A child of Mexican immigrant parents, Erasmo Gamboa was born in Texas and spent his youth in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington. After attending Yakima Valley Community College, he enrolled at the University of Washington in 1968 where he quickly became a leading student activist. Gamboa helped found the UW Chapter of MEChA and was chairman of the University boycott committee supporting the United Farm Workers’ boycott of non-union grapes. Gamboa was also instrumental in the establishment of the UW’s Chicano Studies program. He earned an MA in History from the UW in 1973, and his PhD in 1984. He is currently Associate Professor of Chicano Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies at the UW. Professor Gamboa is the author of numerous articles and books on the history of Latinos in the Pacific Northwest, including Mexican Labor and World War II: Braceros in the Pacific Northwest, 1942-1947_;_ and Nosotros, the Hispanic People of Oregon: Essays and Reflections, which won the Helen and Martin Schwarz Prize from the National Federation of State Humanities Councils.
Erasmo Gamboa shared memories of his life and activism in a videotaped interview conducted by Angelita Chavez and Trevor Griffey, November 1, 2005. Video editing by Daren Salter. Work on this interview was made possible by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.