Margaret Del Prado

As interviewed by Isa Lippman, March 25, 2018

Margaret Del Prado: In Her Own Words

Margaret Del Prado. I went to school up to about the seventh grade and then I got my GED [General Education Diploma]. There was always a lot of prejudice in our small town. We had a theatre. African-American people had to sit upstairs in the balcony, they couldnít sit with the Hispanics.

Were there ever moments of discrimination in your close family?

My sister, when she got married to Uncle Jimmy. They rented an apartment, he rented it by himself, and then they went over, they just got married, and they saw she was Hispanic and they said, ďOh, the apartments been rented.Ē They donít think you were ever good enough mija. We didnít really talk about it that much at home. We just hung around with our own race.

Do you remember if you had any local heroes in your town growing up or in your country?

Just that General Zaragoza that was born [and fought in] during the Battle of the Alamo. That General Zaragoza -- the statue there [at the Alamo]. General Zaragoza was a Mexican General that led the Mexican army that defeated invading French forces at the Battle of Pueblo and is known by his famous quotation: Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria ("The national arms have been covered with glory.") My grandma always looked up to him as a hero, not specifically a civil rights hero.

I had white friends. They even invited me to go eat [with them]. They liked me, but they didnít like some of the other girls.

Do you recall hearing about the death of Martin Luther King Jr.?

Yes, but I guess I was already married.

Did his death cause any changes in the way you thought about civil rights?

He was out there trying to do good. This will change the world a little, which it still has not changed, I donít think. They really advanced a lot more so there is not as much -- Everybodyís getting educated.

Where do you think the most progress has been made?

In the education of more Hispanics. Everybodyís more advanced. There are more minorities now [which I believe decreases the amount of discrimination]. It didnít occur to me to think if I gained from it or not.

Growing up as a young mom were things ever different for you personally, did you ever fear for the future of your children?

No not really. In my family we didnít talk about me being a young mother often and we still donít to this day. It never brought a change upon me personally. I didnít fear for my children because they wouldnít have to go to segregated schools unlike my sister. I never had to go to segregated schools but there were always restaurants and water fountains that were segregated for a while.