From The Fields To The Classroom: A Mother's Tale : NPR: Lourdes Villanueva's parents were migrant workers who harvested fruit throughout the South. Recently, she told her son, Roger, what it was like in the 1960s trying to get an education while her family was constantly on the move.
Villanueva says that everywhere her family went, even if they only planned to stay and pick crops for a month or so, her mother made sure to enroll the children in school.
But Spanish was frowned on in the school systems. 'Even out in the playground, they used to have the little playground patrols, which were our friends [who] were supposed to turn you in if you were speaking Spanish,' she says. For that reason, Villaneuva says she was always in trouble.
The family moved about 10 times during one school year, she recalls. The nomadic existence began to take an even greater toll when she hit ninth grade. She tells Roger, 'The ninth grade is when you started working for credits to graduate, and we never stayed in one place long enough to get any credits. So why even bother? I thought I knew everything that I needed to know at that time and got married at 18 and had you.'