Mexican tapestery pattern

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

María Martínez

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(83 pages)

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Born in November 1941, Ms. Martínez was the first Mexican American woman to head a political party in Texas. She received her Bacherlor's degree in Spanish and History from North Texas State University and her Master's in Education at the University of Texas.

Interview Summary:

Ms. Martínez discusses her family history and genealogy. She tells about working as migrant labor during her youth and she describes some racial discrimination practices she experienced. Ms. Martínez talks about how she became involved in the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO). She tells about her participation in the Del Rio, Texas, civil rights march in 1969, her involvement with the Economy Furniture Labor Strike, and the Casita Farm Workers strike. Ms. Martínez discusses Mexican American women as leaders and organizers of political movements. She talks about the issues surrounding the decision of the MAYO group to establish an independent statewide Raza Unida Party in Texas and she tells about some of the key issues they faced as they organized it. She gives her opinion on Ramsey Muníz's appeal as gubernatorial candidate on the Raza Unida Party's ticket and the effect that Muníz's legal troubles had on the Mexican American community's subsequent political aspirations. She recollects the demise of the Raza Unida Party movement after 1972 and gives her thoughts on why the effort to organize a national Raza Unida Party failed. Ms. Martínez explains her fascination with the socialist movement in Cuba and talks about her trips to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade. She gives her opinion on the Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro as its leader. She expresses her opinion about the continuation of the socialist movement experience in Cuba. Ms. Martínez elaborates upon the failure of the two party system in the United States to address Mexican American issues and she laments the failure at coalition politics with other minorities such as African-Americans. She concludes the interview with a discussion of her interest in folk healing and her desire to begin a second career as a spiritual healer.

Locations of residence or activity:

Del Rio/Austin

Interview Date: