From the age of 12 through a career that spanned eight decades, Lydia Mendoza was a beacon to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, showing them that no matter how humble their situation was they had a culture worth celebrating.
In a 2004 interview, asked what happened to make her the first Mexican-American singing star, she replied “Whether I was singing a bolero or a waltz or a polka it didn’t matter. When I sang, I sang it so I felt like I was living that song. Every song I ever sang I did with the feeling that I was living that song.”
This according to “Lydia motion” by Garth Cartwright (fRoots XXVI/9:261 [March 2005] pp. 30–35, 41).
Today would have been Mendoza’s 100th birthday! Above, the singer in 1948; below, performing in 1975.