Mexican tapestery pattern

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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Rolando Ríos

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(63 pages)

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Born in 1945. After graduation from Georgetown Law School, in 1980, Mr. Rios became Legal Director of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project in San Antonio under the direction of the late Willie Velasquez. From that date to the present time, Mr. Rios has litigated scores of redistricting suits to create single member districts in Texas, the Southwest, and the country.

Interview Summary:

The interview begins with Mr. Rios' family history and genealogy. He talks about receiving his undergraduate degree in mathematics from St. Mary's University in San Antonio and his law degree from Georgetown University School of Law following his service in the military from which he was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran. Mr. Rios describes his early work as an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) during the 1980's and as legal director for the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project. He details his career as an attorney practicing in the area of voting rights laws and legalities of districting/redisticting plans following the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its various amendments. He discusses the negative effects that twelve years of Republican administration, Reagan through Bush, has had on the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Mr. Rios examines the reason that MALDEF and other civil rights activists groups had been relatively quiet during the mid 1980's through the mid 1990's was due to a fear of political and financial recrimination from conservative judges appointed by Reagan and Bush. He talks about different types of districting schemes such as the trend toward cumulative voting and limited voting plans. Mr. Rios concludes the interview with a discussion of his 1994 campaign for the U. S. House of Representatives and how it was managed and financed.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

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