This collection consists of Jose Luis's collection of
family history: Papers, photos, clippings, ephemera.
This collection can
serve as an excellent example of the experience of Mexican immigration into the
U.S. Southwest in the 1930s - 1940s. It is well documented with photos and
newspapers of the era.
Jose Luis Sedano Suarez
Jose Luis Sedano Suarez was born on August 21, 1942 in Mexico City. Both the
Sedano and Suarez families are originally from the state of Jalisco in Mexico.
His father however, migrated to the United States as a bracero contract worker
around 1948 The rest of his family soon followed. They came to California when
Mr. Sedano Suarez was seven years old. They settled in Lincoln Heights –
a neighborhood just northeast of Downtown, Los Angeles. He was about ten when he
started taking snap-shots of family outings and summer trips to Mexico by
Clearly, his love of the arts started at a very early age. In high school he was
the photographer for his school newspaper. Likewise, he performed in several
plays including Frank Pugliese's "Hope" is the Thing with Feathers and John
Patrick's The Teahouse of the August Moon which garnered him the Best Supporting
Actor award his senior year in high school.
Similarly, his eye for capturing key events, landscapes, and personages through
photography became evident in the summer of 1960 when his father took him to the
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to listen to Senator John F. Kennedy give his
acceptance speech for president. At this event, he took a black and white
photograph of President Kennedy. This photograph is now in the permanent
collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston,
Likewise, Mr. Sedano Suarez, recalls how Barnsdall Art Park's Municipal Art
Gallery here in Los Angeles, held an event titled "Christmas around the World"
during the 1960s. According to him, this was a month-long celebration that
featured different Christmas traditions associated with Los Angeles' diverse
cultural communities. His family was chosen to participate in this event as
representatives of Mexico's Christmas traditions. This was the first exhibit he
helped design and install at Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House in Barnsdall
Park. Since then, he has participated in several significant shows.
Following his graduation from Bishop Mora Salesian High School in East Los
Angeles, he decided to pursue study in the arts. First he enrolled at Los
Angeles Trade Technical College to study photography, and then he transferred to
Los Angeles City College's Theater Arts Department to study acting and theater
craft. During the summers he worked at the Hollywood Bowl, then at the Los
Angeles Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. He was part of the original
Around 1967 he decided to take time off from college to join VISTA –
Volunteers in Service to America, which is part of the U.S. Peace Corps. During
this time, he was assigned to a community development project working with
migrant labor families within the southern Santa Clara Valley in California.
However, before completing his period of service within VISTA, he was invited by
the U.S. Peace Corps to serve for two years in the provinces of Acomayo and
Catca in Peru as an agricultural extension agent. While working in Peru, he
photographed a life cycle study of an Andean village in Acopia and this
photographic essay evolved into an exhibit in 1973 at the Natural History Museum
of Los Angeles County Museum titled: ACOPIA: A Sandy Place. It was curated by
Mary Beth Davis Bond and organized by the UCLA Ethnic Arts Museum –
today, the Fowler Museum at UCLA. This was Mr. Sedano Suarez's first one-man
After returning to school and graduating from the School of Film at the
California Institute of the Arts, he was hired as a staff film producer on
Project One created at MIT by Dr. Jerald Zackarius – inventor of the
atomic clock and later, in 1975 while working at Boston's WGBH TV, he worked
with Moctesuma Esparza on a PBS children's series titled: Infinity Factory.
These were a series of 12 bilingual films promoting mathematics to children ages
8-12. It was part of PBS' Educational Development Center Program. This project
then lead to his work on another PBS series – ZOOM, which aired between
1972 and 1978. This was a program intended to introduce children to ethnic
Mr. Sedano Suarez also worked at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University as a
line producer on the traveling exhibit titled Legacy of Light. This show
sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Morgan Guaranty Trust,
featured a series of 19th century photographs taken in the Middle East. This
show previewed in various places including: Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, the
University of Oxford, Bahrain University, Jordan, Syria, the King Faad Museum in
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and at the U.S. Mission to UNESCO in Paris.
He has held memberships and board positions in numerous organizations including:
the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council (where?), the National Hispanic Media
Coalition, the Symphonians from the Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los
Angeles County, the Media Image Coalition, the Los Angeles County Human
Relations Commission, the American Red Cross Blood Services, the National Marrow
Donor Program, and the Boston Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences. Other organizations that Mr. Sedano Suarez has been actively
involved in include the non-profit organization: Children's Television Workshop,
the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund's Leadership and
Advocacy Program, and the UCLA Extension.
For students and faculty researchers of UCLA, all others by permission only.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Chicano Studies Research Center. All
requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted
in writing to the Archivist and/or the Librarian at the Chicano Studies Research
Center Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the UCLA
Chicano Studies Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also