The flavor, aroma, customs and language from Old Mexico were transplanted to an area that came to be known as Little Mexico, just north of downtown Dallas. Here many immigrants from Mexico settled to begin their new lives in the United States.
Using archival photographs, home movies and personal accounts of past and present residents, Little Mexico/El Barrio tells the story of a once thriving community defined not only by specific geographic boundaries, but by a common language and cultural heritage.
The half-hour program includes interviews with prominent Mexican American community leaders and the personal accounts of past and present residents of this neighborhood where everybody knew one another.
"The community was very close knitted," said Francisco X. "Pancho" Luna. "In those days, nobody locked their doors. There was no air conditioner so we left the doors open to get a breeze. We enjoyed those days."
Among the stories and memories relived in Little Mexico/El Barrio are: Maria Luna, who started her tortilla-making business in the 1920s; St. Ann's Catholic School, Travis Elementary and Cumberland Hill School, the places where Little Mexico children went to school; and the discrimination many residents faced as they tried to deal with the not always smooth transformation of the neighborhood from predominantly white to Mexican American.
This 1997 KERA program was produced by Yolette Garcia and Rick Leal.