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The Summer ’14 Get ‘Er Done Award goes to Christine Marin

Though old mining towns like Globe and Miami have been around only for a little over a century, the stories they have to offer history are endless.

Arguably one of this area’s most prominent storytellers is Christine Marin, a Globe-Miami native, prolific writer, historian, former archivist, professor emeritus, and recipient of many awards (most recently the 2013 “Golden Bear Leadership Award,” awarded by Phoenix College and Maricopa Community Colleges). Since her studies as a graduate student at ASU in the ‘80s, Marin has shed light on so many Globe-Miami stories that might have otherwise gone untold.

One of those stories includes the unification of Mexican Americans and African Americans to overcome segregation and discrimination in Miami, which Marin describes in her dissertation “Always A Struggle: The History of Mexican Americans in Miami, Arizona.”

“It’s more than the history of a copper town. It’s more than the history of Mexican Americans in a copper town, or sports, or labor, or unions,” she says of her dissertation. “I think it’s also the story of people coming together, struggling together, doing the best that they can to be good citizens, to be good families, to be good parents, to be workers.”

Marin wrote her xxx-page dissertation while she was a part-time student pursuing a PhD in history at ASU. She interviewed as many as 300 individuals, including teachers, in Globe and Miami. She also used her own family history and community history to tell the story.

“I always knew I was going to write something about Globe-Miami. I just didn’t know what,” she says. “I [wrote] different themes in those chapters that relate to what I learned from my parents growing up in Miami and what I learned growing up in a mining town.”

Marin’s roots in Globe-Miami extend several generations. Her parents, Lupe Trujilllo Marin and Eulalia Renteria Marin, were both born in Miami in 1921. They spent portions of their youth there and both attended segregated schools. Once her father returned home from the war, Marin’s family moved to Globe, where Marin was born and raised. Marin’s father worked as a copper miner for the Inspiration Mine for 42 years; thus, her family was pulled into labor union politics. Her parents’ activities would leave a lasting impression on Marin.

“They made sure they had a voice,” she recalls. “So I learned from them that I had a voice, and that I could express it in a different way.”

Growing up, however, Marin didn’t anticipate that she would become a historian. In fact, that happened by accident.

“I thought I wanted to be an English teacher,” she remembers. “But it was actually history that changed everything for me.”

In 1961, Marin graduated from Globe High. In her eyes, college was a gateway to opportunity. Thanks to President Johnson’s war on poverty funds in the ‘60s, she, along with her siblings, relocated to Tempe to attend ASU. She explored a psychology major and a sociology major before receiving her bachelor’s degree in English in ‘74.

Dr. Christine Marin

After Marin got her bachelor’s, she began working full-time at the Hayden Library. She started out as a clerk typist in different departments. Later, she became a bibliographer full-time. All the while, she continued going to school as a part-time student.

“I just knew that I was going to pursue getting that master’s degree,” she says. “Along the way, I met a history professor who changed my whole direction.”

It was thanks to ASU professor Dr. Servin that Marin became interested in history. She took two of his history classes.

“He encouraged me,” she remembers. “I liked what I was learning. I was learning Arizona history, and I was reading and learning about the things I was hearing about growing up that related to my dad’s life as a miner, my parents’ lives in Miami, growing up in a mining town [and] what all of that meant.”

Many of her classmates were from out of state, and knew little to nothing about Arizona, union families, or mining towns.

“I wanted to know more about unions and unionism, because I knew I was different from the other kids I was going to school with,” she continues.

From then on, she immersed herself in history. She signed up for more history classes. Next thing she knew, she was on her way to receiving a master’s degree in history at ASU.

Working in various positions at the library groomed her to become a historian. She knew how to use research and reference tools–these were invaluable skills, especially because Google and the Internet did not yet exist.

By 1982, Marin had a master’s degree under her belt and became an archivist. She worked with collections of all kinds, including old photos, manuscripts, brochures, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and posters.

She also began teaching. She taught classes on womens’ history, the history of Mexico, and the history of Mexican Americans in the West. She integrated archives, manuscripts, and collections into her lessons.

Meanwhile, she continued up the ladder toward a PhD in history, and gained increasing recognition for her work. In 2000, the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association at ASU began the Dr. Christine Marin Staff Award in her honor. In 2003, she received an “Outstanding Faculty Award” from ASU’s College of Extended Education, as well as a “Latino Pioneer Educators in Excellence Award” from Arizona’s LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens).

In 2005, she earned her PhD from ASU. Two years later, she received the “Advocates for Social Justice” Award from the Intergroup Relations Center at ASU.

She continued to uncover the stories of Globe-Miami, focusing on events that occurred between the ‘30s through the ‘60s.

In her article “Courting Success and Realizing the American Dream,” Marin published the story of Miami High’s Dream Team, who, under the guidance of their Finnish American coach Ernie Kivisto, snagged the 1951 state basketball championship. The article was first published in The International Journal of the History of Sport in 2009, and again in Emeritus Voices in fall 2012.

That story, which illustrates how a team of underprivileged Mexican American boys overcame discrimination and adversity, is just as important and relevant now as it was back then, Marin says.

In 2009, she also co-authored the article “Histories of Mexican Origin Populations in Arizona,” which was published in a report entitled The State of Latino Arizona. At that same time, she had been chosen for the “Arizona Latina Trailblazer” award in 2009.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, she published three consecutive volumes of stories (published as both books and DVDs) called Arizona Latina Trailblazers: Stories of Courage, Hope & Determination.

She is now on the Arizona Latina Trailblazers selection committee, and recently wrote about three women from Globe who had been selected and honored by the organization: Angie Tewksbury, former president of Globe public schools; Lillian Carreo, former businesswoman of Globe; and Lupe Yanez, a volunteer civic worker.

“These are women people don’t really know much about,” she says.

She is now also a member of the Western History Association, president of the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail, board member of the Raul Castro Institute in Phoenix, selection committee member of the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame, and serves on the Arizona Humanities Council’s board of directors.

She has written and published numerous other pieces on Mexican American women, biographies, Miami history, Mexican Americans in World War II, and civil rights in the ‘60s.

These days, she is further studying the stories of African American women in Globe and Miami. She also continues to study sports in Globe and Miami, like basketball, as well as unions. One way she continues to share her research with the community informally is by posting short historical anecdotes on Facebook, like the “Growing Up in Globe” Facebook page, which has received a tremendously positive response.

Globe-Miami remains a favorite setting for research and storytelling, Marin says, because so many of the issues that were prominent back then are still present today–namely discrimination and racism.

“We’re still talking about the same issues we’ve always been talking about: immigration reform, poverty, social issues. Those kinds of things are right in our faces all the time,” she explains. “And I still have to write about these issues because that’s my responsibility as a historian, to write this, to study it, and to interpret it,”

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About Jenn Walker

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Jenn Walker began writing for Globe Miami Times in 2012 and has been a contributor ever since. Her work has also appeared in Submerge Magazine, Sacramento Press, Sacramento News & Review and California Health Report. She currently teaches Honors English at High Desert Middle School and mentors Globe School District’s robotics team.

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