I grew up learning the trade as an upholsterer.: Becoming Minnesotan

Ramón León.  Minnesota Historical Society, Oral History Office files.
  • Name - Ramón León
  • Age at interview - 46
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.23.2010
  • Ramón León, 1972. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral History Office files.

    Class & Work

    Latino, Work

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    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Class & Work: How important is work in defining a person’s identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many immigrants come to the United States searching for economic opportunity. Some arrive with traditional skills which they may seek to use in their new home.

    To learn more about Latino history and culture, visit our Latino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Ramón León 1
    1:51 Minutes | 1.78Mb


    Narrator: Ramón León (RL)

    Interviewer: Lorena Duarte (LD)

    RL: I was born in Mexico City, and I am the second of eight siblings. I only lived for four years in Mexico City before moving to the State of Mexico, which is adjacent to Mexico City. It became, actually, the metropolitan area of Mexico City.

    LD: Can you tell me a little bit about your parents?

    RL: They were from rural Mexico. They were originally from the State of Guanajuato and the State of Jalisco. Those three states, Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Michoacán form like a triangle. They moved to Mexico City. My father used to be a sales person for a food manufacturing company, which imported foods from Spain. My mother was a homemaker.

    I grew up learning the trade as an upholsterer, being trained as an upholsterer, because my dad used to make wooden frames to be upholstered and sell them in furniture stores, too. So I became an upholsterer at a very early age. All of my brothers became upholsterers, too, by trade. Obviously, when I grew up, I was supposed to be in charge of the upholstery business. We made new furniture, but we also did a lot of re-upholstery work.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Verb: To bring (something) in from a foreign country, especially for sale or trade. (imports, importing, imported)


    Noun: The production of goods on a large scale using machinery.


    Adjective: Relating to a city or large urban settlement.


    Adjective:  Related to less-populated, non-urban areas.


    Noun: The skilled practice of a practical occupation.


    Noun: A craftsman who fits padding, stuffing, springs, webbing and fabric covering to furniture.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2165