Oral History Project: Martina Herrera (2016)
A few semesters ago, my professor Dr. Santos assigned us an oral history project to do on a family member or someone we knew. I had done something similar in the past, but I hadn’t really done anything family history-wise since high school. I was really excited to do this project for school. My mom also did an interview with my grandma about her days as an activist and how she participated in strikes and met Cesar Chavez. I will be posting that interview soon as well, and as a matter of fact, I have at least 6 interviews that are waiting to be edited and posted. I didn’t ask to be the family historian, but with my education, writing skills, and tech-savvy nature, I’m the perfect one for the job.
I’m hoping to write a book about my family history, but as we all know videos on the Internet are forever. I want to make our family history available to anyone and everyone, not just for future generations of my family, but because my family history is tied to the history of the City of San Antonio. I’m not saying I’m famous, but I will be in the future when more people find out that the beautiful San Antonio would not exist without my family and the 15 other families that came across the ocean in a boat.
The thing that I would take away from this interview with my grandma is that she showed me the importance of education and family. Many of my family members did not graduate from high school, and my great grandma was one of the few to go back later in life to get her GED. It was a big accomplishment for her, and I know how important education was to her. My paternal great grandmother had to drop out of school when she in the first grade so in the 98 years she was alive she never learned to read. She only knew enough English to cook but she raised 9 kids and that is also a big accomplishment.
If it wasn’t for these two amazing women I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I do today and I am really grateful for that. I think if they were both still here, they would be proud of what I’m doing with the access I have to resources that they didn’t have. For a while, it felt like the journey was too much and I would never make it. What keeps me going is when I remember that my ancestors came to this country on a boat and had to fight disease and hardships just to bring my family to the point we are at today.
If you enjoyed this video, check The Oral History of Rosendo Medina II