Garment Industry

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Interview with Lucille (Lu) Arredondo Bowersox, who recalls her early life living in the East Bottoms, her family, job experiences and other aspects of her life. Her parents migrated from Mexico, intending to head to Chicago, but decided to stay in Kansas City, Missouri. Bowersox was born in Dearborn, Missouri and grew up speaking Spanish and barely spoke English as a child. Being bilingual became a struggle and she regrets not teaching her own children Spanish. Her life revolved around reading books and writing poetry, a practice she continued for the rest of her life. Bowersox also talks about her father who worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and her own experiences working in the garment industry as an under-aged employee who made herself look old enough to work. During that time, she recalls big business and industry changing the landscape of the East Bottoms and the negative effects it has had on the community. Due to her work with various community efforts, Bowersox was awarded the Hispanic Woman of the Year Award by the Hispanic Chamber. She ends the interview by talking about her music store and the need to change for the good.

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Two-part interview with Esther Rocha about her life and experience in Kansas City's Westside neighborhood. She recalls migrant agricultural and railroad work as motivations for her parents' immigration to the United States, Westside businesses and events, and her family life growing up. She also discusses the history of the Westside prior to it becoming a majority Mexican neighborhood, attending an "open air" elementary school, Guadalupe Center serving as housing for Rockhurst students, limitations on education and housing opportunities for the Mexican community, and not having proof of American citizenship despite being born in Texas. In part two of the interview, Rocha discusses her work with Catholic Charities and Model Cities program, attending college at Penn Valley and Avila, and her plans to retire.

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