Sunday, January 21, 2007

Alma del Pueblo

Perhaps there needs to be a celebration of Segundo Barrio, in many forms, socially and historically.

Maybe Chicano Studies, and UTEP and EPCC faculty and HACU, NABE, TACHE, MEChA, Friends of the El Paso Public Library, and the El Paso Community Foundation, etc. (Humanities money too) can sponsor a symposium on Segundo Barrio. It can be titled something like:

"Alma del Pueblo: Segundo Barrio/South El Paso, Then and Now"

Wouldn't it be interesting to know who was the architect for Sacred Heart Church and how it was built? Who built it? Who paid to build it? Does Sacred Heart Church have any archives? If so, who is preserving them? How about the other Segundo Barrio churches? Where are their archives?

Or what is the full history of Clinica La Fe? Pete Duarte was instrumental but his name is absent from the history for an unknown reason? Are any of Professor Yolanda Leyva's graduate students writing a history of Clinica La Fe?

I saw in a recent conference that someone presented a paper on the life of Cleofas Calleros--what would Calleros say about the proposed plan?

When we lived in El Segundo Barrio in some apartments on Ochoa Street (the ones that used to house La Corona Grocery) there was a lady with a fiddle who used to come down and entertain us chicanitos with her fiddle playing. I never knew her name or who she was. Does anyone remember her?

Who were the movers and shakers in El Segundo Barrio in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's until now? A lot of activistas have come through El Segundo. Who were they and who has documented the lives of these people? Who has their photographs and papers?

I remember hearing some stories of UFO abductions in El Segundo Barrio, is this folklore or did it really happen?

Who are some of El Segundo's Best Cuentistas? Toni Fuentes is a great storyteller and she has many great stories. How about a Segundo Barrio Storytellers Conference? Can one be organized?

What important murals are in danger of being lost in El Segundo if we don't figure out a way to conserve them?

Is the history of El Segundo Barrio being taught in schools? Does anyone at UTEP or EPCC plan on creating a course on the history of El Segundo? How can we celebrate El Segundo before it is wiped off the brow of our memories? How do we share our love of El Segundo with young people? Perhaps a minor in El Paso Studies?

We have a Border Patrol Museum but there not a Segundo Barrio Museum or Archive somewhere in El Paso? Something like they have in Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos in New York would be great.

What will the vision for the El Paso History Museum exactly be? Will it have some of the history of Segundo Barrio or will it just be history North of Paisano Street?

Will it have some of the history taking place between "the Plan" and the Paso del Sur group?

Will the History Museum have some of Bruce Berman's photographs?

I think Bruce's documentary photographs have really made a difference on the Paso del Sur website and on articles dealing with El Segundo Barrio. Berman's images have a Paul Strand feel and his attention to detail and simplicity and the cleanesss of his line is reminiscent of Laura Gilpin's images. His work has made us all look at the beauty that exists in El Segundo--they are great photos Bruce--thank you! Check out Bruce's images at: http://border-blog.com/ .
This is living history in the making!

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