Document Type

Oral History


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Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

February 2023


Interviewees: Claudia Leolo [spellcheck], Sofia Vega, “Lady,” Marcela Salazar, Douglas Hernandez, Consuelo Camacho.

Interviewers: James Randall (VCU History) & Elena Camacho (New Virginia Majority).

The following is an oral history interview with Claudia Leolo, Sofia Vega, “Lady” (a resident of the Southwood Apartment complex in Richmond, VA who chose to remain anonymous), Marcela Salazar, Douglas Hernandez, and Consuelo Camacho. The interview was conducted on November 4th, 2022 at the Department of History’s offices at Virginia Commonwealth University. This conversation concerns several topics of interest centered on the 21st century Latin American experience in Virginia. Principally, the lives of residents in the Southwood Apartments complex in Southside Richmond, VA; Latin Americans in the Richmond metropolitan area more broadly; and their personal histories building community. The community organizers provide personal accounts of their relationship to Virginia, what brought them into pursuing grassroots level political & social changes, and their organizing Richmond’s Latin American community. The residents were also asked questions regarding these topics as relevant to their history, particularly immigration, their adapting to life in the United States, and organizing for their rights as tenants at the Southwood complex. Both groups were also interviewed on their experiences during & perceptions of notable current topics of discourse, including the course of the Trump presidency and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by James Randall & Elena Camacho, and have been transcribed semi-verbatim. The interview was roughly transcribed by the service, and was heavily edited by James Randall in order to achieve clarity. It requires further review for full Spanish grammatical accuracy.

Is Part Of

Latino Virginia Oral History Project