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An Interview With Severiano Alonzo
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Severiano Alonzo
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded August 8, 1980. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape;1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesMr. Alonzo was born in 1938 in Kansas City, Kansas and lived in the Armourdale district. In the interview he discusses his early life, jobs and education, 1951 flood, book he co-authored on the Guadalupe Center, etc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 1.
Local SubjectOral History
Alonzo, Severiano
Hispanic Americans
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of the Interview:

Mr. Alonzo is an associate of Tradition Hales Realtors. Born in Kansas City, Kansas, of Ester and Frederick Alonzo. Lived in Armourdale district. One of 11 children. Father worked at Wilson's. Lived in the same house on 3rd Street until the 1951 flood. Family moved to Missouri, obtained a loan and rebuilt on the same lot. Neighborhood mainly single family homes, predominately Hispanic from 5th to 7th Streets, and from Burger to the river. West of 7th mainly white. Numerous family-owned stores, taverns, drug stores, movies with six or seven blocks. Attended John J. Ingalls Elementary, Central Junior High, and Argentine High School.

Most families worked in packing houses or railroads. Parents came from Mexico right after the revolution. Father from Aguascalientes; mother from San Luis Potosi. Mostly Spanish spoken at home. Family attended Mt. Carmel Church. Father was active in annual church fiesta. Active in sports, activities sponsored by the community house (neighborhood center) at Osage and 7th Streets. Recalls the center's swimming pool causing so much conflict over whether or not Hispanics and non-Hispanics should swim together. The pool was finally filled in with dirt.

High school was five miles from home. Active in school sports; overall a pleasant experience. Feels he received high-quality education and was well prepared for college. Graduated 1956. Did not consider attending college because there was no money. Worked in packing houses nine years. Entered Army in 1961. Aptitude tests while in service indicated he had college potential. Married and began college in 1964. Enrolled in KCK Junior College for a trial summer session. Encouraged by good grades. Obtained clerical job at IRS in 1968. Worked nights, various shifts while attending classes. Left IRS in 1970. Enrolled in UMKC; received bachelor's in business administration in 1971. Worked for one year as executive director of Guadalupe Center before the center divided.

Returned to government work in General Services Administration. Awarded fellowship for a master's degree in public administration at UMKC. Received degree, returned to IRS, eventually promoted to director of management services section. Applied for job with school district as director of a business management center. The position was not funded; became program coordinator instead in September 1979. Lived in Kansas City, Kansas, until after his first two daughters were born. Has moved several times since; had a third daughter. First member of his family to receive a college degree.

Born in 1938. Hazy recollections of WWII. Family poor but they always had food. Father worked to improve property. About 13 years old during the 1951 flood. Left his job at a local drugstore to help mother set things off the floor, carry things out of the house. Figured they could return to the house the next day; went to a friend's house on the Missouri side. Water was 100 feet over the roof of the house. Family waited over a month for waters to recede. Mass pandemonium, confusion. Looked like a refugee camp. Stuffed pillowcases with possessions and carried them on their backs. Many people did not want to leave, fearing their homes would be burglarized, and were later rescued from rooftops.

Became familiar with social service organizations while employed at Guadalupe Center. Active in IMAGE, GI Forum, LVLAC. Deals mostly with Hispanics in school district job. Awards, recognitions. Sees real estate as a way to better himself. More opportunities. Wife works at Western Electric. Future goals include getting a Ph.D., working more with his children. Wife was instrumental in encouraging him and supporting family while he went to school.Co-authored a book on the history of Guadalupe Center with John Duncan, principal at Switzer Elementary.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210283
CONTENTdm number36325
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