Little Village museums celebrates Mexican, Mexican-American history

October 1, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The Museum of Mexican Culture and History, founded by William Luna, will be a part of the Architecture Foundation's open house next month.

Luna is an educator, veteran, boxing coach, and historian of Mexico and Mexican-American culture. He is passionate about wanting Mexican-Americans to know their history.

"If you don't know who you are, you are not going to succeed," Luna said.

The museum is filled with artifacts and story boards that acknowledge the influence Mexicans have had on this country. The military section highlights Roy Benevides, often called the real Rambo of the Vietnam war.

"He is the first non- commissioned officer to get a sabre from West Point," said Luna.

"General Richard Cavazo's was one of the most decorated four-star generals, a hero in Korea and Vietnam. His father was in World War I, his brother, Dr. Cavazos was secretary of education in World War II. And also, his other brother was in the Korean War and played for the cardinals. That's a military family," Luna went on to explain. "Sergeant Jose Lopez killed 100 Germans single handedly in the Battle of the Bulge."

The museum also has an exhibit on color television and its creator.

"Guillermo Camarena invented color television. Of course, ee was so poor he had to sell it. The first color television station is in Columbia College," said Luna.

Jose Guatemac "Bill" Melendez was the first animator that did Peanuts, A Charlie Brown Christmas and the voice of Snoopy.

"He worked in the back room so nobody knew him," Luna said.

The museum also has a section on the contributions of Mexicans in sports, baseball, boxing and football.

"Two of the most outstanding players in football are Mexican, Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets," said Luna.

The museum is supported by the Little Village Community Council.

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