The Ernest Rodriguez papers date from 1910 to 2007 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers were donated as part of the Mujeres Latinas Project, a project of the Iowa Women's Archives to preserve family and community history of Iowa Latinas and Latinos. The papers are organized in four series: Biographical information(1910-2005); Newspaper clippings (1968-2006); Organizations (1959-2007); Writings and publications (1968-2007).
The Biographical information series (1910-2005) includes a copy of Rodriguez's birth certificate, which states his birth as "Box Car #8" in Bettendorf, Iowa. The boxcars were located in the predominately Mexican settlement known as Holy City on the Bettendorf riverfront south of State Street and extending east of the former Bettendorf Shops for approximately one mile. A "tank farm" now occupies this area. The series includes his father's 1910 immigration card and later correspondence with immigration and naturalization officials.Â A computer-generated map of Holy City is included as well as the history of the Macias brothers, who came to Holy City during the First World War.
The Newspaper clippings series (1968-2006) includes articles about Rodriguez's role in civil rights work in the Quad Cities area from the implementation of police seminars in the 1960s to his work as the Rock Island Arsenal's first Spanish-speaking program coordinator.Â Later clippings include reports of awards for his civil rights activism and an article about the death of his nephew, Marine Sgt. Norbert Gene Simmons in Da Nang, South Vietnam in 1966.
The Organizations series (1959-2007) reflects the wide range of community and social justice activities undertaken by Ernest Rodriguez. The LULAC Council 10 materials consist of histories and anniversary celebrations, plus a Latino guide to the Quad Cities. Included is information about the Chicano Educational Productions, a non-profit organization directed by Rodriguez, which broadcast a bilingual educational television program in the 1970s.
The Writings and publications series (1968-2007) contains Rodriguez's presentations, speeches, letters to the editor, radio scripts, histories and memoirs. Topics in the radio broadcast scripts for "Viewpoint" range from migrant worker rights in Iowa to the1976 passage of the bill to establish the Iowa Spanish Speaking Peoples Commission - signed into law by Iowa Governor Robert Ray. The speeches were written to address groups ranging from University of Iowa law students to Mexican Americans in Fort Madison, Iowa. The writings in "Impressions" have been kept in their original binder; they include papers he wrote on civil rights in the Midwest and the Southwest, the emergence of the Chicano movement, and the role of the Catholic Church in promoting social justice, as well as family histories.