MO

Robert Soltero


By Courtney Mahaffey

Robert Soltero can barely remember details of the Depression, but his memories of discrimination during that era remain vivid.

"In those days, you couldn't even go downtown," said Soltero, who grew up in a west-side community of Kansas City, Mo., in the 1930s. "We [Latinos] had to stay in our own background."

Soltero's father, Luis Soltero, worked three jobs, including ones at the Cudahy Packing House and a hotel room service to help support Soltero, his older brother, Tony, and sister, Connie.

Mac Ortega Salazar


By Christina Rucker

Born Feb. 28, 1925, World War II veteran Mac Salazar grew up the youngest of 13 children in Kansas City, Kan.. He calls himself and his siblings "Depression babies," but says they lived well, always having enough tortillas, frijoles and soup to get by.

It wasn't long before Salazar was heading to the classroom.

"I remember the first day of school. They took me and they left me in the kindergarten there," Salazar said. "I can remember who took me, who I saw and I can remember a girl there."

Joe Jaime


By Ryan Martinez

After a childhood spent dealing with discrimination in a small Kansas City-area community, Joe Jaime figured once drafted in 1942 into the Army, he’d finally get the chance to earn his American citizenship and ease the pain of the racial prejudice he endured growing up.

It wasn’t until Dec. 16, 1946, however, after being discharged from the Army and after World War II had ended, that Jaime finally was granted American citizenship.

Amador Barbosa


By Meredith Stencil

Amador Barbosa seems so matter of fact about his wartime experiences -- almost too matter of fact when you consider his primary responsibility was to clear mines and unexploded devices, as well as trudge through combat lines with 30 pounds of dynamite strapped to his back.

Benjamin Alvarado


By Kathryn Wilson

A pile of manure saved the life of Benjamin Alvarado during World War II in 1944.

A private in Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army, he served in the 317th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Infantry Division. Alvarado and three other soldiers were positioned as outposts in St. Genevieve, France. The four soldiers were in a small farmhouse when they saw German forces approaching.