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Chicano Studies Research Center Library

Serving the UCLA and Chicano community since 1969

Oral Histories 101

What to Know

Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews. These interviews are conducted with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record for future generations. Wikipedia

CSRC Oral History Collections

Latino Arts Survey

In the early 2010s, the CSRC initiated the Oral Histories Series with the intent to publish the life narratives of prominent Chicano and Latino figures. The following life narratives are specifically about artists and the arts. They were conducted as part of a Latino Arts Survey Project (see the finding aid for the project archive here). They have been recorded and transcribed, and the interviewer and interviewee have reviewed and corrected the transcriptions prior to publication. These oral histories are often undertaken as part of a larger research project and in tandem with archival collections and library holdings.

In addition to these oral histories and their accompanying archival collections, the CSRC also holds oral histories from the following artists (some restrictions apply):

  • Aguilar, Laura (artist/photographer)
  • Azaceta, Luis Cruz (artist)
  • Brito, Maria (artist)
  • Campos-Pons, Maria Magdalena (artist)
  • Castillo, Oscar (artist/photographer)
  • Cervantes, Yreina (artist)
  • Chavez, Roberto (artist)
  • Esparza, Ruben (artist)
  • Estopinan, Roberto (artist/sculpture)
  • Ferrer, Rafael (artist)
  • Galan, John (artist)
  • Garcia, Camille Rose (artist)
  • Garza, Carmen Lomas (artist)
  • Gronk (artist)
  • Gutierrez, Robert (artist)
  • Healy, Wayne (artist)
  • Herrera, Carmen (artist)
  • Huereque, Jef (artist)
  • Larios, Dora de (artist/sculpture/ceramist)
  • Legorreta, Robert "Cyclona"
  • Lopez, Alma (artist)
  • Lopez, Yolanda (artist)
  • Mesa-Bains, Amalia (artist)
  • Montoya, Jose (artist)
  • Montoya, Malaquias (artist)
  • Munoz, Celia Alvarez (artist)
  • Ortiz, Joe (artist)
  • Ortiz, Raphael Montanez (artist)
  • Osorio, Pepon (artist)
  • Otero, Nester (artist)
  • Ramos, Carmen (artist/curator)
  • Reyes, Miguel Angel (artist)
  • Self-Help Graphics (artist organization)
  • Siqueiros, Francesco (artist)
  • Torres-Figueroa, Brenda (artist)
  • Tropicana, Carmelita (and Ella) (artist)
  • Zermeno, Andy (artist)
  • Ybarra-Frausto, Tomas (art historian/curator/academic)

Latino Writers

These collections were brought to the CSRC by Dr. Marissa Lopez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. It is still being processed and restrictions apply, however, please contact the Librarian at for details on access and permissions.

  • Condes, Yvonne (author)
  • Darling, Nikki (author/artist)
  • Escobar, Elizam (author/writer/poet)
  • Falcon, Luis Nieves (author)
  • Gilb, Dagoberto (author)
  • Grande, Reyna (author)
  • Lopez, Adolfo Guzman (author/journalist)
  • Molina, Adriana (author)
  • Norte, Marisela (author/writer/poet)
  • Olivas, Daniel (author)
  • Ramirez, Horacio Roque (author/writer/oral historian)
  • Reyes, Veronica (author)
  • Sanchez, Julian (author)
  • Tobar, Hector (author)

UCLA Center for Oral History Research

Central Americans in Southern California 

Central Americans in Los Angeles in the 1980s is a series of interviews that includes activists who were involved in founding and sustaining organizations in the Central American community in the 1980s. It examines the participants' activism and political persecution in Central America, their immigration to the U.S., and the ways they organized to serve the rapidly growing Central American community in Los Angeles.

Latinas and Latinos in Music 

There are four (4) interviews under this subject area which include interviews with:

These interviews fall under the series Central Avenue Sounds Oral History Project, which preserves the spoken memories of individuals, mainly musicians, who were raised near and/or performed on Los Angeles's Central Avenue from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s.

Mexican American Civil Rights 


Community Service Organization Oral Histories - The Community Service Organization, commonly known as the CSO, was founded in 1947 as a civil rights advocacy group that boasted a multi-ethnic membership. Individuals selected for this oral history series resided in Los Angeles during the 1940s and joined the Community Service Organization during its formative years. The combined narratives of these interviews highlight wartime community life and outline historical precursors to the Chicano Movement.

Mexican American Civil Rights Pioneers: Historical Roots of an Activist Generation - The purpose of this series is to document the social justice activism of the Mexican American generation and to explore family and community life in war-time Los Angeles. Individuals selected for this series resided in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s and began their civic participation prior to 1960. Represented groups include a wide range of activists, including labor, political, and educational activists. Their combined experience underscores war-time community life and outlines the historical precursors to the Chicano Movement.

UCLA Chicano Studies

These interviews document the rise of Chicano studies at UCLA and the founding of the Chicano Studies Research Center. Interviewees were involved in Chicano studies in the late 1960s and early ‘70s as students, faculty, or staff.

Sleepy Lagoon Case 

There are four (4) interviews under this subject area which include interviews with:

For more information, see these related archival collections at UCLA:

Latina/o History

Latinx in Politics and Government

There are thirteen (13) interviews under this subject area which include interviews with:

  • Alarcon, Arthur L.
  • Alatorre, Richard J.
  • Davis, Grace Montañez
  • Garcia, Miguel F. II
  • Hernandez, Mike
  • Huerta, John E.
  • Luevano, Daniel M.
  • Martinez, Richard A.
  • Molina, Gloria
  • Navarro, Armando
  • Santillan, Richard A.
  • Soto, Nell
  • Soto, Philip L.

"La Batalla Está Aquí": The Chicana/o Movement in Los Angeles

The interviews in this series document the ideological transformation of the Chicana and Chicano generations in Los Angeles. Dissatisfied with their position in U.S. society, Chicana and Chicano activists built a civil rights movement from the ground up. Interviewees were selected based on their experience as members or leaders of Chicana and Chicano Movement organizations from 1962 to 1978. Collectively the oral histories document a variety of social justice struggles that include, but are not limited to, educational improvement, union advocacy, voting, and political rights, gender equality, and anti-war activism.

Women's Issues

Women’s Activist Lives in Los Angeles is a series of interviews done by graduate research assistants under the auspices of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women. The series addresses the diverse ways in which women’s social movement activities affected public policy and transformed civic institutions such as education, social services, and the art world in Los Angeles. Several of the oral histories also focus on individuals who were involved with the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, which the Center for the Study of Women and the Chicano Studies Research center were involved in bringing to UCLA Library Special Collections at the time the oral histories were being done.

Other Related Oral History Projects