A firsthand account of the immigrant experience in America
Frank Mendez, a child of Mexican immigrants begins his memoir with the story of his father’s harrowing migration from Mexico to Texas in 1920 as he escaped from Zapata’s guerrrillos and continues with his story of growing up in northeast Ohio. He recounts the Mendez family’s experience with the Depression, living in the Lorain, Ohio barrio, labor issues, racism, and World War II. Mendez dropped out of high school in 1943 and enlisted in the Marine Corps where he served twenty-two months in the Pacific theatre. When he returned to Lorain, he received his high school diploma, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a professional engineering license.
With an easy, engaging style, Mendez deals directly with the matter of personal identity, addressing the issues that confronted him as he tried to sort out his sometimes conflicting Mexican and American heritage. You Can’t Be Mexican comments on the social and political issues of the twentieth century and will appeal to those interested in immigrant studies and ethnicity studies and modern social history.
“ Every immigrant group which has ever come to this country has its own story to tell. Many of the stories have common threads, however, and Mendez’s detailed recollection of the personalities, the emotions, the disappointments and joys relate to the understanding that this is a country of immigrants, whose experience is woven into a shared culture. I know others will enjoy this book as much as I did.”—Ambler H. Moss Jr., Professor of International Studies, University of Miami (former U.S. Ambassador to Panama, 1978- 1982)