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

Albert Kauffman


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(53 pages)

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Biography:

Albert Kauffman is a Jewish Mexican American who was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. During his undergraduate years at college in Boston, he worked with the Upward Bound Program. He went on to work with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in rural Oregon and taught in Lake, Mississippi when schools there were first integrated in 1970. He began and has continued to work for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in San Antonio since he received his law degree from the University of Texas in 1974. He is on the faculty of St. Mary's University School of Law and has served on the board of the Mexican American Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio.

Interview Summary:

Albert Kauffman begins with a discussion of his work with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). He tells about his family's history in Galveston and his mother's Mexican-American roots. He discusses his involvement in civil rights issues, particularly in the South, and his decision to attend law school. He shares his experience and feelings about the school integration process he witnessed in Lake, Mississippi and comments on the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. He talks about getting involved with the Raza Unida Party and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) after he began working for MALDEF in 1974, and elaborates on some of the cases he handled over race discrimination, gerrymandering, school finance, and school integration, and covers other issues and MALDEF cases such as bilingual education, the Unz Amendment (in California), and the English Only movement. He shares his opinions on the work of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the U.S. Border Patrol regarding militarization along the Mexican American border, immigration, and border incidents, including the death of Ezequiel Hernández. He touches on cases of police brutality and mentions the Frank Hayes killing of Richard A. Morales. He talks about MALDEF's stand on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and notes a number of prominent Mexican Americans, making particular note of the work of colleague Luis Wilmot with MALDEF.

Locations of residence or activity:

Galveston, San Antonio

Interview Date:

1/15/1998