Baldenegro, Salomon

This interview covers the following themes:

  • Salomon's childhood in Barrio Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s with descriptions of the neighborhood landscape, childhood activities, school, and family structure.
  • Junior high at John Spring in 1951 and high school at Tucson High.
  • Salomon’s experience at Fort Grant Reform School, including segregation, language, discipline, work, and rooming.
  • Return to Tucson High and enrollment at the University of Arizona.
  • The founding of the Mexican American Students’ Association at the University of Arizona.
  • Founding the Centro Chicano in Barrio Hollywood during the late 1960s.
  • TUSD student walkouts.
  • A discussion of the word “chicano.”
  • Mentorship from a union organizer.
  • Return to Fort Grant as a speaker during early 1970s and comments on the experiences of other Fort Grant students as young adults. This segues into drug culture during the 1950s and 1960s.

Part 1 of 4 was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on February 4th and February 9th, 2017.

This interview covers the following themes:

  • Salomon’s activism and politics, centering upon the 1970 and 1971 attempts of many Barrio Hollywood, El Rio, Anita, and Old Pascua residents to get the City of Tucson to create a large park on the west side.
  • Tensions between west side voters and Democratic politicians.
  • The occupation of the El Rio Golf Course.
  • Leadership of women in neighborhood activism.
  • History of the relationship between the El Rio Golf Course and Mexican American community.
  • Escalating protests and police involvement, an appearance by Mayor Jim Corbett, and the fissure of neighborhood activist groups.
  • The Tucson Citizen’s interview with neighborhood groups and how this changed perceptions of their activism city-wide.
  • The City of Tucson compromises with neighborhood groups and the creation and naming of Joaquin Murrieta Park and El Rio Community Center.
  • A few observations on how the events of 1970 and 1971 changed Mexican American politics in Tucson.

Part 2 of 4 was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on February 9th and February 16th, 2017.

This interview covers the following themes:

  • Salomon’s activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s that was unrelated to the El Rio Golf Course, specifically: advocating for the creation of a Mexican American Studies program and a bridge program at the University of Arizona, picketing a local shoe store for their racially-based pay discrepancies, and supporting the United Farm Workers with food drives, grape boycotts, and picketing Safeways and the University of Arizona cafeteria.
  • Being blackballed after years of public activism and Salomon’s difficulty in finding work.
  • Application to work as Director of Student Services at Pima Community College in the early 1980s.
  • Work with Youth Service Bureau and Neighborhood Youth Corps in 1970s to keep children out of juvenile justice system.
  • A description of the political and ideological conflict between 1960s-era Chicano activists and the older generation’s Mexican American political machine.
  • Return to University of Arizona in 1984: final undergraduate credits, Masters in Bilingual Special Education, most of a doctorate in Educational Psychology. Job as Assistant Dean for Hispanic Student Affairs.

Part 3 of 4 was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on March 3rd, 2017.

This interview covers the following themes:

  • Clarification on Salomon’s hiring process at the University of Arizona, which was mentioned in the previous interview.
  • Starting Chicano/Hispano Student Resources Center, haggling over locations, and goals for center: retention, engagement, living on campus.
  • Helping students navigate the financial aid bureaucracy.
  • Salomon’s experience teaching at the University.
  • Testing students and helping those with learning disabilities.
  • Salomon’s paralegal work for La Raza Legal Alliance in the early 1970s and how it enabled his later advocacy for UA janitors and groundskeepers in 1990s.
  • Tension between Salomon and some members of the University of Arizona community.
  • Changes at the University of Arizona from the mis-1980s to mid-2000s.
  • Salomon’s assistance for other groups in the University community: specifically helping Asian and Pacific Island students in their attempt to create a student organization and center, sponsoring a gay students’ club in response to a bill from the Arizona State Legislature intended to ban state university support for homosexual causes, and giving the Communist Party permission to table on the UA Mall.
  • Salomon’s conflicts with the University over the public’s access to the UA campus.
  • Salomon’s termination from the UA in 1998 and his re-hiring as Senior Research Analyst.
  • The UA attempt to restructure minority student affairs and the role of prestige in campus politics.
  • Retirement: writing, speaking at schools, political involvement.
  • Political attempts and activism of son and daughter-in-law.
  • Deleterious effects of technology on activism.

Part 4 of 4 was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on March 14th, 2017.

Aengus Anderson