John & Eugenia Aleman

By Haley Dawson

John Anastacio Martinez

By Christopher Trout

At home in Houston in the 1940s, Johnnie Martinez was a well-known entertainer. He eventually would own a nightclub, lead his own big band, the Johnnie Martinez Band, and even own his own record label, Alameda.

But during World War II, circumstances were different.

María Elisa Reyes Rodríguez

By Cheryl Smith

Seventy-seven-year-old María Elisa Reyes Rodriguez isn’t shy about opening her mouth when something's not right. As a Mexican American woman and former employee of the United States Civil Service, she has developed strong opinions about her country, discrimination and the relationship between the two.

"We're in America, and everybody has to be treated equally," Reyes Rodriguez said. "But if you don't have the guts to speak out for yourself, nobody's gonna do it for you."

Ernesto Calderón

By Miguel A. Castro

Ernesto Calderon was just 18 years old and living in Central Texas in 1946 when his life took an unexpected turn.

Eldon and Lloyd Adams, two brothers, asked him if he wanted to go with him to the drive-in theater at the Circle, a well-known part of Waco.

"On the way (to the drive-in theater), he (Eldon) said he had just joined the 11th Airborne Division and would I be interested in going with him," Calderon said. "And I mean, just like that, I said sure and I agreed to it."