Mexican tapestery pattern

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

Luís Díaz de León


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(135 pages)

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Biography:

Born October 10, 1925, in Laredo Texas. Mr. Díaz de León was the first Mexican American to organize and establish mobile Migrant Head Start programs in Texas, and he was a Texas Raza Unida Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1974. He earned his B. A. from Drake University and his Master of Social Work form Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, Texas.

Interview Summary:

Mr. Díaz de León talks about his family history and genealogy. He tells about incidents of race discrimination practices in the schools and neighborhoods where he lived. He tells that he trained as a welder with the National Youth Administration at the beginning of World War II and served with the United States Navy during World War II. Mr. D'iaz de Le'on elaborates upon his political relationship to Henry B. Gonzalez. He evaluates the leadership skills of the well-known Chicano lawyer, Gus Garc'ia, and talks about his tragic battle with alcoholism. Mr. D'iaz de Le'on describes his lifelong political activism with the Raza Unida Party in Texas and California, the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations (PASO), the Viva Kennedy Clubs, the War on Poverty, the Casita Farm Strike, and VISTA. He gives details on how he became director of the Colorado Migrant Council Head Start program, and he talks about the politics within the Council. Mr. Díaz de León describes the difficulties in working with other ethnic minority political groups, and he details the problems encountered with inter-ethnic conflict while trying to organize the Poor People's March. He states that there is a need for a true populist third party to counteract the conservative trend by both major political parties in Texas, and he tells why the current two-party political system in Texas does not address the needs of the ethnic minorities and the poor. He stresses that the most pressing issue for the Mexican American community is the illegal drug trade on the U.S. borders, and, he emphasizes the need for all ethnic political groups to recognize the needs of other groups.

Locations of residence or activity:

Laredo

Interview Date:

12/3/1997