A People’s History of the Inland Empire Digital Archive

California Citrus State Historic Park Oral Histories

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  • Simona Valero Interview

    Simona Valero has been part of the Casa Blanca Community for decades since she was a little girl until much later into her life. She lived in Casa Blanca with her parents and family member during the boom of citrus in Southern California. She and her husband John met as a result of the bracero program that allowed John to come and work in the United States. She dedicated much of her life to the development of much of Casa Blanca’s culture and social programs. Not only was she part of Casa Blanca’s development but she also experienced many of the effects of citrus work during that time like many of Casa Blanca. Simona discusses the various cultures, religions, and people that were apart of Casa Blanca since her time as part of the community. Simona also provides various anecdotes of family events and experiences that made her who she is to this day.
  • Richard Rubio Interview

    Richard Rubio discusses his family history and upbringing; his grandparents were displaced by the Mexican Revolution and fled to the United States. From there, they became involved with the citrus industry from a more administrative level, given their upper-class Mexican background and coinciding education. He discusses numerous odd-end jobs his family pursued throughout mainly California, while occasionally touching upon the controversial politics surrounding the Bracero Program of the 1930s. Rubio's interview provides a good description of the Bracero camp amenities, rules, varying conditions or camps around California, and the apparel of those arriving at the camp.
  • Ray Villanueva Interview at the Citrus State Historic Park 2017 Tasting

    Ray discusses his experiences working within packing houses in the Inland Empire's Citrus Industry.
  • Guadalupe Chavez Interview at the Citrus State Historic Park 2017 Tasting

    This interview in Spanish recounts the life of Guadalupe as she worked in California's citrus industry throughout southern California. She discusses the nuances of this work, such as gender roles within the industry that dictated women work in packaging and men in the fields.
  • Bashid Muhammad Darwah Interview at the Citrus State Historic Park 2017 Tasting

    This interview focuses on the citrus industry from a nontraditional perspective-that of an Afghani immigrant. The interview details the wars experienced by Bashid while living in Afghanistan prior to his arrival in the USA. It also expands upon the challenges faced by Afghani agriculturalists in the Nangarhar Provence of Afghanistan.
  • Dr. Lulamae Clemons Interview

    Doctor Lulamae Clemons with her son Frank McClanahan came to Riverside in 1955 and began to participate in a series of civil rights movements, dedicated to desegregating the schools in Riverside, as well as those in Rialto. In this interview, Doctor Lumamae Clemons discusses the struggles she went through during her early life, and her experiences in her involvement in various social groups such as NAACP, the Urban League, and so on. Frank McClanahan, who spent more than thirty-five years in Riverside with Doctor Clemons, also shared his experience in witnessing how Riverside transformed from orange groves into a sizable and comprehensive city.
  • Dr. Lulamae Clemons Video Interview

    Doctor Lulamae Clemons was born in Weiner, Arkansas on December 27th, 1917 and moved to Pueblo, Colorado when she was young. After moving to Colorado, Lulamae attended Pueblo Elementary School. She graduated from Centennial High School, Pueblo, Colorado in 1984, and later in her life, she met with Doc Ray W. Johnson, who decided to give colored students a chance, in New York during an interview, and moved to Riverside to continue with her career. In this interview, Doctor Lulamae Clemons discusses the hardship and struggles she went through in her early life. As the pioneer African American educator in Riverside, she faced many oppositions from some local board members. Despite the difficulties and obstacles, she ended up earning her doctorate degree in Education, as well as publishing books for the local educators. In the end, she also shared some interesting moments of her interactions with Riverside County students, and some fun facts about herself.
  • Interview with Citrus Packer Lupe Reyes

    Lupe Reyes discusses her early life in Riverside, California, and her experience working as a packer in the citrus fruit industry.
  • Antonio Nava Interview

    Antonio Nava discusses early life in Rancho Sespe, living in the village, education, family life, and community life on the ranch.
  • Connie Tepezano, Deanna Reese, Lee August Group Interview

    Connie Tepeezano describes life as a Mexican American and life in Rancho Sespe to Interviewer August Lee, who is working for the Citrus Heritage Park. To reconstruct the village's replica, Mrs. Tepezano recalls the social life in the village and how she raised her family in Rancho Sespe as well as employment in the citrus industry.
  • Steve Solis Interview, Tape 2

    Interviewee Steve Solis discusses hardships and day-to-day routine working in the orange packing industry.
  • John and Alice Castorena, Lee August Interview

    Married couple Alice and John Castorena retell their lives as Mexican American immigrants and describe their work, community, and social life in the citrus industry living in Rancho Sespe.
  • Robert Renfro Interview Tape #2

    A discussion of citrus auctions and the pricing of citrus in New York as well as its packaging during the mid-to-late twentieth century.
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    Raquel Aguirre Interview

    Raquel Aguirre describes her early life in Mexico and immigrating to the United States for work opportunities. With no family, she details meeting her husband and the nuances of working in a packinghouse from supervisors, and unions to her personal life aspirations.
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    Mirella Munoz and IE Citrus: From Mexico City to Riverside, CA

    1990 Mirella Munoz's interview discusses her early life in Mexico City, reared by her grandmother, and her immigration to the United States after what she describes as a very hard childhood. Mirella ultimately settled In Riverside California working as a sorter in the National Orange Company packinghouse. Mirella details work dynamics, packinghouse supervisors, unions, and education.
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    Floyd Davis and Lee August

    Rancher Floyd Davis' account of rural life in the Inland Empire during the twentieth century working on and owning citrus farms while overseeing Latino workers and living on a small budget.
  • Ralph Horman discusses life in Tarzana and Calabasas, CA

    Ralph Horman reflects on the construction of the L.A. Aqueduct, and the development of Tarzana and Calabasas, CA during the first half of the 20th century. Land use by the government during World War II and dairy farming are also discussed.
  • Ted Gibson - Development of Encino, CA

    Ted Gibson, an early resident of Encino, discusses the early rural life of the town including his role in getting a post office in the area, his participation in the chamber of commerce, and also local stories about the resident celebrities. Most of the content deals with the mid-1920s through the early 1940s.
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    Robert Renfro Interview Tape #1

    Interview with Robert Renfro, manager of National Orange Co. discusses his family and life at King Ranch in Luverne and labor in the citrus industry.
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    Tom Mazzetti Interview

    Interview with Tom Manzetti at the Blue Banner Packinghouse in Riverside. Manzetti the owner of National Oranger, discusses his life in Riverside and work in the citrus industry, focusing particularly on the details of Sunkist and citrus cooperatives.
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    Citrus Project Interview

    Anonymous interviewee describes her lifelong relationship with labor beginning in Mexico at the age of thirteen, to migrating to the United States and setting as a sorter for the National Orange Company in Riverside. She describes the hardships of labor in packinghouses, wages, supervisors, and her aspirations for a better job.
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    Carmelo Tepezano, Dr. Tobey, Lee August Interview

    Carmelo Tepezano describes his and his family's history in the Citrus industry working at Rancho Sespe. Discusses the Bracero Program, Japanese workers, his time in the army, and racial discrimination at Rancho Sespe.
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    Elanor Hanson, Pan, Whetheral, Olivera Interview

    Elanor Hansen describes growing up in Rancho Sespe as the daughter of the manager of the Ranch in the post-war era.
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    Silva Ramirez, Angela Gonzalez, and Martha Olivera Interview

    Interviewee Angela Gonzalez describes being born into Rancho Sespe reletting her childhood, the dynamics of working at the ranch, and community life in Rancho Sespe.
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    Steve Solis interview, Tape 1

    Steve Solis discusses his family history in Riverside as well as working as a house manager in the National Orange Company Packing House and what his position encompasses.