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Armando M. Rodriguez Papers

Identifier: MS-0496

Scope and Contents

The Armando Miguel Rodriguez Papers (1940-2010) document Rodriguez’s work as an educator and advocate for bilingual education. The majority of the material dates from the early 1970s through 1980s, with very sparse documentation during the 1960s. These files illustrate Rodriguez’s work to promote higher education for bilingual children. The collection includes conference speeches, correspondence, reports, articles, news clippings, and audio file interviews. The collection is composed of five series: Personal Files (1940-2010), Professional Files (1958-1999), Book Manuscript (2008), Achievement Files (1969-1982), and Photographs and Scrapbooks (1952-2008).

The Personal Files (1940-2010) document Rodriguez’s early education and personal interests. The files are arranged chronologically and include materials from high school and college, wrestling materials, U.S. presidential invitations, and an audio interview with Rodriguez.

The Professional Files (1958-2008) are divided into four sub-series, Local (1958-1964), State (1970-1985), National (1978-1988) and Speeches (1966-1986). These files document Rodriguez’s various careers as an advocate for bilingual education, particularly in the 1960’s and the 1980’s. The Local sub-series documents Rodriguez’s election to the 77th State District Assembly in San Diego as well as his position as Chief of the Bureau of Intergroup Relations for the California State Department of Education. Arranged chronologically, this sub-series includes news clippings, campaign propaganda, and correspondence. The State sub-series document Rodriguez’s work at the state-level, including his career as Assistant Commissioner for the Regional Office of Education and President of East Los Angeles College. The materials include news clippings, honorable recognitions, articles written by Rodriguez, his inauguration, and professional correspondence. The National sub-series document Rodriguez’s career at the national-level while working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and his firm Rodriguez Associates Ltd. The majority of the materials include biographical sketches, National Hispanic University reports, news clippings, and project reports to and from the Hearst Foundation regarding education programs in different school districts. Of particular interest are the educational computer program materials for school districts nationwide as well as the trip to observe bilingual programs Kazakhstan, Russia with Randolph Hearst. The last of the sub-series, Speeches, includes conference speeches that Rodriguez made throughout his career as an advocate for bilingual education. These files are arranged chronologically.

The Book Manuscript Files (2007-2008) are organized into two sub-series, “UNPM Manuscript” (2007) and From the Barrio to Washington Early Draft (2008).  The “UNPM Manuscript” sub-series provide an early draft of his autobiography. The From the Barrio to Washington sub-series is Rodriguez’s account of his journey from an immigrant child to serving under four different U.S. presidents  in an effort to help shape bilingual education. A video of Rodriguez’s book signing and audio interviews are also included.

The Achievement Files (1952-2004) include certificates and plaques to Rodriguez’s professional career documenting Rodriguez’s professional accomplishments. The series is chronologically arranged.

The Photographs and Scrapbook Files (1952-2008) provide excellent documentation of Rodriguez’s career including material regarding his induction ceremony President of East Los Angeles College. The series include a variety of photographs from the mid 1960’s to 1980’s. Arranged chronologically and further subdivided alphabetically for these files include images of San Diego State College Wrestling team, 77th State District Assembly, Inauguration ceremony to East Los Angeles College, and family photographs. The scrapbooks include correspondence of the inauguration to East Los Angeles College and ceremonial photographs.


  • 1940-2010
  • Majority of material found in 1960-1990


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Armando Miguel Rodriguez was born in Gomez, Durango, Mexico on September 30, 1921. He was the youngest child in his family. His parents, Andres and Petra Rodriguez, moved their family to San Diego, California in 1927. There, Rodriguez attended Lincoln Elementary where he took special classes to learn English. Later, he attended Memorial Junior High and San Diego High School. He was active in sports and played junior varsity football and was on the wrestling team in high school.

Rodriguez was the first person in his family to graduate from high school. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. He was trained as a cryptographer to decode classified materials. During this time, he also became a U.S. Citizen. In 1944 Rodriguez was discharged. A year later, he attended San Diego State College and made the varsity football team as a freshman. During college, the Dean of Athletics offered him a job as coach for the new wrestling team. Under Rodriguez’s direction, San Diego State won the State Wrestling Championship in 1947. He also organized an athletic club known as the Beardsley Bears. Rodriguez graduated from San Diego State in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education.

On July 18, 1948, Rodriguez married Beatriz Serrano. They had two children, Christina and Rodrigo Rodriguez. He worked at Memorial Junior High School as a teacher assistant before receiving his secondary teaching credential. He also received his Master’s degree in Education from San Diego State College. His main focus as a teacher was to encourage the neighborhood youth to stay in school. In 1957, he became the first Mexican American to be hired as Vice-Principal at Gompers Junior High School. In 1965, he was appointed as Principal of Wright Brothers High School.

During the 1960’s Rodriguez became heavily involved in politics and led the Hispanics for Kennedy Campaign. This was just the beginning of Rodriguez’s political career. In 1962, he became the first Mexican American to run and win the California Assembly seat for the 77th State District from San Diego. In 1967, he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Intergroup Relations for the California State Department of Education. In 1970, he was appointed Director of the U.S. Office of Mexican-American Affairs by President Johnson.

Rodriguez returned to California in 1973 when he became the first Mexican-American President of East Los Angeles College. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Rodriguez Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). His responsibilities were to administer Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed major forms of discrimination, including unequal voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, workplaces, and facilities that served the general public. In his new position he enforced the Equal Pay Act as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. After his retirement from the EEOC, Rodriguez opened a consulting firm named Rodriguez Associates Ltd., which worked with the Hearst Corporation, Bakersfield City District Schools, New York City Schools, and San Francisco City Schools. With the help of Randolph Hearst, they developed a computer aided educational program for children from economically disadvantaged homes, which allowed these students to use computers in the classroom. In addition to many awards, Rodriguez has also been the recipient of two honorary doctorates in bilingual education.

In 2008, Rodriguez published From the Barrio to Washington, a memoir of his personal struggles and professional career. Rodriguez and his wife now live in San Diego.

Listen to Rodriguez's oral history here:


13.35 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Personal Files

II. Professional Files

a. Local

b. State

i. Assistant Commissioner Regional Officer Coordinator

ii. East Los Angeles College

c. National

i.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

ii. Rodriguez Associates LTD.

d. Speeches

III.Book Manuscripts

a. "UNPM Manuscript"

b. From the Barrio to Washington

IV. Achievement Files

V.  Photographs and Scrapbooks

Source of Acquisition

Armando M. Rodriguez



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Armando M. Rodriguez Papers
Jessica Guardado
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US