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An Interview With Robert Parra
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TitleAn Interview With Robert Parra
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded April 29, 1977. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Mr. Parra was Parish Center Manager of Employment and Training Systems at the West Side Center. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas on October 23, 1945. In the interview he discusses his early life, the West Side, education, church, career, etc.

Number 37 on MP3 disc.
Date1977-04-29
LocationSC69-1, Tape 42, CD 42
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
Oral History
West Side
Parra, Robert
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mr. Robert Parra was born in Kansas City, Kansas on October 23, 1945. His father came from La Piedad and his mother from Lamona both places in the State of Michvacan, Mexico. His father lived in Ft. Worth, Texas but moved to Kansas City, Kansas. The family lived near the Armadale[Armourdale] District where the packing houses, stock yard and the railroad were located. His father worked for the Swift Company.

The flood of 1951 - Because of the destruction of homes and buildings the Parra family was forced to move to Kansas City, Missouri. They lived in the West Side. The area was integrated with blacks, anglos and chicanos. Life revolved around The Guadalupe Center Parish an early settlement for Mexican-Americans. His father had worked in Ft. Worth, Texas and East of Chicago and finally came to the Kansas City area. Obviously, Kansas City offered more opportunities for employment. He went to John J. Ingals in Kansas City, Kansas for his kinderarten year and then to Switzer on the West Side, and to West Junior High. He graduated in 1963 from Westport High School.

Mr. Parra is an active member of Our Lady Guadalupe Church. While at Westport High School he joined the Calderon Circle Club because of his interest in the Mexican-American culture with emphasis in the Spanish language. He took Spanish in High School. He was a member of the literary society as well as a member of the newspaper staff of High School. Hobbies vary but primarily photography and writing.

People influencing his life - Elpidio Rocha who launched a campaign to became State Senator. He did not succeed but made the Mexican community aware of the possibilities to become involved in politics. Francisco Ruiz for his important role in organizing cultural programs, scholarships, clubs etc. since 1967. Two important events are responsible for the changes in the Mexican-American community. One was the 1951 flood and the destruction of the West Side homes to open freeways in Kansas City. This caused the dispersal of the Mexican-American people to the Westport neighborhood. Repatriation - while he was in elementary school, his mother had to return to Mexico to get the necessary documents to legalize her stay in the United States.

He attended the Penn Valley Community College and the UMKC of Rockhurst where he is still enrolled in sociology and other subjects, he hopes to get his degree soon. He has worked with various social service agencies for employment training, teaching sociology, languages, political science, high school diploma for the under-employed and basic training.

Achievements - he received a plaque from the City Mayor for his work in model cities (1969 to 1973) and citizen participation. Plans for the future - he is interested in writing and photography to write the Mexican-American history from 1910 to the present. He hopes to have a documentary project and publish it. Mr. Parra has been re-elected for the third consecutive term President of the Guadalupe Parish Center a very cultural center. He is also First Vice-Chairman of the Kansas City Human Relations Commission for education of the Mexican-Americans. He is also active with the Housing Commission for private, multi-family dwellings and with "WHO" which stands for Westside Housing Organization which provides with city codes, programs, grants and loans for housing the West Side.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210389
CONTENTdm number36360
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