On September 26 and October 17, 2015, a team of researchers with the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project at Texas Christian University interviewed dozens of Fort Worth residents at a pair of events sponsored by the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Unit and a large group of community partners. The purpose of the project was to collect and curate an inclusive history of Latino Fort Worth told from the perspective of the residents who lived it.
Under the direction of Dr. Max Krochmal of TCU, the interviewers — graduate students from TCU and surrounding institutions — captured memoirs and testimonies from forty-three veterans of foreign wars, activists, retired professionals, social workers, laborers, school administrators, business owners, and educators. Each of the interviewees shared personal stories that spanned from recollections of the Great Depression and World War II to the Civil Rights movement and Reagan revolution. They told family tales of immigration from the first massive wave sparked by the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to the most recent stimulated by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s.
Moisés Acuña-Gurrola, a Ph.D. candidate at TCU, wove segments of those interviews into six thematic multi-media essays, focusing respectively on Migration, the Barrios, Schools & Churches, Activism & Public Service, Work & Entrepreneurship, and Arts & Culture. On each of these essay pages, visitors are able to hear many different voices telling their own stories. The segments are drawn from dozens of interviews, including the following examples: Joel Zapata, a former Ph.D. student at Southern Methodist University (now an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University), talked with Victor Espino, an activist in the current battle for immigrant rights. Moisés Acuña-Gurrola conversed with Santiago Diaz, a Mexican-born World War-II veteran whose family fled the turmoil in Mexico brought upon by the 1910 to 1920 revolution. Former TCU Ph.D. student Katherine Bynum (now an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University) spoke with siblings Josie Rivera and John Mendoza, longtime employees of Bell Helicopter, on the challenges facing organized labor in North Texas. Last, Osmin Hernández, a graduate of TCU’s master’s program in history, recorded a conversation with Martha Morolez de Anda, the first Latina to hold a Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University. All of the interviews that were collected are available in the Fort Worth Public Library Digital Archives and on HOLA’s oral interviews page.
On behalf of the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project, we hope that the content provided on this site delivers a well-rounded understanding of Fort Worth as a city enmeshed in the trends common across the American Southwest as well as a city with its own unique and multifaceted history.