Navarrette, Diego Jr.

The following interviews are with Diego Navarrette Jr. Part 1 of 6 was recorded on May 2nd, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • Early days of the South Park neighborhood and Millville. Childhood experiences, local businesses, food, pilon, and Latin masses at church.

  • Mansfeld junior high and exposure to Anglos. Long distance walking. Tucson Unified’s tracking of Mexican American students. Negotiating middle school peer group.

  • Move to Broadmoor Addition in 1951 and cultural changes from South Park.

  • Sports as a social leveler between economic classes.

  • Race relations in Tucson, a tent city in the South Park neighborhood, and Chinese markets.

  • High school at Salpointe, graduating in 1955.

  • Education and social mobility across four generations of Diego’s family. The terms “secren” and “vendido” and navigating between Mexican and Anglo American social spaces.

  • College in New Mexico and the University of Arizona. Earned teaching credentials in 1961 and moved to Safford, Arizona to teach for 5 years.

  • Scholarship to study linguistics at UCLA and teach English as a second language.

  • Launching an ESL program at Pueblo concurrently with the development of the school’s bilingual program. Ideological and methodological differences between the two programs.

  • Diego’s attempt to teach English but not force assimilation.

  • Experience teaching in Safford, Arizona. Negotiating social place in a rural town.

Part 2 of 6 was recorded on May 18th, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • Return from Safford back to Tucson and work at Pueblo High School teaching English as a Second Language.

  • ESL versus bilingual education during the 1960s. Problems with--and disappearance of--ESL.

  • Cultural components of Diego’s ESL curriculum.

  • Rise of the Chicano movement and effect on curriculum. California Chicano activism and arts spillover into Tucson.

  • Diego’s relationship with Chicano movement, Salomon Baldenegro, and Raul Grijalva.

  • Involvement with Teatro Libertad and launch of Borderlands Theater.

  • Spanish language skills and how they have thrived or vanished within Diego’s family. Chicano movement’s controversy within Diego’s family.

  • Generational transition from Chicano identity to Latino identity.

  • Chicano walkout at Pueblo during the early 1970s and its effect.

Part 3 of 6 was recorded on June 16th, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • Starting at Pima Community College as a Curriculum Specialist in Language in 1969. Initial work in Communications Department and move to administration as Director of Student Activities.

  • Pima’s veterans program during early 1970s.

  • Political origins of Pima Community College. Construction of the West Campus. Initial airport hangar classrooms and graffiti wall.

  • Promotion to Dean of Student Activities by mid-1970s.

  • Financial origins of Pima and Tucson’s desire for a trade school. Goals of the College.

  • The cultural moment that Pima emerged from. National League of Innovation, willingness to fund education, education for returning Vietnam vets.

  • Pima’s strengths and weaknesses. Challenges of developing a transfer program with UA.

  • Pima’s founding educators, their ideological differences, and the development of a curriculum.

Part 4 of 6 was recorded on September 21st, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • Pima Community College’s recruiting of faculty from across in America during the early 1970s.

  • The Multicultural Committee, hiring, salaries, affirmative action, and college political turmoil.

  • Pressure from the “Downtown 30,” Rotary Club, and Arizona Daily Star to change Pima’s hiring and salary practices.

  • The firing of Pima president Ken Harper and ensuring student anger.

  • Pima presidents after Harper and the school’s drift in a more conservative direction.

  • Diego’s resistance to creating a football program at Pima.

  • Evolving curriculum and failure of democratized decision-making process for the college.

  • Diego’s support of cultural weeks.

Part 5 of 6 was recorded on September 27th, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • The Pima Community College board and presidents during the mid-late 1970s.

  • Presidency of James Manilla from 1979-88. Pima-UA ties and refinement of transfer programs. Formation of aviation mechanics program. Manilla's firing by board.

  • Choice of Diego as interim Pima president, board shuffling of other senior administrative positions, and descriptions of board members.

  • Affirmative action plan and blowback from faculty.

  • Board politics and their impact upon Pima’s administration, including Diego’s differences with the board.

  • Revelation that Diego had falsely claimed a Master’s degree on his resume and his resignation from Pima.

  • Changes in the Pima College Board after Diego’s departure.

  • Emotional aftermath and social repercussions of leaving Pima.

  • Enrollment at the University of Arizona in a Master’s in Education program.

  • Work in recruiting and outreach for the UA’s Minority Engineering Program.

Part 6 of 6 was recorded on December 1st, 2017 and covers the following themes:

  • Involvement with Tucson arts foundations in the 1960s and 1970s and work on the Tucson Civil Service Commission.

  • Creation of Tucson Council on the Arts.

  • Role in “Arizona’s Heritage Town Hall” in 1972 and connection to the National Endowment for the Arts’ Expansion Arts Panel.

  • Being a grants panelist at the NEA from 1974-8.

  • The popularity of cultural festivals during the 1970s.

  • Artistic activities in Tucson during the 1970s: theater groups, Womancraft, folklorico, and the mariachi festival.

  • Relationship between the Chicano movement and Tucson art scene, specifically Teatro Campecino and the “Roots and Visions” art show of 1977.

  • Race, ethnicity, class, and identity among Latinos. How these divisions manifested in art.

  • Latino art in large museums.

  • End of the long sixties and increasing conservatism in America.

  • Borderlands Theater board membership and the theater's challenges over several decades.