Stanford Emeriti Council Autobiographical Reflections

Albert Camarillo: Growing Up Mexican American

Episode Summary

Albert Camarillo, Stanford Professor emeritus of History, reflects on growing up as a Mexican American in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton and the profound effect of that environment and the opportunities it provided in shaping his scholarship and his life. He discusses racial restrictive covenants, changing demographics, school integration in the 1960s, and the value of playing team sports. As one of very few Mexican American students when he entered UCLA, he met his wife Susan and discovered the nascent field of Chicano history, going on to earn the first PhD in this field. Coming to Stanford in 1975 as an affirmative action hire, he praises senior faculty mentors in the history department. After founding Stanford’s Center for Chicano Research, he directed the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and credits Stanford for taking a chance and investing in the development of this new field. He mentions chairing a major two-year study, the University Commission on Minority Issues. And he notes that his service as associate dean of Humanities & Sciences helped him learn how the university works from the inside.

Episode Notes

Albert Camarillo, Stanford Professor emeritus of History, reflects on growing up as a Mexican American in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton and the profound effect of that environment and the opportunities it provided in shaping his scholarship and his life. He discusses racial restrictive covenants, changing demographics, school integration in the 1960s, and the value of playing team sports. As one of very few Mexican American students when he entered UCLA, he met his wife Susan and discovered the nascent field of Chicano history, going on to earn the first PhD in this field. Coming to Stanford in 1975 as an affirmative action hire, he praises senior faculty mentors in the history department. After founding Stanford’s Center for Chicano Research, he directed the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and credits Stanford for taking a chance and investing in the development of this new field. He mentions chairing a major two-year study, the University Commission on Minority Issues. And he notes that his service as associate dean of Humanities & Sciences helped him learn how the university works from the inside.