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Finding Aid for the Candelario Mendoza Music Collection 1939-1985
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Description
This collection of 78, 45 and 33 rpm records represents the collected music of educator and dance hall impresario Candelario Mendoza.

In 1949 Candelario began a moonlighting career in radio while teaching. He worked as a Spanish radio announcer for KPMO – an AM radio station local to Los Angeles. At that time, Spanish broadcasts were relegated to only 1-3 hours in the early morning. The rest of the day was designated for English only broadcasts. As such, his broadcasts provided Mexican workers in the citrus groves and elsewhere in the community with music that "helped them prepare for a day of strenuous labor. [Moreover, it] allowed many Mexicans to stay abreast of the various trends in Latin America." This is very important because it created a link to people's homes and pasts in Mexico, and it reinforced and strengthened their cultural practices, language, and traditions here in the United States. His career in radio continued for 15 years and was very successful. In fact, in 1950 he took on yet another job as a nightclub music consultant, emcee, and booking agent at Pomona's then famous Rainbow Gardens. He did this for approximately 12 years. Not surprisingly, prior to 1950, "rarely [did] a black or brown face appear in the audience" (Garcia 192) or as performers at Rainbow Gardens. Again, this was a reflection of the time period. Nevertheless, Mr. Mendoza had a very successful career in this venue mixing Latino and non-Latino musical genres. As such, the Latino presence within Rainbow Gardens began to increase as did the success of the club, while its non-Latino patrons began to wane until completely ceasing to go to the nightclub altogether. Although his career as educator contributed significantly to the Chicano community, his career in the music industry helped bridge the gap between Mexicans' home abroad (in Mexico) and their home within the United States. The music as well as the experience of attending Rainbow Gardens fostered a sense of unity amongst the community as well as a sense of familiarity and cultural continuity.



Thanks to his efforts, Chicanos/as were able to create a social space at a time when space was limited.



Please see the biographical note in this finding aid for a more complete history of Candelario's life.
Background
Candelario Mendoza (1919 - 2008) of Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico, migrated with his family to the United States in 1920 where his father toiled on the railroads near Ogden, Utah, worked in the potato fields of southern Idaho, worked as a farm hand on a dairy farm near Chino, California, worked in a sugar beet factory near Oxnard, California, and picked oranges and lemons in the citrus groves of the Pomona Valley in California. As such, he and his family were constantly moving from place to place where work was to be found to sustain the family. Sadly, his father was killed when a truck he was riding was struck by a train when working on the construction of Puddingstone Dam in San Dimas. He left behind a wife and seven children. Luckily, his father had an insurance policy that afforded his family with enough money to buy a home and attempt to resume life as usual. Mr. Mendoza was fortunate to be able to continue attending school while he and his siblings worked selling newspapers and magazines as well as shining shoes. These were difficult economic times in the United States as it was the Great Depression. Moreover, schools and other public spaces were segregated based on irrational racial categories. As Mr. Mendoza recalls, "At that time we grew up segregated economically, socially, racially, and even legally." (qtd in Todd 1993) One of his first experiences of such prejudice was at the age of 10 when he was denied entry to a public pool because it was not "Spanish Day." (Mendoza 12 Feb 2005) Schools had been segregated during his first five years of instruction. Beginning in the fifth grade he attended a class that was no longer segregated. Yet, his class was still composed of 90 percent Anglo students, and this was not unusual for the rest of his education. In fact, out of 250 students, he was one out of four Latinos that graduated from his high school. (Mendoza 12 Feb 2005) Nevertheless, Mr. Mendoza had a very successful career in school. Among some of his accomplishments were: assistant editor of his high school paper, class representative, L.A. Times Junior Olympic Champion, awarded Outstanding Graduate Medal by the American Legion, earned a baseball scholarship for Pomona Junior College, editor-in-chief of his college paper, and vice president of the student body to name but a few. Clearly, Mr. Mendoza was very involved in his education and was very successful despite some obstacles. In fact, after transferring to La Verne College he began a teaching job at Hamilton Elementary School. He later graduated from La Verne College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. However, when he attempted to get a job as a teacher in the Pomona schools, his interviewer informed him, "I can't hire you... because we don't have one Spanish speaking Mexican teacher in the whole school district. I am just reluctant to hire the first one because I don't know whether this community is ready to have a Mexican-American teach their kids English, social studies, and math. Why don't you go somewhere else and see if you can get a job." (qtd in Todd 1993) Yet, that did not deter Mr. Mendoza who pursued a career in education within the La Habra School District. At a time of hyper nationalism – WWII era, Mr. Mendoza later decided to join the officer ranks of the military. However, although scoring well in the standardized test given to him, he was denied admission to officer candidacy school. Curiously, his friend who was not Latino accompanied him and also took the test scoring lower than Mr. Mendoza and was accepted. Could it be that the Army was also not ready "to hire a Mexican-American" as an officer? Perhaps. Ironically, in 1944 he was drafted as an enlisted soldier in the Army. While in the Army he served in France, Germany, and Austria under General Patton's 3rd Army. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery and effort. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Mendoza returned to teaching. This time he was not denied a teaching position within the Pomona School District. Indeed, his persistence paved the way for other Chicanos/as interested in a career in education. He was the first Mexican to teach in a Pomona elementary school. In 1949 he began a moonlighting career in radio while teaching. He worked as a Spanish radio announcer for KPMO – a local AM radio station. At that time, Spanish broadcasts were relegated to only 1-3 hours in the early morning. The rest of the day was designated for English only broadcasts. As such, his broadcasts provided Mexican workers in the citrus groves and elsewhere in the community with music that "helped them prepare for a day of strenuous labor. [Moreover, it] allowed many Mexicans to stay abreast of the various trends in Latin America." (Garcia 193) This is very important because it created a link to people's homes in Mexico, and it reinforced and strengthened their cultural practices, language, and traditions here in the United States. His career in radio continued for 15 years and was very successful. In fact, in 1950 he took on yet another job as a nightclub music consultant, emcee, and booking agent at Pomona's then famous Rainbow Gardens. He did this for approximately 12 years. Not surprisingly, prior to 1950, "rarely [did] a black or brown face appear in the audience" (Garcia 192) or as performers at Rainbow Gardens. Again, this was a reflection of the time period. Nevertheless, Mr. Mendoza had a very successful career in this venue mixing Latino and non-Latino musical genres. As such, the Latino presence within Rainbow Gardens began to increase as did the success of the club, while its non-Latino patrons began to wane until completely ceasing to go to the nightclub altogether. Although his career as educator contributed significantly to the Chicano community, his career in the music industry helped bridge the gap between Mexicans' home abroad (in Mexico) and their home within the United States. The music as well as the experience of attending Rainbow Gardens fostered a sense of unity amongst the community as well as a sense of familiarity and cultural continuity. Thanks to his efforts, Chicanos/as were able to create a social space at a time when space was limited. During this time, Mr. Mendoza continued a career in education. He was a teacher, a counselor, and a principle – first at Kellogg Elementary, then at Hamilton Elementary. In 1979, he left the Pomona Unified School District and accepted a position as Superintendent of Los Nietos School District, followed by a position as President of the School Board. In 1981, he co-founded a community newspaper titled La Voz (which continues to be very popular today within the Latino community). Until recently, Mr. Mendoza was still part of the school board and vice president of the Pomona Historical Society. Clearly, his life merits recognition as a very accomplished and instrumental member of his community. As such, in 1983 Hamilton Elementary School was renamed Candelario J. Mendoza Elementary. This is quite an honor for a school is never named after someone who is still alive. Work Cited Garcia, Matt. "Rainbow Gardens," A World of its Own: Race, Labor, & Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Mendoza, Candelario. Informal Personal Interview. 12 February 2005. Todd, Jean Boyd. "Pomona's Hispanic Hero: Candelario Mendoza – Pioneer Educator and Newspaperman," Biography written for Presentation at Pomona Parent Assisted Learning Center, 5 March 1993.
Extent
20 feet
Restrictions
For students and faculty researchers of UCLA, all others by permission only. Copyright has not been assigned to the Chicano Studies Research Center. The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center is the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply that they or the donor is the copyright copyright holder. Duplication from this collection is to be determined on a case by case basis.
Availability
Collection is open for research and access is available by appointment for UCLA student and faculty researchers as well as independent researchers. To view the collection or any part of it, please contact the archivist at archivist@chicano.ucla.edu