Mexican tapestery pattern

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

John Castillo


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(63 pages)

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Biography:

Born on September 20, 1938, in Houston, Texas, as Juan Felipe Espinosa Castillo. Mr. Castillo is a city councilman in Houston and has been active in Houston politics since the formation of PASO. He was an organizer and strategist for the farm workers who marched from the the Rio Grande Valley to Austin in 1966. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Houston in 1965.

Interview Summary:

The interview begins with a discussion of Mr. Castillo's family history and genealogy. Throughout the interview, Mr. Castillo tells about Pancho Medrano, a prominent Mexican American labor union organizer and activist, and describes his role as a political mentor to other Mexican Americans getting started in politics and public service. He recollects his role in the events that led to the Austin March of 1966 when Mexican American agricultural workers protested poor wages and living conditions. Mr. Castillo identifies the purpose of the March and he discusses issues and activities that occurred in connection with it. Mr. Castillo also evaluates the successes and failures of the March, and states that several prominent Mexican American politicians emerged out of it. He elaborates upon the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) organizational split up and the resultant formation of the Tejano Democrats. Mr. Castillo comments on the role of Mexican American women within Mexican American political organizations and he names some of them that are serving in public office positions. He concludes the interview by discussing his role as an organizer for political candidates seeking elective office, and he give details about how he organized his own campaign for the Houston City Council.

Locations of residence or activity:

Houston

Interview Date:

6/27/1996