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Affidavit sworn by Carmen Celestino to Alonso S. Perales



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Affidavit sworn by Carmen Celestino to Alonso S. Perales


RACE discrimination


Affidavit sworn by Carmen Celestino that states that both she and Virginia Ashe were informed they could not attend the School of Nursing Hotel Dieu in El Paso, Texas because they were of Mexican descent.


Celestino, Carmen


Perales, Alonso S. Are We Good Neighbors? 1948. EBSCO Arte Público Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 2




Perales, Alonso S.


Content compilation of The Latino/Hispanic American Experience Leaders, Writers and Thinkers copyright 2012 by Arte Publico Historical Collections. All rights reserved.


Gauthereau, Lorena. "Are We Good Neighbors?: Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas."










EL PASO (Tex.)




Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared Carmen Celestino, who being by me duly sworn upon oath deposes and says:

My name is Carmen Celestino. I am 20 years of age and single. I reside at 419 South Pinto Street, in San Antonio, Texas. I was born and reared in San Antonio, Texas, and I am a graduate of San Fernando Parochial School of this city. I attended Incarnate Word College for a period of two years. My father was the late Flavio Celestino. My mother is Mrs. Justa Celestino.

In December, 1942 I made application to enter the School of Nursing Hotel Dieu, El Paso, Texas. With my application I sent a transcript of my school credits, a picture of myself and a deposit fee of $5.00. All these were sent about one month before the classes scheduled to begin in January 1943. Somehow my X-ray report did not reach there on time and I was notified by telegram that I was not accepted for admission to that class. In the meantime Sister Paula, Director of said Institution, kept corresponding with me and advised me to wait for the June, 1943 class.

During the month of March I received a letter stating that my former application had been accepted for the coming class whihc [which] was to start on June 14, 1943. In April, 1943 I was notified that I had fulfilled all the necessary requirements and that I would be expected to report at said School on June 14, 1943. Accordingly, I reported there on said date. I arrived there about 10:30 A.M. I asked for Sister Paula and the lady I addressed happened to be Sister Paula. She told me to wait on the porch as she was busy carrying out a mattress. I waited there from 10:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Finally she came out and asked us to come into her private office. I say us because there was another girl there waiting also since about 8:30 A.M. She was an applicant from Las Vegas, New Mexico and her name was Virginia Ashe. When we went in Sister Paula said to us:

"This is an American Institution for American girls. Since you are Mexicans you should apply for admission to another hospital where they ad- [admit] Mexicans." We ere dumbfounded and tears came to our eyes, when she say this she said how sorry she was to have to tell us this, but that it was terrible the way Mexicans were treated in El Paso, and that through references received she knew that we came from fine families and she did not want us to be treated thus. She stated that if she herself were a Mexican she would not stay in Hotel Dieu Hospital. She said that we still had a chance to apply to another school where there would be no racial discrimination, whatsoever, and that she would advise us to do so immediately so that we could get in during this summer. After this se [she] said: "Follow me and I will show you to your room where you can stay until you decide what to do", and she left us there. Virginia and I decided to return home. Before doing so, however, I spoke with Sister Pauls [Paula] on the telephone and told her that I was leaving for home, in view of what she had said to us, and that if I had known this beforehand I would not have made the trip to El Paso, whereupon she stated that to have written it down in paper would have been rather embarrassing and that she thought it best to tell it to us personally.

Further deponent sayeth not.

[signed] Carmen Celestino

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 19th day of June, A.D. 1943.

[signed] Alonso S. Perales
Notary Public, Bexar County, Texas

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Celestino, Carmen , “Affidavit sworn by Carmen Celestino to Alonso S. Perales,” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections, accessed June 15, 2024,