Esteban Torres served eight terms in the United States House of Representatives as the Congressman for southeastern Los Angeles
County. Prior to that he was an activist and labor organizer, the United States ambassador to UNESCO, and Special Assistant
to the President for Hispanic Affairs under Jimmy Carter. This collection consists of his working papers, correspondence,
and photographs. There is also a small amount of personal material.
Esteban Torres was born January 27, 1930 in Miami, Arizona. As a young boy, he moved to East Los Angeles with his mother and
grandmother. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army, serving at Fort Belvoir near Washington, D.C. during the
Korean War. After his military service, he worked on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant in Los Angeles, and became active
in the United Auto Workers union. UAW president Walter Reuther asked Torres to spearhead the creation of The East Los Angeles
Communtiy Union (TELACU), a community development corporation intended to fight poverty in Chicano and other disadvantaged
communities. Later, President Jimmy Carter asked Torres to become ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). After two years in that post, Carter asked him to serve as Special Assistant to the President
for Hispanic Affairs. In 1982 Torres was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the newly drawn 34th congressional
district, which encompassed much of southeatern Los Angeles County. Active in the Democratic Party and the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus, he served on a variety of different committees and eventually became Deputy Democratic Whip. In 1998, he chose not
to run for re-election and retired from the House at the end of the term.
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