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An Interview With Robert E. Lopez
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Robert E. Lopez
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded February 26, 1978. 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. Lopez was born in the West Side of Kansas City, Missouri on November 2, 1934. In the interview, he discusses growing up in the West Side area, his family, religion, culture, etc.

Number 27 on MP3 disc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 30, CD 30
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
West Side
Lopez, Robert E.
Oral History
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mr. Lopez was born in the West Side of Kansas City, Mo., on November 2, 1934. His father Florentino A. Lopez and mother Andrea Estrado both were born in Mexico. His parents raised a family of twelve brothers and sisters and they lived at 2304 Fairmount in the West Side.

Neighborhood - Blue collar unskilled workers of German and Mexican origin. The Germans worked for the Kansas City Water Works. The Mexicans worked for the Railroad and Packing Houses. His mother worked at home. Schools: Mr. Lopez attended the Guadalupe Parochial School, Switzer, West Junior High and Manual. Before finishing High School he enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1952. He spent 3 years with the Marine Corp. He was sent to California for his training and then to Korea. After returning from Korea he came home for a year and then went to the Air Force for four years. After his discharge he joined the Reserves. He completed 18 years of military service.

Mr. Lopez mentioned that while he was growing up most Mexican families depended on public clinics for shots and checkups. The clinic was located at 30th and Mercier. He also remembers that most Mexicans bought their groceries on credit and paid for them every fifteen days (Pay-day). Grocery stores were own by Mexicans but clothing stores by Jews. There was also the Jairo Drugstore which was also the ice cream parlor. There was a restaurant but Mexicans were not allowed to go in it.

His father, as many others, raised chickens and had a small garden to supplement his income. Most Mexicans used oil cooking stoves. The streets in the neighborhood were not paved until the fifties. All Mexicans attended the Guadalupe Church, but the Anglo went to Sacred Heart. Mr. Lopez's father played in a small band on Mexican fiestas. Most of the children played on a lot at 23rd and Jarboe which later was made into a park. They used to go swimming during the summer at Penn Valley because it was not restricted to Mexicans and the City Park provided refreshment to the children.

Mr. Lopez never had the time to develop any hobbies because even from grade school he worked delivering milk and selling vegetables from door to door. Many Mexican families lost their sons in World War II. His own oldest brother was killed during the War.

The Flood of 1951 affected one of his brother's who lived in the Argentine area, and lost his home. His family helped two other families who lived with them for four months. Mr. Lopez was married to a girl from Lago de Moreno Jalisco, Mexico in 1960. He worked in the Packing House doing manual segregated jobs with no hopes for advancement. Therefore he went to work for the Federal Government. At that point he decided to continue his education. He went to Penn Valley College at nights in 1973. He got his B.A. at the University and now he is working to get his Master in history and education. He has not been able to utilize his education in his work. Mr. Lopez and his wife have two girls, ages 16 and 8. They have moved from the Westside to a better neighborhood providing better schools for the children.

Plans for the future - He hopes to use his education to relate to the Westside drop-outs to encourage young people to get at least their high school diploma. Mr. Lopez credits his father as his inspiration to better himself through education.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210349
CONTENTdm number36348
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