New York City Municipal Archives, NYCMA_WPA-FWP_B1_03
Interview with a man from Guajaca (Oaxaca), Mexico, conducted by Mary Testa, reporter for the New York City Unit of the Federal Writers' Project, March 1, 1939. From Spanish Book—Life Histories (Part 1).
When was this man born? How old was he when he came to the U.S.?
What was this man seeking when he came to the U.S.?
Describe this man’s life in his native Mexico. Did his life improve or decline after he came to America?
Overall, would you say this man was happy or not? Explain.
Whom does he hold responsible for his situation in life?
What job did he do in Detroit, and how did he learn the skills necessary for the job?
Whom does he mean when he says, “They should come to their senses and give people decent places to live”?
What reason does this man give for moving to Harlem?
What is this man’s opinion of labor unions? What is your evidence?
What does he feel is an option for him to improve his life now?
Research the 1918 Ford factory strike and/or the steel mill strikes of the time in Detroit. What would this man’s experiences as a strikebreaker have been? What was the Crisis of 1921? Make a timeline of this man’s life experiences.
This man speaks of Cardenas and Franco from Mexico. Who were they and what were their policies?
Create a collage that incorporates the activities associated with WPA programs during the New Deal.
Music: Write a ballad about this man’s life. Set it to music that fits with the emotion of the story. Find labor union songs from the 1920s. What are they about?
English Language Arts: Write a letter to your family back home telling how things have changed for you, having come from being the poor child of a peon family/cattle rancher/steel worker/ dishwasher you were to the busboy you are now.
English as a Second Language/Foreign Language: Use key phrases to describe the progression of this man’s life.
Art: Make a collage that includes images that represent this man’s experiences as an immigrant.
Math: Using the inflation calculator listed under Resources below, determine what this man’s wages in the 1920s and 1930s would be today. Would you say he made a lot of money or not? Explain.