Interview with Blanca Vela

Interview with Blanca Vela



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Dr. Margaret Dorsey interviewed Blanca Vela about her family history and life experiences.

The first woman mayor of Brownsville, Blanca (Sanchez) Vela (1936–2014) was born and raised in Harlingen, TX. She attended Texas Southmost College and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Pan American University. Throughout her life, Vela championed education and literacy, advanced opportunities for women, and advocated for children and the underserved.

She married Filemon Vela, Sr. in 1962 and campaigned for his election as state representative the following year. While Filemon, later became a U.S. federal judge. Blanca became an activist for Mexican-Americans in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and co-founded the Democratic Women's Club.

She served as the first woman on the Brownsville National Bank Board of Directors and the first woman and Chairwoman to serve on the Brownsville Public Utilities Board. Her service also included membership in the Texas Public Power Association, the American Public Power Association, and the Brownsville Public Library Foundation, which she co-founded with Betty Dodd and resulted in the opening of two public libraries.


Audio interview only, significant background noise

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.MP3 (converted from WAV), 78.7 MB, 128 kbps, 01:26:01

Interview with Blanca Vela


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