Mexican Americans in Wilmington (Images of America)
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Under Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. flags, the Los Angeles harbor area has developed many industries and businesses that survived on Mexican labor, supporting families of Mexican origin for more than a century. Pioneering Mexican Americans have worked the railroads, fields, canneries, plants, refineries, waterfront, and family-owned businesses for generations, forming strong bonds and lifelong friendships. Active in the military and sports, as well as involved in the church and community, Mexican Americans have overcome poverty, hardships, and discrimination, retained cultural values and customs, intermarried and assimilated with other cultures, and become the largest ethnic group in Wilmington. Many of the early families still have relatives that live and work in Wilmington, with sons and daughters achieving successful careers in various realms. Through education, hard work, and determination, Wilmington's Mexican Americans have contributed extensively to the harbor's vibrant American way of life.
see big-time wrestling, boxing, roller derby, and to have large meetings or assemblies. Throngs of spectators got off the streetcars at Alameda Street to enjoy the events. Neighborhood boys earned money by collecting tin foil from cigarette wrappers, shining shoes, and selling newspapers, including the Knock Out publication for 3¢. In this September 2, 1948, photograph, longshoremen walked off the job for a Union meeting and report on negotiations. (Wilmington Historical Society.) Tamales were
for the railroad and built a house on Watson Avenue with the help of Jesus Avina. Luisa cared for the children and lived to be 101. (Lino Urrea.) The Sedillo family lived on Mauretania Street. Ruberta (second row, holding child) cared for the children and her husband, Inocencio Sedillo (second row, right), worked in the lumberyards. Ruberta had lived on a reservation in New Mexico before coming to Wilmington. The children are shown wearing white dresses and suits that she sewed for them. (Carmen
Raul, Jose Manuel, Abigail, and Raquel. (Carmen Solorzano.) Celebrating Navidad (Christmas) meant family, tamales, church, and friends. It was a day to share the closeness of brothers and sisters with whatever might be under the tree. This photograph is dated December 25, 1947, as the children of Alberto and Juanita Macias are ready to share the day’s blessings. Seated from left to right are (on laps) Carlos, George, Raquel, and baby Juanita; (on sofa) Carmen, Peter, Alfonso, Arthur, and
McKenna, was with her guests. The attendees were gathered at a large serape-covered chair with a homemade clothesline behind them. The yard was full of plants common in homes, both for beauty and for food and remedy sources. The girls were, from left to right, (first row) Trinidad Arroyo, Esther Robles, and Irene McKenna; (second row) Nani ?, unidentified, Amelia McKenna, and Rosie Robles. (Amelia McKenna.) Both of these late-1930s group photographs demonstrate the type of celebrations that took
Gonzalez (right), and other participants are John Urrea, Maria Urrea, Bertha Ortega, and sisters Angie, Carmen, and Esther Gonzalez. (Above, Anna Mendez; below, Cecilia Jacinto.) Three SCHOOL AND CHURCH Principal Sister Josephine points to the opening day banner at Holy Family School on September 11, 1950. Fr. Manuel Canseco, the driving force in building both the church and school, stands among children, and by 1953, the school offered a K–8 program. Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart