About | Chicana por mi Raza


What is Chicana por mi Raza?


Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collective is a group of historians, educators, researchers, archivists and technologists dedicated to preserving imperiled Chicanx and Latinx histories of the long Civil Rights Era. Started by Professor Maria Cotera and filmmaker Linda Garcia Merchant in 2009, CPMR has traveled to over one dozen states, interviewed more than 70 people, and collected hundreds of hours of oral histories and scanned archives for preservation and access. Using largely volunteer and student labor, CPMR pioneers a model for grass roots history creation that encourages further research into both Latinx studies and a model for grassroots digitzation projects. The overarching objective of the project is to provide broad‐based public access to oral histories, material culture, correspondence, and rare out‐of‐print publications for use in both scholarly research and the classroom. 

Collection Details


Chicana por mi Raza began collecting oral histories in 2009. Since then, the CPMR team has interviewed more than 52 women. From these interviews we've collected and processed approximately 5500 archival items, with another 3000 or so awaiting digitizing, description and uploading. Most of the oral histories consist of several hours of film footage, and some women have been interviewed more than once. Our online digital repository currently contains approximately 4900 available digital records and over 439 interview clips.


Browse Recovered Histories

Ana Luisa Cardona "That probably was influencing why my parents were being so protective because it was the 60s, and things were changing, and they didn't understand this world, or me, and why I was beginning to do the things I was doing."

Ana Luisa Cardona was born on June 11, 1950 in the Bronx, NY. Her Puerto Rican parents raised Cardona with her brother in a traditionally Jewish neighborhood that slowly evolved to a multi-ethnic minority space. In elementary school, Cardona was placed in a special education class and tracked into lower ability-level classes because she was shy, but she soon grew out of her shyness thanks to dance classes. Her mother ensured that Cardona’s first language was English and that Cardona had access to equitable education by enrolling her in parochial school.

Juana Gonzales "Chicana feminism is to be yourself."

Juana Maria Gonzales’s involvement with the Chicana movement started in her hometown of Mercedes, Texas. Born in 1948, Gonzales was the second oldest of eleven children raised in a strict Catholic family in south Texas. From an early age, her family dynamics made her aware of gender disparities and how her identity as a woman changed the way she moved in the world. This realization propelled Gonzales to become interested in women’s issues such as the concept of autonomy and rape culture.

Angela "Angie" Reyes "For me, you have two choices when you're faced with things like that [racism] growing up: you either internalize it and become ashamed of who you are...or you become radicalized." "I was raising four children as a single parent in the community when I was going to funerals for kids every other week...every other week."

Angela Reyes was born on October 2,1954 and has lived and served in the community of Southwest Detroit ever since. Throughout her time from elementary to high school, Angela recounts coming face-to-face with prejudicial attitudes from classmates and teachers, experiences that forever marked her own developing, personal identity as a Mexican woman with indigenous roots.