Description: Cresencia Reyes Mendeke ("Chris") was born in the late 20s and raised in Uvalde during the Great Depression. In her interview, she talked about the strict segregation in the town during those years. She attended a "Mexican school" for her early education, and recalled the neglect and disinterest in educating the Mexican American children. She also talked about her father's role as a benefactor in their neighborhood, and of his relationship with a prominent family of Anglo business owners. After finishing school and working in a local Penney's store for some time, Mendeke married and moved around, as she and her husband looked for opportunities in and out of Uvalde. Eventually, they settled in the Los Angeles area, and found professional work. Later, they became licensed realtors and opened their own office in Buena Park. After several decades, the Mendekes retired and moved back to Uvalde in the eighties, and Chris was determined to get involved in local affairs. She joined the local Democratic party and helped run local campaigns; she was also a ranking member of the Mexican American Democrats (later the Tejano Democrats). In recent years, Mendeke spearheaded the restoration and marking of the Nicolas Street School, the segregated elementary school for African American children before integration.
Date: July 15, 2016
Creator: Sinta, Vinicio; Arionus, Steve & Mendeke, Chris Reyes
Item Type: Refine your search to only Video
Partner: TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library