Sister Irene Muñoz papers
Scope and Contents
The Sister Irene Muñoz papers date from 1973 to 2006 and measure 0.25 linear inches. They include newspaper articles and letters relating to her advocacy work to improve health and safety conditions, housing standards, and educational opportunities for Latino families in Iowa.
- Muñoz, Sister Irene, 1936- (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The papers are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
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Biographical / Historical
The third of seven children, Sister Irene Muñoz was born in 1936 and grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. After completing her training as a registered nurse, she joined the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) in 1956. In 1967, she asked to be placed in Muscatine, Iowa, a Mississippi River town with a significant population of Mexican American agricultural laborers who came each year from Texas to work in the tomato fields near the Heinz Corporation’s Muscatine canning facility.
Sister Irene Muñoz advocated for a child labor law that would restrict children under the age of fourteen from working in the fields. Together with her sister, Sister Molly Muñoz, Sister Irene worked closely with Juan Cadena, director of the Muscatine Migrant Committee, to provide medical care for agricultural laborers in Iowa. A grant from the Department of Health and Human Services helped Sister Irene and her colleagues establish mobile dental and health clinics and bilingual education programs.
She was a founding member of the Midwest Council of La Raza, an organization that advocated for the rights of Latinos in the Midwest. After fifteen years in Muscatine, Sister Irene moved to Ottumwa, where she continued her advocacy work with new generations of Latino men and women employed in Iowa’s meatpacking industry.
0.25 linear inches
Language of Materials
Mexican American activist and nurse who advocated for the rights of migrant workers and Latino families in Iowa.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers (donor no. 994) were donated by Irene Muñoz in 2007.
- Alyse Burnside, 2015.
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