Los Angeles - July 27, 1943

alice greenfield

The entire office staff (of two) beamed at Eliseo Hernandez. He had just walked into the office of the Committee for the Defense of Mexican-American Youth and offered to help sell the pamphlet THE SLEEPY LAGOON CASE.

"I just read it," he said. "A lot of people have been asking about this case. The pamphlet tells the story they ought to know. I'll help you sell it if you want me to."

So — little knowing with whom they were dealing — they gave the husky Mexican-American ship-yard worker five pamphlets, wished him well, bid him adios, and turned back to the job of stuffing envelopes.

Before you could say "uno, dos, tres" Hernandez was back. "Well, I got rid of those. Would you like me to take some more — maybe twenty-five?" Figuring he couldn't have just thrown the pamphlets in the ash-can, because here was the money for them, they gave him the twenty-five, and said please would he try to get the money in to office within a few days, it was badly

needed, etc.....

Less than an hour passed. Eliseo Hernandex plunked down two bucks, four bits and sat down to rest a minute. He had been doing some hard walking and fast talking, apparently.

When he took the next batch of twenty-five pamphlets Hernandez said he couldn't promise to have the money back the same day. It might take longer, he had to get to work, it was getting late.

But he did sell them, and ten more that same day — making a total of sixty-five sold in less than four hours. In the next two days he sold seventy-five more and he's still plugging.

"Mostly I've been selling them to Mexican people. They are very glad to get it. A lot of them are learning for the first time what the Sleepy Lagoon case means to them. They are learning the real meaning of the newspaper lies and of the riots. Once the Mexcian people know that, they are that much better prepared to unite and fight the fifth column. And the Sleepy Lagoon case is a good place to start. A successful appeal for the 17 boys will be a real victory for all the Mexican and Mexican-American people."