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University of Houston. Santiago, Vincent - Santiago transcript, 1 of 1. July 24, 2008. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. June 24, 2022. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/446/show/445.

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University of Houston. (July 24, 2008). Santiago, Vincent - Santiago transcript, 1 of 1. Oral Histories from the Houston History Project. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/446/show/445

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

University of Houston, Santiago, Vincent - Santiago transcript, 1 of 1, July 24, 2008, Oral Histories from the Houston History Project, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed June 24, 2022, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/446/show/445.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Santiago, Vincent
Creator (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Creator (Local)
  • Houston History Project
Contributor (Local)
  • Selley, Mikaela, interviewer
Date July 24, 2008
Description This is an oral history interview with Vincent Santiago conducted as part of the Houston History Project.
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Religion
Subject.Name (Local)
  • Santiago, Vincent D., 1930-
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • interviews
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Sound
  • Text
Original Collection Oral Histories - Houston History Project
Digital Collection Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
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File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Santiago transcript, 1 of 1
Format (IMT)
  • application/pdf
Original Item Location ID 2006-005, Transcriupt Box 12, HHA 00685
File Name hhaoh_201207_305b.pdf
Transcript HHA# 00685 Page 1 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 1 Houston History Archives UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON ORAL HISTORY OF HOUSTON PROJECT Vincent Santiago “East End Catholic Churches” Interviewed by: Mikaela Selley Date: July 24, 2008 Transcribed by: Michelle Kokes Location: 938 Kress Street, Houston, Texas MS: This is for the oral history project. My name is Mikaela Selley and I am interviewing a current member of Our Lady of Guadalupe church. What is your name and date of birth? VS: My name is Vincent Daniel Santiago. My birthday is January 22, 1930. MS: Can you tell me where your family is from? VS: What is that? MS: Where your family is from? VS: My mother is from Mexico, my father was from Texas. My father is part Apache, my mother is Spaniard and they came during the Revolution of 1910 to Houston, Texas. In fact, they were in Laredo first but one of my uncles used to work for the S.P., that’s the railroad engineer and they brought my aunt, Guadalupe, they got married in Nuevo Laredo she came, followed him to Houston. So my uncle at that time was working for the S.P. and they settled here off of Wallaceville Road and __________ (1.1) years, way back in 19… I would say about 1920 or 1921 at that time. Then my uncle ___________ my _______ Lupe brought my grandmother, my other aunt Julia and my mother and came to Houston, Texas. The year was 1920. That’s part of the history of my mother and where they were born, my mother’s side. My father is from Texas. On my father’s HHA# 00685 Page 2 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 2 Houston History Archives side there were people who had __________ what we call __________ (1.7) and my father’s mother was Spanish and _______ was Indians. The Indians were educated by the priests of the _____________ in San Antonio at that time. Floor was real which was a big casaenda and at that time it belongs to my mother’s side. We used to raise cattle, sheep and took some other people in hotel like in Salas, Texas. Dr. Gonzales used to do ______________ and Juan ________ and people from Texas you know. We used to have big ranches but in 1861, 62, 65 they were eliminated and they stole their ________. To this present time, to this present time they call it Wallaceville but the real original name was Dia Flores. MS: Okay. VS: Dia Flores and that is where they got, when they changed Texas came into the ________ they taught the change because it is still part of the Mexican territory at that time. They took it over, they did a lot of I would say killing of my kin folks. They stole the ranch they stole the casenda and they couldn’t do nothing about it. So that was my great grandfather on my mother’s side my Father Flores that’s what he was. My father, my father Flores they were Apaches. They didn’t used to _________ but people used to work in the fields that’s which one they had a ___________ into cattle and they ______ all those sheeps and everything. On my mother’s side, Flores, Santiago on my father’s side. Flores, mother’s side. My father’s name was Daniel Flores Santiago and that is the generation that I still have some cousins scattered all over that I don’t even know. It was a big family on my father’s side. That is the question that I can answer to you. MS: You were born in Houston? VS: Born in Houston. HHA# 00685 Page 3 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 3 Houston History Archives MS: In what neighborhood? VS: Magnolia Park. MS: Magnolia Park okay. VS: Way back in the 1930’s it was nothing but country. Well listen they didn’t have no street lights or nothing. People came from all over from Laredo at that time. People used to settle in Magnolia, you know… we had a few because way back in 1910 and 1920 when ________ from Mexico in 1910, part in Magnolia and part in second ward. That’s when the church, Our Lady of Guadalupe was built when the Spaniards, when the priests of ________ they came to Houston to build that church, first Spanish church in Second Ward Our Lady of Guadalupe church. That was in 1912. Lets see and then people started moving in other parts of the city, Mexican people started going and in different sections of town like _______, Magnolia, North Side and you call it and they started building more churches, temples. They were all built by the old _______ see and that’s part of the unity of the Mexican people. MS: When did you move to this house, to this location? VS: I moved to this house in 1951. Maggie answer that phone, I mean answer that door! (ringing). Sorry about that. MS: What was the church like as far back as you remember? VS: The church? MS: Our Lady of Guadalupe what was it like do you remember? VS: Well at that time the building was wooden. It was a wooden building. It was a two story and it was not as big as this as the temple in Our Lady Guadalupe right now. But they used to have the mass and right on the second floor and the school on the bottom HHA# 00685 Page 4 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 4 Houston History Archives of the building. That’s when both of them were established in the year of 1912 as the school and the church Our Lady Guadalupe. Then we had the Sisters of Divine Providence from San Antonio come to teach in the convent of Our Lady of Guadalupe School and it was brought… they were brought to Houston, Texas from Father Dianda, I can recall his name but I know it was an ___________ father. MS: ___________? VS: ____________ that’s correct that’s who it was and that is the whole community of people start moving to other parts like my mother and my father they moved to Magnolia where I was born and I was baptized they were building in 1924, they built the church of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Magnolia, that’s where I was baptized. MS: Why was the move to? VS: Why did we move to second ward? MS: Yeah. VS: Because my aunt used to work for the ___________ (7.4) in Magnolia. The first priest that came to Magnolia was ___________ and he was living there and he was my aunt, my mother’s sister, the oldest one, she started working as a maid, a cook maid and she used to cook for the priest. The reason that we moved to the second ward because second ward, they had different priests come from San Antonio to build different parishes. They built Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Stephen, and the other one is Saint Patrick’s. All those three and of course we had to ________ here in Houston and those priests came to that parish in that building, they were all working, staying there. And they didn’t cook so the father in Magnolia told my aunt if she wanted to transfer to second ward and work for more priests that were coming from San Antonio because they HHA# 00685 Page 5 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 5 Houston History Archives were building different parishes and she said, “Oh I’ll go.” They paid her a fair wage so we’d go. She was transferred and then she came to second ward and my aunt said, “I had my family in Magnolia.” They said, “Well how many are there?” She said, “My nephews, my sister and my mother.” They said well we have a big building over there you can move the parents over there that was back in 1938. So we moved there, we moved to Magnolia and she came to work for Our Lady of Guadalupe in that year. MS: And you attended the school? VS: I attended school at Our Lady of Guadalupe. I started there way back in 1940 and I graduated from there in 1947. MS: Okay. VS: From there I was going to graduate and I was going to go to Saint Thomas but the reason why I didn’t start at Saint Thomas is because I didn’t have the means. My father used to work and he couldn’t afford to send me to Saint Thomas. It was kind of expensive. We were eight children and the family had eight children, five boys and three girls and he couldn’t afford it. He was blessed though I can’t complain. So what happened when I didn’t go to school anymore I went to working for a furniture factory here in Houston. They sent me to school to Athen, Texas, 18 months to learn woodworking. That’s where I went to school. So it paid off because I got educated and I learned how to work in cabinets and I think that after I graduated from school. So that is part of my story for my education. I started and finally went back to work with different companies. I worked for ____________ (10.3) of Houston. I worked for Montgomery Wards for thirteen years and I worked for Crossroads and I retired from J.C. Penney’s at the age of 60, 60 that’s when I retired. But I worked for J.C. Penney’s for 16 years. That HHA# 00685 Page 6 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 6 Houston History Archives was my biggest blessing. Because of all of that I have accomplished it was still good work. I started with nothing, believe me $1.00 an hour. MS: Oh wow. VS: On my retirement at that time I was making $16.95 an hour. That was hard for anybody to make that kind of money. I was a cabinet maker, a furniture maker and I came graduated from school in Athen, Texas ________________ (11.0) company who send me to school. I was the only Mexicano. MS: Really? What was that like? VS: What was it like? You want me to tell you the truth? MS: Yes. VS: It was a lot of jealousy because the Germans used to tell me, “What is a Mexican becoming a craftsman?” Because, and I used to say, “What is wrong with that? We are all entitled to make a living and get educated and learn something.” The Germans used to say, “We’ve never seen a Mexican in the craft wood.” I said, “Well you’re going to see one.” I graduated from wood working. They taught me what oak wood was, _____ wood, cedar wood. You name all of it. ____________ wood, all kind of wood. Pine wood, sugar wood. You name it. But I still have it all here because the Germans were teaching me. They said, “Let me tell you something. I don’t have the patience to teach but if you do what I tell you and if you don’t learn I won’t waste my time on you.” I said, “Good enough. I do understand the language you are talking to me and I can bear with it.” Oh yes, I have to go through a lot. But then my own people used to tell me, “How did you do it?” I said, “I don’t know… I just don’t know. They offered me the job and I took it and then they gave me that chance so I went for it.” That’s the way I made it. HHA# 00685 Page 7 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 7 Houston History Archives And through that job, learning from furniture manufacturing company I learned and went to work for different companies like I said. Like I said I went to J.C. Penney’s, ______________ I worked until 1960, with that amount of money, $16.95 an hour. The only Mexicano and them ___________ (13.0) used to get mad at me. Yeah they used to get mad at me. They said, “When I retired a lot of them rescinded because white’s get overtime with all the benefits and we’ve been here longer.” “Yes but that man did a lot for the company. He saved a lot of money for the company.” I didn’t even know that I did that. But then I realized when he brought me to the, to my retirement there was a Frenchman and he shook my hand and he said, “You have a very good head. I congratulate you for all these years you have been with the company and I give you a certificate of wherever you want to go after you retire.” I said, “This is it for me.” I retired but I was very grateful because I retired with all my benefits, I retired with all my benefits. The managers and the other guy that retired, they didn’t get the benefits I got. That’s the truth. MS: Wow. VS: I went through a lot believe me. I guess like he always said, “You never have let me down. You always have taken care of me.” To this present time, I’m going to be honest with you… I do a lot for my people, a lot. I help… everyone under the ones that are persecuted the ones that are persecuted that come from Mexico that are being discriminated and always… hey they are entitled to live, give them a chance. He said, “But we are going to get in trouble.” I said, “Man you ain’t going to get in trouble. Give him a chance, give him a job washing dishes or whatever they can clean. They want to make a living. They want to eat a piece of bread. You give him that. Treat him like HHA# 00685 Page 8 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 8 Houston History Archives humans.” This is me. I don’t brag about it because I am a very, very… I never did treat my people like that. I’m no matter what people ___________, black people. Because we are all humans we are all entitled to be understood, that’s me. Like you said, you know me. That man told me, “You came to the right place.” “No you didn’t come to the right place. You came to a man that really has a heart.” That’s me I have a heart for everybody, for you too. Of course you can understand. Like I told you the other day, showed you that book. Read it yourself. I felt so good because you said, “I didn’t know that.” I said, “Now you know.” More beautiful things. MS: So is that the story for a lot of students who graduated from Our Lady of Guadalupe during that time? What were the options for school and for a future? VS: Well sisters of the Divine Providence were very concerned about us because we were young and they knew way back in the 1940’s the jobs were hard to get. They encouraged us to go to high school, learn as much as we could or not to get in trouble but to be ourselves as good Catholics, to keep on teaching, to keep on going in the right track and that is what I have done. This is my… we had a choice. Like you said the option was to me that I can do something for somebody else besides what I have had for myself. I believe in that. A lot of people say, “Why do you do this?” And I gave them the answer, “All of this is imposed to me by the almighty who grew with me. I can do it.” MS: So were there any programs in place, any scholarships that were… to help people stay in school? I know that Catholic education is not cheap, how did you…? VS: Okay we didn’t have no scholarships at all. You know once you graduated you had your diploma from elementary school and that was it. Like today, right now, Our Lady of Guadalupe they give scholarships to the young people who is coming and this HHA# 00685 Page 9 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 9 Houston History Archives year they started in 1970’s. Now kids that go to school, they get a scholarship if they make good grades. But at the time, way back in the 1940’s… no scholarships we only had a blessing! (laughter) That’s what it was. I came… I don’t regret it because I tell you what those nuns really put themselves out of their way to help us out. Encouraged us to get educated, encouraged us to do right, encouraged us that we could find a good work because they knew good and well there was a lot of discrimination and they knew it. Because some people didn’t pay for their education there at all. There were poor people. I remember my father used to pay sometimes $9.00 a month that is what they were charging for all five of us. Now they charge a fortune! That’s what it is. Like I said we give things to God. Right now all my… we are talking about school. I had two of my oldest daughters, the ones that I showed you the other day, I didn’t send them to school at that time because I couldn’t afford it. I started, when I started with the furniture factory I was only making $35 a week. I couldn’t make it, the rent I used to have to pay. Anyway I sent all the other ones, to sports, to high school. They all went to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Lupe right there she went to ____________ (18.2) and she graduated, not the one that I told you she became a nurse, but she couldn’t make it because she almost lost her mind studying all the time and my wife told her, “I don’t think you have a call for that because you don’t sleep at night, you worrying about it then 3:00, 4:00 you are still over your books.” So she got sick and my wife said, “No this is not for you.” So anyway she went to a different field to school, she became a dental technician and now she is living in San Antonio. She worked for a condominium and now my worry is that she is too far away from me, like I call her everyday. “How’s you doing?” I tell her, “Your daddy’s not young anymore. I can’t drive like I used to but I’m always… I have you in my HHA# 00685 Page 10 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 10 Houston History Archives prayers.” She said, “Dad don’t worry about me. I’m a good.” “I know you are but I still worry because I’m your father.” This is me. My love I have for all my kids. MS: So at the school what language were the classes in? What kind of classes were being taught at the school? What was the curriculum of the school? VS: The school was in English. After we got out of school in the evenings well my mother and my grandmother who was… my father was working at that time, Spanish… all Spanish. But when we were in school it was nothing but English. The sisters of Divine Providence said, “When you are in school, speak English. When you are out of school, speak Spanish.” Simple, very simple and very… another thing they were very strict in which we appreciated. At this present time I never regret what they ways they taught me. I think that was a _______ (20.2) teaching me at that school. Now in the modern, teachers right now I don’t know they say the curriculum is different and even everything is different and like I said, now days kids have computers and everything and they learn with computers and at the end of the year like in May they always get a scholarship. When I graduated when I went to one of my nephews and said, “We didn’t get none of this when we were in school.” “Yeah but time has changed.” Which it do! MS: What would you say was the role of the school, Our Lady of Guadalupe school in this community in terms of the Mexican-American community in teaching English and helping students graduate? VS: The rule of school, Our Lady of Guadalupe School that all children that came by, you know they were registered in our school at that time, the interest was to really get educated and learn all the work of the Catholic school inside, the curriculum and everything. Because they have… they had geography, they had English, they had HHA# 00685 Page 11 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 11 Houston History Archives arithmetic, they had history… all the subjects and we learn them but nothing different but outside the community the people were encouraged to send their kids to Our Lady of Guadalupe school at that time. Now people can afford or people can’t afford it I don’t know. I don’t understand we have enough problem because people can’t afford it now. That’s the problem. Not only that Our Lady Guadalupe church but all the Catholic churches, I mean schools. As you know, a lot of schools are being closed, the Diocese. I started going to school at the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Called Mary, Mary… no school no more. They closed it back I don’t know what year. Let’s see there’s another one that is been closed. The one on Harrisburg, Immaculate Heart… MS: Conception? VS: Conception. That’s been closed. Our Lady of Sorrows that’s been closed. That’s another one. Mount Carmel, that’s been closed. So there’s a problem. That’s the reason why times have changed but they are harder times now because a lot of our people, especially our people, are getting…no and I know it and you know it and the history will tell us that we are lessons. So it’s sad but its God’s truth. But we have to go with it, no matter. Why? Because my view on that is: discrimination. We are not fighters, we are lovers. All Mexican people are not fighters. We don’t push. We just say, “Whatever comes along.” But we do it in good faith because God is with us. And I see other people they don’t do it. They go to killing, they go to… and I know that you know who I am talking about because they want it by force and they get it. But I say this, those people came down to the ________. They were discriminated, they were slaved and they are entitled to all of this because, in fact the bible says, “The last one will be the first and the first will be the fast.” And I can see that with the last president coming by he has to be a HHA# 00685 Page 12 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 12 Houston History Archives mixed white and black and it will be the first and last to rule. Time is catching up with all of us. It will be a lot of changes. You are young you will get to see it I don’t. There’s going to be some changes. Like the Bible says, “The last will be first and the first will be the last.” And the way I say the time, why did my saying do, why am I looking at a black man come from a black man and a white woman and now everybody loves him. You can see him on television everywhere how much people is pushing for him but there are a few of him that are against him. The majority of people in the United States are for him. You take the few that are die hard that just don’t want to. Look at Germany. It don’t have no business Germany how many people thousand people went to see and that’s history, he made history and he’s not a politician he’s not running for president of Germany. Like they say but now you hear the results of all of that. Why? Envy, jealousy. But God knows. It’s all in the plan I always have said. That is the most beautiful thing is we get all educated and learn every day of our lives. You and I are witnesses to all of this coming to pass. You never thought about that but now you are thinking. What I’m telling you will open your eyes what is coming ahead of us? What is coming ahead of us? Destruction. Why? Because we are living in a time where there is no respect for the law. No respect for father and mother. No respect for anyone anymore. They get killed in the street shooting by, stealing, raping and you name it, just like it was before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, men with men, women with women. That’s what we are finding out, finding about abortion, killing of the babies, millions of babies. Like I told you yesterday, the day we take that blessed name from the dollar and the quarters and everything, this nation will be going down. There is no question about that, because we are under the care of our Lord. That’s the reason we put it, “In God We Trust.” No HHA# 00685 Page 13 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 13 Houston History Archives other nation on earth has that. We was done in Knights of Columbus which I am part of, Third Degree Knight. Like I told you I am the right arm of the church. I defend the church. Yes I am very proud. I am not bragging about it but it’s the God’s truth. It’s history. Everything is history but you have heard it how it was done. Pledge of Allegiance, Money, all of that came to pass and it is coming to pass again. You are young you are getting educated everyday of your life like you go. Like you said, “I didn’t know but every day that I live I learn.” It’s like anybody that is playing the guitar, the more you play the guitar the more you learn. That’s the way we learn and thank God for our money. Okay lady ask what else we have. MS: Okay could you describe a little bit more of I know you mentioned discrimination about being sort of a double minority, being Mexican as well as Catholic. What was that like in this area because most of the people were like you, most people were Mexican Catholic? VS: Well if you was Catholic they didn’t think too much about your religion because they would hire a protestant before they did to you! Oh yeah. But that’s the first thing they ask you, “What religion do you belong to?” Catholic. MS: Really? VS: And they look at you and they say to make you mad, “Protestant?” And then you repeat, “No I’m Catholic.” I said, “Protestant.” I said, “Well okay if you want me to be Protestant put it Protestant.” Its fine you know. That’s the reason that Catholics were discriminated too. Yes, all of that we went through, you learn. MS: So what were there any clubs or organizations for this area or for Our Lady of Guadalupe? HHA# 00685 Page 14 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 14 Houston History Archives VS: Yes and Our Lady of Guadalupe we have different societies. We have Guadaluponas, we have the _________ of today, we have the __________ (27.3) Midnight _____________, bless the Sacrament. We have CYO, Catholic Youth Organization and now we have other organizations. They are probably not in existence anymore… oh yes we have that Black Bag, that’s an organization used to raise money to collect money for the poor and different societies in the church. I couldn’t count them because some of them are not in existence just a few like I mentioned those are the ones. Daughters of Mary they used to offer flowers every May the month of May and those are different societies of Daughters of Mary. There was a good gathering in the church and people from different societies, to these present time they still help that way. Different societies whenever we have a bazaar we all unite and participate in the bazaars to help our church raise money to pay for whatever we need for the church. Like I said before, we are the church. We the people that keeps it open. We are the ones that pay the bills because we know we don’t pay our 10% or whatever the good Lord says in the Bible to pay. I said, “We won’t have nothing but a building without air conditioning, without lights and nothing.” But thank God for that because everybody is giving their percentage. You would be surprised. Right now we are having a problem because all 1,375 people, parishioners who get envelopes for your offering, not a lot of them are coming in and that hurts. That is the reason that we have these bazaars raising money, different societies. It’s hard. We don’t have like a Brown and Root and other big companies donate money to the church. They do it in the Protestants, in the other church but not the Catholic church. So it’s life. HHA# 00685 Page 15 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 15 Houston History Archives MS: I know that you are part of the Knights of Columbus could you describe what they do and how old is the organization? VS: The organization is very old, it’s over 104 years old I think, or even more than that I think. The organization was established by a Catholic priest Father McGivney and the reason we started was at that time there was only one _________ (29.3) of the people. And as they came into the ___________ he started back, this is for all the people of the _________ of church, no discrimination. So the Italians started coming in, Spanish started coming in and Blacks started coming in and all different nationalities. These organization is so strong all over the world that during the second world war, they helped all the soldiers if they were soldiers and they had CYOs and a lot of things that we did during the second world war, first world war. That’s a history, Knights of Columbus has a history that has done a lot. That is the reason they call it the right arm of the church because they have done a lot of things in the world. The hospital named Saint Joseph, some of the money was donated by the Knights of Columbus. The Cathedral, the money, thousands and thousands of dollars of donated by Knights of Columbus. It is a strong organization. I am a member of the Knights of Columbus. I have insurance through the Knights of Columbus and I didn’t buy it but I have $10,000 for me and my wife and my kids. My wife passed away and when she passed away they sent me a check and that’s the reason she was buried with that money. So it is to help people in the church at the same time. It is a strong organization. We are like the Masons. We are like the Masons. The Masons and Knights of Columbus are called brothers. Nations have their different religions and we are the same. It is a strong organization. HHA# 00685 Page 16 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 16 Houston History Archives MS: How was the church involved in the civil rights movement in Houston and how were you involved personally? VS: The church was involved, which is us all of us when they wanted to put a division on the people the church got involved in different ways. For us to try to obey the law, for us to understand if it was right or wrong and most of the people saw it wrong because they want to just put the black… all different nationalities just only two which is the black and the Mexicans. That was a great fight because we had to really assemble to go against it because it was not right. Our kids had the same rights as the Anglos. They have the same rights. They were trying to bus them to different schools and send them to… separate them to different schools and to put blacks and Mexicans together. We didn’t agree but as time got by to ____________ (31.8) it was wrong and it started coming back to know what it was. But right now thank God it was done the way we had it before. But it was fine… like I said I almost had to go to church, jail… it was my firm belief that it was not right. Oh yes, I participated, I marched with the sign. This is not right. This is not called for. This is not justice. We are citizens. We fought for the United States in the armed forces. We are entitled to all of this. I have been discriminated too my seniors which is not right. Is what they wanted to do they just wanted to put the Mexicans __________ and now it’s not like that. Now it is…but it still it is not finished. You know and not only… it’s a fight but you have to keep yourself calm like we did, like we used to. Like the Catholic church tells us. You have to be persecuted, accept it but in the long run, you will not come out alive and that is correct. A lot of our people went to jail. I got very close to that door. At the end I don’t know what happened, “You get away from there, move.” I guess the Lord said, “You don’t HHA# 00685 Page 17 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 17 Houston History Archives belong here.” He never has left me. This is part of the history that we have day for day of our lives and only us, this generation, my generation we have been called one by one. Out of my father, my mother, all the older generation is gone, now I have to teach my kids what I was taught. The right, always pick the truth and that truth will make you free and it will make some people mad. But don’t let that tear you down. As long as you prove then you are right and you cannot go right by saying yes or no either way. I’m giving you part of this history because this is going to be recorded and they are going to get, my boys, but I’ll tell you right it’s the right thing to do because this is part of my life, part of the history of the United States, part of the history of Texas, part of the history of Houston of all of what we have to go through. You know, the young generation coming through right now is a different generation from us, you know. It’s hard for them to understand. I don’t know what it is if it is a misunderstanding or there is no one with time for them, to love them to spend time with them and love them. I don’t know it’s just the kids now days that are growing up, they want up in nursery and mom and dad are working and mom and dad have to work because they can’t meet the ends. What happens to the kids? They start learning different and when they grow up they tell Mommy and Daddy, “You never had time for me.” They could never understand. “You always working and you always doing this and he was doing that. At night you come and you was already tired you didn’t even pay attention to us.” I hear that sometimes. I have a boy, my baby boy, Gable who went to Mount Carmel. He brought a friend here one time and he introduced me to him and the boy said to me, “You know what Mr. Santiago?” I said, “No I don’t.” He said, “I know your son Gable and your son Gable is a person that he talks good.” I asked him, “What do you mean he talks good?” “He talks HHA# 00685 Page 18 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 18 Houston History Archives with respect.” I said, “Well that’s good. I like that. That’s what he is going to school for.” I asked Gable, “Where did you learn that?” He said, “My father is a very straight man.” So he brought me the boy and the boy was listening to me and said, “You know Mr. Santiago I wish my father was like you.” I said, “Why do you say that to me?” “Because my father is not like that. My father doesn’t pay attention to us.” I said, “_______ (35.2) that’s hard for me to accept but your father has responsibility and if… maybe he has some other things on his mind.” “No because he’s not like you.” Then he asked me, “Do you drink?” I said, “No I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.” He said, “Well that’s the problem with my father. He forget about all of us.” I said, “Well you have to respect your father regardless.” He said, “Like I say again I wish my father was like you.” I said, “Well pray for your father.” That was my answer. Things that have come to pass that I have learned even to kids going to school now days. You probably have seen a lot of things that you have seen to your friends a different way of thinking because it is a generation they didn’t have their parents. Like I said, they probably had to do it because the odds and ends were hard to meet, very hard. When those parents work 8 hours a day and they work in that office, they work in their fields, they work wherever they work, they are already tired. There is no time to sit down and talk to the kids. I can understand that. Because I had a sister, my brother in law had three kids and I used to tell my sister, “Why don’t you spend a little more time with your children?” “Oh Vince when I come I’m already have a headache.” I said, “Well try and get rid of those headaches and pay attention to them.” She said, “Why are you telling me that?” “Because one of your sons, your baby son came to me and told me, ‘Uncle Vince why don’t you talk to my mother’ I said, ‘What do you want me to tell my mother?’ ‘To listen HHA# 00685 Page 19 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 19 Houston History Archives to us.’” I asked my sister, I told my sister, “That is the reason why I am telling you. Alfred came to me and told me for me to talk to you to pay a little bit more attention to them.” My sister said, “I’m not like you brother.” I said, “I know. I know you’re not like me. You will never be like me. But your mind is not like mine. But if you had the same mind, if we all think alike I’m telling you all of our family would be different.” I ______ (37.2) myself my kids. I have a lot of love for my kids. The more I live, now that I’m getting close to my 80’s, the more I see. And I can’t say that it’s ugly. I can say that the days that go by, months go by, the years go by. I see a tremendous change, some for the good and some for the worse. Like I told you before, this is history all of us. The young and the old you and I are witnesses to all of this and you will learn because you have a lot of years ahead of you. Me? I won’t get to see the things that I’m going to tell you, you are going to see. You are going to see some dark clouds coming to this earth and they aren’t going to be good. It’s going to get worse. That’s the reason I always pray and I ask my Almighty God not to let my descendents see what is coming in front of us. Because I can see a lot of things and some people tell me, “How can you see all of these things?” Because I see it is written. When I say it is ready they think “How did I know?” Because I go by this book. Everything that’s the truth, it will come to pass. It has come to pass. This generation will never come to pass, which is true. You will learn it and that’s the God’s truth. Remember what I told you a while ago when I mentioned the changes in the beginning and how it started, Sodom and Gomorra? That’s the same thing that we are going through right now, like Sodom and Gomorra. It’s sad but it is coming to pass. Like history repeats itself. But it has to be done because the generation is getting wiser and wiser all the time. Us? Always had told my kids, “This is going to HHA# 00685 Page 20 of 20 Interviewee: Santiago, Vincent Interview Date: July 24, 2008 University of Houston 20 Houston History Archives be the last generation and we are going to see a lot of generation lost.” He said, “A lot of them have made their choice.” That free will that they have, they abuse it. It is not uncontrollable. The fate is not there. The trust is not there. The class that I am giving to you when you are young. You have a choice, a free will, use it accordingly for the good or for the evil. You have a choice and that good will open the door and that evil will close the door. Two choices. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you? MS: Yes. VS: That is very, very honest. This is what we all learn. Like a lot of things that you have asked me there that I have repeated to you that you will learn, you will learn in more than what is written but it is not there what we had to go through, what I had to go through the hard will. But I don’t complain I give thanks to God. But what I have learned I pass it on to whoever wants to learn because it is the truth and it’s just an open door. It’s not a closed door. I live in the light I don’t live in the darkness. When I’m saying that I treat everyone alike regardless of who they are. Chinese, Black, Whites… End of Interview