A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


When Jose Rivera started researching the Bay Area’s Chicano history, he was frustrated by how difficult it was to find information. To remedy this problem, Jose created Oakland Latinos Unidos as a platform for sharing stories that are often left out of mainstream narratives. We recently met up at a picnic table in San Antonio Park where Jose laid out some of the archives he’s amassed over the past two decades – newspaper clippings, grainy black-and-white photographs, and rare, out-of-print books. Under a redwood tree, we discussed everything from the De Anza expedition to the gang wars that Jose lived through while growing up in Jingletown. Listen to the conversation here: Apple / SoundCloud / Spotify / wherever you find podcasts.

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Listen to Jose Rivera’s band, Calafia Armada

Jose Rivera’s grandfather first arrived in Oakland during the 1940s as part of the Bracero Program. This crew built and maintained railroad tracks. Check out the Oakland Wiki to learn more.
When the Braceros weren’t working, one of the most popular nightlife options during the World War II era was Sweet’s Ballroom. Although Sweet’s enforced racial segregation, Sunday nights were reserved for Latinos. A shipyard worker named Guadalupe Carlos brought some of Mexico’s top musical talent to perform at these weekly events. [Photo: E.F. Joseph, Oakland Museum of California]
Guadalupe Carlos always promoted his events at Sweet’s Ballroom with colorful posters plastered throughout Oakland’s “original barrio.” Check out the Oakland Museum of California website to see more from this collection.
Although the “zoot suit riots” in Los Angeles were more widespread, elements of this anti-Mexican racist violence occurred in the Bay Area, as well. Listen to the episode to hear Jose Rivera discuss the history of clashes between “pachucos” and U.S. military servicemen.
The Chicano Moratorium was the culmination of years of anti-war organizing by Mexican-American activists. In Oakland, this involved school walkouts, marches, and protests at the Army Induction Center. [Photo: Oakland Wiki]
The 1960s and 70s was the height of Chicano activism in the Fruitvale District. During this era, national figures such as Reies Tijerina (pictured here), Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta were frequent visitors.
Children of Violence” is an Emmy-winning 1982 documentary about East Oakland’s Latino gangs. Growing up in Jingletown, gang violence had a huge impact Jose Rivera’s family. Listen to the episode to hear Jose discuss the evolution of neighborhood crews into massive gangs such as the Norteños,  Sureños, and Border Brothers.

If you enjoyed this episode, here are some previous episodes about the East Bay’s Latino history: Oakland’s “Lost” Latino Neighborhood; Chicano Power and the Rise of Dia de los Muertos; Challenging the Police Before Black Lives Matter.

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East Bay Yesterday · “We were here before California was a state”: Talking Latino history with Jose Rivera

“We were here before California was a state”

Talking Latino history with Jose Rivera
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