Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Oral history interview conducted by Marcelo Herman
March 06, 1989
Call number: 1989.004.25
0:09 - Introducciones, razones para mudarse a Brooklyn, apertura de restaurante - Introductions, reasons for moving to Brooklyn, opening a restaurant
7:24 - Primeros empleos en Brooklyn, negocio de taxis - First jobs in Brooklyn, car service business
14:44 - Migración de madre hacia México debido a la guerra civil, conflictos e inseguridad actual - Mother's migration to Mexico due to civil war, ongoing conflicts and insecurity
18:34 - Comunidad salvadoreña en Queens, otros restaurantes salvadoreños en Brooklyn - Salvadoran community in Queens, other Salvadoran restaurants in Brooklyn
24:26 - Inmigración salvadoreña a EE.UU., efectos de la guerra en la economía del país - Salvadoran immigration to US, effects of the civil war on country's economy
32:11 - Disponibilidad de productos salvadoreños en Brooklyn, fusión de otras culturas dentro del restaurante - Salvadoran products in Brooklyn, fusion of other Hispanic cultures in the restaurant
Oral History Interview with Julia Guzmán
Born in Mexicanos, a suburb of San Salvador, El Salvador, Julia Guzmán was proprietor of Los Churros Restaurant on lower Fifth Avenue in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. She left El Salvador in 1973, and had originally planned to join her relatives in California. However, a friend convinced her to come to Brooklyn. In 1987, after having worked in Brooklyn factories and as a housekeeper, Guzmán decided to open a Salvadoran restaurant. Los Churros became a popular gathering spot. At the time of the interview in 1989, Guzmán was planning to move the restaurant to a larger space within Brooklyn.
In the interview, Julia Guzmán recounts her early days on Bergen Street in Brooklyn, when there were few Salvadorans in the area. She speaks of the growth of the Salvadoran community in Brooklyn, and especially in Jamaica, Queens. She also discusses the political situation in her country, and the difficulties the civil war there has created. Guzmán describes the success of her Los Churros Restaurant; especially on weekends, when a large, pan-Hispanic crowd comes to eat the Salvadoran specialties and to dance to live music. Finally, she recounts the story of how her hometown of Mexicanos received its name. Interview in Spanish conducted by Marcelo Herman.
Brooklyn Historical Society initiated the Hispanic Communities Documentation Project in 1988. Over fifty interviews were conducted to document the experiences of Brooklyn residents who arrived from Puerto Rico, Panama, Ecuador, and several other Central and South American nations in the latter half of the twentieth century. This collection includes recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted between 1988 and 1989. The oral histories often contain descriptions of immigration, living arrangements, neighborhood demographics, discrimination, employment, community development, and political leadership. Also included are photographs and printed ephemera.
CitationGuzman, Julia, Oral history interview conducted by Marcelo Herman, March 06, 1989, Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1989.004.25; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Guzman, Julia
- Los Churros Restaurant
- Emigration and immigration
- Hispanic Americans
- International cooking
- Music Restaurateurs
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- El Salvador
Finding AidHispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories