In the News:
Coalinga 'Deportee' Plane Crash Sparks Search, 65 Years Later–Valley Public Radio
Names emerge from shadows of 1948 crash–Los Angeles Times
65 Years Later, a Memorial Gives Names to Crash Victims –New York Times
On a clear and cold January morning in 1948, a passenger plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon.
The engine exploded, the left wing ripped apart from the fuselage, and more than a hundred witnesses watched as the airship spiraled out of control and crashed on the edge of the Diablo mountain range.
All aboard were lost to the flames, including the flight crew and at least 28 Mexican nationals, many bracero workers returning home. National media only reported the names of the white pilots, stewardess, and immigration officer. The others were simply listed as “deportees.” Their remains were buried in a mass unmarked grave.
Inspired by Woody Guthrie’s protest song “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee),” author Tim Z. Hernandez set out to right this wrong. Together with Carlos Rascon, director of cemeteries for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, Hernandez raised funds for a gravestone to reclaim every one of the known names:
Miguel Negrete Álvarez. Tomás Aviña de Gracia. Francisco Llamas Durán. Santiago García Elizondo. Rosalio Padilla Estrada. Tomás Padilla Márquez. Bernabé López Garcia. Salvador Sandoval Hernández. Severo Medina Lára. Elías Trujillo Macias. José Rodriguez Macias. Luis López Medina. Manuel Calderón Merino. Luis Cuevas Miranda. Martin Razo Navarro. Ignacio Pérez Navarro. Román Ochoa Ochoa. Ramón Paredes Gonzalez. Guadalupe Ramírez Lára. Apolonio Ramírez Placencia. Alberto Carlos Raygoza. Guadalupe Hernández Rodríguez. Maria Santana Rodríguez. Juan Valenzuela Ruiz. Wenceslao Flores Ruiz. José Valdívia Sánchez. Jesús Meza Santos. Baldomero Marcas Torres.
The memorial was unveiled on Labor Day in 2013. Today, we are honored to share a look at the journey behind Tim Z. Hernandez's forthcoming documentary novel All They Will Call You (available January 28, 2017).
Combining years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, All They Will Call You weaves a captivating narrative from testimony, historical records, and eyewitness accounts, reconstructing the incident and the lives behind the legendary song. This singularly original account pushes narrative boundaries, while challenging perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in America, but more importantly, it renders intimate portraits of the individual souls who, despite social status, race, or nationality, shared a common fate one frigid morning in January 1948.