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Oral History Interview with Fred Aguilar, July 12 2016

Description: Fred Aguilar was born in 1950 in a small barrio located in the affluent Alamo Heights neighborhood of San Antonio. His father's determination along with his his mother's dedication to volunterism provided him the fortitude to not only survive the discrimintation he witnessed in his youth, but to also become an community activist in both Houston and Baytown. After the Jose Campos Torres case sparked Aguilar's participation in the Houston Chicana/o Movement, he would move to Baytown where he became involved in the West Baytown Civic Assocation, the United Concerned Citizens of Baytown, gang prevention, and the co-founding of the Promise Center. He talks about how the Jose Campos Torres case outraged the Houston Chicana/o community, how he tackled gang graffiti and worked with youth on mural projects through the West Baytown Civic Association, how African Americans and Mexican Americans in Baytown came together to address police brutality after the brutal death of Luis Alfonso Torres, and how the Promise Center is committed to serving the community through child, youth, and adult programming. Aguilar also speaks about the importance of gang prevention endeavors, particularly in the area of art and culture.
Date: July 12, 2016
Creator: Aguilar, Fred; Enriquez, Sandra & Rodriguez, Samantha
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Hilda Martinez, July 15, 2016

Description: Hilda C. Martinez was born in 1948 in San Luis, San Luis Potosi. Her family migrated to the United States in 1952 and eventually settled in Baytown. In 1961, when Martinez was twelve years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer and she and her siblings subsequenly lived with several foster families. She attended Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary, the Mexican School of Baytown, and had a culture shock when she attended the integrated Baytown Junior High due to her inability to cultivate friendships as well as her lack of familiarity with the English language. She witnessed segregated public facilities, including department stores and water fountains, and the beating of a man by police when she was in high school. She talks about how teacher beatings in elementary school taught her and other Mexican American children to be obedient and to stay in their place in Baytown. Martinez also discusses how Mexican Americans were reluctant to address employment discrimination at Exxon for fear of losing good paying jobs. She addresses the police brutality case of Luis Alfonso Torres and how she worked with others in a cross-racial coalition to hold the police chief accountable, even though many members of Mexican American community were unwilling to speak out. Lastly, Martinez talks about the editorials that she has written and how she and her husband have advocated on the behalf of Latina/o families that experience issues within the Goose Creek school system.
Date: July 15, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra; Rodriguez, Samantha & Martinez, Hilda
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Elvira Martinez, July 20, 2016

Description: Elvira Martinez was born in 1929 in Baytown, Texas. Her father lived in "El Campo," the Humble Oil and Refinery Company community for their predominately Mexican American male employees. Martinez remembers growing up in the company community and how families forged deep bonds. She attended the Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School, the Baytown Mexican School that was originally funded by the Humble Oil and Refinery Company. Through the music program at the Baytown Mexican School, Martinez was able to travel the country as a player in the group La Tipica. She talks about the development of the Baytown Mexican School and how it served as the first ESL program. Martinez also discusses the role that Dr. Antonio Bañuelos played in the development of La Tipica, how La Tipica was portrayed as an "authentic" Mexican group from Jalisco, how she had to act like she did not know English while traveling throughout the nation, the Mexican musicians she encountered during her involvement in La Tipica, and how this female music group played for WWII bond drives at the behest of the Humble Oil and Refinery Company. Martinez addresses the role of Mexican celebrations, Baytown Mexican School's role in the creation of Felix Tijerina's Little School of 400, how she petitioned the U.S. government for the creation of flood insurance and government flood monies after she lost her home in Baytown, and how she assisted her niece, Eugenia Rios, in establishing a historical marker for the Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School.
Date: July 20, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra & Martinez, Elvira
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Eva Benevides, July 20, 2016

Description: Eva Benavides was born in 1952 in Baytown. She attended Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary, the Baytown Mexican School, and witnessed segregation in her youth. She experienced a culture shock when she attended the integrated Baytown Junior High. Inspired by her mother's and father's dedication to helping others, Benavides served as a Baytown City Councilwoman and became involved in the West Baytown Civic Association. The Luis Alfonso Torres police brutality case galvanized her and others to forge a cross-racial coalition (United Concerned Citizens of Baytown) to hold the police department accountable. Benavides talks about how Mexican Americans were situated in a segregated Baytown, the importance of Fiesta Patrias, her involvement in the PTO, her determination to become a city councilwoman and her experiences as an Mexican American female representative for a single member district, how she bodly held the Baytown Police Department accountable for the Luis Alfonso Torres case when other Mexican American representative refused to speak out, and cross-racial efforts to address police brutality. She also discusses gentrification and how her community lacks businesses and grocery stores, how she taught citizenship classes for many years, the role of Exxon in Baytown, and how city council representatives have to address race as well as other sensitive issues.
Date: July 20, 2016
Creator: Benavides, Eva; Enriquez, Sandra & Rodriguez, Samantha
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Mike Wilson on July 12, 2018.

Description: Mike Wilson was born in Dayton, Ohio, in the 1960s, where he witnessed white flight and urban decay. He grew up in all-Black spaces and was surrounded by a community of Black progressives. When he was in second grade, his parents divorced, subsequently moving him to Louisiana. Upon his arrival to the South, he faced a culture shock, as he believed African Americans were more “submissive” and “knew their place.” Two years later, his parents got back together and moved to Baytown. Wilson attended Robert E. Lee High School in the 1980s, where he still experienced the remnants of segregation. As a young adult, Wilson witnessed the lack of mentorship for African American men in Baytown, which drove him to get involved in efforts to create programing to prevent gang activity and juvenile delinquency amongst Blacks and Latinos. He became the executive director for a pilot project funded by the Texas General Attorney’s Office called Gang Activity Prevention (GAP). Most recently, Wilson founded and directs Upgrade 2 the Next Level, a self-funded program for the youth in Baytown that serves as an outlet for discipline and self-expression.
Date: July 12, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra & Wilson, Mike
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Ray Wilson on July 13, 2016.

Description: Ray Wilson was born in Alabama in 1939 and moved to Chicago at the age of 7. When he was in 10th grade, his mom remarried and his family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he came of age and joined several local struggles for civil rights including a sit in. Wilson also joined the military in the 1960s, where he experienced integrated ranks within the Army. In the 1970s, he moved to Baytown where he began working for ExxonMobile. Upon his arrival, he quickly noticed racism and segregation in Baytown. Shortly thereafter, Wilson became involved in the community through different efforts including the Political Action Committee, re-establishing a local chapter of the NAACP, and Gang Activity prevention work.
Date: July 13, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra; Rodriguez, Samantha & Wilson, Ray
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Agustin Loredo, July 15, 2016

Description: Agustin Loredo was born in Baytown, Texas in 1974 and comes from a family with long ties to the area. In the 1930s, several family members, including his father, were repatriated even though they were U.S. citizens. Loredo grew up with stories (that he later researched as a college student at UH) about the vibrant Mexican American community in Baytown, including stories of fiestas patrias and Guadalupe Church, the hub for the community. In 1996, he attended the University of Houston, where he enrolled in courses taught by the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS). These courses sparked his interest in the culture, history, and eventually encouraged his community involvement. After he spent some time in Austin, he returned to Baytown in the early 2000s. After the Luis Alfonso Torres police incident in 2002, Loredo met Fred Aguilar, and became involved in the marches and protests that followed. Loredo witnessed the coalition of African Americans and Latinos to help the youth of Baytown. He then became a member of the West Baytown Homeowners Association and a board member for the Promise Center (led by Aguilar). A teacher at South Houston High School, he is an advocate for Mexican American Studies not only in his school but also across the state of Texas. Loredo also joined the Librotraficante Caravan to Tucson in (2012 or 2013). He currently serves as a board member for the Goose Creek Independent School District, where he is an advocate for the Latino student population and has led several efforts, including the naming of schools after community heroes and the institution of ethnic studies classes.
Date: July 15, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra; Rodriguez, Samantha & Loredo, Agustin
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library

Oral History Interview with Raphael Montgomery on July 26, 2018.

Description: Raphael Montgomery was born in 1973 in Baytown. He came of age in the African-American Cedar Bayou neighborhood where there was a vibrant African-American business community and residents created a village setting. His parents raised him with the idea that he had to work harder and smarter due to racial discrimination. After graduating from Ross S. Sterling High School, Montgomery attended Prairie View A&M briefly before enrolling at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Fisk University, he gained a deeper awareness of the Civil Rights Movement and African-American history that he did not receive in public school. The knowledge he gleaned from African-American texts and African-American Studies courses instilled a sense of pride and the ability to perservere. During these college years, Montgomery received the call to become a minister and to later return to Baytown to preach at his childhood church, Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. He talks about racial profiling by the police, growing up in the church and his father's role as a preacher, the benefits of attending a HBCU, and his position as a special education teacher for Goose Creek Independent School District. He also describes his unity and inclusion work in Baytown through his church and particularly addressing sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism. Montgomery also speaks about the community programming through the church and how he is dedicated to creating spaces for the community and police to have open conversations in the wake of mass protest and police killings of unarmed civilians.
Date: July 26, 2016
Creator: Enriquez, Sandra & Montgomery, Raphael
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library