Welcome to the fifth issue of Narratives, stories of U.S. Latinos & Latinas and World War II.
Narratives, as part of the larger oral history project, is meant to represent a journalistic interpretation of the social history of U.S. Hispanics before, during and after the war. (Please see back page for a project update.)We continue to strive to represent a broad picture of Latinos, including women. In this issue, we bring stories of two women who were nurses in WWII, serving the country in their way, as well as other women who were on the homefront and men who served on the battle fields and back home.
This has been, in many ways, an unusual semester, particularly as the events of Sept. 11 have lent a new currency to the subjects of war, of history, of alliances, of military action, of the cost of dissent. We couldn’t help but draw parallels between events of our day, and, for instance, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. History has come alive in a new way for us all here; our project seems that much more crucial, as part of the nation’s historical record.
We have been fortunate again, this semester, to have counted on the dedication of a small cadre of students signed up for Narrative Journalism, a class that is cross-listed in journalism, Mexican American Studies and Latin American Studies. Our students usually concentrate on men and women in the Austin area. But this semester, we tried something new: what we called an MIIS, or “multiple individual interview session.” On Oct. 13, we chartered a bus and took students and all their videotaping gear, a laptop computer and scanner for scanning photos, and some donuts for two sessions of individual interviews. We did five in the morning, and six in the afternoon, all in separate rooms. Our good friends at the VA Center in San Antonio – the VA’s Readjustment Counseling Service is one of the project’s national partners -- helped bring in several of the interview subjects. We hope to repeat the process next semester, as funding allows.
And this semester, we have again used the fabulous volunteer interviewers, some old hands, like Paul Zepeda, a retired postal worker in Houston, and several new people, including representatives of our national partners.
A deep bow to the good people of the Austin American-Statesman who have worked hard on producing this issue, particularly G.W. Babb, a layout designer who guided our student layout editor Leila Armush handle the 40-odd stories in this issue, and Emily Quigley, a patient copy editor who made us consistent! Our hard-charging fact-checkers Richard Brito and Bill Davies continue to give us their all. (When we wrote to Bill and asked if he would continue working with us this semester, he responded in an email: “Lock and Load” – which, in military jargon means “give me your best shot.”
On that note, we give you, readers, the best we have been able to do this past semester. We love hearing, in writing, any and all comments, which we are glad to share with the others who have worked so hard on this issue.
Assistant Professor of Journalism and Director, U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project
Production provided by the Austin American-Statesman. Design and layout by Robert Quigley.
Narratives is a publication of the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project, at the UT Department of Journalism.