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El Paso Community College
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Frontera: Women Activists and Civic Leaders

Centralized guide to all EPCC's local history publications, videos and guides and sources for local history topics

Women Activists

Women Activists and Civic Leaders

See also Social Service Organizations

Andrade, Lorena  director of La Mujer Obrera  see Civil Rights in El Paso under La Mujer Obrera 

Armendariz, Mary Lou Ladies LULAC

Barry, Alice P.  El Paso County Historical Society Hall of Honor member, "liberated woman" active in many organizations

  • El Paso County Historical Society archives: 083-1995-71
  • "El Paso County Historical Society Scrapbook 1991-1992

Bernard, Anna Kaufman (Mrs. Morris) (1902-1960)  /  Lithuanian immigrant who was President of McCall Day Nursery for African American Children and many other organizations.

  • helped develop the McCall Day Nursery for African American children. 
  • Founded interfaith day under Temple Mt. Sinai.
  • member of Texas Western Women's Auxiliary and Planned Parenthood.  

Boone, Caroline E.  director of the Border Office of the National Catholic Welfare Conference before Cleofas Calleros, 1920s. 

Carter, Zephyr Chisom  founder of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and one of first African American women from El Paso to graduate from college. 

Castro, Lucha  lawyer, activist in Chihuahua City and Juarez, MX

Chávez Cano, Esther Human rights activist who fought against the crimes against women and children in Ciudad Juarez and founder of Casa Amiga.  

Cotera, Martha P. civil rights activist, historian educator.

  • born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1938, moved to El Paso in 1946 and settled here. Graduated from Texas Western.
  • Founded Chicana Research and Learning Center in Austin.
  • Organized walk-out of Mexican Americans in Crystal City (Dec. 1969) outside of San Antonio, TX which lead to the creation of Raza Unida a "third political party".

Dávila, Luz María / Villas de Salvarcar massacre  Confronted Mexican President Felipe Calderón over the killing of teens at a birthday party in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood in Juarez, 2010.

de Andrade, Flores early Mexican activist

moved with Pedro Mendoza (member of the PLM) to El Paso in 1906.  Joined another women's group and aligned with Francisco Madero. 

de la Vega, Guadalupe Arizpe -- Mexican health care leader in Ciudad Juarez / Founder of FEMAP 

  • set up Mexican federation of private associations for health & community development in Juarez in 1973 and Hospital de la Familia in Ciudad Juarez 
  • first Mexican Woman to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for Philanthropy
  • El Paso Herald Post 3/13/97, El Paso Times 2/2/097 1F,  El Paso Herald Post 2/20/91 "People to watch"​

Dodson, Betty (Elizabeth Jane)  activist for teenage mothers in El Paso.  See link:

Dodson, Stephanie Karr leader in women and children's issues previous director of Center Against Family Violence

Drury, Kathleen M  (later Mrs. Victor Moore) administrator of the Southwestern Children’s Home.

  • “My Dearie”  died 1979.  administrator of the Southwestern Children’s Home, on Altura, after husband’s death in 1939.  
  • home began 1923 by Rev. Hogg.  The home published booklets
  • El Paso Herald Post obit July 7, 1979.

Escobedo, Marisela   (1958-2010) assassinated social activist in Juarez protesting the failure of the police to investigate femicides in Cd. Juarez 

Felix, Carmen  southside activist  director of Southside Low Income Housing Corp. 

  • google searches, 
  • Morales Index 
  • search older newspaper articles below:

Flood, Maria Elena director of the Regional Academic Health Center, community leader

Fox, Gladys Lundy  married to Chris Fox -- active civic worker

Flores, Maria Antonia activist/director of La Mujer Obrera  see Civil Rights in El Paso under La Mujer Obrera 

Galvan, Soledad "Chole" activist, longtime Sunset Heights award winning resident who was very active in the community and was in the WAAC and trained as a linguist.  She declared herself the 1st Hispanic American woman in the U.S Army

Gardner, Helen (Nell) Stanley businesswoman, established first home for elderly, first Pilot Club

Goodman, Mrs. Isadore Bernard (Fannie) very active in Lighthouse for the Blind/National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood, McCall Day Nursery and other organizations 

Goodman, Gertrude Amelia "Sugar"  force for social change 

Gutierrez, Lily  immigration activist

Harvey, Maude  founded office of Planned Parenthood

Maud Harvey could be combined into an article on the Harvey family's impact on El Paso:  Crawford/Charles  (founder of El Paso National Bank) and Maud, and their son Paul Harvey and his wife Katharine White Harvey.

Hernandez, Marta Duron  renowned tax collector, "Woman of the Year" and civic leader

Holder, Anne feminist activist and co-founder of the El Paso Rape Crisis Center

Howe, Marie Sheldon (Mrs. Walter D.) Director of Woman's Dept of the Chamber of Commerce, active in politics and civic organizations. 

Kern, Ruth.  Early woman lawyer in El Paso/ ACLU founder  follow link below: 

Kelly, Elizabeth Hooks  first member of Junior League of El Paso, librarian, volunteer

Kohutek, Nancy J. political and women's rights activist

President of the Political Women's Caucus and co-founder of the Transitional Living Center (now Center against Sexual and Family Violence) 

Marentes, Alicia co-founder and director of social work for the Border Farmworkers Center

Moreno, Art and Mary Lou  co-founders / active in PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Border AIDS Partnership

Nixon, Drusilla married to Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon leader in her own right

Nordwald, Rose Konig -- very influential civic leader 1930s-1960s with a wide sphere of influence, advocate of birth control, co founder of Girl Scouting in El Paso

Pan American Round Table See link below: 

Rodriguez, Cecilia  organizer of La Mujer Obrera  see Civil Rights in El Paso under La Mujer Obrera 

Sala-Porras, Josefina  teacher, civic leader, co founder of the Bilingual Institute (sister to Maria Elena Flood, also on this page of activists) 

Sampson, Mrs. Edward  president of  El Paso Colored Women's Club and co-founder of the El Paso Negro Woman’s Civic and Equal Franchise League 

Schuessler, Louise Johnson "Carrie Nation without a hatchet"  as director of the Women's Dept of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce successfully cleared newsstands of pornographic material available to teenagers.

Schwartz, Hedwig Mathias  (Mrs. Maurice) 1894-1981

  • helped found Lighthouse for the Blind as part of Council of Jewish Women
  • El Paso Herald Post Mar 21, 1969  Won an award from the local National Conference of Christians and Jews

Valdes Villalva, Maria Guillermina 1939-1991. border / maquiladora scholar and activist.

UTEP Graduate.

Washington, Johnnie Rev. African American activist

Zlabovsky, Fannie Jewish Humanitarianworked for the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) in El Paso before WWII, helping immigrants escape the Nazis by entering the US from Mexico. 

Zuloaga, Deborah  longtime director of the United Way of El Paso

Research tips

Note details that might seem insignificant at first glance, in case one finds other information later.

Women's information is often found through researching the men in their lives (i.e. husband, fathers, etc.) so the notes here might only state that Mrs. X was married to Mr. X who was important for some reason, but in researching him, there might be information about his wife found later.

Research full text of local newspaper articles back to 1881 in this database available to EPCC users and in person in EPCC Libraries: 

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