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Interview with Adolph Oropeza by Laurie Bretz as part of the Trabajo y Cultura (Work & Culture) Project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Oropeza describes being born in Michoacan, Mexico, and moving to Kansas City, Kansas, with his family as a 2-year-old. He worked as a farmworker as a teenager, and later worked for the Santa Fe and Rock Island railroad companies, and describes the work he and other Mexican workers did in those industries, including unionization in the railroad companies.

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 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

Illustration of adults and children performing tasks around the exterior of an Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad car. Railroad companies reused cars as housing for Mexican railroad workers, many of whom were recent immigrants could not find or afford more permanent housing.

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.