Mexican American Democrats Texas, has organized first Cesar Chavez Day March in Odessa, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Declamations in Odessa, Civic Participation Workshops in Odessa, of Election Debates/Forums in Ector County, multiple 1st Amendment Demonstrations in Odessa, is past Chairman Una Voz Unida of Odessa, is past Board Member Black Chamber of Commerce, is past Ambassador Odessa Chamber of Commerce, is past Board Member City of Odessa Planning Board of Adjustments, is past Chairman Odessa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is past Co Chair March of Dimes. Finally Leal help start the Brown Berets Odessa (the city’s second Brown Beret group).
Date: July 16, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 53 minutes 24 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Leal, Arturo
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Gilbert Herrera, July 1, 2016

Description: Gilbert Herrera was born in Lubbock, Texas. His father, a police officer, died on duty. Herrera was raised by a single mother. Having few economic opportunities, as a child he would break into homes to find food. As a teenager, Herrera joined a gang and eventually was jailed or imprisoned three times. He left prison a final time days before his mother died of cancer. During the early 1970s, Herrera began to lead and grow the West Texas Brown Berets. He organized several marches against police brutality and other social causes, including marches alongside African Americans, in and outside of Lubbock. Herrera is now a Baptist minister and leads a political action group in Lubbock named La Fuerza.
Date: July 1, 2016
Duration: 43 minutes 08 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Herrera, Gilbert
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Joann Littleton, July 6, 2016

Description: Joann Davenport Littleton was born and raised in Crane, Texas. In Crane’s high school, Davenport Littleton became the first African American class president. Indeed, her mother was the first African American to graduate from the same high school. As a talented volleyball player, she received an academic scholarship to Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Davenport Littleton did not like the athletic structure she had to adhere to and left Angelo State University after a semester. She moved to Odessa and worked for the city as well as a privet company while joining the Ector County Democrats. In 1990, deeming south Odessa being underserved, Davenport Littleton ran for city council. She won with a majority ethnic Mexican electorate. In the city council she worked to bring development and city services to south Odessa as well as to clean the environmental problems of that city section.
Date: July 6, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes 57 seconds
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Littleton, Joann
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Daniel Urbina Sanchez, June 28, 2016

Description: Daniel Urbina Sanchez grew up between Lubbock, Texas and Garden City, Kansas. Starting in 1968, Sanchez’s family moved permanently to Lubbock. He graduated from Lubbock High School and Texas Tech University. In the 2000, Sanchez began participating in such organizations as Las Fiestas Del Llano, which is an organization focused on celebrating Mexican national holidays. He is currently an oral historian for Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection. At Texas Tech University, Sanchez became a leader of the Latino faculty and staff. Sanchez also founded Citizens United in Discourse Against Discrimination, CUIDAD, which led rallies within Lubbock and participated in protests in the Texas State Capitol as the legislature considered racists-anti immigration bills.
Date: June 28, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 39 minutes
Creator: Zapata, Joel & Sanchez, Daniel Urbina
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Arnoldo De Leon, July 25, 2016

Description: Arnoldo De Leon was born in 1945 in Corpus Christi, Texas. His family lived in Chapman Ranch, an unincorporated community in Nueces County, south of Corpus Christi. In 1956, the De Leons and their family of ten children moved to Robstown. De Leon graduated from high school in 1962 after which he worked in the cotton fields of the area to save up for college, a job he had during summers as a child and teenager. He attended Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, but he could not afford to attend longer than a year. He joined the military in order to attend college, joining the U.S. Air Force from 1963-1967. While stationed in San Angelo, Texas, he attended Angelo State University where he obtained his B.A. in history in 1970. TCU recruited De Leon, where he obtained his M.A. and PhD in history (1974). He taught Mexican American history at Angelo State and authored or co-authored 21 books.
Date: July 25, 2016
Duration: 53 minutes 01 second
Creator: De Leon, Arnoldo & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Grover Martin, June 9, 2016

Description: Grover Martin was born and raised in Prairie View and went to Prairie View A&M for his BA and MA. He moved to Amarillo to work in the local air force base and continued on in another federal government job until the early 1990s. He was part of the Amarillo NAACP and experienced all black education institutions.
Date: June 9, 2016
Duration: 16 minutes 30 seconds
Creator: Wisely, Karen; Zapata, Joel & Martin, Grover
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Dallas Willis, July 29, 2016

Description: Dallas “Dally” Willis was born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas but grew up in Cleburne, Texas, raised by a single mother of seven children after his father abandoned the family. Willis attended high school in Cleburne and joined the Marine Corps in 1941. In the Marine Corps, Willis worked as an aerial photographer mapping the Pacific territories controlled by Japan. Upon returning to Cleburne, Willis worked for Southwestern Bail and joined the Communication Workers of America union. He moved to Midland, Texas in 1949. From 1961 to 2005 he served within the CWA’s Political and Legislative Committee, lobbying in the Texas Legislature. Dally also began the Labor Day Celebration of the Permian Basin in 1957. He has been a delegate for the DNC convention and was the decades long president of the Permian Basin Central Labor Union.
Date: July 29, 2016
Duration: 36 minutes 56 seconds
Creator: Wisely, Karen; Zapata, Joel & Willis, Dallas
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Lilia Escajeda, July 6, 2016

Description: Lilia Escajeda was born in El Paso, Texas. She grew up between El Paso, Van Horn, and Amarillo; and she remembers going to segregated schools in Van Horn. She settled in Amarillo as an adult after her husband died, and she eventually became the first female loan-officer for any bank in Amarillo, at the Amarillo National Bank. She joined various community organizations, boards, and became both the first Mexican American women Amarillo College board member and City Commissioner (later City Council Member).
Date: July 6, 2016
Duration: 41 minutes 14 seconds
Creator: Escajeda, Lilia; Wisely, Karen & Zapata, Joel
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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Oral History Interview with Hector Mendez, July 21, 2016

Description: Hector Mendez was raised in Big Lake, Texas and attended Angelo State University, where he was part of the Mexican American Student organization that called for ethnic studies in the university. He later attended the university of Texas Permian Basin for his master’s degree in education. He became the superintendent of Ector County Independent School District in the 2000s as conservative trustees led the district.
Date: July 21, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 27 minutes 34 seconds
Creator: Wisely, Karen; Zapata, Joel & Mendez, Hector
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library
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