Irene H. Ruiz Biblioteca de las Americas
Irene H. Ruíz became a subtle force for advocacy and intellectual development in Kansas City, Missouri’s west side Mexican American community. She and her husband, Francisco Ruíz came to Lawrence, Kansas in 1963 to attend the University of Kansas. They eventually moved to Kansas City where Francisco took a position at Penn Valley Community College in the history department. Irene worked for Kansas City Missouri Public Schools and a teacher and later a librarian for the Kansas City Library which was managed by the school district. Irene and Francisco became active in social justice issues in the community. They hosted local and national lectures by civil rights leaders including César Chávez. Irene was instrumental in collecting oral histories from Mexican immigrant families of the community. The collection of those stories are now archived at the Missouri Valley Room of the Kansas City Central Library.
Backstory and Context