Guide to the San José State University Chicano Oral History Collection

SJSU Library Special Collections & Archives
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028
Phone: (408) 808-2061
Fax: (408) 808-2063
© 2008
Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the San José State University Chicano Oral History Collection

Collection number: MSS-2005-10-03

SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

San José State University

One Washington Square

San José, CA 95192-0028

Phone: (408) 808-2062

Fax: (408) 808-2063



Finding aid funded by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Processed by:
Amanda Grundmann
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Amanda Grundmann
© 2008 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: San José State University Chicano Oral History collection
Dates: 1968-2005
Collection number: MSS-2005-10-03
Creator: Mexican American Studies Program
Creator: Chicano Library Research Center
Collection Size: 6 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Repository: San José State University Library
San José, California 95192-0028
Abstract: This collection consists of audio and video tapes and transcripts of interviews with San José area Chicano community leaders and activists. The oral history project was conducted by the Mexican American Studies Program and the Chicano Library Research Center at San José State University, now part of the Cultural Heritage Center.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English Spanish

Access Restrictions

Access to the Jose Carrasco and Ernestina Garcia interviews is restricted. Requests for access must be approved by the Director of Special Collections.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

San José State University Chicano Oral History collection, MSS-2005-10-03, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.


The Chicano Oral History Collection is the result of a joint project between San José State University's Mexican American Studies Department and the Chicano Library Resource Center (CLRC). Planning for a project to document the experiences and history of Santa Clara County's Chicano community through oral history began in the late 1970s when Dr. Sylvia Gonzales of the CLRC investigated the possibility of starting such a project. In 1985 Dr. Samuel Henry, Affirmative Action Officer at San José State University (SJSU), first proposed an oral history project to the CLRC in order to develop a repository of information on the lives of Chicanos in Northern California; however, due to funding issues the project was not implemented.
The project finally began as part of a course on oral history in the Mexican American Studies Department. Coursework, training and interviews with community leaders were conducted from 1988 - 1990. Near the end of the project, in May 1989, the Alma Chicana Revisted Symposium was held to share the results of this project with the campus and broader communities in a three-day forum of meetings and presentations. Funding sources for this program came from various library, campus and California State University (CSU) grants, including Affirmative Action, Faculty Development, and Discretionary Lottery Grants. In 2003, Cultural Heritage Director Jeff Paul conducted video interviews to be used in a program for the opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. These interviews document the history of the Cultural Heritage Center from its beginnings as the Chicano Library Resource Center, and also describe notable events in the history of Chicano activism on campus and in San José.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection contains audio tapes and transcripts from eighteen oral history interviews conducted in 1988-1990 for the Chicano Oral History Project. Additional materials include: audio tapes of additional interviews; VHS and Beta tapes; DVDs of recorded interviews from the Cultural Heritage Center project conducted in 2003; supporting documentation on the Chicano movement and the Oral History Project; and subject indexes to the transcripted interviews. Dr. Jose Carrasco of SJSU, Dr. Mauro Chavez of Evergreen College, and Jeff Paul of the CLRC (now a part of the Cultural Heritage Center) served as the principal investigators for the project, and students in a Mexican American Studies course on oral history conducted the interviews. Interviewees answered questions related to their background and their experiences in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s in San José. Interviewees include Jose Carrasco, Lela Chavez, Rudolfo Coronado, Ernestina Garcia, Humberto Garza, Salvador Gascon, Jess Jaques, Randall Jimenez, Charley Laustanau, Sofia Mendoza, Pete Michel, Frances Palacios, Linda Peralta-Conway, Vicente Perez, Gabriel Reyes, Eliodoro Rivera, Bea Robinson, Adrian Vargas, and Jose Villa.


This collection is arranged into one series: I. Chicano Oral History Project, 1968-2005.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Chicano movement -- California -- Santa Clara County
Community activists -- California -- Santa Clara County
Mexican American leadership -- California -- Santa Clara County
Oral history
San José State University

Collection Contents


Series I: Chicano Oral History Project 1968-2005

Creator: San José State University Mexican American Studies Department
Physical Description: 6 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

The focus of this project is on the Chicano Movement in San José and Santa Clara County in the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, San José was a center of Chicano activism and social change, including some of the earliest Chicano student walkouts in the state, student activism at SJSU and other area colleges, and community organizing. Key activities discussed in the interviews include the Fiesta de las Rosas and the emergence of community organizations including the Community Alert Patrol, the Confederacion de la Raza Unida, the Mexican American Studies Department, United People Arriba, the Mexican American Graduate Studies Department, the Mexican American Educational Opportunities Program, the Mexican American Community Services Agency, the Brown Berets for Justice and the Mexican American Student Confederacion. Other activities investigated include demonstrations and protests such as the Educational Pilgrimage to Sacramento, San José State Students at National Moratorium in Los Angeles in 1970, the walkouts at Roosevelt Jr. High School and San José City College, San José United Grape Workers Boycott, and San José State University's Chicano Commencement.

Personal Names

  • Lela Chavez
  • Rudolfo Coronado
  • Ernestina Garcia
  • Humberto Garza
  • Salvador Gascon
  • Jess Jacques
  • Randall Jimenez
  • Charley Laustanau
  • Sofia Mendoza
  • Pete Michel
  • Frances Palacios
  • Linda Peralta-Conway
  • Vicente Perez
  • Gabriel Allan Reyes
  • Eliodoro Rivera
  • Bea Robinson
  • Adrian Vargas
  • Jose Villa


This series is arranged alphabetically by interviewee and chronologically by date.
Box 1-3

Audio and Visual Tapes 1978-2003

Box 1-2

Audiocassette Tapes 1978-2000

Box 3

Betamax tapes, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes 1988-2003

Box/Folder 4/1

Chicano Commencement Speech 1991

Box/Folder 4/2

Chicano Movement Newsclippings 1968-1977

Box/Folder 4/3-4/5

Chicano Oral History Interviews 1987-2005

Box/Folder 4/3

Agreements 1987-2004

Box/Folder 4/4

Biographies and Summaries 1988-2003

Box/Folder 4/5

Indexes 2005

Box/Folder 4/6

Chicano Oral History Project Proposals 1985-1988

Box/Folder 4/7-4/12

Confederacion de la Raza Unida undated 1969-1977

Box/Folder 4/7

Correspondence 1975-1977

Box/Folder 4/8

Court Documents 1975

Box/Folder 4/9

Newsletters 1970s

Box/Folder 4/10

Press Releases 1970s

Box/Folder 4/11

Reports and Planning Documents undated 1969

Box/Folder 4/12

Speeches 1969-1977

Box/Folder 4/13

Fresh Air Interview with Luis and Daniel Valdez 1987

Box/Folder 5/14-6/39

Oral History Transcripts undated 1988-1990

Box/Folder 5/14

Chavez, Lela 1989

Box/Folder 5/15

Coronado, Rudolfo 1988

Box/Folder 5/16

Garcia, Ernestina 1988

Box/Folder 5/17

Garza, Humberto 1989

Box/Folder 5/18-5/20

Gascon, Salvador 1989

Box/Folder 5/21

Jaques, Jess 1989

Box/Folder 5/22-5/23

Jimenez, Randall 1990

Box/Folder 5/24

Laustanau, Charley 1989

Box/Folder 5/25

Mendoza, Sofia 1988

Box/Folder 5/26-5/27

Michel, Pete 1989

Box/Folder 5/28

Palacios, Frances 1989

Box/Folder 6/29

Peralta- Conway, Linda 1989

Box/Folder 6/30

Perez, Vicente 1990

Box/Folder 6/31

Reyes, Gabriel Allan 1988

Box/Folder 6/32

Rivera, Eliodoro 1988

Box/Folder 6/33

Robinson, Bea Vasquez 1989

Box/Folder 6/34

Vargas, Adrian 1989

Box/Folder 6/35-6/39

Villa, Jose undated