Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

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In 1978 the Accounting and Administration Department was formed by combining many of the administrative tasks of the President's office with the work done by the accounting office.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 3, Finance and Administration Department, 1967-1991. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866027

The Leadership Development and Activation Project (LDAP) began as a subsection of the Community Education and Activation Project in 1980, and was overseen by Ralph Hurtado as director. LDAP's primary responsibility of this section was to plan and administer leadership seminars for Mexican-American men and women in San Francisco and Alameda Counties to create a pool of leaders from which community agencies and policy-making boards or commissions could appoint new members. The program was later expanded to several major cities. Seminars were financed in part through grants from the Dayton Hudson foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. In addition to regularly scheduled seminars, retreats and day-long sessions in Sacramento were held. Seminar topics included public speaking, housing, government, and organizational skills.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 6.5, Leadership Programs, 1979-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866034

When MALDEF began in 1968, General Counsel Mario Obledo oversaw litigation. Obledo continued his oversight when his job grew to include the presidency of MALDEF in 1970. By 1972, the organization comprised five offices, several more lawyers, and more cases. Obledo appointed Sanford Jay Rosen Legal Director; and he remained in that position from 1972 until 1976. In 1976 Morris Baller was appointed Director of Developmental Litigation, a position he held until he became Coordinator of Litigation in 1979. In 1980 Vilma Martinez restructured MALDEF so that there were three vice presidents, and Baller was named Vice President of Legal Programs. This record group includes the files generated and collected by Rosen and Baller from 1972 until 1983, as they directed and developed MALDEF's litigation.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 5, Legal Programs Department, 1968-1983. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866029

The Community Education and Activation Project was initiated in 1976 to "help major Chicano communities ...become familiar with favorable laws and court decisions which have dramatic potential for positively affecting their lives". It was to focus on the census count, bilingual education, voting rights, and illegal immigration and the labor force because MALDEF realized that the Chicano community was often neither aware of, nor effected by MALDEF's successful litigation.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 6, Community Education and Activation program, 1976-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866033

MALDEF began in 1968 with a Ford Foundation grant; their main office was in San Antonio and there was a branch office in Los Angeles. In 1970 the Ford Foundation recommended that the main office be relocated from Texas; the MALDEF Board of Directors then opened a national headquarters in San Francisco, and made the San Antonio office a regional office. MALDEF added a Denver office in 1971, and added offices in Albuquerque and Washington D.C. in 1972. The Board closed the Los Angeles office in 1974, and reopened it in 1975; during that time San Francisco attorneys handled ongoing cases, but no new work was begun. The Albuquerque office was closed permanently in 1976. In 1980 MALDEF opened a midwest regional office in Chicago, where they had previously maintained a small program office. In the early years, the offices concentrated on local legal work, and were funded by the initial Ford grant. Later work was determined by the priorities of MALDEFs leader-ship, and by the availability of funding for various projects. In 1971, MALDEF decided to add petitioning, lobbying, and work with community groups to their courtroom work. In 1973 the leadership decided that their legal work should be only impact litigation, rather than legal services work.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 9, Regional and Program Offices, 1967-2002. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866037

From 1968 to 1970, the positions of MALDEF's president and general counsel were held by two people: president Pete Tijerina was responsible for the administration of the organization, while general counsel Mario Obledo oversaw litigation. At the request of the Ford Foundation the positions were merged and assigned to Obledo in 1970. An office administrator was then hired for day to day administrative tasks, and a legal director later managed some of the oversight of litigation. In 1973 Obledo left MALDEF and was replaced by Vilma Martinez, who held the office from 1973 until 1982; during her term MALDEF grew both programmatically and in personnel. Joaquin Avila served as president and general counsel from 1982 until 1985; his tenure followed a large reduction in government support, and so was a time of budget cutting, but also of some programmatic innovations. In addition to organizational oversight, MALDEF's presidents were ex-officio members of the board of directors. As MALDEF's national presence increased, they were called upon to act as spokespersons for the Latino community, especially with regard to legal issues. The records preserved by the first three chief administrators reflect these several roles, although they differ in size, scope, and organization, because of the presidents' different charges, their differences in individual style and changes in MALDEF. Additional records generated by the first three presidents, and by the fourth president, Joaquin Avila, can be found in each of the other record groups.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 2, Office of President and General Counsel, 1968-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866026

The Policy Studies and Research department, an outgrowth of the Community Education and Activation Project, was founded in September 1977, using a grant from the Ford Foundation received the previous July. Eduardo Marenco was appointed to the directorship of this section, which was intended as a research unit to identify issues of interest beyond litigation. Research papers were commissioned for use both internally and in conferences and workshops, and a research network encouraged to develop. Areas of special interest pursued by the department included equal educational opportunity, voting rights and political access, equal employment opportunity, and naturalization. Funded studies included a study of law school admissions criteria and a study of differences in educational opportunity and outcome between Anglos and Mexican Americans. A Minorities and Women project, funded by the National Institute of Education, was intended to provide minorities and women with one-year research opportunities, until the closure of the Policy Studies and Research department circa 1983.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 7, Policy Studies and Research Department, 1973-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866036

The Department of Development and Public Relations began in 1976 with a dual task: to present the public face of MALDEF and to raise funds. The Development Department solicited donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations through fundraising events, direct mail campaigns, and grant applications. The Communications Department achieved visibility through benefit dinners, fiestas, public appearances by MALDEF's officers and press releases. MALDEF shared information regarding their work, and the rights and resources available to the Chicano community through brochures, newsletters, annual reports, and thematic special events. Prior to 1976 James Perez was director of fundraising. Jane Couch served as Director of Development and Public Relations from 1976 to 1980, and as Vice-President of Research, Development and Public Affairs from 1980 to 1982.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 4, Development and Communications Department, 1976-1983. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866028

MALDEF's Board of Directors is the organization's governing body; the directors assist the lead staff in program planning, fundraising, and administrative decisions. The frequency of Board meetings has varied over the years, but board subcommittees met at least semiannually. The Executive Committee, the Program and Planning Committee the Fiscal and Fundraising Committee, the Personnel and Nominations committee and the Community Education and Activation Program were the standing subcommittees. In addition, special committees of the Board have been formed on an ad hoc basis. As MALDEF grew and changed, the Board changed, in size, in demographics, in responsibilities, and in rules governing membership. The original Board was formed through Pete Tijerina's organization of MALDEF committees in several Southwestern states. All of the Board members at that time were male Chicano attorneys, except for Jack Greenberg, from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1970 the Ford Foundation asked the Board to diversify its membership, ethnically, geographically, and occupationally. This was accomplished by adding 16 positions to the Board; the new membership also included two women. In 1971 the Board voted to limit Board membership to two two-year consecutive terms. Some Board members later rejoined the Board after a hiatus; there were also a few individuals who were both staff members and board members at different times.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 1, Board of Directors records, 1967-1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754866023

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Eudcational Fund, a national advocacy organization for Mexican Americans, was incorporated in 1967 by Pete Tijerina, following a meeting convened by Jack Greenberg of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, between Tijerina, San Antonians Albert Peą and Roy Padilla, and Bill Pincus, a Ford Foundation representative. When Pincus said that the Foundation would be willing to consider a proposal for funding a Mexican American legal organization, Tijerina filed the papers for incorporation, conducted research for writing the proposal, and made an organizing tour of five southwestern states. Tijerina organized MALDEF committees in California, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as his native Texas. In May 1968, MALDEF received a 2.2 million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation to be used over five years, and in August 1968 MALDEF began work.

In 1970, the Ford Foundation told MALDEF that further funding was contingent on the organization making certain changes. The Foundation asked that the positions of president and general counsel be merged, that the organization's headquarters be moved to New York or Washington, and that the litigation strategy not be like that of a legal aid office. The Board of Directors complied with the merging of positions and named Mario Obledo head of MALDEF. They also moved the main office to San Francisco, retaining the San Antonio office as a branch office. Obledo added impact litigation and community outreach to MALDEF's programs, and added staff to handle administrative and fundraising activities. MALDEF added new branch offices, in Denver in 1971, and in Albuquerque and Washington in 1972.

In 1973, Obledo resigned, in part because of negative rulings that MALDEF received on important litigation under his leadership. The board hired Vilma Martinez to replace Obledo; Martinez had been a lawyer for the NAACP-LDF, served on MALDEF's board, and assisted with fundraising. Her first priority on taking the position was to "reorganize to increase effectiveness", and to that end she created an intern/extern program for lawyers, instituted a Chicana Rights Project, and a Voting Rights Project, during her first two years in office. She focused litigation on important test cases, as the NAACP-LDF had done, to develop a body of favorable precedent on which to argue more far-reaching cases.

In 1976 MALDEF created the Community Education and Activation Project, with a Public Policy Research component, which later spun off into a separate department. Both programs, while non-legal, were intended to enhance what MALDEF accomplished legally: CEAP was to inform the Mexican American community of both newly won rights, and those that they were not currently exercising, while the program that became the Policy Studies and Research Department in 1978 was to conduct research into what litigation was required to accomplish certain goals most effectively. The Leadership Development and Advocacy Program was also a spin-off of CEAP, and was created in 1980 to prepare a pool of Chicanos for appointments to commissions and boards by increasing their sophistication about the political process in their communities.

From the description of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records, 1967-2002. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462018925

Historical Note

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Eudcational Fund was incorporated in 1967 by Pete Tijerina, following a meeting convened by Jack Greenberg of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, between Tijerina, San Antonians Albert Peña and Roy Padilla, and Bill Pincus, a Ford Foundation representative. When Pincus said that the Foundation would be willing to consider a proposal for funding a Mexican American legal organization, Tijerina filed the papers for incorporation, conducted research for writing the proposal, and made an organizing tour of five southwestern states. Tijerina organized MALDEF committees in California, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as his native Texas. In May 1968, MALDEF received a 2.2 million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation to be used over five years, and in August 1968 MALDEF began work.

For the first two years MALDEF had headquarters in San Antonio and a branch office in Los Angeles. The board of directors was comprised of people from the organizing committees of the five states to which Tijerina had traveled; in addition to Tijerina, Greenberg, and Peña, there was Carlos Cadena, Albert Armendáriz, State Senator Joe Bernal, Gregory Luna, and Father Henry Casso from Texas; Louis García, Richard Ibañez, and Frank Muñoz, from California; Manuel Garcí of Arizona and Dan Sosa of New Mexico. The Ford Foundation had included $250,000 in their grant to establish a scholarship fund; a committee was set up to administer this grant, giving funds to Chicano law students, in the hope of increasing the number of Chicano lawyers who might engage in civil rights work on behalf of Mexican Americans. Pete Tijerina was MALDEF's first president, and Mario Obledo was named general counsel of the organization.

In 1970, the Ford Foundation told MALDEF that further funding was contingent on the organization making certain changes. The Foundation asked that the positions of president and general counsel be merged, that the organization's headquarters be moved to New York or Washington, and that the litigation strategy not be like that of a legal aid office. The Board of Directors complied with the merging of positions and named Mario Obledo head of MALDEF. They also moved the main office to San Francisco, retaining the San Antonio office as a branch office. Obledo added impact litigation and community outreach to MALDEF's programs, and added staff to handle administrative and fundraising activities. MALDEF added new branch offices, in Denver in 1971, and in Albuquerque and Washington in 1972.

In 1973, Obledo resigned, in part because of negative rulings that MALDEF received on important litigation under his leadership. The board hired Vilma Martinez to replace Obledo; Martinez had been a lawyer for the NAACP-LDF, served on MALDEF's board, and assisted with fundraising. Her first priority on taking the position was to "reorganize to increase effectiveness", and to that end she created an intern/extern program for lawyers, instituted a Chicana Rights Project, and a Voting Rights Project, during her first two years in office. She focused litigation on important test cases, as the NAACP-LDF had done, to develop a body of favorable precedent on which to argue more far-reaching cases.

In 1976 MALDEF createdthe Community Education and Activation Project, with a Public Policy Research component, which later spun off into a separate department. Both programs, while non-legal, were intended to enhance what MALDEF accomplished legally: CEAP was to inform the Mexican American community of both newly won rights, and those that they were not currently exercising, while the program that became the Policy Studies and Research Department in 1978 was to conduct research into what litigation was required to accomplish certain goals most effectively. The Leadership Development and Advocacy Program was also a spin-off of CEAP, and was created in 1980 to prepare a pool of Chicanos for appointments to commissions and boards by increasing their sophistication about the political process in their communities.

AS MALDEF continued to grow both in program and in personnel, Martinez reorganized the reporting structure once again in 1980, creating three vice presidencies: a vice president for legal programs, a vice president for research, development, and public affairs, and a vice president for finance and administration. In 1980, MALDEF also added a regional office in Chicago, replacing a small program office that had been set up there in 1979 to do a census awareness project. In 1981 Maritnez announced she would be resigning in 1982.

Joaquin Avila was named president and general counsel in 1982; he had been with MALDEF since 1976, serving as a staff attorney, as the director of the Voting Rights Project, and as the Associate Counsel in charge of the San Antonio office. Because this collection was given to Stanford during Avila's presidency, his presidential papers are not part of the collection which has been processed to date.

From the guide to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1968 -1983, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 6, Community Education and Activation program, 1976-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Rios, Rolando L.,. Oral history interview with Rolando L. Rios, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 6.5, Leadership Programs, 1979-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Luna, Gregory,. Oral history interview with Gregory Luna, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Arriola, Roland S. (Roland Simon),. Oral history interview with Roland S. Arriola, 1999 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Luera, Alberto, 1946-. Oral history interview with Alberto Luera, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 7, Policy Studies and Research Department, 1973-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Zamora, Aguinaldo,. Oral history interview with Aguinaldo Zamora, 1998 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Rangel, Irma,. Oral history interview with Irma Rangel, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 1, Board of Directors records, 1967-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Eduardo Idar, Jr. Papers 1991-17. 65341696., 1941-2002 (bulk 1941-1981) Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Galarza, Ernesto, 1905-1984. Ernesto Galarza papers, 1936-1993. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Samora, Julian, 1920-1996. Julian Samora papers, 1934- University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records, 1967-2002. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Organizations -- MALDEF. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Castillo, Leonel (Leonel J.). Leonel Castillo Collection 1958-1979. Houston Area Library Auto Network
referencedIn Theresa Aragon de Shepro papers, 1962-1979 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Frank I. Sanchez Papers, 1951-1999 (bulk 1970-1996) The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
referencedIn Bernal, Joe, 1927-. Joe J. Bernal papers, 1942-1981, bulk 1964-1979. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Garza, Josue,. Oral history interview with Josue Garza, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). Human Services Dept. Seattle Human Services Dept. director's records, 1971-2004. Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Peña, Albert,. Oral history interview with Albert Peña, Jr., 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Martínez, Jimmy, 1942-. Oral history interview with Jimmy Martínez, 1997 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Bernal, Joe, 1927-. Oral history interview with Joe Bernal, 2003 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Dr. Ramiro R. Casso Papers 2007-11., 1960-2007 Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Soliz, Joe,. Oral history interview with Joe Soliz, 1998 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Henry Santiestevan Papers, 1975-2012 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Castillo, Leonel (Leonel J.). Leonel J. Castillo papers, MSS 147 [microform] 1958-1981 1970-1979. University of Houston, M.D. Anderson Library
referencedIn Van de Putte, Leticia,. Oral history interview with Leticia Van de Putte 2003 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn John J. Herrera Papers MSS 0160., 1940-1980 Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Libary
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 2, Office of President and General Counsel, 1968-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Idar, Eduardo. Eduardo Idar, Jr. papers, 1941-2002 (bulk 1941-1981) University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Martínez, Vilma. Lessons from MALDEF; new strategies for old struggles : video, 1998 April 24. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 11, Audiovisual materials, circa 1967-2002. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Castro, Rosie, 1947-. Oral history interview with Rosie Castro, 1996 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 4, Development and Communications Department, 1976-1983. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Kauffman, Albert H.,. Oral history interview with Albert H. Kauffman, 1998 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Julian Samora Papers, Part 1 1985-12. 24426265., 1934-1989 Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Joe J. Bernal Papers 23665826., 1942-1981 Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 5, Legal Programs Department, 1968-1983. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 9, Regional and Program Offices, 1967-2002. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn González, Mike V. 1928-. Oral history interview with Mike V. Gonzalez, 1998 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Sanchez, Frank I., 1950-. Papers, 1951-1999, (bulk 1970-1996). University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn Ruiz, Armando, 1957-. Papers 1987-1989. Arizona State University Libraries
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1968 -1983 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) records. Record Group 3, Finance and Administration Department, 1967-1991. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Shepro, Theresa Aragon de. Theresa Aragon de Shepro papers, 1962-1979. University of Washington Libraries
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