Mexican tapestery pattern

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

Rosa Rosales


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(97 pages)

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Biography:

Born April 7, 1944, in San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Rosales was among the first Mexican American women to become labor organizers in recent times. Active in LULAC, she was the first woman to hold the position of State Director of that organization. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of Michigan. Ms. Rosales was elected National President of LULAC in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and is the founder and director of the National Association of Public Employees (NAPE).

Interview Summary:

Ms. Rosales discusses her family history and genealogy. She also talks about childhood memories of race discrimination attitudes and practices in Texas schools. She relates how she became a political activist and got involved with labor union politics as an organizer. Ms. Rosales describes how she had to overcome timidity, shyness, and the fear of failure to become a political activist leader. She talks about being involved in women's issues and she tells why Hispanic women could not identify with White women's issues. Ms. Rosales addresses issues of race discrimination in the management ranks of national labor unions like the AFL-CIO. She talks about the decline of union activity in the United States and voices her opinion on its future. She also tells how her association with LULAC helped her with her union organizing activities and how it enhanced the labor movement. Ms. Rosales details the internal politics of LULAC and the circumstances that led her to become its first woman director. She talks about Mexican American male dominance in LULAC's management ranks and describes the challeges she faced seeking elective office in that organization. Ms. Rosales discusses the role of other Hispanic minorities in LULAC politics, and she contrasts the missions of LULAC and the National Council of La Raza. Ms. Rosales discusses the internal operations of LULAC, including budgets, legal matters, and future leadership roles that it needs to assume in order to achieve political and social equity for the Hispanic community.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

Interview Date:

8/22/1997