Tuesday, August 25, 2009

7 things you didn't know about Latinos in WWII


7 things you didn't know about Latinos in WWII


Andrew Gonzalez returned home to Texas in 1945 after being a sergeant in World War II.

He took the train from Tennessee to Bryan, and hitchhiked to where he knew his mother would be: laboring in the field. He was 24.

"When I saw my mother, she she was picking cotton," said Gonzalez, who is now 88.
"She was crying. She was so glad to see me."

Gonzalez then moved to Victoria in the 1950s, used his G.I. Bill to attend Victoria College and made a life for himself at a bodyshop.

Gonzalez' biography is part of the University of Texas at Austin's U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History project, whose goal is to collect the unheard stories of the contributions Latinos and Latinas had in the war.

Nearly 700 interviews and tributes have been collected so far by the project.

Since Aug. 18, The Museum of the Coastal Bend at Victoria College has had a 12-panel exhibition called "Images of Valor: U.S. Latinos and Latinas in World War II," which
provides a historical overview of Latinos in the war.

The exhibit is in conjunction with the oral history project.

7 things you didn't know about Latinos in WWII

1. The United States entered World War II in 1941. Of the 12 million who served,
between 250,00 and 750,000 were Latinos and Latinas.

2. Between 1940 and 1945, the number of females in the work force increased by 50 percent. Among these women were Latinas, who served on military bases, factories,
mines and shipyards.

3. Before WWII, segregation against Latinos was widespread. After the war, Latinos
made important inroads in civil rights and education.

4. Some Latinos who served only spoke Spanish, which made it difficult to communicate with others. Hundreds of other Latinos who spoke English and Spanish had the advantage
of translating for them, some of whom received jobs as government translators.

5. About 15,000 Mexican citizens enlisted in WWII.

6. The G.I. Bill, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, gave Latinos the opportunity to attend college.

7. Joe Bernal, a WWII sergeant, of San Antonio who was discharged in 1946, went on to serve in the Texas House of Representatives in 1964. He authored several bills that challenged racial segregation, and of another that created The University of Texas at
San Antonio.

Source: U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project

Education for Liberation! Venceremos Unidos!
Peter S. Lopez {aka:Peta}
Sacramento, California,Aztlan
Yahoo Email: peter.lopez51@yahoo.com 
Come Together! Join Up! Seize the Time!



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