Archive ID: MC-4-1

Martinez family oral history interview

Date Created: 1982-02-28

Donor:

Media Type: Oral History

Language: English

Description:

Martinez family oral history interview conducted by Dominic Pacyga in South Deering, Chicago. Six women interviewed: Olga Martinez Garcia, Rita Arias Jirasek, Martha Martinez, Carmen Martinez Arias, Faye Martinez Torres, and Coni Martinez Fritz. “This is next a series of interviews of local residents who are taking part in the Southeast Chicago Historical Project. The project is funded by Columbia College, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois Humanities Council. Its intent is to preserve the history of Chicago’s steel mill district.”

Backstory:

The Martinez family donated many items to the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. Lucio Martinez was born in 1889 in Momax, Mexico and emigrated to the United States around World War I. His wife Pasquala Barrios Martinez was also from the Zacatecas region and crossed the border into the United States in 1923 with their oldest daughter Carmen who was then 2 years old. They lived on 108th and Torrence Ave in South Deering and attended Our Lady of Guadalupe and, later, St Kevin’s Church. Lucio worked at Wisconsin Steel. During World War II, Pasquala also worked at Carnegie-Illinois Steel -South Works. They had 4 other daughters and a son. The daughters Carmen, Olga, Faye, Coni, and Martha, along with Carmen’s daughter Rita Jirasek, provided a lively oral account of growing up Mexican-American in South Deering to Dominic Pacyga and the Southeast Chicago Historical Project in 1982. Granddaughter Rita Jirasek later became a bilingual education teacher at Bowen High School in South Chicago and published a book of photographs called Mexican Chicago along with Carlos Tortolero.

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Filters:

Community Life   Immigrant Experiences   1980 - Present (Deindustrialization)   South Deering   Mexican-American   Oral History  

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Mexican-American Journeys

A story told through Museum objects saved by Southeast Chicago residents

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