TX

Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza


By Megan Breckenridge

Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza became the first minority district clerk of Travis County in 1991 and only the second minority woman to hold that position in the whole country. She went on to serve for 24 years, championing the causes of Latina women, women's health and the arts.

She launched her career in politics as a 24-year-old in 1970, when she ran for president of the Mexican American Youth Organization. She finished second behind Paul Velez, but that was enough to make her vice president.

Antonio Jasso


By Sarah Culler

Antonio Jasso wanted to make sure no one considered him a war hero.

“I didn’t see no war … I’m not gonna take credit or say that I saw action. I didn’t. I was, thanks to God, a cook in the Navy. I had it made in the Navy,” Jasso said as he shared stories about his years in the service.

Jasso, a native of El Paso, Texas, moved to Kansas to work, joined the Navy, and later moved back to Kansas where he lived at the time of his interview.

Jose Ramirez


By Monica Jean Alaniz

Jose Ramirez, Jr. is a man who holds his friends and family close to heart. One can hear the pride in his voice when he speaks of them; it doesn’t matter if they are part of his past or present. Ramirez looks back on his days as a soldier with mostly fond memories. He remembers buddies with a fond smile.

The period of time Ramirez served in the armed forces right after World War II ended is an important part of his life, but he’s humble about his experience. When asked for this interview he was hesitant, saying he "didn't see action."

Yolanda T Trevino


By Stacie Richard

When Yolanda Treviño graduated from Pearsall High School in 1959, she was determined to make her life elsewhere. The racism of the small town was too confining.

"I left Pearsall because of the racism," said Treviño. "I just couldn't stomach it. I wasn't coming back… Education was my way out."

George J Korbel


By Vinicio Sinta

For George Joseph Korbel, going back to Pearsall, Texas, a city about 55 miles southwest of San Antonio, unearthed memories of a time when Mexican American and black Texans were almost completely excluded from the political process.

"When I drove into town, I just felt cold. This was such an awful place, just an awful place," said the veteran civil rights attorney, who has fought for minority voting rights in Texas for more than four decades.

Rolando L. Rios


By Jess Brown

It was the summer of 1952. Leo Rios, a cab driver, was shot dead by a passenger he had just picked up on the streets of San Antonio, Texas. His wife, Teresa Hernandez, was left with a broken heart to nurse and three daughters and a son to raise, without any means of doing so.

But help was at hand.

Adrienne Cervantez


By Doug Waters

Growing up in Dilley, Texas, Adrienne Cervantez (nee Garcia) hated two things: politics and fried cow intestines, or tripas.

A lot of her childhood was spent campaigning for her parents, and backyard barbecues were a mainstay of their political rallies.

Carolyn Jean Garcia


By Alexandra Cannon

Carolyn Garcia has lived by the words her father shared with her when she was only a child: "God gave you a voice. And if you don't talk for yourself or for others, then what good was it that he gave you a voice? You see there's people, the oppressed, people that are afraid to speak up. Mijita, you speak up for them."

Francisco Robledo


Interview by Anderson Boyd

Former Frio County Justice of the Peace Francisco Robledo hadn't questioned why the social order in Pearsall, Texas, was as it was. But a meeting at his children's school snapped him out of complacency.

Raymond Garcia


By Andres Salinas

Raymond Garcia, a proud Mexican-American who grew up in a small, segregated Texas town, enlisted in the U.S. Army to help support his family and to help his country. He fought as a heavy machinegun specialist during the Vietnam War.