The Southwest Collection Archive within the Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University acquires, describes, preserves, and makes accessible to scholars and the general public, archival collections of regional, national, and international significance.
The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library recently debuted a new exhibit entitled “¡Yo Creo en Pancho Clos!” Items in this exhibit come from the SWC’s Bidal and Olga Agüero Papers and the Robert Narvaiz Collection, with some artifacts are on loan from Olga Agüero.
Chicano music legend Lalo Guerrero recorded his song “Pancho Claus” in 1956. The tune was a Chicano adaptation of the famous “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and created a figure that Chicano and Latino children could identify with. In Lubbock, Pancho Clos has become an endearing West Texas twist on Santa Claus, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The figure highlights the Mexican American community’s desire to incorporate a bit of their own culture into the city’s landscape.
According to SWC oral histories and local media articles, the tradition began in 1971 after Agustín T. Medina, Sr., Jesse Reyes, and Bidal Agüero presented the idea to the Lubbock American G. I. Forum. The membership loved it. After a flurry of ideas and suggestions the beloved character was born. Pancho Clos would have a full black beard, wear a serape, and don a sombrero.
The first event was an instant success. 3,000 children posed with Pancho Clos and received a sack filled with candy and other treats. As local churches began clamoring for Pancho Clos, his joyful spirit spread across the region. Soon, Pancho’s giving nature appeared in San Antonio, cities throughout Texas quickly adopting their own iterations. Houston’s Pancho, for instance, adopted a Pachuco-like flair, wearing a flashy red zoot suit and delivering gifts by lowrider.
Over the years the event has relied on numerous volunteers, organizations, and people believing in Pancho Clos. Local bike and car clubs, the American G. I. Forum, Fiestas Del Llano, Girl Scout Troops, the Maggie Trejo Center-City of Lubbock, Los Hermanos Familia, and El Editor have stepped in to keep the tradition alive. Many have embraced the chance to wear the suit: Mike Torres (the first Pancho Clos), Edward Quirino, Gonzalo Garza, and Julian Perez are just a few.
Additional tales of Pancho Clos can be found not just in the collections mentioned above, but also in the SWC’s Hispanic Oral History Collection, including the oral history interviews of Robert Narvaiz, Christy Martinez-Garcia, and Gonzalo Garza.
The Southwest Collection has recently been processing new manuscript materials from Olga Aguero and the late Bidal Aguero. The materials, consisting of photographs, newspapers, business records, and correspondences, highlight the vital and lasting impact of Chicano publications and culture in Lubbock and its surrounding areas. The diverse collection will contribute to Bidal Aguero’s pre-existing Papers as well as other Southwest Collection holdings that include the Miss Hispanic Lubbock Papers, the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Records, the digitized run of El Editor—the South Plains’ Spanish-language newspaper—and other important bi-lingual publications such as the West Texas Hispanic News. Historical gems such as a letter from Bidal Aguero to the Fiestas planning committee in 1977 illustrate how Mexican-Americans organized to create culturally relevant events for the Lubbock community while navigating political ambitions.
A Chicano activist, publisher, and businessperson, Bidal Aguero graduated from Texas Tech University in 1972. While at Texas Tech he joined the student organization Los Tertulianos and later assisted in founding the Texas Tech chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán (MECHA). In 1972 Aguero was instrumental in founding COMA (Commerciantes Organizacion Mexicano Americano), the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, and he was heavily involved in political movements and community organizing in Lubbock and the surrounding areas. Moreover, he found and published the bilingual newspaper El Editor, a publication that highlighted and addressed issues related to the Latinx communities in the region. The newspaper has had a lasting impact in Lubbock and remains a cornerstone of Chicano cultural productions in the South Plains.
A native of Wilson, Texas, Olga Aguero is a Chicana activist and business owner. After high school, she worked with seasonal farmworkers in the Texas South Plains as well as for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. After this effort, she began working for El Editor. She also worked for the Texas Tech University Press, became the first female president of Lubbock’s LULAC chapter, and now leads El Editor. Moreover, she was a co-founder of the regions Hispanic Association of Women. Olga and Bidal’s Papers reflect their long history of activism, community engagement, and publishing in Lubbock and the surrounding South Plains region.
Many of the artifacts included in the Bidal and Olga Aguero Papers relate to El Editor and their other publishing endeavors with Amigo Publications,and illustrate the history of Chicano publications in Lubbock. The first edition of El Editor, along with announcements of publication for the newspaper and El Portovoz, a bi-monthly Chicano magazine, showcase Chicano printing culture in the 1970s. Volume One of El Editor, published on October 12, 1977, introduces the newspaper to its readers and features a story written in Spanish about the ordination of 14 priests, while detailing the adverse living conditions that the community of Barrio Arnett-Benson faced in English text. The bilingual edition invokes Mesoamerican iconography typical to Chicano publications during that time and speaks to some of the issues concerning Mexican-Americans in 1970s Lubbock. Furthermore, the announcements demonstrate the purpose and goals of such publications: El Portavoz and El Editor will “reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Chicano in the United States.”
The Bidal and Olga Aguero Papers also document the history of various Chicano, Hispanic, and Mexican-American organizations in Texas. It contains correspondence, photos, conference programs, political party platforms, and flyers for organizations such as the Hispanic Association of Women, La Raza Unida, and COMA. One interesting item is the directory from COMA, which explains that the item is “the first of its kind every printed in Texas or the nation. . . . The purpose of this directory is to promote the Mexican American businesses.”
Photos in the collection helped capture the moment in other ways, and include women such as Maria Mercado, Esther Zepeda, and Carmen Salazar. There is a conference program for the 3rd Annual Hispanic Women’s Conference held in 1984, an event that attracted hundreds of Hispanic women from Lubbock and area small towns. The conference schedule details workshops that addressed child abuse, accessorizing, trauma, financial planning, and strategies to navigate a patriarchal work place.
Other items highlight the political and economic impact of Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, and Hispanics. A program for the Raza Unida Party’s State Convention in 1976 serves as evidence or Lubbock Chicanos’ engagement in statewide political movements. The state convention included 6 delegates from Lubbock. In fact, the whole event was led by current Lubbock City Council member, Juan Chadis.
If you’d like to view the papers of Bidal Aguero, or these other treasures from our holdings, don’t hesitate to contact our Reference Department and they will get you set up!
Cinco de Mayo, coming up this Tuesday, has got us thinking about Latino history, which in turn got us looking into our collections related to that subject locall and regionally. Our El Editor newspapers and the papers of Bidal Aguero, for example, are used regularly by our patrons. A more recent addition is the records of the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (LHCC). While neither as fulsome as El Editor and Aguero collections, nor full of eye-popping photographs like some of our collections, it nonetheless offers insight into this facet of Lubbock, Texas’ history. Local Chambers of Commerce are critical to many communities, not just financially, but as a socially unifying force. Take for example this flyer for the LHCC’s 2007 award banquet. This event is held every year, and on that occasion featured such luminaries as Congressman Randy Neugebauer and prominent Texas Tech Univeristy figures such as former senator and then-Chancellor Kent Hance.
The LHCC had its genesis in the early 1970s when a group of local Hispanic business leaders formed Comerciantes Organizados Mexico America (COMA), a roster of which can be seen here. In fact, business leader Bidal Aguero (founder of the aforementionedEl Editor and long-time organizer in local politics ranging from the La Raza Unida party to lawsuits against LISD) was key to starting both the COMA and the LHCC. COMA actually ceased operations during the handful of years Aguero was not present in Lubbock in the mid-1970s, but returned strong until its slow metamorphosis into the LHCC.
While the LHCC was helping businesses to grow and develop over the course of decades, its own growth and development expanded noticeably in 2001 when it was named as the Small Chamber of the Year in statewide and national competitions. The term “small chamber” refers to cities below 200,000 in population (a level that Lubbock has since surpassed.) The LHCC’s success was based on its close involvement with a growing Lubbock Hispanic population. Just look at these portions of a study they conducted using the 2000 U.S. Census (part of reams of such documents in the LHCC Records.) Fully 27.5% of Lubbock’s population was Hispanic at that time. Latinos were present in every neighborhood in the city limits, and the population has only increased over the intervening 15 years.
Events such as the LHCC’s “Step up to Success” in 2005, seen above and below, were also successful. The LHCC had become a significant force for the promotion of Latino business by that time, so much so that by 2008 the organization was ready to take its next big step. That April, its membership voted to become a part of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, thereby expanding their influence. The Lubbock Chamber’s membership was quick to approve the merger, and subsequently the Hispanic Business Division of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce was formed.
The LHCC’s story is much fuller than that presented here, of course. But if you’d like to get an idea of the larger picture (or if you’re curious about this or any of the other collections mentioned above), our Reference Staff would be happy to arrange a chance for you to peruse the records. So head on over!
Today is Cinco de Mayo! If you’re the festive type, we encourage you to celebrate the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (if you live in the state of Puebla, Mexico) and America’s strong connections to Mexican heritage generally (if you live in the United States.) With that in mind, we’re taking a look at a long-time Lubbock, Texas (home of the Southwest Collection!) institution: the Spanish language newspaper, El Editor.
Possibly the longest running Hispanic newspaper in Texas, El Editor was founded by Bidál Agüero (1949-2009). Agüero helped found Lubbock’s Commerciantes Organizacion Mexicano Americano (COMA), the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce, in 1972. COMA disappeared when Agüero left town, but then reappeared when he returned. At that time, he also founded El Editor. The cover of Volume 1, Number 1, published in October 1977, can be seen above.
Agüero was also heavily involved in local politics. He joined La Raza Unida Party and ran for local offices such as county commissioner, participated in organizing protests for injustices done against Mexican Americans, and was one of those who filed a lawsuit against the Lubbock Independent School District to change its method of electing school trustees. He even traveled to the Middle East to meet with members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. After the end of the Raza Unida, he joined the Democratic Party. The first page of the December 1980 issue of El Editor mentions both La Raza Unida, as well as one of Agüero’s other causes, the protection and support of recent Latino immigrants to the United States.
Agüero worked in several Lubbock- and West Texas-area social service organizations such as Defensa, Inc., Chicanos Unidos-Campesinos, and Llano Estacado Farmworkers of Tejas to help such groups as migrant workers. He also worked closely with governmental groups such as the South Plains Association of Governments, the State of Texas, and the City of Lubbock. You can see an extensive article about his work with the Llano Estacado Farmworkers of Tejas in this image from Volume 2, Number 25, in May 1979.
Here is the cover is of the most recent issue of El Editor that we have digitized and placed among our online digital collections. You can see how the style and layout changed over the preceding 7 years, but the content remained the same. The newspaper is still being published, and we have a nearly complete set of them. Recent issues can also be found all over Lubbock. If you can read Spanish (although many articles are also in English) you might give it a look. In the meantime, we’ll keep working to digitize and make them available online. Please get in touch with our Reference Staff if you’d like to see the other issues in hard copy.
Submissions for the logo of 1991’s Hispanic Culture Week at TTU, which is held every April.
September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month. This week, we’d like to tell you about Texas Tech’s Hispanic Student Society (HSS) and our University Archive’s collection of its records. The collection contains details about the association’s activities from 1978 to 2006, including financial materials, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, membership rosters, posters, one scrapbook, and over 100 photographs.
In 1964, the Mexican-American organization of Los Tertulianos, which means “the Social Gatherers,” became Texas Tech University’s first student organization composed of minority students. Socializing was a key element of their daily routine, as was encouraging, supporting, and embracing their individual quest for a college degree. A natural progression of its their at an academic institution, students via the association promoted the importance of education, spoke out on social causes, and left a legacy for others to emulate.
This is a promotional flyer for one of the HSS’s many events. This event, Café con Leche, featured several Latino poets and authors sharing their work.
By the early 1970s, Los Tertulianos had assimilated into the University and yet maintained an independent voice. They participated in intramural sports, handcrafted Homecoming floats (their entry won the 1967 Sweepstakes Award,) sponsored a Homecoming Queen, and held an educational seminar for Mexican American high school students. Change in the status quo is never easy, and some viewed Los Tertulianos as militant. Undaunted, the organization continued maturing, and with each new class new challenges were faced and overcome.
At some point the association lost focus, so in 1980 the students refocused and became more active on the social issues front. They renamed the organization the United Mexican-American Students (UMAS.) Like the rising phoenix, this rebirth signaled resurgence in their quest for knowledge of self and heritage. UMAS maintained a foothold on the traditional collegiate experience tempered with a palatable Mexican American flair.
A submission for the HSS logo when the group underwent its most recent reorganization. Many logos were submitted, all of which can be found in this HSS Records.
The next generation of Mexican Americans students decided to remake the group in their own image and created the Hispanic Student Society (HSS). HSS continues to promote education, find avenues of academic support, and contribute to our community.