Naming the ‘Just Deportees’ of the Central Valley Plane Crash, 75 Years Later

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FRESNO, CALIFORNIA 06/20/13 On January 28, 1948 a plane chartered by the U.S. Immigration Services crashed in Los Gatos Canyon outside Coalinga killing all 32 people aboard including 28 Mexican nationals who were buried in a Fresno cemetery anonymously. The marker is going to be replaced now that the names of all those that perished in the crash, made famous by a Woody Guthrie song, have been identified.  (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Seventy-five years ago, a plane crashed outside of Coalinga in California’s Central Valley. Twenty-eight of the 32 passengers killed were migrant workers in the Bracero Program, being deported back to Mexico. Unlike the flight’s white passengers and crew, whose bodies were sent home to their families, the Mexican citizens were buried unceremoniously in a mass grave, their names omitted from the headstone. Tim Hernandez is working to identify their names, families and stories and he joins us to talk about the importance of remembering.

Related link(s):
'All They Will Call You Will Be Deportee': 75 Years Later, Uncovering the Lives of the Braceros Who Died in a Fiery California Plane Crash, The California Report Magazine


Tim Z. Hernandez, author, "All They Will Call You"

Mireya Loza, associate professor of history, Georgetown University; author, "Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom"

Michael Rodríguez III, ethnic studies teacher in Santa Ana and great-nephew of María Rodríguez Santana, victim of the plane crash