Angelina Veyna interviewed by Scherly Virgill, August 26, 2016, Santa Ana, California, Oral History #5939, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Angelina Veyna, professor of history at Santa Ana College, and the first Chicana to be hired by the History Department. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding her experience working in a college setting and her involvement in her students’ education. Specifically, this interview provides information on Angelina’s childhood growing up in a community of Mexican immigrant field workers in Anaheim; she explains her family background in the United States dating back over one- hundred years; she remembers helping her teachers at her school translate information to new students who did not speak English; she describes her mother and father’s leadership role among Mexican workers as an important part of the history of Anaheim; she talks about her college experience at UCI and her quest to becoming independent; she describes studying abroad in Mexico as one of the most important experiences of her life; she details her experience in Mexico and explains the complexities of the country’s views on race, identity, and skin color; she believes this experience helps her understand her immigrant students who face discrimination in the United States and helps her discuss them in the classroom; she discusses the Chicana/o Movement and its role in the 1960s as well as how student movements have changed over time; she elaborates on the books she has written and co-authored; she describes her relationship with her students and her teaching methods; she explains her experience working with undocumented students and their struggles in the classroom; she discusses her struggles as a college female and Chicana professor; she explains the hostility she experiences in her Department; she believes her legacy will be writing about the history of Mexicanos in Anaheim, her dad’s autobiography, and the story of the women’s group in Anaheim; she explains that socioeconomic challenges are the number one factor affecting students; she believes there’s a lack of Latino leaders in the US addressing the aggressive political rhetoric exposed in today’s politics and media; she describes and explains why even though she is an American, she is proud to be a Mexicana.
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