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Centennial Oral History Project: Zulema Diaz

Biographical Essay



Zulema Diaz was born in San Diego, California to Mexican migrant workers. She is the oldest of three daughters. Her father went through various jobs due to the 1980s recession. Her mother worked in factories and both to this day continue to work. After graduating from Southwest High School, Diaz briefly attended SDSU (San Diego State University) but her education took a back seat to motherhood. Gradually, after her two sons were old enough to attend school, she returned to college.

 She excelled at both City College and UCSD (University of California, San Diego) receiving an Associate’s degree in Liberal Studies (City), a Bachelor’s degree in Literatures of the World with a minor in Ethnic Studies, a Master’s in Literature (UCSD) and is currently completing her Ph.D. dissertation. She discusses growing up in the 1980s, her Chicana Fronteriza identity, and the growing transnational identity of the new generation of Mexican Americans.

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