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Interview with Joseph E. Anaya



Anaya was born in New Mexico in 1927 and moved to St. Paul with his family in 1939. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: His role in organizing the St. Paul chapter of the American G.I. Forum - and his work with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Credit Union, with Brown and Bigelow, and since 1973 with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, a private organization providing services to minority businesses.





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This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Joe Anaya was born in New in 1939.


American in Kinnesota.

and came to st. Paul, JI'iinnesota with his parents

He has been very active in two JI'iexican American organizations: 1) 2) The Guadalupe Credit Union The GI Forum He resigned

Joe worked for Brown & Bigelow Advertising Firm for seventeen years.

from Brown & Bigelow in 1973 and is now working for the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (KElDA), which is involved with helping minorities who are in business or are trying to start a business. This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview) edited to aid in clarity and ease of comprehension for the reader. The original tape recording is available in the

Audio-Visual Library of the I-linnesota Historical Society.


This is Grant A. Moosbrugger interviewing Joe Anaya on July 25, 1975, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and School, and Guadalupe Credit Union Office. This interview is for the Mexican American History Project, under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society. you? Do I have your permission to interview

Do you agree, that this interview will go on to the Minnesota Historical

Society? Anaya: Moosbrugger: Yes, you do. Can you start out by telling us who you are and giving us a brief history of your background? Anaya: My name is Joseph E. Anaya, I was born in the state of New Mexico. Our family

came to the state of Minnesota in 1939, and we've been here ever since. Moosbrugger: Anaya; Do you have any brothers or sisters? I have three sisters, two of them are residing in the cities here, and one is in Colorado. Moosbrugger: Anaya: What are their married names? I have one unmarried sister, Domiti1a Anaya, my other sisters are: Marce1ina Vasquez, of St. Paul and Erme1inda Gonzalez, who lives in Ce10rado. Moosbrugger: Did you go to school primarily in Minnesota or in New Mexico? did you go to? Anaya: Well, I started school in New Mexico of course, and then when we came to Minnesota, I attended school here. Moosbrugger: Have you been in the armed services, and was that a significant portion of your life? What schools

-2Anaya: Moosbrugger: Anaya: No, not really. Could you tell us some of the empolyment experiences you've had? Well, I had a few odd jobs at the beginning, but I guess my employment, what I call real employment, started in 1956. Advertising Firm in St. Paul. I started working for Brown & Bigelow I

I believe that I started in March of 1956.

worked in their International Division, in what they called their Domestic Export Section. I was promoted to Supervisor of that section after about a Later on, I was in charge of the Export Traffic

year and a half of employment. Department. Division.

I also handled all the credits and collections for the Foreign I stayed with Brown & Bigelow for seventeen years. Prior to my

resigning from that position I was Marketing Manager for the International Division with Brown & Bigelow. In 1973 I left Brown & Bigelow to go with an-

other organization by the name of Metropolitan Economic Development Association, and association involved with helping minorities who are in business or who are trying to get into business. We provide all types of services which are free

of charge, for example; accounting, management technical assistance, loan packaging. We do some funding, or try and seek funding for them, for whatever

type of business they want to get into. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Is that a private organization or a government agency? Well, it's more private. It's an organization that was conceived just a few It's supported by all the major businesses

years back with private funding. in the Twin City area.

All the monies to provide the services that I mentioned Although we do have a contract with the

here, come from the private community.

office of Minority Business Enterprise under the U.S. Department of Congress that is renewed on a yearly basis, to provide some of these services for minorities.

-3Moosbrugger: Has this been of any benefit that you know of to any Mexican American or other Latin Americans? Anaya: Dh, definitely, we help them get started, just in the last two years we started three who have proven to be successful. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Moosbrugger: Anaya: Three businesses? Yes. You've helped them obtain funding? Right, we got them started, we got them the funding. them the contracts. Moosbrugger: You mentioned three successful ones. I suppose the nature of business is that To get an idea of the In some cases we even got

for every successful start, there are Some false starts.

total number there have been, how many Mexican Americans would you guess have attempted to start a business in the Last two or three years? Anaya: Well, I don't exactly know the number, but there have been quite a few that have come in. Moosbrugger: Anaya: To inquire, or try to get a business? Looking for assistance or trying to get in different types of businesses. only thing is that sometimes you just can't help all of them. The

They are trying In order

to create some of the businesses in a field which is too competitive. for them to cut into the market, it would be difficult. proper financing and the capitol that would

Especially without the

required to carry them for a In most cases, I guess one

period of time, until the business is established.

of the difficulties that we encounter, not only with, say a Mexican American or Latino, or even the other minorities, is a lack of equity to begin with on the part of our clients. Without sufficient equity on their part, it makes it

difficult to try and leverage financing for them.

-4Moosbrugger: I suppose thaere would always be a certain amount of people with a dream, and with some hopes of starting a business. something that just couldn't be. Anaya: Yes. We get a lot of guys who come in and they want to do certain things, Perhaps their ideas are impractical,

they feel that if they can get a certain amount of money to start their business, they can make it really go. But when we get to analyzing and evaluating their

proposal or business plan, and checking it throughly, we find out that there is really no market for the goods or their services. It's just not practical and In many cases,

therefore difficult to get any financing for such a project.

the clients that come to us with a business plan lack, for one thing, enough capitol or equity to put into the business, and the other is that they also lack the knowledge and/or the experience for the type of business that they want to get into. No equity, knowledge, or experience in the business makes

it rough to make the business successful. Moosbrugger: If a person has a reasonable amount of capitol to start off with, so that they are not totally pennyless, and have a good idea, a workable idea; then your organization can help them get further money loans, and would help them arrange contracts, and help to-endorse 'them;':" Is that correct? Anaya: Moosbrugger: Anaya: Right. That's a good service. Right, we can provide assistance in putting the package together. Also, in

marketing, we can provide accounting, management and technical assistance, where it's needed, and trY,to get-the funding for them. If we feel the project is

feasible and can be, or I shouldn't say can be in a successful position, there is never a certainty of a business being successful, but at least if it shows that it has a reasonable chance of success, then we'll go all out and help him as much as we can and provide all the services at our disposal. Moosbrugger: It certainly is a reasonable position to do that. I know that you've been

-5Moosbrugger: active with the Guadalupe Credit Union. Could you tell us a little bit about

when or how you got invloved with the Guadalupe Credit Union, what position you now hold, and what positions you've held? Anaya: I started with the Credit Union somewhat over ten years ago. as Chariman of the Supervisory Committee. I started working

It was a three men committee, and

our function wa to supervise the overall operation and activities of the Credit Union. We had to audit the books on a monthly basis and see that the

operation was being ••• Moosbrugger: Anaya: Properly run? Right. We also had to see that all the other committee members, including the After about, I think it

board members and the officers, were doing their job.

was two or three years in the supervisory committee, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Guadalupe Credit Union. was elected President of the Credit Union.

Approximately one year later, I I held that title for three or four

until the Treasurer and Manager, due to relocation of employment, had I resigned my position as President of the Credit I've

to resign the position.

Union and took over the job of Treasurer/Manager of the Credit Union. been the Treasurer/Manager for the last five or six years. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Moosbrugger: Who is Prsident now? Right now the president of our Credit Union is Jose Juarez.

I realize that the Credit Union was established in the late forties, and that you became active in the mid-sixties, around 1965. But I think you've been

around long enough and probably know, or have heard tell of, how things were in the years preceding your getting active. What special needs for the parish, Have

or for the Mexican American community, has this Credit Union provided? they met any special needs? Of what benefit has it been?

-6Anaya: Well, I think when the Crdit Union first got started was in 1948. started in the old church at 186 East Fairfield Street. It got

I believe at that

time it was an essential part of the church, by providing the monies that were needed by many of the members who were having a difficult time, due to their language or something else. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Many of them may have been recent arrivals? That's true. Some were just arriving so that they could not readily go to a I think that was one of the things that the Credit

bank and get financing.

Union was able to do; was to provide these people with the financing that was needed and wasn't being provided, or at least they could not get it elsewhere from the regular lending institutions. Over the many years that the Credit

Union has been in operation, it has helped and provided many services that were needed by the Mexican Americans here in the community, which they were not able to get elsewhere. Moosbrugger: What direction is the Guadalupe Credit Union going? What's the outlook for the Credit Union? Anaya: Well, at this point of time, we seem to have hit a certain peak, as far as membership, and as far as money. We do:"t think it's going to grow anymore, Is the membership stable?

if anything I think it's gotten to a point where it will start going down. The support for the Credit Union came mostly from the older members. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Of the parish? Of the parish, that's right. Now the new generation, they dontt seem to be

interested in the Credit Union, or in joining the Credit Union, or saving at the Credit Union. fathers were. The younger people are, of course, better off than our A lot of the young people have credit

They have their jobs.

unions where they are employed. Moosbrugger: Anaya: They have the advantage of payroll deductions? Payroll deductions, so it makes it easier for them to deal with the credit union

-7Anaya: at the place of their employment. So I don't see the need anymore for, at If we're not

least the need is not as great anymore for our Credit Union.

going to be getting anymore members, we're not growing, we see no other way but to probably try and merge our Credit Union with a larger one that can provide more services, either that or phase out the Credit Union over a period of time. Moosbrugger: Anaya: That seems reasonable. Because I feel that, as time goes on, the Credit Union will definitely not grow anymore. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Moosbrugger: Anaya: Due to the economic situation or our country now? Well, yes. That's partly it? That's partly it. The other is that the cost of operationg this Credit Union Our membership has not increased. Otherwise

has been increasing over the last few years.

You just can't continue an operation unless you increase members.

you are not going to be in business for long, especially with the oepration of cost increasing. So we have two choices that face us right now:


another credit union, and by that I mean that all our present members would be eligible to become members of another credit union, that would be subject to, say another credit union willing to take us in; and it that's not possible, or if the membership would not want to merge, then the other alternative would be to phase out the Credit Union over a period of time, in other words suspend some of our operations, so that eventually we just phase it out completely. Moosbrugger: You were active, I believe, in a group by the name of GI Gorum. tell us a little about that job? Anaya: The American GI Forum, it was a national organization. St. Paul around 1948. started. It got started in Could you

I think it was about the same time the Credit Union got

It came about when a gentleman by the name of Dr. Hector Garcia,



from Corpus Christie, Texas came to St. Paul. American GI Forum in Texas.

Dr. Garcia, was founder of the

From there, it just sprung allover the country. Well,

They had GI Forum all the way from the east coast to the west coast.

anyway, Dr. Garcia came out here and talked to us about starting a GI Forum in St. Paul. The two principals that were involved in organizing the GI Forum With Dr. Garcia's assistance At the t'i1me that the

in St. Paul were Arthur Coronado, Jr. and myself.

we got the first GI Forum started here in Minnesota.

GI Forum got started we had a Ladies' Auxiliary and also what we called a Junior GI Forum. ; The Junior GI Forum was composed of youngsters.


GI Forum, Ladies' Auxiliary and the Junior GI Forum were really successful at that time. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Does GI refer to General Issue in the army, people who were ex-service men? Yes, there was one exception, although the majority of the members in the GI Forum were Ex-GI's, the American GI Forum did not restrict membership to only GI's. It was what we like to call a family organization. That means

that any relative of a GI could join the American GI Forum, or the Auxiliary, or the Junior Forum. Moosbrugger: Anaya: So it was not restricted to GI' s'.

What was the purpose of that organization? It was partly a social organization. I suppose maybe I shouldn't say partly, I guess the func-

I think the major part of it is the social organization.

tion was to try and help or provide services and do good for the community in which it was located. Moosbrugger: Was the membership of the GI Forum both local and nation wide, was it primarily for Mexican Americans? Anaya: Or did it welcome anybody? It was predominantly Mexican American.

It was started for Mexican Americans.

I would say probably ninety-nine percent was Mexican American, although it wasn't restricted to Mexican Americans, anyone could join. dominantly Mexican American. Moosbrugger: Did Dr. Garcia, come into town to help get somebody to organize the GI Forum, or did he live here for a period of time? But it was pre-

-9Anaya: He just came here for the purpose of organizing the GI Forum. going across the country doing just that. in all areas of the United States. Moosbrugger: Anaya: How Long, and how big, did the GI Forum membership get in our local chapter? Well, I think at one time the men's forum had over fifty members, well over fifty members. The Ladies' Auxiliary was much smaller, but in the Junior GI In fact he was

So, there were GI Gorums organized

Forum we had as many as eighty some members, close to one:-hundred.memhers. It was working really good. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Were there boys and girls in the Junior Forum? Yes, boys and girls. years of age. Moosbrugger: Talking about the Men's Forum, how often did you meet? meeting day? Anaya: Moosbrugger: Anaya: Yes, we met on a monthly basis. Where did you meet? Our meetings were held at the Neighborhood House, the old Neighborhood House which was located on Indiana Street, in the Old West Side. We got permission Did you have a regular Most of them were between the ages of twelve and eighteen

from the Director of the Neighborhood House to use the facilities for our meetings. Moosbrugger: Anaya: In addition to having meetings, would you plan picnics, and things like that? Yes, we had many social functions like picnics. We also had dances to raise We assisted some

funds for different types of projects, like needy families. migrant families through Moosbrugger:

of the functions that we had.

Besides Art Coronado and yourself, who were some of the other extremely active members?


We had Jesse Velasquez, Lupe Velasquez, there were so many of them, I cantt think of their names, there were quite a few active, that were always in there.


How long did that organization stay active?

-10Anaya: Well, it was active for several years. Then all of a sudden, I can't explain

the reason, maybe it was the lack of interest on the part of the membership, but slowlY they started staying away from meetings, and it just died. though we felt it was a good organization. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Moosbrugger: That would have been in the mid-fifties? In the fifties, right. Joe, in conclusion, if you were to give advice for the


advice for

posterity for those who are going to follow us, what's your pet philosophy or advice? Anaya: I guess if I was going to give any advice at all, one of the things I would stress most of all, would be education. possible. One should get as much eduction as a better way

I think that with education comes the other things:

of life; you raise your economic standards. makes it that much harder.

I think without education, it I know that if

I'm talking from experience now.

I would have had the opportunity to get a better education, that I would have been much better off today, especially economically. to get a much better job, or a chance for advancement. stress education most of all. Moosbrugger: Anaya: Moosbrugger: Prepare for the future? Right. Very good. Thank you very much for the interview. I would have been able So, I guess I would