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Interview with Melquiades Quiroga by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Quiroga discusses being brought to the United States by his parents in 1915 at the age of 4, and going to work in the ice plant in Argentine in 1928. He describes working 15-20 hour days, and the formation of the union in 1942. After unionizing, he reports higher wages, but also describes pay discrimination, winter work reduction and families living in uninsulated shacks, and the hard work done at the ice plant.

Interview with Vincente Vargas by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Vargas was born in the Rosedale area of Kansas City, Kansas, in 1925. He discusses Mexican workers being recruited by railroad companies along the border, and the types of work they would do, and workers living in bunks in passenger cars until they were able to settle and obtain other housing. Vargas also describes his father taking the childred out of school in the spring for farm work in Nebraska, and returning to Mexico during the Depression.

Interview with sisters Aurora Oropeza and Trini Torrez by Laurie Bretz as part of a project to document the history of the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. The women discuss their childhoods in Kansas City, Kansas, and their brother Adolfo going to work with the railroads to support the family after the death of their father in Mexico. They also discuss racial and gender discrimination in their educational experience, and going through college during the Depression and working as a nurse.

Date: 
March 21st 1980

Interview with Francisco Ruiz, Millie Rivera, Mike Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Amayo, Carmen Ayala and others by Robert Oppenheimer as part of a project to document the history of the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Among the topics discussed are the local Mexican community working for the railroads, on farms, and for the meatpacking companies between the two world wars, unionization efforts, and the movement of workers and their families around the Midwest.

Interview with Senora Josefa Aguilera Parra by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Aguilera describes doing farm work in California and Colorado for low pay, her experiences of and feelings about the Mexican Revolution, and later settling in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, where her husband worked in the Swift meatpacking house.

Date: 
June 23rd 1980

Interview with Juan and Pascual Madrigal by Laurie Bretz as part of the Trabajo y Cultura (Work & Culture) Project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. The men discuss coming to Kansas City in 1925 after the Mexican Revolution, attending the Clara Barton School that served the Mexican community, working for the Santa Fe railroad and the local ice plant, and unionization efforts in hopes of improving working hours and wages.

Date: 
April 29th 1980

Interview with Pedro Ibarra by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Ibarra discusses the numerous industries in the Central Industrial District, the describes Mexican immigrants moving into the area as Eastern European descendents moved out in response to a changing labor climate and seeking higher wages. He also describes union organization through the CIO, and the effect of the 1951 flood on the Armour packing house and other businesses in the West Bottoms, as well as residents in the area.

Interview with Danny Gamino and Jose Perres by Laurie Bretz and Robert Oppenheimer as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. The men describe working in packing houses in the 1940s, and the segregation and discrimination they faced in restaurants, schools, movie theaters, and other parts of the community. They also discuss pay differences between white and Mexican workers prior to unionization, and other protections they were afforded by the union.

Interview with Pedro Ibarra and his daughter Leonor Ibarra by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Pedro describes coming to the United States for work, and describes Mexican workers doing their all of their non-food shopping at the railroad commissary. He says they could also send money back to family in Mexico, but that an employee at the commissary would keep the money and claim they were robbed or that the mail was lost.

Undated illustration of the Fowler Packing Company meatpacking plant in the Central Industrial District, adjacent to the Kansas City Stockyards.

Document illustrating infrastructure project accomplishments in Kansas under the Works Progress Administration through December 1937. Accomplishments include 1352 thousand square yards of new sidewalks, 3051 new bridges, and thousands of miles of newly graded roads. More than 14,588 people per month worked 25 months on such projects.

Date: 
December 1937

Undated photograph of unidentified railroad workers in Kansas City, Kansas. Railroad jobs brought many Mexican immigrants to Kansas City, Kansas.

Undated photograph of unidentified man posing with a guitar in traditional Mexican dress.

Undated, unidentified photograph of a home in Kansas City, Kansas. A car can be seen to the left of the house.

Undated photograph of unidentified railroad workers in Kansas City, Kansas. Railroad jobs brought many Mexican immigrants to Kansas City, Kansas.

Undated photograph of unidentified railroad workers in Kansas City, Kansas. Railroad jobs brought many Mexican immigrants to Kansas City, Kansas.

Undated photograph of unidentified railroad workers laying tracks in Kansas City, Kansas. Railroad jobs brought many Mexican immigrants to Kansas City, Kansas.

Undated photograph of unidentified children and teenagers from the Mexican community in Kansas City, Kansas.

Undated photograph of an unidentified man using tongs to move a large block of ice. Many members of the Mexican community in Kansas City, Kansas worked in local icehouses.

Undated photograph of Mexican railroad workers posing in front of a boxcar in Kansas City, Kansas.

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.