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Abalos / Civil Rights Organizations in Odessa, TX

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Zapata: Can you touch a little bit more on the Larry Lozano case? Was Richard part of organizing a protest, Especially the one in the nearby town of Big Springs? Abalos: No, well in the sense that he was the attorney, but there were other individuals and his family that were organized in the protest. Richard was a part of it in the sense that he was the attorney in the case. For a long time, I am pretty sure he told y’all that he was the first to Hispanic, the first Mexican American lawyer here. A lot of people look up to him to help them, especially when it was obvious that he did not shy away from fighting for people’s rights. So they looked up to him to help in whatever situation they felt was not right. Zapata: I am going to ask my coworkers if they have any questions. Moye: You have mentioned a couple of organizations that have at least had chapters here, so can you tell us about LULAC, MALDEF, and the effect that have had on the people here, with the issues in Odessa and civil rights in Odessa? Abalos: MALDEF has not been a local organization but they have come in and buy a lawsuit on behalf of the Mexican American community and the African-American community in Odessa. Especially when it came to your education and integration of the schools. So MALDEF has done that. LULAC has been around, I am really trying to remember, at least 25 to 30 years in Odessa. 1986 OK so almost 30 years. Carol (I cannot understand the last name) does not always grass that fight for civil rights, like I said she’s more about the culture of Mexicanos, but she does fight for civil rights and the people get, there is injustice. I really credit her for keeping the organization alive because it is so difficult to keep an organization organized. She is very dedicated to keeping, even when she is tired and felt like she has done everything she could for LULAC, she has been there to organize it year after year. She gets us to pay our membership dues or for her paid them herself. She has done that and she is also part of Hispanic heritage in Odessa. She is the one that founded the organization, and here again she has put a lot of her own money in ensuring that every Hispanic heritage month, and Cinco de Mayo, diez y seis de septiembre, that we celebrate these events and that others in the community celebrate these events also said that we can keep our heritage alive. We have a Mexican American Democrats organization here and we have always, the Mexican American Democrats, have always been part of pushing to get the boat out, to make sure that we are being treated right, addressing whatever issues come up. Southwest voters registration has partnered up with the Mexican American Democrats and LULAC and Hispanic heritage time and again to register people to vote. So, those are some of the organizations. The G.I. forum, when Richard first came to Odessa he met members in Odessa, some of the Hispanic leaders in Odessa through the G.I. forum. A number of those people have since passed away, in fact every single one of them has passed away. They were very instrumental in pushing for Mexican Americans to run for public office. Let me see who else, I think he probably talked about the Mexican American scholarship committee. His involvement in this community with him giving out scholarships do you Mexican American students for UTBB, Odessa College. In fact they set up a foundation in Richard’s name at Odessa College, and they have set up one at UTBB in Vicki’s name to ensure that Mexican Americans have an opportunity for an education. Those are the ones that I can think of at the top of my head. Zapata: What about Crucial? Abalos: Crucial really, that was before me. I was probably just out of high school when Crucial, so I don’t know a lot about Crucial. Crucial was an organization, was loosely student existence, if they have to they will come out. They were very instrumental in getting MALDEF here to fight for the integration of our schools. For equality, more than anything it is about equality. People would have been happy with their schools had there been equality. That is the big thing is equality. Crucial was definitely at the forefront of fighting for integration, and they have also been at the forefront of fighting for single-member districts.

Interview Interview with Delma Abalos
Subjects Community Organizations
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › Local Civil Rights Organizations
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Community Organizations › Community outreach
Community Organizations › Community Organizations and Institution-Building
Education › Higher Education
Education › Education and Integration
Education › Education and Integration › Resistance to School Integration
Education › Quality of Instruction
Court Cases › Single Member District Court Cases
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Police and Law Enforcement › Latino/a Employment in Law Enforcement
Police and Law Enforcement › Community Relations and Law Enforcement
Electoral Politics › Voter Registration
Electoral Politics › Democratic Party
Historic Periods › 1980s
Ideology › Cultural Nationalism
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › American G.I. Forum (AGIF)
Chicano Power › Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Direct Action › Protests
Community Organizations › Community outreach › Volunteering
Electoral Politics › Latino/a Elected Officials
Tags Abalos, Richard
Lozano, Larry
Gomez, Vickie
Odessa College, Odessa, TX
Uranga, Carol
University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB)
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Interview date 2016-07-14
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Abalos, Delma
Interviewers Moye, Todd
Wisely, Karen
Zapata, Joel
Locations Odessa, TX
Duration 00:07:34
Citation "Civil Rights Organizations in Odessa, TX," from Delma Abalos oral history interview with Todd Moye, Karen Wisely, and Joel Zapata,  July 14, 2016, Odessa, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed October 02, 2022