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An Interview With Sally Magana Ramos
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Sally Magana Ramos
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded February 10, 1981. 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.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Mrs. Ramos was a teacher with the Kansas City School District. She was born January 26, 1945 in Kansas City, Kansas. In the interview she discusses her early life, 1951 flood, educational experiences, discrimination, teaching career, etc.

Number 41 on MP3 disc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 46, CD 46
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
West Side
Ramos, Sally M.
Oral History
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mrs. Ramos is a teacher with the Kansas City, Missouri, School District. Born January 26, 1945, in Kansas City, Kansas. Lived on Kansas side until 1951 flood; attended John J. Ingalls school for one year. Both parents born in U.S.; grandparents all Mexican. Maternal grandfather was Julio Castilleja. Mother, one of eight children. Paternal grandmother remarried to a Frennert. Grandmother was Indian from Tarasco. Other grandparents from Monterrey.

One of four children; parents divorced. Stayed in church during the flood and never returned to Kansas side. Both parents still live on the West Side. Parents both worked at packing houses; married at 16. Mother attended Central Jr. High; lamented quitting school. Mother told of competition in school between Greeks, Poles, Mexicans, etc. Only mother's youngest two siblings completed high school. Mother encouraged children but never forced them to attend school. All three girls, one boy attended Switzer, West Jr. High, and Westport High School. Only brother did not graduate.

Description of neighborhood. Men walked across railroad yard to get to work. Recalls a family friend who was killed while crossing the tracks. Accidents were common because the men drank. Attended parades, circus downtown, but childhood in general was very boring. Has two children of her own now. Tries to keep them busy; give them variety. Not much money as she was growing up; father drank a lot. Father had an accident at Swift's packing house and lost the fingers on his right hand. Got an excellent settlement from the company but squandered most of the money. Grandfather was injured once at a soap company. At that time, two companies would give workers five cents compensation and ask them to sign a paper (probably a legal release).

Elementary teachers very cooperative; good experience; encountered more difficulties in junior high. Family attended Mexican Baptist Church, setting her apart from most friends and neighbors. Did not realize at the time she could have participated in Guadalupe Center activities. Began swimming daily at Jarboe city pool. Met lifeguards there--mostly older students who counseled her, gave her a more positive outlook on life. Ridiculed by peers for liking school. Great trouble making friends. Mexican-American society as a whole was not oriented towards education. Hated school so much she wanted to quit after 8th grade. Director of the swimming pool, himself a teacher, let her live with him and his wife for a year so she could attend Southeast High School. The year away from West gave her an entirely new perspective.

Worked her last years in high school during evenings at Capris Theatre downtown. Met other young, responsible people there. Walked home at 10:30 P.M. High school better. Found it was popular to make good grades. Few Mexicans at Westport. Most went to Northeast. Grew up bilingual. No language problems. Uncles served in WWII, Korean War.

Saddened by the loss of family antiques, photographs in the flood. Recalls a neighbor who drowned because he became drunk and would not leave. A polio epidemic followed the flood. Had to go to the hospital because she began having trouble with one leg. Befriended by a Mrs. Cana, minister's wife. Found once she attended Westport that youngsters who had previously ridiculed her suddenly wanted to be friends. Observed that most Mexican youths who excelled were from her church rather than the Catholic church.

Active in Spanish Club, literary organization, yearly Pan American festival; was a class officer. Graduated 1963, received a scholarship through the school board. Attended William Jewell on scholarship in 1963-64. Felt the college was too conservative, too expensive to pay room and board. Returned to Kansas City Junior College (now Penn Valley). Majored in education, graduated from UMKC with Spanish and French degree. Helped start Upward Bound program at UMKC; involved in other government programs. Married in senior year; graduated 1968. Husband's family and hers were good friends. Became acquainted through church. Started teaching full-time in 1970 after second child was born. Taught at Martin Luther King school one year; instigated a Spanish program at West.

Left full-time teaching to be with children more. Substituted until getting an offer to teach English to adults through a CETA grant. Grant money cut. Joined UMKC as minority recruiter for the dental school. Traveled in Midwest 1977-1979. Joined Kansas City schools again; returned to teaching at West. Satisfaction from returning to the Hispanic community to teach. Tries to be a role model. Recently started master's degree program in reading.Has discovered several people she went to school with who also have returned to the community as role models. Feels more tutoring programs, etc., are non-available to help young people.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210402
CONTENTdm number36364
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