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

Rosie Castro


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(98 pages)

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Biography:

Born in 1947, Rosie Castro was raised in San Antonio, Texas. She attended both Little Flower Catholic Elementary and High Schools, where she was president and valedictorian of her class and organized a Catholic Youth Club at the school. She attended Our Lady of the Lake University (OLL) where she was a member of the National Education Association (NEA)and organized the Young Democrats (also known as Young Democratic Clubs of America) at OLL. She served as president of the Bexar County Young Democrats, as vice-president of the women's division of the Young Democrats at the state level, and as Bexar County party chair of the Raza Unida Party. She worked for the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC) and the City of San Antonio. She earned a master's degree from the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and interned with the City of San Antonio. At the time of the interview, Ms. Castro was working for the San Antonio Housing Authority and was serving on the Board of Network, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby group.

Interview Summary:

Rosie Castro begins with her family background, her activities in school, and her growing awareness in the civil rights movement. She describes her growing interest in politics during her college years, crediting Margaret Kramer for that interest. She covers many aspects of the Chicano Movement and speaks freely about prominent Mexican American political figures Henry Cisneros and Henry B. Gonzales. She recalls the political gatherings at Kramer's Polish Restaurant and her involvement in the Committee for Barrio Betterment. She refers to her participation in an unsuccessful migrant education project in Michigan arranged through the Texas Institute for Educational Development and reveals the circumstances of her arrest during the 1970 boycott of the San Antonio Savings Association, which was owned by San Antonio's mayor, Walter McAllister. She refers to an incident at St. Mary's University involving Albert Garza Bustamante and George Velásquez and assails the Good Government League. She laments the failure of Mexican American candidates, including herself, to win in city elections before single-member districts were institituted and attributes the involvement of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in achieving success at creating those districts. She discusses the activities of Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) and notes a number of candidates recruited to run by the Raza Unida Party. She elaborates on her personal life and her relationship with Jesse Guzmán, a pariticipant in Colegio Jacinto Trevino, and her own work with the Mexican American Equal Rights Project at St. Mary's University. Ms. Castro mentions a number of Mexican American newspapers and hints at her involvement in the Universidad de los Barrios. She bemoans the diverging attitudes toward male and female candidates over abortion issues, citing the election race between Nelson Wolfe and Maria Antonietta Berriozábal, and discusses the 'glass ceiling' and sexual discrimination in the workplace. She reviews a number of election campaigns of Mexican American men and reveals her opinion as to why they lost their elections. She talks about Hispanas Unidas and the Mexican American Democrats, highlighting a number of Mexican American women who were successful at winning their elections. She points out the work of the Coalition for Hispanic Women Leaders, a group concerned with domestic violence she helped organize, as well as the work of Blandina 'Bambi' Cardenas Ramírez with the Tejano Democrats. Rosie Castro shares her opinion as to why the Raza Unida Party deteriorated, pointing to socialist encroachment and possible interference from United States Department of Justice informers. She provides her insight on the election of Irma Mireles to the board of the San Antonio River Authority, on a runoff election between Al Peeler and María Antonietta Berriozábal, and on Berriozábal's bid for mayor of San Antonio. She gives highlights of her graduate studies and her internship with the city of San Antonio where she helped organize the Hispanic Municipal Women's Association. She covers a number of issues pertinent to San Antonio, including controversy over the Edwards Acquifier and the closure of Kelly Air Force Base. She mentions other prominent Mexican Americans such as her colleague Choco González Meza and Ruben Sandoval.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

Interview Date:

7/1/1996