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An Interview With Elida Cardenas
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Elida Cardenas
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded July 28, 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.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Ms. Cardenas was an employment opportunity specialist with the Office of Civil Rights, Federal Aviation Administration. She was born in Sanderson, Texas, on December 20, 1937 and moved to Kansas City in 1974. In the interview she discusses her early life, family, school life, church, working in Washington, D.C., etc.

Number 6 on MP3 disc.
LocationSC69-1, Tape 6, CD 6
Local SubjectOral History
Hispanic Americans
Cardenas, Elida
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Ms. Cardenas is an employment opportunity specialist with the Office of Civil Rights, Federal Aviation Administration. Born in Sanderson, Texas, December 20, 1937. Parents were Dario Cardenas and Erlinda Cardenas. Has two brothers, three sisters, one half-brother. Sanderson is a small community southwest of Del Rio. Population about 7,000, some 2,000 Mexicans. People employed by railroad, sheep raising. Father worked in mercantile; worked up to salesman in hardware. Elementary school segregated. Mexican school in the barrio. Junior high also was segregated until the town built a new school. Integrated high school. Feels teachers were good, but did not motivate Mexican students to continue their education. School generally a happy experience.

Mother died when Ms. Cardenas was 11. Father kept the family together. Played sports in school. High school was enjoyable because she was interested in education. Difficulty adjusting to speaking English all the time. Teachers surprised at her desire to take college preparatory courses. Family attended the only Catholic church in town. Family socialized with Anglos that father met through work. Mother belonged to Guadalupanas; she to St. Mary's Fidelity for Young Girls. Hobbies included music, reading, sewing, sports. Two brothers served in Korea. VFW Post in Sanderson was started by some disabled Mexican-American veterans.

Graduated high school 1957. Enrolled in Texas Women's University in Denton, the first child to go to a university. Began a home economics major because she admired her high school economic teacher. Dropped out after three years because of financial problems. Taught in San Antonio, then got a job a Kelly Air Force Base as a clerk-typist. Applied for federal jobs in Washington, D.C., thinking she would never get one. Surprised when she got job offers; told her family she would only be gone a year. Thinks now that it was the best thing that could have happened to her. Worked for the U.S. Information Agency's Voice of America radio program in the Arabic Branch. In three years learned many skills--editing tapes, sending messages for programs. Spent seven years in Washington, eventually working into administration of General Services Agency.

Visited Puerto Rico to see a brother who had married and settled there. Came to Kansas City in 1974. Good career move. Received recognition during 1967 Middle East War on Voice of America job. Active in LULAC, GI Forum, IMAGE, received award from the Spanish Speaking Office in Washington. Was a representative to International Women's Year conference in Houston.

Learned persistence from her father. Other mentors include high schools teachers, two Hispanic government employees in Washington. Hopes to move higher in her career. Describes job-related travel, duties. Active with Federally Employed Women, Inc. Believes she serves as a positive role model for nieces and nephews.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210419
CONTENTdm number36378
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