Title: Larry Wilson: These success stories make for a good read
Author: Larry Wilson
Publisher: Pasadena Star News
Among the hundreds of reasons - including hundreds of photographs - to pick up Roberta Martinez's new "Latinos in Pasadena" is a photo on Page 102 that should be mandatory viewing for the good officers of the Sierra Madre P.D.
It depicts Marilyn Diaz in 1974 as she became the first woman Pasadena officer assigned directly to patrol. Riot-helmeted, billy-sticked, gun-belted, hair tucked up and away - and yet unable to disguise the fact she is as beautiful as she is today - Diaz stands at full attention smiling at the camera. The only difference from three male rookie comrades being the turtleneck she sports instead of a tie.
Diaz went through the ranks to commander and now is a chief. She's just one of many success stories - along with tough stories of a "minority" that was here first in the Mexican and Californio days, yet has struggled for equality for centuies - chronicled in Martinez's book, part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series.
The book also answers an Old Pasadena question I've had for 30 years. Back then South Pas musician Brad Thiel and I wrote a song called "Club Danzon" based on my staring out my Parsons office window and seeing that fading name painted on the side of a Union Street building. Turns out the club was started in what looks to be the late '40s by entrepreneur Danny Castro during the danzon dance craze out of Cuba and featuring an elegant interior, a white grand piano and huge neon street sign.
Abel Franco, Ramon Cortines, Canto Robledo, Oscar Palmer, Roberta Menchu Tom, Abel Ramirez, Lalo Guerrero, Jesucita Hernandez, Ed Roybal, Nick Rodriguez, Leonora Barron, Ed Maya, Elias Galvan - all these prominent Pasadenans and Pasadena visitors are here. And so in its early sections of Southern California history is a story still not nearly well enough known to those who have followed.
Title: Gathering Honors Roberta Martínez for New Book
Author: James MacPherson
Publisher: Pasadena Now
About 60 well-wishers gathered at the Pasadena Museum of History Sunday afternoon to honor local community activist Roberta Martínez, whose book "Latinos in Pasadena" is scheduled to released by Arcadia Publishing on April 27.
Martínez's book looks beyond the storied mansions along South Orange Boulevard's Millionaires Row and focuses on the legacies of Mexican Americans and other Latino men and women who often worked for Pasadena's rich and famous.
"These are the stories of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley," Martínez told the gathering on Sunday. "These are the stories that have made our lives what they are today. These are some of the stories that haven't been known."
In fact, the records handed down about the Latino community are only been sparsely preserved through the generations--even though these citizens often made remarkable community contributions and lived in close proximity to their employers.
Among the stories told is that of Antonio F. Coronel, a one-time Mexican Army officer who served as California state treasurer from 1866 to 1870 and whose image graced the 1904 Tournament of Roses program.
Martínez, who is a former School Board candidate, arts commissioner, and board member for several nonprofit groups, became active in Latino community after retiring from teaching at St. Mark's Episcopal Day School. She was a founder of the annual Latino Heritage Parade and Jamaica.
"It has been a privilege to try and bring together stories to share," Martínez said. "Do keep in mind that there are so many stories to be told that this book is not enough. We need to find other ways to share the story, the fullness, the breadth as much as possible."
Martínez was joined at the event by her husband, James Grimes, and her son, Matthew.
The book will be available for sale at the Pasadena Museum of History bookstore.