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Interview with: Luis Cano
Date: April 22, 1987
Archive Number: OH 355
I: This is an April 22, 1987 oral history interview with Luis Cano of Houston, Texas. Let’s start out, Luis, with a little bit about your background. Where are you from originally?
LC: Well, I was born in Corpus Christie, Texas, August 25, 1948. My mother was also born in Texas. She was from Del Rio, Texas. My father was born in a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico—San Francisco del Rincon. They lived on a ranch there. My grandmother on my father’s side came to the United States in 1896. She went to southern California, where she worked. Then she went back, got married, and came back in 1910, during the revolution. So I am, like a lot of other Chicanos here in the city—like Tatcho and (unintelligible)—like a lot of Chicanos everywhere, my family came here as political refugees. They came here in 1910; although my grandmother came first in 1896, so I guess she wasn’t really a political refugee the first time she came. The second time she came, she was. And because I’m a descendent of political refugees, I grew up with a very unique value system, and that is that you have to work hard, and then you have to try to keep yourself out of poverty by working hard and having good morals and respecting yourself, respecting others. A lot of the people that I know whose grandparents and parents came over as political refugees all have the same value system. I think the generation coming up now has a slightly different value system because their parents and grandparents were not political refugees unless they’re coming from Nicaragua or El Salvador. But anyway, that’s where I’m originally from. I went to school in Corpus Christie. I graduated from Roy Miller High School.
I: What were your—? Would you say—? The focus of much of our consideration today is your development and association with the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, or AAMA. Was your own early education any influence on how you would direct that later program?
LC: Yes. When I was growing up in Corpus, one of the only things that bothered me was that when I was in school, we were never taught about Mexican-American contributions in history, in literature, in science, in medicine. That always bothered me. When I studied Texas history in the seventh grade, I felt like crawling under the desk because I felt like my people were always made to look like bad guys. I asked myself the question: “Well, golly, did we ever do anything good?” And when I was 12 years old, I went to the library in Corpus and read a book by William Madsen, The Mexicans of South Texas, which was very stereotypic. He revised it later, but it said Latin Americans are quick and fast with their hands and make good factory workers. That bothered me. I said, “Well, I’m not like that.” And then I read Carlos Casteneda’s book when I was 12. I though, wow, I like what this guy has got to say. But my mother also told me about my grandfather who came to the United States as a political refugee in 1911. He was in Del Rio, Texas, and he noticed that the Mexicans in Del Rio, Texas, had very little pride in their heritage and knew very little about their literature and their heritage. So what he did was he wrote to all the different governors in Mexico and he requested books on Mexican history and Mexican literature. They sent him a lot of books. So what he did was he started some classes in Del Rio, Texas, on the history of Mexico, on the literature, on the writers, so that these people would know their history, their roots, know about the Aztecs and the Mayans and their contributions to science and medicine and about the writers of Mexico—Mexican political thought. He set up classes in all the homes in Del Rio, and I thought that was pretty neat. I thought, wow, that’s pretty neat, because he was doing this back in the 1920s.
I: What was his name?
LC: 05:13.5 His name was Juan Bautista Galaviz. He became very involved there in Del Rio with poor people. Every week he donated food and money to the St. Joseph Church so they could have their weekly (s/l hamaikas). He got involved with the priest. And the reason I’m relating all this is because this really inspired me. He got involved with a priest there, and this priest was always giving away all this clothing and cars and shoes to the poor people. This upset the other parish priests because they felt he was setting too much of an example—too exaggerated of an example—which they were not willing to follow. He evidently got involved with trying to get these poor folks to speak up, so the Ku Klux Klan got on his case one night and threatened to kill him. So the priest came running to my grandfather’s house, and my grandfather gave him refuge—him and his two nuns. He said, “They’re after me. These white guys are after me, and they’re trying to kill me.” So my grandfather hid the priest and got him out of town and got him off to San Antonio. About a month later they found him dead. He had been poisoned. No one ever found out why, but it was always suspected it had something to do with his activity.
I: This was the priest who had been found?
LC: The priest, right.
I: Was this in the ‘20s or earlier than that?
LC: 6:56.1 This was in the late ‘20s. Anyway, when my mother told me this about my grandfather, who I never met, that inspired me.
I: Were you in high school by this time, when you learned this, or younger?
LC: Yeah, I was in junior high. I paid more attention to her in high school. I thought, wow, that’s pretty good for someone to be doing that sort of thing here in Texas during that period of time. Because I look back on it, when I came to Houston in 1970 and I was trying to start the Mexican-American studies program in HISD, I thought, wow, I’m doing basically what my grandfather was attempting to do back in the 1920s. In essence, my grandfather was trying to start a Mexican-American studies program there in Del Rio for the same reasons we were trying to do it here in 1970—to build pride in our young kids about their history and heritage, to teach them about their history and literature. He went out after resources, he wrote letters to all the governors of all the states of Mexico requesting that they send books—all the books they could. My mother had a big barrel full of books from Mexico—history and literature books. She told me one time when we’d go visit my grandmother in Odem where she kept all these books—I don’t know why they kept them there. I guess storage. I asked her one time, “Where are all these books that my grandfather, Juan Bautista Galaviz, used to have?” And she said, “Well, we kept them in a barrel at your grandmother’s house there in Odem, Texas.” I said, “Well, I’d sure like to get a hold of them.” So we went over there and they were gone. Evidently they had been thrown away when somebody did housecleaning or something. But she said, “No, there was a big barrel full of books.” I remember when I was a little boy—5, 6, 7 years old—going into that storage shed there at my grandmother’s in Odem. I remember seeing two or three barrels just full of all these old books in Spanish. I always wondered, where did all these books come from? But I was too young to know what it was. Later on, my mother told me, “Yeah, those were those books that your grandfather used in Del Rio, Texas when he was trying to set up that Mexican studies program with the people there in the barrios.” They would hold classes and invite families in. Then he would start teaching about the history and the literature because he wanted the people to be proud. Anyway, so this was the thought that was going through my mind when I was trying to start the Mexican-American studies program here in Houston in 1970. The year before, in 1969, the students at Jeff Davis and at Austin High School had walked out because they wanted Mexican-American studies. They wanted more Mexican-American teachers. So the following year, I came to Houston in June of 1970. Then in September—well, actually August of 1970—I started at Milby High School, then I transferred over to Austin High School. I approached the principal there, Harmon Watts. I asked him, “The state of Texas—the Texas Education Agency—has an approved course called Mexican-American Studies. I would like to do that course here.” And he said, “Well, yes. Sure.” I said, “Gee, he sure was cooperative.” Well, I didn’t know at that time that the students had walked out of the school the previous year. So evidently he felt comfortable that at least one of his own teachers would be teaching a course as opposed to some outside radical coming in. But this was during the whole desegregation period here in Houston when they had the paired schools, where they paired the Mexican-American kids and black kids because the Mexican-American kids were all white, but they left the white schools untouched. That ruling came down in May of 1970, and this was September of 1970. Anyway, I was excited that I would have a chance to start the Mexican-American studies program. So I started developing the program. I went to the library and got a lot of books to read on history and literature of Chicanos. I wrote a curriculum for the Mexican-American studies program, and I presented the curriculum to Charlene Potter, who was the supervisor for Social Studies. She came down to the school—this is in the spring of 1971—and she said, “Well, Mr. Cano, I saw this curriculum and it’s very good, however—” See, they had requested me to write this curriculum, but they refused to publish it. I could never figure out why. I didn’t know anything about Houston in the ‘50s and the ‘70s. I didn’t know what was going on until later. But anyway, she said, “I’m concerned about this course that you’re going to be teaching because I’m concerned that it promotes communism.” I said, “What in the world is going on here? Man, something’s going on.” I said, “Well, Ms. Potter, I don’t understand. You told me that you wanted me to write this curriculum. I’ve written a curriculum. I think it’s very good. And now you say that it promotes communism?” And I remember telling her, “Hey, I’m an old Boy Scout. I’m an Eagle Scout.”
I: 13:15.1 You were an Eagle Scout?
LC: Yeah. This lady says, “Well, you talk about Cesar Chavez in here. He’s a socialist.” I said, “You know, Ms. Potter, I don’t know that he is, and I don’t know that he isn’t, but frankly, I don’t care. The point is that he is a prominent personality in Mexican-American affairs and we have to teach about him. Now, what his political views are, I really don’t know, but if you look here under selected readings, I recommend that the teacher teach the kids Little Cesar by Ralph Toledano, which is very anti-Chavez and very anti-union.” So she said, “Oh, okay. That’s good.” But she still refused to publish the curriculum because she felt that it was too radical. I look at it now and think, God, this thing is mild. It’s very mild.
I: You have been— Was this for the entire district?
LC: The entire district. So after that, they started Mexican-American studies in other schools.
I: 14:25.3 Based on your model, would you say?
LC: Yeah. Well, they have the curriculum, because after Ms. Potter left, the guy who took over the Social Studies Department got copies of it. Then I started teaching a course and I began to notice that a bunch of my kids were dropping out of school. I thought, what is going on here?
I: You were teaching at what school?
LC: Austin High School. By this time I had learned that back in the ‘50s in HISD it was against school policy to teach about the United Nations. It was a very conservative school district, and if a teacher is caught teaching about the United Nations, they could be fired. Then I began to realize why I was getting the reaction I was getting. I thought, my goodness, no wonder I’m getting this reaction. Here I am, coming in planning to teach this so-called radical course of study in this very conservative district that had a policy against teaching the United Nations back in the ‘50s. So anyway, I began to notice that there were a lot of kids dropping out. I was talking to my kids, and I told them, “How many of you all are going to drop out?” A bunch of them raised their hands, and a bunch of them dropped out. I thought, God, they’re dropping out like flies. So I asked around, and I asked people in the district, “Is anything going to be done about all these kids that are dropping out? They said, “Well, we don’t have the dropout rate. It’s just a few. It’s just a handful.” I said, “Man, it’s got to be more than a handful.” And the district at that time refused to acknowledge that there was a dropout problem. They would not acknowledge it. If you asked the superintendent he said, “Oh, maybe it’s one percent.” And when Billy Reagan came in he said it was less than two percent. I wasn’t getting the answers I felt I should be getting on school dropouts and all the educational problems that our kids were having in school. There seemed to be so little interest or no interest at all at this time in the educational problems of Chicano kids in Houston. I was appalled. I said, “Man, I don’t believe this. This is crazy.” So when I found that I wasn’t getting very many answers, and there seemed to be a general insensitivity towards Hispanic kids in the district, I thought, if the district’s not going to respond then I guess I need to—the first thing I need to do is put the message out before the people and make a statement about what is going on. So I decided the best way to do it would be to form a teatro Chicano. This, in essence, was the first social issues theater in Houston. Now, somebody once said, “No, Teatro (s/l Byuco) was the first one.” I said, “No, Teatro (s/l Byuco) came along after we did.” We just weren’t that well known because we weren’t organized within the school first. So in order to get the message out about the educational problems of our kids and the very high dropout rate— That was the thing we were really interested in was that dropout rate, obviously, because that’s the bottom line. So we organized Teatro Chicano Sexto Sol.
I: 17:44.7 Around what year was this?
LC: This was in the spring of 1971. I remember when we were organizing and I was teaching the kids the plays, Pete (s/l Vasquez) from Papel Chicano came down and he took a picture of us. I mean—gee—I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Wow! We were going to be in Papel Chicano. (Laughs) Everybody thought Papel Chicano big time. He came down; he took a picture. We came out in Papel Chicano. So we started writing plays about school dropouts, about racist teachers, the insensitive curriculum, the loss of identity of the students. All of the problems that were facing kids in education, we wrote plays about them.
I: Here in Houston, in particular?
LC: Here in Houston, yeah. This was at Austin High School. In fact, we even came out in the yearbook one time—a picture of the teatro. We turned it in as Teatro Chicano Sexto Sol. But the yearbook people and the administration at Austin High School refused to use the word Chicano, so when the picture came out in the annual it said Teatro Sexto Sol. I said, “Oh, man, what a rip-off. That’s not the way we turned it in.” The kids were all upset and I was upset because we had put Teatro Chicano Sexto Sol. They had a problem with the word Chicano. They had the Black-American Club, they had the Latin-American Club—which we changed to Mexican-American Club. But anyway, this theater group went all over to perform. We performed a play on education and dropouts and the loss of identity and the insensitivity of the curriculum and teachers at the Black-American Talent Show at Austin High School, and, man, it caused a lot of commotion. The principal got upset, and the teachers got upset. Then there was going to be an election one year, and we did a play about how the politicians go into the barrios and patronize the people. It was during a mayoral election. We had a fictitious mayor in our play called Midget Belch. It was in a fictitious city called Dome City. I don’t remember whether we called it Dome City or Space City—one of those two. It was a riot. It was funny. It was real funny. That’s when Leonel was first running for controller. We performed it at the Magnolia Y, and the following week when I went back to school, that’s when they offered me my walking papers. They called me to the office and Mr. Watts said, “You know, the __(?) says that you cannot get involved in politics and you cannot be involving the students in politics.” I said, “Well, I’m not, Mr. Watts. Don’t worry about it.” “Well, I just got some calls from some parents who were concerned that maybe you were getting too political.” I said, “No, Mr. Watts, I’m not getting political.” Well, that afternoon he called me back in and he said that they had a call from the superintendent. Someone from the mayor’s office—I don’t know why the mayor would be calling—had called and this time they threatened to fire me. He said, “We’re going to have to fire you because of your political activities. We also have information that you used the mayor’s name in an inflammatory and derogatory manner.” I said, “Well, we don’t use any real names in any of our plays, and if the mayor chooses to identify with one of our characters that’s his problem, not ours. You have no grounds to fire me. You want to try, go ahead.” And so it was a showdown, basically, is what it was. I said, “Hey, man, I’m calling your bluff. Go ahead and try to fire me. You have no grounds.” So he backed off. But then one day, I guess it was in the fall of 1972, I was out and something very funny happened. It was really strange. Mr. Watts called all of the members of the Teatro Sexto Sol to his office, and then he took them outside in back of the building and he told them, “You are going to have to disband because you are too controversial. You are upsetting the Anglo students and the Anglo teachers here, and you’re just too controversial.” And they told him, “All we’re doing is trying to bring attention to these educational problems that exist and that you are not paying attention to. Besides that, why don’t you wait until Mr. Cano comes back, and you tell him you want him to disband the theater group? You tell him that. Why are you doing it when he’s out? And why did you bring us out here in back of the building?”
I: 22:52.0 Why did he? What was the problem there?
LC: I guess he was afraid they were going to riot or something. It kind of reminded me when John Connally knew that the farm workers were going to the state capital and instead of meeting them there he took a helicopter and met them out on some dusty highway. I guess he figured, well, this motley crew—I don’t want them there at the state capital. And I guess Harmon Watts felt the same way about the kids in the teatro—that they were just a motley, radical group that was prone to violence, which they were not. They were all good kids. We had a mixture. We had kids from ROTC and we had National Honor Society students in the teatro and we had the average kids and then we had the recalcitrant kids and they all had one common goal. But anyway, as a result of all this, I finally decided that— I got frustrated because nothing was happening. So finally in ’73, I left the district. I decided something’s gotta give because we’ve got too many kids dropping out.
I: Let me stop you right there, Luis, and go back a bit, and we’ll pick up right where you are when you left in ’73. What had you been doing—? Let’s go back a little bit. After you graduated from high school in Corpus Christie, what did you do in the interim period?
LC: Well, I graduated in 1966, and from 1966 to 1970, I was in college. I spent my first two years, ’66-’68, at Texas A&I, and then in 1968, I transferred to North Texas State and graduated from North Texas State in 1970.
I: Were you under any particular influence at that time? What was going on at the campus at that time?
LC: 24:45.0 Well, in 1966 and ’67 and ’68, MAYO was getting organized. What’s his name? Carlos Guerra was a student at Texas A&I. Somebody mentioned some crazy Mexican named Carlos Guerra is organizing MAYO. I was working. I wanted to go to the meeting, but I was one of those guys who had to earn a living. But I remember Carlos Guerra was organizing at that time. I remember the farm workers were real active. We were supposed to go stop a train just outside of Kingsville, Texas. We were supposed to stand on the tracks and stop a train. So we were up all night in the dormitory making signs saying, “Support the farm workers” and all that stuff. We were all getting ready to get up the next day and go stop a train because one of the representatives from the farm workers had come by and talked to us. We were all gung ho, but then they called us and they said, “No, it’s been called off because the railroad found out what we were doing so we’re going to have to wait.” So then I went home for the summer, and during the summer they did have the picket there in front of the train close to Kingsville, Texas, but I missed. Anyway, that’s what was going on at that period of time. Then in ’68, I transferred to North Texas State, and again we got involved with the farm workers. A group of us got together and we organized the Mexican-American Student Association at North Texas State. We met with the administration, and we started talking about the things that we wanted—a Mexican-American studies program, more Mexican-American professors. We would go into Dallas, and we would volunteer time at the Bataan Center there in Dallas with Chicano kids. It was in a rough neighborhood. There was a guy named Rene Martinez who was working with the kids there at the Bataan Center in Dallas. I liked his style. I was expecting some guy to walk in all slicked up, and he walked in all raggedy. I think he got on city council later on. I’m not sure.
I: Short guy?
LC: Yeah, real smart guy—graduated from SMU. Anyway, the whole time that I was in college was a time of political forming.
I: Where you ever a member of MAYO?
LC: 27:26.8 Well, when I was here in Houston—well, you’ve got to remember MAYO never had formal or informal members. But I guess I’m never going to work with the school district. But back in— Do you remember when MAYO— Well, the Huelga School people—Leonel Castillo and all that group—went down to HISD on September 7 or September 15 of 1970, because they wanted to present their case about the Huelga school. Greogory Salazar and Yolanda Birdwell, Walter Birdwell, (s/l Virgie), Pancho Ruiz, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos (s/l Calbillo), and I don’t know who else—all these MAYOS were down there. They wanted to present their case. That’s when Gregory jumped on top of the table and said, “Leonard Robbins, you’re going to listen to us. You’re going to listen to us.” He tried to call off the meeting. It was a packed house. The auditorium was full. They had people in the cafeteria of HISD—3830 Richmond—listening because it was too packed in the auditorium; they had speakers in there so you could hear what was going on. I was a teacher. I was working for the district at that time. I was a respectable school teacher. I was there in the cafeteria. I didn’t get into the auditorium. I was sitting there in the cafeteria listening to the meeting, and I heard all the commotion going on so I went into the auditorium, and I saw the police on the left side trying to pull these revolving doors—these shutters—shut that separated the board tables from the audience. Then Gregory and Yolanda Birdwell, Walter Birdwell, and (s/l Virgie) were on the other side pulling it the other way. It was just a pushing contest. The police were pushing this way and the MAYOS were pushing the shutters this way. All the dust from the tiles in the ceiling was just falling down. It looked like snow coming down. And there was screaming and people in the audience were saying, “Let them talk. Let them talk.” Of course, I was young and enthusiastic, so I got involved in the emotion of the moment. I couldn’t help myself. I was 22. I look back on it now, 22 years old—you’re still a young—you’re a kid. I said, “Let them talk. Let them talk.” Then they left the auditorium, and they started going around 3830 Richmond, and I said, “Man, why am I a bystander? I don’t want to be a bystander. Those are my people down there, and I don’t like what they are doing.” So I went down there and I joined them. We went all around the building yelling, “Chicano power!” We went all around. I was going with them. I was just caught up in the emotion of the moment. And everybody was getting arrested, so by the time most of them had been arrested, I figured it was time for me to leave. ABC was there, and I don’t know who else. I walked out a side door. But I remember that. I was thinking, man, if they find out that I was here and I did all this they’re going to fire me for sure.
(End of tape 01)
(Start tape 02)
LC: So basically from ’66-’70, I was going through a sort of political process; I was being politicized. This was also the Vietnam War era. I was going through a personal conflict because where I grew up in Corpus Christie—I went to what they called the “Mexican high school.” And when you went to the Mexican high school, the one thing you thought about was the Marines. Every time the word Marine was mentioned in my school, you didn’t say “the Marine Corps,” you said, “the Marines.” This was the way the guys talked—these Chicanos—and the whole macho thing was real big. The big thing was if you went to Miller High School in Corpus Christie and you said you were going into the Army, no one got excited. If you said you were going into the Navy, no one got excited. You said you were going into the Air Force, no one was impressed. The only service that you went into in that part of town, in that school, was the Marines. This was the service corps of the Chicanos. A lot of the guys that I went to school with went into the Marines. I was going through conflict because I had been hearing all this stuff that this was a screwed up war and that we never should have gotten involved and we weren’t even trying to win it. And that bothered me. I thought, man, I sure hate to go over there knowing that my own country is not even trying to win the thing. That really bothered me. When I went to A&I, I had some friends there that, man, their thing was the Marines. Again, there was that conflict. I had a friend of mine—well, I had several friends that were killed over there. I had one guy that ran track with me who gave me my nickname when I was running track. He called me Sailor, and we were good friends. The next I heard, people were telling me, “Hey, did you hear about Armando? He got killed in Vietnam.” It made me so mad. It made me mad because I knew that we weren’t even trying to win it, never mind the morality or immorality of it. Then when I went to North Texas, we got involved with the antiwar movement. I figured, hey, I wanted to take a stand one way or the other. I’m either going to join them or take a stand to stop this thing. So again, that was part of the politicizing process with me. I began to really take note that, hey, we have to question our government not only in ethnic issues, but also in more global issues, like this whole Vietnam thing. So we got actively involved in the whole antiwar movement there at North Texas State. We took part in protests there on campus. And then when we came to Houston in June or July—it was the same week that they had the big shootout on Dowling Street. There was a big antiwar movement march over here at Hidalgo Park that was organized by MAYO—Gregory Salazar and those people. So we got involved in that and we marched in that march.
I: You hadn’t been in Houston very long at that time?
LC: 03:13.2 No, but when I got to Houston, I heard about this guy Gregory Salazar, and he impressed me. I thought, hey, that guy is all right because he’s trying to make people aware of what’s going on. So again, that was part of the politicizing process. So that, basically, is what I was doing from ’66-’70, was getting politicized.
I: Did you come to Houston specifically to take this position that you’d gotten with HISD, or was it—?
LC: No, the reason I came to Houston was more personal. Actually, I was going to stay in Dallas, but my wife was a student at Texas Women’s University, and she was going to be doing her internship at the medical center. So that’s the reason I came to Houston—not very profound.
LC: More romantic.
I: Did you begin to look for a job when you got here? You had graduated.
LC: Yeah, I graduated on June 1, 1970. I came to Houston the same night. I found an apartment over there off of Scott and Cosby. I stayed there and found a job at the medical center as an orderly at Fondren and Brown. I brought patients in and out of OR there at Fondren and Brown where Michael DeBakey did surgery. I did a lot of translating for Michael DeBakey because he had a lot of patients from South America and Mexic
o. They would page me, “Luis Cano, please come to Michael DeBakey’s office.” So they were always paging me to go to Dr. DeBakey’s office. I guess everybody thought I was some kind of big, important official or something. I was just a lowly orderly who happened to speak Spanish. But that was an experience, translating for DeBakey there. That’s what I did for the summer. I worked there just to pay my bills and buy some groceries, and then I started working for the district in August of 1970.
I: And went immediately to which school?
LC: Well, first they sent me to Milby High School. Then because of the court order, literally overnight—well, actually, literally over a weekend—from a Friday to a Monday—Milby changed ethnically, and Austin high school became the Mexican high school. So I went to talk to Roscoe Bayless, who was the principal at Milby High School, and I said, “Look, you’re going to have to transfer some teachers because of this whole desegregation thing. I know that a lot of teachers are going to be unhappy.” I said, “I tell you what, I will volunteer myself to be transferred, but I want to be transferred to Austin High School.” And he said, “Well, if I transfer you to Austin High School, I don’t want you going over there and doing none of this—this MAYO thing.” He put up his fist and he says, “These MAYOs, they have this fist. It means Chicano power. I don’t want you going over there and getting involved in any of this MAYO thing and Chicano power.” I said, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’m a real peaceful guy.” I don’t know why he told me that. I had given him no reason whatsoever to think that. I’d been very quiet and passive and hadn’t done anything. But anyway, that’s the advice he gave me. So then I got transferred to Austin High School that September of 1970, and that’s when I started at Austin. That’s when I approached Harmon Watts and asked him if I could teach Mexican-American studies.
I: 06:52.9 Okay, now in ’73, you left the school district?
LC: Yeah, I left the school district. I just felt like I was not accomplishing anything. We had started the Mexican-American studies program, we had started Teatro Chicano. That was in 1973. I guess I was 24. I had gotten involved with the Houston Teacher’s Association.
I: In what capacity?
LC: Well, I was cofounder of the Hispanic Teacher’s Caucus. We organized the Hispanic teachers. That was another thing I got involved with.
I: Who was your cofounder?
LC: 07:31.5 (s/l __ Cisneros) and Marie Garity. We organized the Hispanic teachers in Houston. There weren’t many of us. Most of the Hispanic teachers were very young. We were all kids in our 20s, and now they’re all school principals—elementary school principals and high school principals and all that. But we were all young upstarts back then. I remember that. Looking back at our meetings, we were a bunch of kids, man. We looked like college kids. But we organized the Hispanic teachers. We had a membership drive trying to get more Chicano teachers into the Houston Teacher’s Association. We were very political. We got the Houston Teacher’s Association to send us as representatives to their national meetings in Tulsa and in Washington, DC. And then in 1971 or ’72—I can’t remember now—March ’72—we were the representatives of HTA to a major national meeting of the National Education Association in Washington, DC. Henrietta (s/l Blein) was president of HTA. She’s still a very good friend of mine. She is a nice, Jewish lady. And Norma (s/l Kasen) was the executive director. In other word, she was a staff person. They sent me and (s/l __ Cisneros) to Washington, DC. Ernie Valdez, who was with the public relations department of HISD at that time, also went. At this time, the National Education Association had not done anything about hiring Chicanos at managerial and executive levels, and very little was being done by the National Education Association for minority education across the country. So we were there, and we were young and brash and full of energy. Anyway, we happen to see that there were a lot of American Indians there at this meeting in Washington, DC. And for me, it was the first time I’d ever gone to Washington, DC. I guess it was about the second time in my life that I’d flown on a plane. I thought that was exciting. (Laughs) It’s the first time I’d been to Washington. So we saw these American Indians there, and we started talking to the American Indians. A bunch of them were from Dallas and Oklahoma. And there were some blacks there and of course Chicanos. There were some Chicanos there from Crystal City and other parts of the United States. So we all got together in the lobby, and we started saying, “These people, they don’t have any Chicanos. And do you notice none of the panels have Chicanos on them? We need to do something. Something is not right here. We need to do something dramatic to get the National Education Association off its feet, because they are such a powerful lobby group.” So we met with 11:00 (s/l Lance Luhan?) and Tomas Villarreal who were staff people with NEA. Lance (Luhan) was an American Indian, and Tomas Villarreal was a Chicano working with NEA. So we met with them and told them what we planned to do. One of the other people in our group that was organizing this big protest was (s/l Bambi Cardenas), who is now (s/l Bambi Cardenas-Tramidas) from (unintelligible) in San Antonio. I guess she was young like us back then. She was 24. Anyway, we got together and we said, “Well, here’s what we’re going to do. When they have a general assembly, we’re going to march in, we’re going to take over the microphones, and we’re going to tell them that they either start hiring more Chicanos—they start becoming more sensitive to the needs of minority kids and education, because they are a very powerful lobby—otherwise we’re going to close them down. We’re going to walk out, and we’re going to embarrass them because how can they talk about public relations and human relations when they are so insensitive to the needs of little Chicano kids and black kids and Indian kids?” So we got together, and we all went into the general assembly. We took over the microphones, and we told them, “Hey, you people are insensitive. You people call this a human relations conference, yet you are very insensitive to the needs of minority kids.” As a result of that meeting, the National Education Association set up the Minority Affairs Committee which exists to this day, and they are the committee that funds the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. They give over a million dollars a year. They fund other minority projects all over the United States. We’re all real proud of that because we got that thing started back in ’72 in Washington, DC.
I: 13:03.2 That was ’72, when you all did all this?
LC: Yeah. And NEA started hiring more Chicanos in executive positions and managerial positions. They even offered me a job. I didn’t want to take it.
I: 13:14.0 Why not? What did you find—?
LC: I didn’t want to go to Washington. I liked it here in Texas. But anyway, we did that. That was one of the other things we did as young teachers. But we were very proud of that because of the changes we did make with the National Education Association. After that, they started appointing more Chicanos to all the commissions and committees because NEA has a lot of commissions and committees that are very powerful education groups nationally. I didn’t realize NEA was so powerful. But NEA, man, they rival the AFL-CIO—the teamsters—in terms of political clout. But I got appointed to the U.S. Teacher Task Force on Education. Then I got appointed to all kinds of committees and commissions. I got appointed to NCATE—the National College Accreditation for Teacher Education. This is the group that goes around evaluating teacher colleges of education. So I was sent to the University of Illinois Chicago Circle to evaluate the College of Teacher Education. I felt that they were ripping off the people because they were getting all this money to help the minority kids, but they were using it for other things. The University of Illinois Chicago Circle had been set up to help inner-city kids, but it was 98 percent white. There were no blacks or Chicano kids or Puerto Rican kids there. It just became an elitist university. So when I got there as a member of NCATE to evaluate the College of Education, I went out and I met with people in the community and asked them, “Well, how is this College of Education serving you?” “Oh, they’re not helping us at all. In fact, they just fired one. He was our liaison.” So in my evaluation report, which was like a 20-page report—25-page report—I don’t know how much—I recommended that they not be approved. And, man, you talk about people being mad. They were mad. Their dean of the College of Education was a very famous guy in education at that time. I cannot think of his name now. He was well known. He had text books and everything else—Van-something. I can’t think of his name now. I recommended that they not be accredited to graduate or to train teachers anymore. And, man, the people on the NCATE commission were mad. They were mad because they wanted just to rubber stamp this thing. I explained to them why I felt it was unfair and that this College of Education had to be shook up. They said, “Well, no one has ever recommended that one of these places not be accredited.” I said, “Well, maybe they haven’t had good reason, but these people are not meeting their mission. They have a mission, and they are not meeting their mission.” So I was one vote, and they overruled me. But anyway, that was one of the other things we got involved with was the NEA, as a result of our local activity with the HTA. But we continued our membership drives here. We tried to get more Chicano teachers hired. We tried to get more Chicano teachers to join HTA and become political. We felt that a lot of the Chicano teachers were too timid, and those few Chicano administrators we had were just too timid. So we were trying to make some changes.
I: 16:55.7 Was this all while you were still with the district?
LC: Yes. That was until 1973. David Lopez approached me in the spring of ’73 or the fall of ’72, and asked me if I would organize the Federation of Teachers—AFL-CIO—and I said, yeah, I’d be happy to—get some more thunder in here. But by that time, I had already left the district. But I did meet with the guys who came down from the union, and we talked about organizing a union here. But I told them that— They wanted me to head the thing up and be their representative and get the whole thing started, but I told them, “Look, I’m no longer with the district. When David talked to me I was, but now I’ve left the district, and I really think that in order to maintain your credibility you really need to get someone else within the district.” So I recommended some other people within the district that they talked to. I don’t know who they ended up talking to. I really wanted to be involved with that because I felt they would have more thunder than HTA did. But anyway, I don’t know who they got.
I: What did you do after ’73? When you left, did you have any particular plans?
LC: Well, from January of 1973 to June of 1973, I guess I went into hiatus. I went to think. That’s when I spent 6 months doing research on Houston. I was basically trying to answer some questions for myself about where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. I went and talked to (s/l Norma Kasen). I remember she was a good friend at HTA. I asked her, “Norma, I’m at a crossroads. I need to decide whether I’m just going to get me some 8-5 job or go back with the district and just be a good boy and make my money and become a principal and then become an administrator and get a graduate degree and try to become—I don’t know.” I said, “But there’s just too many problems out there, and it just bothers me that nothing is being done.” So I had to make a decision about whether I was just going to go ahead and get a job somewhere or try to do something to address the problems I had seen, because it really bothered me. I began to see that no one really was doing very much. Huelga schools were dead. That whole explosion in our local history had pretty much died down already, and all those people had gone on to other things. But then in June of 1973, I was meeting with Yolanda Navarro, and she was saying, “Well, even though AAMA is defunct, we do have some space over there in this building on Polk and Scott.” I said, “Yeah, but we’re not doing anything with it.” And Yolanda said, “Well, maybe we can do something.” So at that time, Model Cities was real active. We decided, well, maybe we can get some money from Model Cities to do something.
I: 20:39.2 Okay. Let’s top right there, Luis, and back up a little bit. You say AAMA was defunct. What had preceded that? You’re speaking as if it had begun prior to that.
LC: In 1970, in the late summer—I guess, August of 1970—August and September of 1970—AAMA began—I mean—basically, that’s when the paperwork had been turned in and all that sort of stuff.
I: Were you involved in that paperwork?
LC: No. The paperwork was done by Yolanda Navarro and Roland Laurenzo and Froilan Hernandez. And they were in the process of putting the first board of directors together, so the organization was still in the process of being organized. At that time, when I was teaching at Austin High School, I was approached by Froilan Hernandez and Richard Vasquez. Richard Vasquez was a math teacher at Austin High School. They said, “Hey, we’re trying to get this new organization off the ground. We want you to help us, work with us.” I said, “Sure.” So I went to their organizing meeting. They said, “Luis, we’re trying to get a board of directors. Why don’t you be a member of the board of directors and help us get started?” So then I became a member of the original board and helped them to start the organization. We worked on trying to get some funding, and then I started some cultural studies classes at night over here at 102 North Sampson.
I: What did you understand the objectives of the organization to be at that time?
LC: Well, the objectives of the organization were: 1. To provide counseling to young Chicano kids who were using drugs. 2. To provide counseling to young Chicano kids who were juvenile delinquents. 3. To work with school dropouts. 4: To educate the Chicano community by its history. 5. To provide recreational outlets—alternatives to street crime—to young Chicano kids. And that’s what we were trying to do at that house on Sampson Street. Of course, we knew very little about programs and that sort of thing. But we did start a recreation center, we did start the cultural arts classes, and we did do a lot of volunteer work with the school dropouts. We were aware that there was a dropout problem.
I: How many people—when you say “we”—how many people are you talking about here that were involved in implementing the program?
LC: 23:15.6 Oh, I guess off and on maybe 30-40 people, some more active than others. Myself and Froilan and Yolanda and Roland were the most active.
I: And you all were in the Second Ward at that time?
LC: Yeah, right there on Canal and Sampson. We were in that little wooden house next to the (s/l Macashan Center). But anyway, I started in 1970, and then by ’72, it just went defunct for some reason. I can’t remember why. I guess people got busy with their jobs, and they lost interest. We weren’t getting any money, so in 1972 it basically became defunct. It ceased to exist. But in 1973, that’s when Yolanda called me and she said, “Well, I got a call from Juanita (s/l Harangue) at the Childcare Council. She wants to know if we will help her administer the daycare center.” Which later became the __(?) Day Care Center. I said, “Well, Yolanda, AAMA doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve lost everything. We lost our charter. As far as the secretary of state is concerned, we don’t exist, so why don’t we just start from scratch, get some new paperwork, start a new organization, and give ourselves a good name?” And Yolanda was a sentimentalist, and she said, “No, let’s call it AAMA again. I said, “Yeah, but it’s not the same organization. We’re talking about starting a new organization from scratch.” She said, “Well, let’s keep the old name.” I said, “All right. If that’s what you want.” So I went ahead and I did all the paperwork and turned it all in to Austin. We revived the organization. Well, as soon as that happened, we started getting bills. (Laughs)
I: From the initial period?
LC: Yeah, that’s what I told Yolanda. I said, “Yolanda, if we use the same name we may be haunted with some old bills and creditors.” Sure enough, we were. We started getting letters, and people started coming in saying, “You owe us this much money. You owe so many hundred dollars.” I knew I was right. Anyway, we had to try to settle those debts.
I: Was it substantial?
LC: No, it wasn’t that much. I think maybe a couple of thousand dollars, but it was a couple of thousand dollars we didn’t have. Our budget was zero. So we started in the red. Anyway, after we started, then we went ahead and picked up the Baker Center. Then we were going to try to get some money from Model Cities. And Yolanda said, “We want to do an art center. Why don’t we do an art center?” Well, by this time I had decided that what we needed to do was to start a school. I told Yolanda, “You know, Yolanda, I’m going to be putting a lot of work into this proposal and try to do something to build this organization up again. I tell you what I want to do. I want to start a school. That’s my dream. I want to start a school.” And Yolanda said, “Well, Luis, don’t you think an art center would be good because you can attract kids?” I said, “No. Anybody can do an art center. They’re doing art everywhere. You can go to Ripley House; they’re painting over there. You go here, you go to CASA, you go there, and everybody has got kids coming in and painting. I think we need to do something different. I think we need to start a school for dropouts—kids who are dropping out of school. That’s a big serious problem. I’ll do the design, I’ll write the entire curriculum. I’ll do everything. All you need to do is start putting together a board of directors for me.” And so that was Yolanda’s job. I said, “You start putting together the board of directors for me, and we’ll revive the old AAMA. You go ahead a work on putting together a board, and I’ll go ahead on starting the school. And then if the school is successful and they get the thing off the ground, it will be under AAMA.” So she agreed. So I went ahead and started writing the curriculum and everything else. We got—I forget how much—money from Model Cities to start the school. So we started at the corner of Polk and Scott. This basically answered the question that I had been asking myself since January of 1970, during this time that I went into hiatus. I finally found it. I thought, man, this is what I need to do, and this is what I want to get into. So I had a lot of energy. I was very dedicated to this. I saw this as a mission, and I approached it with missionary zeal, as they say. So we started in the old warehouse, and by the time we got everything off the ground, it was already October of 1973. I felt, well, maybe I should wait until the spring semester, but I thought, no, we’ll go ahead and start now. So we approached all the schools, and we said, “We want all your dropouts.” So we got 13 at first. We had classes there. We didn’t have any plumbing. We didn’t have any heating or cooling. The building was all wrecked.
I: 28:59.1 How did you all get this building?
LC: Well, the building belonged to the Magnolia Business Center. They were charging us rent. They started charging us rent to be there. I was never very happy there because I never felt that the board of the Magnolia Center was particularly sympathetic to us. I felt it was unfair that they charged us rent for a building that they owned that had been donated to them for charitable purposes, and yet they were charging us rent. We didn’t have any money. And then the gentleman who was the spokesperson for the Magnolia Business Center approached me and said, “Well, if you want to stay here, you have to bill me a steel stairway to the second floor and make all these renovations in the building, and you have to find the money to pay for it.” This guy wanted us to agree to this in the rent agreement. I said, man, what’s with this guy? I felt it was unfair because we didn’t have any money. That really upset me because I felt that these people evidently don’t have a social conscious or something. Anyway, because we didn’t have any security in the building, it was easy for people to break in. So we started taking turns sleeping there at night. My wife and my daughter slept there at night. Philip Canos slept there at night. Joe Rodriquez, who was an art teacher, slept there at night. Roberto Guitierrez slept there at night. We organized what we called the Shotgun Squad.
(End of tape 02)
(Start tape 03)
I: 00:06.6 Okay, you all organized the—?
LC: Yeah, we organized what we called a Shotgun Squad. The reason we organized the Shotgun Squad was because by this time I had met Jack McGrew. (Laughs) I just thought of something else. The way I met Jack McGrew, who was the station manager of Channel 2, was through the Chicano Communications Council, which is another story. Anyway, Jack McGrew and I became good friends. I invited Jack McGrew from Channel 2 to come and visit us there at the warehouse. I told him what we were doing. I told him we started a school for dropouts, and it’s a pioneering effort. I explained to him that it had never been done in the history of Texas—it was a first—and we wanted him to come and see it. I told him it was a very modest effort. So he came out. Jack McGrew is a man with a good heart, a good soul, and he just fell in love with us. He was a grandfather type. I guess he is 75 years old now—76. Back then I guess he was 62 or 63 years old. He fell in love with us. He saw all these young kids. I thought I was old. I was 25. He saw these young kids trying to do this, and I guess it made an impression on him. I guess if I’d go somewhere today as a 38-year-old man and see these young 24-, 25-, 26-year-old kids trying to pioneer some new ground, I’d be impressed and I’d fall in love with them too. I’d want to do something to help them. I didn’t think of us like that. When you’re 24 or 25, you don’t think of yourself as a young kid. You think you’re in the nitty-gritty. So Jack McGrew took a liking to us, and he got his engineer, Paul (s/l Hoomdorf), who built the entire engineering department there at Channel 2—in fact, they call the whole Channel 2 building “The House that Paul Built”—Paul (s/l Hoomdorf). He was their chief engineer. So he got Paul and his men to build a whole radio station for us. They had the tables, turntables, monitors, switching board, everything. They literally hauled it over to the warehouse at Polk and Scott and put it there for us. All we needed was a transmitter and we could have gone on the air. That’s all we needed was a transmitter and we could have gone on the air. Yeah, FCC approval, but—(Laughs)
I: What was this for?
LC: For teaching the kids communications. That was one of the classes we were going to have. We were going to teach the kids communications. We had all the classes. We were teaching English and mathematics and history, we were trying to teach science, and now we were going to teach communications. We had an art class also. So we had Rick Hernandez—golly—is that his name? Enrique Hernandez, who is a cameraman at Channel 13, he was teaching photography. I forget who we had working with us teaching communications on the radio. But now that we had fixed assets and a couple of typewriters, we figured, “Hey, man, we’ve got to protect what we’ve got.” So we organized the Shotgun Squad. We organized a schedule. People would literally take turns sleeping there. I remember my wife and I and my little girl who was only 3 months old at the time—or 4 months old—took turns sleeping there. I felt uncomfortable as leader of this motley crew asking these people to sleep there at night because I knew there was some danger in that. It is a rough neighborhood.
I: 04:10.2 Potential break-ins.
LC: Yeah, sure. There were all kinds of ways people could get in. So I went down to Montgomery Ward and I bought an 85-dollar, pump-action, 20-gauge shotgun. I brought it over and I showed everybody how to use it, how to take it apart so they wouldn’t shoot themselves. I said, “Now, look, this is just for emergencies. You’re not supposed to use this thing unless it’s an emergency. If somebody does break in, don’t shoot them. If you absolutely have to shoot the thing, fire it up in the air or something. All you’ve got to do is fire it, and I’ll guarantee it’s going to scare them.” So we did that for about 3 months until we raised enough money to start fixing up the building. Not fixing up the building, but patching the cracks.
I: Stopping the holes.
LC: Stopping the holes. Then we got a good deal from ADT Security System to put in a security system, so that was the end of the Shotgun Squad. In the meantime, the kids were coming to class in coats because it was very cold. We bought a 30-dollar oil burner heater, the kind you use in auto garages to heat the auto garage, where you mix kerosene and oil and light it and that’s how you heat the garage. That’s what we were using to heat the building. We put it in the middle of this big room where we had three classes going on, but the kids still had to wear a coat. There were days when we didn’t mix the kerosene and the oil just right and poof! We’d get a small insignificant explosion, but black smoke would be everywhere. It was almost funny. (Laughs) And it was frustrating too. But what really made an impression with me was— I told my brother Phillip, because Phillip joined us in January of 1974—
I: 06:13.7 What did he teach?
LC: Phillip was doing counseling. I forget what he was teaching. I don’t remember. It may have been history. But anyway, I was telling Phillip, “It’s really strange. These kids will not attend those nice, modern schools, where it’s warm and it’s air conditioned and they have a nice cafeteria, nice rooms with all these facilities, yet they will either walk or take the bus to come here to this old, damp, cold warehouse and sit in these classes with their coats on because it’s so cold. They’ll show up, and they’ll come to class here every day. Why is that? That is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen?” And that’s— I learned a lot in the beginning. I learned a lot about education. I learned a lot about the education system. I learned a lot about what was wrong with the education system. I learned a lot about the attitude of educators and how the attitude of educators was hurting kids and actually pushing kids out of school. I thought to myself, these kids are not dropouts; they are pushouts. If they were dropouts, they wouldn’t even come here, but they’ve been pushed out. They want to go to school, and they want somebody to care for them. Here they are coming to school here and we care for them and we show them that somebody cares for them. We try to make them feel proud of themselves. That’s why they come. So anyway, we started with our first group of 13 kids that year. Then the following year it grew to 30 kids. Then we bought a bus. We were using folding chairs. We used these oil company spools that had cable wrapped around them. We had those on the floor, and those were the tables that we used. The kids would sit around these spools—these great big, 10-foot spools that they put cable around. The telephone company has them, and all these people have them, where they roll their cable on. We’d set those spools on the floor, and the kids would sit around the spools. This was where they would do their class work. We didn’t have tables. We didn’t have desks. We had cable spools—big, giant cable spools. And that’s how we used to hold class. We had the oil burner heater, and the kids wore their coats in class. We had one toilet that worked, so everybody used the same toilet. So then, gradually we started getting some money to put in some electricity. Then we got some money to put in a heater. Then we started fixing the plumbing. Then we put up an air conditioner. We started making a few improvements. The other problem we had was we couldn’t pay the bills. We didn’t have any money. We were really broke. The money we were getting from Model Cities was very, very little. So there were times when we couldn’t pay the light bill. I guess one year the lights had been shut off about three times. It was frustrating. I was very idealistic. I could not believe that this powerful light company would actually have the audacity to come over and shut the lights off. We were trying to do good. We were missionaries and these people—here they were with all their wealth and all their power coming to shut our lights off. I said, man, you talk about the very powerful and the very rich trying to squash out the very poor and the very powerless. Man, this is criminal. I said, “Next time those people come down here I’m going to stop them. I’m not going to let them shut the lights off.” I was mad—I mean—I was mad. And sure enough, here comes HL&P. Here comes this guy. He must have been 6 foot 2, 6 foot 4, wearing a cowboy hat, walking down the sidewalk with his big boots on, HL&P shirt and all that. He had his side-pocket leather pouch with all his tools. I knew what he was coming for. (s/l Marcella Puentes) was my secretary at that time. We called her Mother Superior because she was so cranky and bossy. I saw that guy coming up with his cowboy hat, and I could just hear the Yellow Rose of Texas. So anyway, the guy walks in and says, “Well, I’m here to shut the lights off.” I said, “I know.” I look at Marcella. Marcella looks at me, and she makes a face at me. He said, “Where is your power box?” I said, “Sir, you’re not going to turn the lights off.” He said, “I beg your pardon?” I said, “You’re not going to turn the lights off because I’m not going to let you. You see, if you go near that power box, I’m going to stop you. I’m going to be between the power box and you, and I’m going to stop you anyway I can because you are not going to turn the lights off. And I’m going to tell you why. We are here trying to do some good for these kids. They drop out of school. They’ve gotten in trouble with the police. We don’t make very much money. We don’t have very many resources. You people are very rich, very powerful, and you should not even be charging us for the lights. So I’m going to stop you because what you're doing is wrong. It’s criminal.” He said, “How do you suppose you’re going to stop me?” I said, “I’m just going to stand between you and the power box, and I’m going to stop you any way I can. If I’ve got to pick up a club, that’s what I’m going to do. If I’ve got to slug it out with you, that’s what I’m going to do.” This guy was twice my size. He was going to kill me. I knew that. He knew that. He said, “May I use your phone?” I said, “Sure. Go ahead.” So he called the power company and he said, “Hey, this man says he’s going to stop me physically if I try to turn his power off.” So he says, “They want to talk to you.” So I said, “Okay. Hello?” They said, “What’s the problem?” I said, “I just told your man that if he goes near my power box, I’m going to stop him. I am not going to let him turn that power off because what you’re doing is wrong. We’re trying to do some good here for these kids. These kids are dropouts. We don’t get very much money. We’ve got a bunch of volunteers. It’s not right for you people to come over here and do this when we’re trying to do something good.” So she said, “Would you put the man back on the line?” So I put him back on the line, and then he said, “Well, they’re going to give you one more week.” (Laughs) That was a big victory for us.
I: 13:14.9 About what year was this?
LC: That was in 1974.
I: Within a year of when you all started, basically.
LC: Yeah, we were still struggling. We didn’t have a whole lot of money. So we finally were where we would get enough money to pay the light bill and keep on going. That was just sort of an example of the sort of things we were going through back then. But anyway, we continued to improve, and then I decided, well, right now we’re only a half-time school because the kids come here for half a day, and then they go back to one of the regular schools for half a day.
I: How was your relationship with those schools that were sending these people over? Were they complacent, or were they—?
LC: No, they were glad. They were glad to get rid of the kids, so they liked us because they’d send us their discards. They sent us the kids they didn’t want. They sent us the kids that were giving them problems—that were on drugs. In other words, they sent us their worst kids. They were all boys. So they were glad to get rid of these kids for a half a day. Then we decided we needed to be full-time—all day—and we need to expand. So that’s when I decided that we needed to try to get accreditation from the Texas Education Agency. So I wrote to TEA, and I asked them what the procedure was to become accredited because we wanted to start graduating our own kids. Howard Phillips came down from the Texas Education Agency to the warehouse, and he looked at our facility and he said, “So this is where your school is, huh?” He looked around. He looked up, and he said, “Gee, it’s just an old muffler warehouse.” I said, “Well, we know.” So he explained to us all the procedures. He said, “Number one, you’re either going to have to spend about 200,000 dollars on this building or else go into another building, if you want to be accredited.” He explained the whole procedure to me. By this time, I had hired Patsy Rubio(?), who had been one of my students at Austin High School back in 1970. She had graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in math. She had been politicized at the University of Texas. She was all excited because she had joined MAYO and all these other organizations. I didn’t know this, but when Patsy was one of my students, she was kind of shy, introverted, passive, and quiet. When she called me in December of 1973—’73 or ’74—she said, “Well, I’m going to be graduating early.” She wanted to come and work for us in the spring of 1974. And I said, “Patsy, have you applied with the district?” She said, “I don’t want to work for the district.” I said, “Well, have you applied at maybe U of H or somewhere else?” She said, “No, I don’t want to work with them.” I said, “What do you want to do?” She said, “Well, what are you doing? I hear that you started some kind of school there for dropouts.” I said, “Yeah, but you sure you want to work here?” (Laughs) I said, “Patsy, listen, this is an old warehouse. I just can’t see you working here. Here you are with a big fancy degree from a big fancy school. It seems to me like— Are you sure you want to work here?” (Laughs) I said, “Why don’t you come and look at the place, and after you see the place then you can decide.” So she came over, and she saw it. She said, “I want to work here.” I said, “All right. You’re hired.” So she started with us. In 1975, when we first contacted TEA, I had Patsy work with me on getting all that paperwork together. We met with Howard Phillips at all the meetings, and we put our heads together and decided, well, we’re going to have to get a building. So I said, “Look, Patsy, you work on the paper work. I’ll work on getting us a building.” So I went and talked to Jack McGrew. I told Jack— I guess this was in 1977. I said, “Mr. McGrew, we are on the verge of getting accreditation from TEA, but we need a building. We found a building over here 204 Clift(?), and it’s a church building. It’s got an auditorium. It’s got a cafeteria. It’s got classrooms. It’s got office space. It’s got a parking lot. I need to borrow some money. I need to borrow about 75,000 dollars.” I know that we don’t have any money, but since Bill Hobby—Hobby owned Channel 2 and the Houston Post—we figured they had a few million dollars at First City Bank. And Jack McGrew said, “Well, let me talk to Bill Hobby, and we’ll talk to”—oh, I forget his name. The guy who is president at First City Bank—I can’t think of his name now. “We’ll see what we can do.” So I guess they got Bill Hobby to call over there and tell them, “Hey, these folks are coming over. This guy is going to make an application for a loan. Give him whatever he needs.” So I guess we borrowed the Hobby’s leverage. So we went over there, and they were ready to give us whatever we wanted—75,000-100,000. Well, as it turned out, we only needed 15,000, so I just borrowed 25,000 on Bill Hobby’s leverage. And I never met Bill Hobby—never saw him—but since the Hobby family kept all their money in this bank, we were able to use that leverage. We didn’t have any collateral, but they gave us 25 grand, and we put 15,000 dollars down on the building. We moved in 1977, and then we got our accreditation in 1978. Howard Phillips came down. He saw the building and said, “Hey, I like it.” The only negative comment he said was, “You’ve got too many roaches in this building.” We said, “Well, we know. We just moved in. We haven’t fumigated yet.” So in ’78, we got the accreditation. We were in a new building. We left the warehouse. I had approached the Magnolia Business Center about donating the building to us, but, again, they wouldn’t do it. So we left and went over to 204 Clift(?). We started the school there.
I: 20:29.3 Who did you all purchase the building from, if I may ask?
LC: We purchased it from an Assembly of God Church. I can’t think of their name, though.
I: But it was—?
LC: It was a church, yeah. It was a church. It was a religious organization, and they had moved out. They were having a lot of difficulty renting the building or selling it.
I: Was there any significant philosophical departure or pedagogical departure from moving from the old building to the new building, or was it more of the same? What were the changes that came about from the old building to the new building?
LC: 21:07.5 Well, really, there were none, just refinement. We were much better at what we were doing, and of course we were meeting all of the TEA guidelines, which really weren’t all that strict. The TEA guidelines do not hamstring. They do not tie you up with rigid philosophy or anything like that. Contrary to what people may think, the TEA was totally free and liberal as to what our philosophy was—our educational philosophy and everything. They just totally gave us full latitude to do whatever we wanted in terms of philosophy and goals and objectives—everything. The only thing they wanted was to make sure we were teaching history, English, science, math, physical education and that sort of thing and make sure the building—the physical plan—was okay. That was it.
I: When did you all start graduating people?
LC: In 1978. So that was a major event for us. We had a big opening. We had Bill Balleza come in to MC the grand opening of the new building. So in that year, we went from just a street school on the corner of Scott and Polk—just a little barilla academy—to a bonafide, licensed private school. We had gone a step up. And of course, by then we already had a lot of history, a lot of experience. And when we moved over there and started in 1978, we had already had some significant achievements, including the Robert Kennedy Journalism Award, which is another story.
I: 23:00.9 The Robert what?
LC: The Robert Kennedy Journalism Award. That was another thing—a whole new thing. That was back in 1974-‘75. But anyway, there we were in 1978. We started classes there. Our concern, of course, was always getting money. In 1973, when we started, we started with Model Cities monies. And then in ’74-’75, (s/l Bea Smith), who used to work at external funding at HISD called me and said, “Luis, I understand you’re having problems with Model Cities.” I said, “Yes, we are.” She said, “Well, there is some new funding coming out in Washington—HEW(?)—U.S. Office of Education—called ESAA—Emergency School Aid Act. You ought to apply for some of it.” Well, I didn’t know the first thing about writing proposals and going after monies. We had gotten Model Cities, yes, but one grant—big deal. So I started putting together a proposal for ESAA. I had papers spread out all over the place. I wrote the whole thing by myself. I remember that. It was like 300 pages, but I was inspired. (Laughs) We typed it up and we sent it in and we got a call. They said, “Hey, we like your proposal. We want to fund you.” And, man, I was on cloud nine. I forget how much we got. I think we got like 300,000 dollars. So then ESAA started funding us. Then around 1978, the ESAA funding—or ’77—the ESAA funding started running out, so then we were told, “Did you know there was some money available from the Office of Juvenile Justice in Washington?” So then we sent a proposal to them, and they gave us half a million dollars for two years—250 for each year. It seems like whenever we needed money, money would just drop in our lap. Now, if someone were to ask me today why that was, I would say it was divine intervention—manifest destiny. My mother was always praying. But people would comment. They’d say, “We don’t understand it. It seems like every time it seems like you guys are going to go under, money just falls in your lap.” There was one guy that worked over here around Ripley—a well-known person—who said, “Well, they’re not going to last 3 months.” This was back in ’73, when we first got started. “They’re not going to last 3 months. They’re going to fall flat on their face. It’s not going to go for more than a year. They’re not going to last.” And I guess that’s the impression we gave people. But we made it. We kept going and kept going and going. But we managed to get the funding we needed. We started graduating students in 1978, and every year after that, a senior class has graduated from the George I. Sanchez School. This May, they’ll graduate another senior class.
I: 26:18.9 How did you all name it— Why did you all name it George I. Sanchez?
LC: Well, we felt that now, since we were more than just a school on a street corner—sort of a rebel school, if you will—that we needed to give it a name that people could identify with. We wanted to give it a name— Let me rephrase that. I wanted to give it a name that would remind people of our educational history, our educational neglect, would identify someone who had been active in trying to improve Mexican-American education but had never been recognized by his efforts, and someone who had been maligned by his own people for the efforts he had made. I wanted it to identify someone who had been criticized and called a radical and a communist by his own people and by the Anglo establishment. So I started searching around, and I remembered I’d heard of this guy called George I. Sanchez. Well, nobody knew who George I. Sanchez was. So I said, “I’m going to name the school after George I. Sanchez. No one has ever named anything George I. Sanchez, so we’re going to name this school after George I. Sanchez.” He’s done a lot for Chicano education. Back in the ‘20s he was telling the psychologist that said that the more Indian blood the Mexican-American kid, the lower his IQ— In fact, even the State Department of Education here in Texas promoted this notion that the more Indian blood that a youngster had, the lower his IQ. So I decided, well, I’m going to name it after George I. Sanchez because he was also advocating bilingual education in the ‘30s. He was advocating Mexican-American studies. He was active in the desegregation cases. He was black-balled by the University of Texas because they considered him a radical. He was criticized by his own people for his stands on Chicano education. The man was ahead of his time. So we decided we’d call it George I. Sanchez. And everybody was asking, who in the world is George I. Sanchez? Well, here in Houston we put George I. Sanchez on the historical map, and then people began to realize who George I. Sanchez was. I was talking to Ernest Garcia, who used to be the executive director of 28:48 (s/l sair), and he was telling me, “No, I remember when you first named that school George I. Sanchez, I wondered who in the world is George I. Sanchez? And now everybody knows who George I. Sanchez is, and everybody recognizes George I. Sanchez as a pioneer in Chicano education in Texas from the ‘20s and the ‘30s and the ‘40s.” So that’s why we named it George I. Sanchez.
I: 29:16.1 That was in the new building, right?
LC: This was in the new building, right. So we continued to refine the school. We even wrote— See, Patsy approached me— Patsy’s real smart. Patsy approached me and she said, “You know what, Luis? You and I, we sit down and you tell me about your philosophy of education, but you’ve never written that down. Now that we’re growing, people are going to come in here, and unless they know what the credo—what the manifesto—what the philosophy—what the theoretical framework of the school is, they may go off in some different direction—some different tangent. In order for you to maintain what your philosophy is as to why you started this school to begin with, at some point down the road when you’re gone, somebody may deviate from it.” I said, “You know, you’re right. Instead of talking about my philosophy, I’ll write it down.” So I sat down and I wrote what I call the Alma Model of Education—or the Cano Model of Education—whatever. I wrote it down, and we printed it. In there we defined all the concepts, all the constructs. We compared our model of education with the traditional model of education—our goals, our objectives, what it is we hope to accomplish. We borrowed a lot from (unintelligible)—of trying to teach students to relate to the oppressive elements of society. I’ve got a copy of it somewhere.
(End of tape 03)
(Start tape 04)
LC: I also decided what I was going to write my dissertation on. I couldn’t decide. I had formed one committee, and I disbanded the committee. I just didn’t want to go through that. It was a lot of hassles. I disbanded that committee and said, “Man, I don’t like this topic. Let’s just drop it.” I was going to write it on desegregation, but that was too broad. The person who steered me and told me—I mean—it was so obvious. I don’t know why I never thought of it. It was so dumb. It was Tatcho. Tatcho said, “Luis, I don’t understand. Why don’t you write your dissertation on the school you started?” I said, “You know, I never thought about that.” (Laughs) It was so obvious. I said, “I think I’ll do it.” He said, “Man, you’ve got access to all those records. You can go in there and pull all those records and all those files. No one can stop you. You’ve got clear sailing through all those confidential files and folders and histories.” I said, “You’re right.” (Announcement in background) So anyway, Mindiola—I sure hate to give him credit. (Laughs) He put the idea in my head. “Why don’t you write it on George I. Sanchez School?” So I did; I wrote my dissertation on George I. Sanchez School. Of all the people on my committee, Mindiola was the roughest one. Man, the guy was rough on me. I guess that was fine; that was good. It made for a better dissertation. But I wrote my dissertation on the school. Now, back in 1974, I guess, there were very few Chicanos—1973. There were very few Chicanos in the media, so I got this idea to approach the broadcasters and tell them to hire more Chicanos in the media. So I did. The first one I approached was Channel 13. I didn’t know what a public file was. I talked to Ken Johnson, and I was just going to ask him to hire more Chicanos. He said, “Well, I guess you’ve seen our public file already.” And I said, “Yes, I have.” Well, I didn’t know what a public file was, so I thought, man, when I leave this meeting I’m going to go find out what a public file is. Of course, this is a big report that they turn into the FCC on their ethnic employment and programming and everything else. Anyway, we started a program—we got them to start a new program called Mexican-American Dialog, and that went on until, I guess, 1978. I don’t remember when—’77. Anyway, they changed the name to Viva Houston. So that program is still on the air. We got them to hire more Chicano reporters and more Chicano staff. And we went to Channel 2. That’s how I met Jack McGrew. We put pressure on them to hire more Chicanos—start a Chicano program. We went to Channel 11. We went to Channel 8. We went to Channel 26. We went Channel 39. Channel 39 donated a truck and a bunch of cameras. Channel 11 donated a bunch of video tape equipment, about 11,000 dollars worth—video recorders. Channel 13—this is to AAMA. They were donating all this stuff to AAMA. They said, “Well, we don’t know of any Mexican-American organizations.” And we said, “Well, there’s AAMA.” And then, my wife had written a research paper at Texas Women’s University on the Aztec medicine. So we used that. Phillip wrote a script, because we wanted to shoot a film on Chicano culture. Since I always got my way, I said, “I want to do something on Aztec medicine and relay it to the use of herbs in modern day barrios.” So we talked to Maria Rogers at (s/l Marsar) International Travel. She got us free airplane tickets and free cars and chauffeurs down in Mexico City. We went down to Mexico City to shoot film. Enrique Hernandez from Channel 13 was going to go with us. He was going to take what they call an Auricon camera, which is an old antique. One of the reporters that we had pressured Channel 13 into hiring, Carlos (s/l Aguilar), he had a brand new—I don’t know what they call that camera. I can’t think—CP-16. And we got Channel 13 to agree to let us have him for about 4 days down in Mexico City. I took my 35-millimeter camera. So we went down to Mexico City—you know—big movie stars. We went everywhere shooting film. I was shooting still pictures of all these murals. We went off to the pyramids. We shot film everywhere. We were there 10 days, and we had a very exciting time. We came back, and Roberto Guitierrez, by this time, had been hired by Channel 2. You see, when we approached Channel 13, we brought Roberto Guitierrez in from San Antonio. We literally called him and said, “Hey, man, come down here. We want to interview you at Channel 13. We want them to interview you.” And so we took Roberto Guitierrez to Channel 13 and Walt (s/l Harmor) interviewed him and he said, “No, I don’t want him.” Okay, that’s cool. So Roberto went back to his station in San Antonio. So then we brought him and we took him over to Jack McGrew at Channel 2, and McGrew said, “Yes, will hire him on a part-time basis to begin with.” And then, boom, Fred Carrasco breaks out of Huntsville Prison—or tries to break out. So of course, every reporter in the country is there, and they are camped out there. I don’t know how many days it was. It was 14 days or something. Roberto Guitierrez is representing his station for San Antonio. (s/l Walt Harbor) is camped out here with his crew from Channel 13. And Roberto becomes one of the first reporters to get to interview Carrasco. So (s/l Harbor) is real impressed with him, and he says, “Listen, Roberto, why don’t you come work for us at Channel 13?” He says, “Well, can’t. They already hired me at Channel 2.” But he was working for us half-time also. So that’s how we were able to bring him in as we hired him half-time at AAMA, and Channel 2 hired him half time. We filed a petition to deny license against Channel 11 with the FCC. We filed a petition to deny license against—golly—what’s that radio station? Bill (s/l Bossy) was the station manager. Anyway, Bernard Garcia and I put together this nonprofit organization called the Chicano Communications Council. All we did was go around to all the TV and radio stations and put pressure on them to hire more Chicanos and do more programming. Bernard’s got a file cabinet of four or five drawers just full. The thing is just full of all the documents that we accumulated during the Chicano Communication Council days. There was just the two of us. We went everywhere and took everybody on. We got a bunch of changes made at the local television and radio stations. They started hiring more Chicanos. They started doing more Chicano programming. They started covering more Chicano issues, and they just got on the stick. We started seeing more Chicanos on the air.
I: 08:07.7 This was in ’74-’75?
LC: It was 1974. We started getting more Chicanos on the air. We got more programming on the air. Channel 11 did a whole series on Texas history. After we met with them, they said they were going to do a fourth one called Los Tejanos, which Bill Balleza narrated, and it turned out to be the most popular one that they did. And they started doing more programming on Hispanics. They started meeting with more Hispanic groups. They agreed to set up Hispanic advisory committees. So they started changing. And again, that’s something that Bernard and I are real proud of because we got—
I: What’s his last name?
LC: Garcia—Bernard Garcia. Bernard was a college student at U of H and a real sharp kid. He’s a law student now at U of H. We did a whole lot of other things with that which I won’t have time to get into.
I: How long— In fact, I know you’re busy. We’ve gone on for, I think, an adequate time for this preliminary part. How long were you then with AAMA?
LC: From 1970 to 1973, I was a volunteer—a board member and volunteer and volunteer instructor. Then from 1973 to 1981, I was executive director. Then from 1981 to the present, I’m back to my volunteer status. I volunteer about 4 hours a week over there at the school.
I: 09:53.3 Why did you decide to leave?
LC: Well, because when I became executive director at AAMA I was 24 years old. I was very young. When I left, I was 32 years old. I was 32 years old, I was completing my dissertation at U of H, and I felt that I had spent a lot of time there. I had not seen other professional areas. I wanted to try out being a university professor just to see what that was like. I didn’t want to be a university professor all my life. I just wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to do something different. I felt, gee, I’ve never done anything. I’ve been here since I was a kid. And I was; I had been there— I was 32, and I’d been there since I was 24. I’d never done anything else, except when I was a teacher before then. I wanted to do something different. Even though we had a lot of successes, and we were doing very well—we had over a million dollars in our budget—when I left, I wanted to make sure that I left the agency on good financial ground with a lot of funding. After I left, they still had another year’s funding coming. The school had another year of money coming, and I felt this was a good time to leave because everything is in order—the house is in order, they’re financially sound, we’re paying all our bills, the staff is clicking, and everything is in place. And we’ve got two or three people here that literally could take the thing over if I left. I did not recommend anyone. I left it up to the board of directors to hire whoever they wanted. I didn’t want to put a curse on anyone. And I left because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to grow intellectually. I wanted to grow professionally. I wanted to do some different things. I wanted to develop different perspectives. So Dean Georgiades from the University of Houston approached me and asked me if I would go to U of H, because they had this new program they were starting up. I said, “Yeah, I’ll go for a couple of years.” So I went over there, and I was there for a couple of years. I was not happy there. I left after a couple of years, and I was called by another old friend, (s/l Bill Loughton), who used to work with Model Cities way back in 1970. He called me up and said, “Listen, there’s a big need to teach poverty people—people in poverty—how to get out of poverty through education—through educating themselves through GED and ESL and adult education and these sorts of things. We want somebody that has started community-based education programs before, and your name came up. We’d like for you to come in as a consultant and set these programs up for us.” So I felt that was a good opportunity. I said, “Sure, I’ll come by and talk to you.” So I went by and talked to (s/l Bill Loughton) at Gulf Coast Community Services in 1983. I said, “Well, this is what we need to do. We need to set up these types of adult programs.” And I suggested to them they also start computer classes for poor kids and poor people. And they were against that. He said, “Well, look, can you set up the program for them.” So I designed a series of satellite learning centers in Harris County for them for adult education. And after I set them up, I said, “Well, I think I’d like to kind of play around with these things.” I said, “Listen, would you like me to run these things for you?” He said, “Would you do that?” I said, “Sure.” So I stayed there, and I started running the satellite learning centers for them. And we have about 12 satellite centers in Harris County. We have ESL, we have GED, we have adult basic education, we have tutoring programs for the kids during the summer, and then later we added computer education. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m doing some other things now. But during this whole time—it was from 1981-1984—yeah—from 1981-1984 was probably the roughest period of my life, personally. I was working very hard at U of H—extremely hard—never missed a day of work. I worked very hard at Gulf Coast, but that was the most trying—the most difficult period of my entire life.
I: 14:52.8 Why is that?
LC: Well, because I had gone to see the doctor, and he gave me some news that I was not real happy about. I went into the hospital. I was going to work at U of H— I was going to work sick every day. When I went to work at U of H, I was on the freeway and I was throwing up on myself. I never told anybody. I never told Dean Georgiades. I never told Dr. Pena. I never told Dr. Walker. But I was going to work sick every single day, and I was feeling lousy. The doctor told me, “You’ve got about a year left to live.” And I said, “God almighty! What in the world is going on?” But I don’t know; I guess I was a very hard person, and I never told anybody. I just kept going to work every day, every day. My wife said, “Why don’t you stay home?” I said, “No. I’ve got to go to work.” And people there at U of H were wondering why I wasn’t producing more, and people there were saying, “I don’t understand. This isn’t the Luis Cano I’ve heard about. He just seems to go here and then go home.” But I never told anybody. I’d go home and sometimes I’d have to stop my truck on the side of the road and throw up. Every single day I was throwing up. I’d go home and I’d throw up. I was throwing up for a whole year, every day. The doctor wanted to put me in the hospital. I said, “No, I don’t want to go into the hospital.” But I knew it was affecting my production. I knew that. What I really wanted to do was really get into the stuff of publishing. I wanted to write so bad and start doing some research and publishing. I didn’t have the energy. But I never missed a day, and I never told anybody anything. I even got some heat from it—about that—from some people there at U of H. I guess it was my pride mostly. But then I’d say, “Well, I’m going to go ahead and take off.” So I went over to the Gulf Coast, and I went into the hospital in ’83, I guess, and had some surgery. Then in— Well, when I went in, the doctors said, “We can’t guarantee you’re going to come out.” I said, “Gee, thanks.” (Laughs) All this time, people were wondering what was happening to me. They said, “Golly, the guy is not producing.” “This is not the guy we heard of.” “Gee, what a disappointment he is.” But I never said anything to anybody. Then in July of 1984, I went in and I had a kidney transplant. My sister donated her kidney. It was a very successful transplant. And again, I call it divine intervention. The good mother was praying for me. It was a very successful transplant. But again, I never went back and told anybody anything. I never went back and talked to Georgiades or any of those people at U of H. I heard a lot of the comments that were made. “Gee, the guy hasn’t produced a thing. He hasn’t done anything.” “The guy is not university material. He’s not an academic.” “He’s not an academician.” I got reports from people that, yeah, so-and-so was saying you’re not an academician. When you were at U of H you didn’t do shit—that you just existed. But I never said anything. I served as a commissioner on the Houston Housing Authority. I went to all the meetings sick as a dog. I went to the hearings. I was in some meetings with the cameras from Channel 13 and Channel 2 and Channel 11 focused on me, and I was sitting there wanting to vomit so badly and I was trying to control myself. I felt sick as a dog. I thought, man, what in the world am I doing here? If I throw up right now, I will be on the 6:00 news throwing up. I continued working. I wrote that handbook for Southwestern Bell which was a big, huge success. They’ve got like—I don’t know—40,000 copies of it out now. I’ve done a lot of other things since then. I’ve got some projects in the hopper. But that was a difficult period for me, from ’81-’84. It was especially difficult because my productivity and the quality of my work were seriously affected—nowhere near what I was able to accomplish during the ‘70s. I know there was a lot of discussion of, well, what happened to him, especially when I was at U of H. I am aware of that. But anyway, I think my stubbornness and my mother’s prayers were what kept me going. I can tell you some stories. I wasn’t going to get into them. Suffice it to say that it was an extremely difficult period mentally, emotionally, physically and otherwise. In fact, when I decided to run for the school board, I even had somebody tell me, “Well, you shouldn’t run. That’s very strenuous.” I said, “Yeah, but what do you do? You just go crawl somewhere and quit? I can never quit—never quit. You just keep on going.” And I ran for the school board, and I enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun doing it. We didn’t win, but I was very proud of the effort. We had about 100 volunteers. We walked door to door. We had a phone bank. It was a very, very honest effort. We came in a distant second, as I said.
I: But second, nonetheless.
LC: Yeah, we had fun doing it. And throughout the whole thing, I had tremendous strength. I never lacked for energy. Even today, I do not lack for energy. I tell my daughters the same thing. “You never quit. You never give up. You fall down, you get up and you keep going.”
I: Do you think that’s what kept you going in the ‘70s—just a stubbornness?
LC: Yeah. Oh, yeah, I was very stubborn. I was very determined. I know maybe to some people it may sound corny. A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them, but I always tell them, “Look, man, when I was in AAMA from ’73-’81, every morning I would pray and ask God to help me because I couldn’t do it by myself. He said, “I don’t believe you did that? You?” I said, “Yeah, me.” Before I left my driveway every morning, I’d sit there and I would pray, “God, you’ve got to give me the strength to help me get through this day. You’ve got every thought. You’ve got every decision.” He said, “Well, you’re a religious person.” I said, “No, I’m not religious. I’m just an old frontier type or something. I just believe that you have to do that.” That’s the way I was raised when I was a little kid. I have a very simple faith. I sincerely believe that’s part of the reason that AAMA did so well during the ‘70s. Like a lot of people came in and said, “Gee, it seems like money just drops in your lap. It just walks up to you.” I said, “Well, it’s divine intervention.” But anyway—
I: Let’s terminate this for a while, Luis. We’ve got some other ground we’ve got to cover on this. I see possibilities for several more oral history interviews. But I’d like to terminate it for now since it’s getting on 12:00.
LC: Well, very good.
(End of interview 22:58.6)