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Living on the Dime

UC Riverside Graduate Presents Documentary Film “Living On the Dime” at Mellon Lecture in Public History

Robert Gonzalez Vasquez explores life on the I-10 freeway

(November 7, 2006)

Living on the DimeEnlarge

Living on the Dime

UC Riverside alumnus Robert Gonzales Vasquez will return to the classroom at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, for this year’s Knox and Carlotta Mellon Lecture in Public History.

The free public lecture, set for room 1500 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building, will focus on the film, “Living on the Dime: Inland Southern California in Transition,” a multimedia regional heritage project that explores the social, political, economic and environmental impact of the Interstate 10 freeway. The presentation will also include a PowerPoint essay featuring samples of his extensive archive.

Through photos and stories, the film documents the thoughts and memories of nearly 100 people who reside along the 200-mile stretch of the I-10, from Blythe to Bloomington. The film was produced between 2002 and 2005, with funding provided by the California Council for the Humanities Communities as part of the California Stories: Communities Speak Initiative.

“My main message to the students is that money isn’t everything,” Vasquez said. “Your community and what you make of your community is the most important thing. You shouldn’t go and get an education just for the dollars.”

Vasquez began his study into Mexican ancestry after a UCR public history professor encouraged him to continue his research. Upon graduating UCR with a Master’s degree in history in 1993, Vasquez conducted a series of oral interviews with people of Mexican ancestry in the eastern San Bernardino Valley. The interviews and materials gathered in his research were collectively released as the Redlands Oral History Project, which includes over 60 hours of interviews, a 22-volume transcript series and a collection of over 400 rare photographs and artifacts documenting the “lost history” of Mexicans in the San Bernardino Valley.

Vasquez founded and currently directs the Inland Mexican Heritage, a community-based cultural research and media production company dedicated to enhancing, preserving and maintaining a historic and cultural record of migration and settlement of Mexicans and their descendants throughout Inland Southern California. The focus of the organization is to document and provide access to historic resources and cultural information through research initiatives, online archives, multimedia and event production, according to the organization’s online website.

The event is co-sponsored by the UCR Department of History, the Center for Ideas and Society, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the program in Film and Visual Culture, UCR/California Museum of Photography and the Riverside Municipal Museum.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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