Jose Arevalo was five when his parents brought him and his nine siblings from Mexico to the United States. They were migrant farm workers, chasing harvesting jobs from Texas through Michigan and Minnesota. He enrolled in school but, without knowing English and without support from his school, he failed the first grade. Luckily, a teacher who spoke both Spanish and English helped him bridge the gap.
After high school, Jose continued his formal education, earning a bachelor’s degree and doing work towards a masters degree.
Jose became a leader in the Upward Bound program, first at the University of Notre Dame and then Purdue. It let him work directly with first generation college students, helping them afford and acclimate to college life. He then turned his career down a different path, deciding to go into real estate. To Jose, each of these paths was a chance for him to let other migrant families plant roots in a community, and let them grow and develop.
In 2009, Indiana University South Bend Professor Dr. Hayley Froysland worked with the Civil Rights Heritage Center to preserve stories from South Bend’s Latinx community. Jose was kind enough to share his.
Created and produced by Kevin Tidmarsh; hosted and co-created by George Garner.
Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.
Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.