Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Names of Woody Guthrie's Deportees

Miguel Negrete Álvarez

Tomás Aviña de Gracia

Francisco Llamas Durán

Santiago García Elizondo

Rosalio Padilla Estrada

Tomás Padilla Márquez

Bernabé López Garcia

Salvador Sandoval Hernández

Severo Medina Lára

Elías Trujillo Macias

José Rodriguez Macias

Luis López Medina

Manuel Calderón Merino

Luis Cuevas Miranda

Martin Razo Navarro

Ignacio Pérez Navarro

Román Ochoa Ochoa

Ramón Paredes Gonzalez

Guadalupe Ramírez Lára

Apolonio Ramírez Placencia

Alberto Carlos Raygoza

Guadalupe Hernández Rodríguez

Maria Santana Rodríguez

Juan Valenzuela Ruiz

Wenceslao Flores Ruiz

José Valdívia Sánchez

Jesús Meza Santos

Baldomero Marcas Torres

A Los Angeles Times article by Diana Marcum highlights the names of the Mexican citizens memorialized by Woody Guthrie in the song "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos":

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,

A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,

Who are all those friends, all scattered like dry leaves?

On January 28, 1948, a plane chartered by U.S. Immigration Services left Oakland carrying 32 people, including 28 Mexicans. Many had finished work on the Bracero (guest worker) Program. A return trip to Mexico was part of the deal. Others had entered the country illegally.

In the middle of the Central Valley, near Coalinga, an engine on the World War II surplus DC-3 exploded. More than 100 witnesses watched bodies and luggage thrown from the fireball. There were no survivors. 

The Times story tells the fascinating story of how the names of the deportees were uncovered in just the last few years and how a monument with their names will soon be unveiled.



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