Carlos Carriedo

Carlos Carriedo was born 1947 in San Diego. He lived at 1759 National Avenue until he was about eight when the family moved to National City. His parents had six children.

His father was Lorenzo (Lente) Carriedo (b. 1920 in San Diego).

Lorenzo’s father was Sinovio Carriedo (b. 1891 in Coeneo de la Libertad, Michoacan, Mexico) who became a day laborer in San Diego for a time.

Lorenzo’s mother was Josefa Acevedo (b. 1880 in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico). She used to cook and wash clothes for day laborers.

Josefa came to the United States in 1904. Not much is known about Sinovio because he went back to Mexico before Lente was born.

Lente was a hardworking man who became “head of the family” at the age of eight. Starting at about 3 am each morning, he would go to work at the produce markets in downtown San Diego until it was time to go to school. He wouldn’t get paid in money, but rather in food. After school, he had an additional paper route.

During the repatriations of the early 1930s, the Welfare Department came to Lente’s San Diego neighborhood and told residents that they had to go back to Mexico. Lente’s family actually received a document to that effect from the County Welfare Department during either 1932 or 1933. He and his family were all legal residents or citizens of the United States. Nevertheless, officials came to the house saying Lente and his family had to leave. Lente refused and when he remained defiant, the Welfare Department left him and his family alone.

In 1939 Lente graduated from San Diego High School. Although he did quite well in school, taking college prep classes, he wasn’t able to go to university. Instead, he spent the rest of his life working for the San Diego markets, including a company called Coast Citrus. He was mainly a truck driver in his later years. Notably, he used to drive up to Los Angeles every night and pick up produce coming from Mexico and Latin America. Often the product would be bananas. Lente passed away in 1987 at the age of 66.

Carlos’ mother was Margaret Carriedo (b. 1923 in San Bernardino, California).

Margaret’s father was Andres Rangel (b. 1883 in Abasolo, Guanajuato, Mexico).
Margaret’s mother was Porfiria Ramos (b. 1885 in Abasolo, Guanajuato, Mexico).

The Story of Andres & Porfiria: From Bootlegging to Repatriations

Porfiria’s birth certificate says she was indigenous. At the age of 15 she married Andres, a 17 year old man of indigenous heritage. She lived in a small town, while he was a farm laborer living in the countryside. Porfiria’s parents, although indigenous as well, felt they were a family of a higher class and therefore did not approve of the marriage. The family believes this may have been the reason why Andres decided to go to the United States. Porfiria followed soon thereafter.

Records show that Porfiria came to the United States in 1904, so it is believed Andres came around 1902. Initially, Andres went to San Bernardino where his brother already had settled. There, Andres went to work in the fields, but soon transitioned into working for the railroads. The couple came down to San Diego at a certain point and they were listed in the 1910 census records. Andres likely worked at the Roundhouse by today’s Petco Park where railroad repair took place.

Porfiria had seven living children, all of whom were born in the United States. She was very astute and had an excellent business sense. She also knew how to read and write in Spanish, which was unusual during those days.

The family fell upon hard times in the 1920s. To supplement their income, Porfiria and Angel along with other family members became bootleggers, something which was common during the Prohibition days when alcohol was forbidden. Among the memories of Margaret Carriedo, she recalled how her mother would strap bottles to her legs and hide the alcohol underneath her dress. In the latter half of the Prohibition years, Margaret remembered the stacks of cash on the table and how well the family did financially. Then, one of the family members ended up getting caught and being sent to prison. At that point, the family operation shut down. The marriage of Porfirio and Angel also fell apart. Andres went back to Tijuana.

Porfiria left the United States and went to Mexico, but not much more is known until March 1932 when she wanted to return and obtain permanent residency. At the turn of the century, when people came into the United States, they went through the port of entry, paid a head tax and simply entered. There wasn’t any processing or any immigration law. However, during the early 1930s while the repatriations were underway, Porfiria’s request was suddenly denied.

The government of Mexico promised her many things, including financial help and jobs. However, none of that came to fruition. Porfiria returned to her place of birth, Abasolo. None of her children wanted to go to Mexico with her, but Margaret had no choice since she was only eight years old.

Margaret described her experience in Mexico as a nightmare. Porfiria’s family no longer accepted her, so she went to another nearby town and tried to make ends meet. Soon she ran out of money. Porfiria tried to start a few businesses, notably selling clothes and selling menudo door to door. However, it didn’t work.

Margaret wasn’t accepted by the children in Mexico. What’s more, she and her mother became so poor that Margaret had to sell chiclets on street corners. They started to live in a small village, probably with indigenous people, where Margaret was sleeping on a dirt floor in a hut. They also became so desperate that they resorted to selling their clothes. They did, however, find a way to return to the United States, finally taking a banana boat to Tijuana. The year was probably 1934. Porfiria, however, was still barred from coming across to the United States. It was decided that Margaret would go live with her sister in San Diego.

When Margaret was in Mexico, she didn’t go to school, so when she returned to the United States she was very behind. She was put in classes with kids far younger. Her sister did not value education and pressured Margaret to quit school. At the age of twelve, Margaret started working. First she worked in restaurants and cleaning houses. By the age of fifteen she obtained employment at the tuna canneries and continued to work there for most of her life, including at Sun Harbor. She also worked for the packinghouses of Bonita Valley.

Lente and Margaret married in the 1940s. They lived on National Avenue until in 1955 the family moved to National City.

Carlos Growing Up in National City and Tennis Championships

Carlos went to Our Lady of Guadalupe for elementary school and to St. Augustine for high school. While growing up, Carlos and his siblings were always part of Neighborhood House, a settlement house that provided sports leagues, cooking classes and other activities for youth. Established by the Marsten family, it was funded by several organizations.

Coach Pinkerton ran the sports program and first Carlos’ brother, Marcos, began to play tennis at the Neighborhood House. By the time Carlos was about six or seven, he also started to play.

His father, Lente, used to work nights. He would leave for work at around 2am or 3am and then he would return home around 2pm or 3pm. At that point, he would pick up his boys from school and immediately take them to Morley Field where they would learn to play tennis while his father would sleep in the car. His father knew that athletics was a possible ticket for his sons to get educated. Carlos and his brothers practiced every single day and became excellent athletes.

Carlos was ranked number one for tennis in Southern California several times times. He won the civic southwest championships more than once and also won the National Boys Hardcore Championships. When he graduated from St. Augustine in 1965, Carlos received a full tennis scholarship to attend Notre Dame University. He graduated with a political science degree in 1969. He then attended law school at UC Berkeley, completing his education in 1972. During his time at CAL, he became part of the La Raza Lawyers Association.

Carlos’ first job was at a San Francisco civil rights law firm. However, those were the Nixon years and, as Carlos explains, there was no enforcement of civil rights during that time. He left to work at the Public Defender’s office in San Diego. A few years later, he began working in private practice, representing injured workers. He often represented tuna fishermen in worker’s compensation cases, the majority of whom were Latinos. He spent 10 years traveling up and down Central and South America to meet with clients. He continues to practice as an attorney to this day.

Carlos Carriedo

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