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Armando M. Rodriguez Papers, 1940-2010 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Jessica Guardado

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Collection Overview

Title: Armando M. Rodriguez Papers, 1940-2010Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1960-1990

Primary Creator: Armando M. Rodriguez (1921-)

Extent: 13.35 Linear Feet


I. Personal Files

II. Professional Files

              a. Local

              b. State

                          i. Assistant Commissioner Regional Officer Coordinator

                          ii. East Los Angeles College

              c. National

                          i.    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

                          ii.    Rodriguez Associates LTD.

              d. Speeches

III.    Book Manuscripts

              a. "UNPM Manuscript"

              b. From the Barrio to Washington

IV.    Achievement Files

V.    Photographs and Scrapbooks

Date Acquired: 02/03/2012

Languages: English, Spanish;Castilian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Armando Miguel Rodriguez Papers (1940-2010) document Rodriguez’s work as an educator and advocate for bilingual education. The majority of the material dates from the early 1970s through 1980s, with very sparse documentation during the 1960s. These files illustrate Rodriguez’s work to promote higher education for bilingual children. The collection includes conference speeches, correspondence, reports, articles, news clippings, and audio file interviews. The collection is composed of five series: Personal Files (1940-2010), Professional Files (1958-1999), Book Manuscript (2008), Achievement Files (1969-1982), and Photographs and Scrapbooks (1952-2008).

The Personal Files (1940-2010) document Rodriguez’s early education and personal interests. The files are arranged chronologically and include materials from high school and college, wrestling materials, U.S. presidential invitations, and an audio interview with Rodriguez.

The Professional Files (1958-2008) are divided into four sub-series, Local (1958-1964), State (1970-1985), National (1978-1988) and Speeches (1966-1986). These files document Rodriguez’s various careers as an advocate for bilingual education, particularly in the 1960’s and the 1980’s. The Local sub-series documents Rodriguez’s election to the 77th State District Assembly in San Diego as well as his position as Chief of the Bureau of Intergroup Relations for the California State Department of Education. Arranged chronologically, this sub-series includes news clippings, campaign propaganda, and correspondence. The State sub-series document Rodriguez’s work at the state-level, including his career as Assistant Commissioner for the Regional Office of Education and President of East Los Angeles College. The materials include news clippings, honorable recognitions, articles written by Rodriguez, his inauguration, and professional correspondence. The National sub-series document Rodriguez’s career at the national-level while working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and his firm Rodriguez Associates Ltd. The majority of the materials include biographical sketches, National Hispanic University reports, news clippings, and project reports to and from the Hearst Foundation regarding education programs in different school districts. Of particular interest are the educational computer program materials for school districts nationwide as well as the trip to observe bilingual programs Kazakhstan, Russia with Randolph Hearst. The last of the sub-series, Speeches, includes conference speeches that Rodriguez made throughout his career as an advocate for bilingual education. These files are arranged chronologically.

The Book Manuscript Files (2007-2008) are organized into two sub-series, “UNPM Manuscript” (2007) and From the Barrio to Washington Early Draft (2008).  The “UNPM Manuscript” sub-series provide an early draft of his autobiography. The From the Barrio to Washington sub-series is Rodriguez’s account of his journey from an immigrant child to serving under four different U.S. presidents  in an effort to help shape bilingual education. A video of Rodriguez’s book signing and audio interviews are also included.

The Achievement Files (1952-2004) include certificates and plaques to Rodriguez’s professional career documenting Rodriguez’s professional accomplishments. The series is chronologically arranged.

The Photographs and Scrapbook Files (1952-2008) provide excellent documentation of Rodriguez’s career including material regarding his induction ceremony President of East Los Angeles College. The series include a variety of photographs from the mid 1960’s to 1980’s. Arranged chronologically and further subdivided alphabetically for these files include images of San Diego State College Wrestling team, 77th State District Assembly, Inauguration ceremony to East Los Angeles College, and family photographs. The scrapbooks include correspondence of the inauguration to East Los Angeles College and ceremonial photographs.

Biographical Note

Armando Miguel Rodriguez was born in Gomez, Durango, Mexico on September 30, 1921. He was the youngest child in his family. His parents, Andres and Petra Rodriguez, moved their family to San Diego, California in 1927. There, Rodriguez attended Lincoln Elementary where he took special classes to learn English. Later, he attended Memorial Junior High and San Diego High School. He was active in sports and played junior varsity football and was on the wrestling team in high school.

Rodriguez was the first person in his family to graduate from high school. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. He was trained as a cryptographer to decode classified materials. During this time, he also became a U.S. Citizen. In 1944 Rodriguez was discharged. A year later, he attended San Diego State College and made the varsity football team as a freshman. During college, the Dean of Athletics offered him a job as coach for the new wrestling team. Under Rodriguez’s direction, San Diego State won the State Wrestling Championship in 1947. He also organized an athletic club known as the Beardsley Bears. Rodriguez graduated from San Diego State in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education.

On July 18, 1948, Rodriguez married Beatriz Serrano. They had two children, Christina and Rodrigo Rodriguez. He worked at Memorial Junior High School as a teacher assistant before receiving his secondary teaching credential.  He also received his Master’s degree in Education from San Diego State College.  His main focus as a teacher was to encourage the neighborhood youth to stay in school. In 1957, he became the first Mexican American to be hired as Vice-Principal at Gompers Junior High School. In 1965, he was appointed as Principal of Wright Brothers High School.

During the 1960’s Rodriguez became heavily involved in politics and led the Hispanics for Kennedy Campaign. This was just the beginning of Rodriguez’s political career. In 1962, he became the first Mexican American to run and win the California Assembly seat for the 77th State District from San Diego. In 1967, he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Intergroup Relations for the California State Department of Education. In 1970, he was appointed Director of the U.S. Office of Mexican-American Affairs by President Johnson.

Rodriguez returned to California in 1973 when he became the first Mexican-American President of East Los Angeles College. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Rodriguez Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). His responsibilities were to administer Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed major forms of discrimination, including unequal voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, workplaces, and facilities that served the general public. In his new position he enforced the Equal Pay Act as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. After his retirement from the EEOC, Rodriguez opened a consulting firm named Rodriguez Associates Ltd., which worked with the Hearst Corporation, Bakersfield City District Schools, New York City Schools, and San Francisco City Schools. With the help of Randolph Hearst, they developed a computer aided educational program for children from economically disadvantaged homes, which allowed these students to use computers in the classroom. In addition to many awards, Rodriguez has also been the recipient of two honorary doctorates in bilingual education.

In 2008, Rodriguez published From the Barrio to Washington, a memoir of his personal struggles and professional career. Rodriguez and his wife now live in San Diego.

Listen to Rodriguez's oral history here:

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Acquisition Source: Armando M. Rodriguez

Related Materials:

Rene Nuñez Memorial Collection, 1968-2008

Carmen Sandoval Fernandez Poster Collection, 1974-1983

Arturo Casares Papers, 1968-2007

Maria Garcia Papers, 1968-1997

Chicano Federation of San Diego County Records, 1968-1980

Chicana and Chicano Studies Department Records, 1968-2003

Leonard Fierro Papers, 1927-1995

MANA of San Diego County Records, 1986-2002

Enriqueta Chavez Papers, 1955-2000

For more information please see

Related Publications: From the Barrio to Washington by Armando Rodriguez:

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Armando Miguel Rodriguez Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Files],
[Series 2: Professional Files],
[Series 3: Book Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Achievement Files],
[Series 5: Photographs and Scrapbooks],

Series 1: Personal FilesAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Family TreeAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Folio 35: A Graphic Tribute to Citizen, Statesman and 35th President John F. KennedyAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: VHS: Heart of San Diego InterviewAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: San Diego High School Castle Yearbook, 1940Add to your cart.
Folder 5: "A follow-Up Study of Former Member of Memorial Junior High School's Mentally Retarded Classes" Thesis by Armando M. Rodriguez, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Strong Vocational Interest Test-Men, 1956Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence from John F. Kennedy, January 16, 1961Add to your cart.
Folder 8: An American Gala Honoring Congressman Lionel V. Deerlin, February 15, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Inauguration of President Lyndon Johnson, January 20, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Sueños y Triunfos, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 11: San Diego High School 50th Reunion Class of 1940, November 3, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 12: San Diego State University Reunion, 1992-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Frank Crosby Banquet, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 14: The Journal of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum, 1993-2011Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Reflections: The INS and our Clean Sweep of the White House, 1994Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Correspondence, 1997, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Memorial Program of Denny Marteeny, 2001Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Bob Bishop Interview of Armando M. Rodríguez KHFM, January 13, 2007Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Speech at Sequoia Elementary School, June 11, 2009Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Story Corps Audio Interview of Armando M. Rodriguez, July 20, 2010Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Files],
[Series 2: Professional Files],
[Series 3: Book Manuscripts],
[Series 4: Achievement Files],
[Series 5: Photographs and Scrapbooks],

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