Recently we sat down with Deborah Vargas, an expert on Latina culture who writes about music, to find out why Lydia Mendoza is the perfect person to kick off the new Music Icons stamp series.
Stamp of Approval: How do you feel about honoring Lydia Mendoza on a stamp?
Vargas: My grandparents immigrated to Texas from Mexico at the beginning of the twentieth century. It’s especially meaningful to me, as someone whose family listened to Mendoza’s music and who feels especially connected to her story. Mendoza is someone who represents the histories of labor and cultural contributions of Mexican descent people in the United States. It is an excellent choice to have her name and image circulate as part of this significant U.S. postal series.
Q: The Mendoza stamp is the first in a new series called “Music Icons.” What makes her a true music icon?
A: Mendoza, along with her family, was an extremely skilled performer. She had tremendous vocals and knew how to play many instruments. She played the 12-string guitar, which is more rare, especially for women guitarists. She surpassed social barriers, including racial discrimination, that were difficult for anyone, much less a Mexican American women to succeed at. Mendoza worked, traveled, performed, and recorded longer than most singers, for over six decades. She was one of the earliest Mexican Americans to record for a major recording label. Mendoza accomplished all of this while also raising a family.
Q: Do you have any plans to use the new Lydia Mendoza stamps?
A: Yes. I’m very excited to use them in my daily life. I’ve already pre-ordered several sheets for myself and also plan to purchase others to gift to family and friends. There is tremendous excitement in Mexican American and Latino communities over the release of this stamp.
Thank you Ms. Vargas for the wonderful insight into Lydia Mendoza and for serving as our consultant on this exciting project!
The Lydia Mendoza Forever® stamp is currently available at usps.com/stamps and at Post Offices around the country, or you can call ().