Rita Hayworth / Margarita Carmen Cansino

A star was born!  Among the Latinas that you may not know was Latina is Margarita Carmen Cansino, who achieved worldwide fame as Hollywood’s glamorous Rita Hayworth.  Her father was an immigrant from Spain, where her Spanish grandfather was a renowned bolero dancer.  Hayworth appeared in 61 movies over her 37 year career, and earned a place as one of 25 women in the American Film Institute’s listing of Greatest Stars of All Time.  The nationally loved star was a favorite of US troops during World War II, and her screensaver (called ‘pin-up’ back then) graced the walls of many overseas barracks.  Off-screen, her life was complicated, with several high profile marriages that ended in divorce and struggles with alcoholism.  Cansino finally succumbed to Alzheimer’s related illnesses in 1987.

Humberto Noé “Bert” Corona, Union Leader and Civil Rights Activist

May 29, 1918 is the birthday of Humberto Noé “Bert” Corona, a union, political and civil rights activist who spent over 70 years of his life in public service.  Corona was born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican parents.  He received a basketball scholarship to the University of Southern California, but dropped out to work full-time in labor organizing.  Corona worked in numerous organizations, including the Longshoremen’s Union, La Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, Community Service Organization, and La Asociación Nacional Mexico-Americana (ANMA).  In the book “Memories of Chicano History”, he wrote, “I never planned my life. It just happened the way it did. I’m proud that I was able at certain times to help organize a plant or a community group and that these organizations helped people struggle to better their lives.”