Román Rodríguez served in the U.S. army during World War II and moved to Chicago’s La Clark neighborhood in 1953. For many years, his wife, Clautilde Jiménez, taught in the Chicago public school system. They also lived in Lincoln Park and were both active members in the Damas de María and Caballeros de San Juan of Council Number Three. A powerful and eloquent orator, Mr. Rodríguez has been a frequent speaker at Caballeros de San Juan functions across a variety of parishes. He also became a deacon and participated in the mass at St. Silvesters in Humbolt Park/Logan Square, where he helped to solidify the growing community of Puerto Ricans who were being forced out of Lincoln Park. In his oral history, Mr. Rodríguez reflects on the changes he has seen over the years in Chicago and the displacement of Puerto Rican families from Lincoln Park. He expresses his inability to understand why Puerto Ricans were experiencing discrimination especially after they had served in the U.S. military and given their lives for United States. He describes in rich detail, a community of hard working and religious people, dedicated to their families and their faith. In Puerto Rico in the 1940s, Mr. Rodríguez would entertain his siblings by improvising jibaro music after working a hard day in the fields. Like other Puerto Rican pioneers in Chicago, he brought his love of music with him to the city and continued this tradition there.
Jiménez, José, 1948-
Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives