Mexican tapestery pattern

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

María Berriozábal


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(124 pages)

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Biography:

Born in 1941 in Laredo Texas. Ms. Berriozábal was the first Mexican American woman to serve as city council member in San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Berriozábal founded the Hispana Unidas Conference and was a past president and board member for the National League of Cities. She was a presidential appointee to the OAS Inter-American Commission on Women and participated in the United Nations Fourth International Women's Conference held in Bejing. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1979.

Interview Summary:

Ms. Berriozábal talks about her family history and genealogy (the Arredondos and the Rodríguezes). She gives details about her political activities while employed as a legal secretary to Judge Blair Reeves who supported her involvement with the Chicano movement in South Texas, and her active role in Raza Unida Party politics. Ms. Berriozábal tells about her first professional position as Manager of the 1980 Census office in San Antonio. She gives details about the politics involved with census work and census data applications. She elaborates upon the details of her work as a politician including how she organized, managed, and raised funds for her elections. Ms. Berriozábal talks candidly about problems she encountered in San Antonio city politics during her term as council member and her unsuccessful bid for mayor. She tells about threats against her life and members of her family for her assertive stance opposing big business led programs such as the Whitewater Project. She laments that some Mexican American politicians used questionable campaign tactics to oppose her during her election bids for mayor. She gives her opinion of former San Antonio mayor, Henry Cisneros, and compares the differences in political styles between the two of them. Ms. Berriozábal concludes the interview by stating that she hopes her legacy will be her work with mentoring young Mexican American women in leadership roles.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

Interview Date:

7/16/1996