Biography of Raul Castro
Born in Sonora, Mexico, in 1916, Castro was one of 14 children. His family moved near Douglas, Arizona, in 1926, and Castro attended Douglas High School, where he played football, edited the school newspaper, and graduated with honors.
Castro attended Arizona State Teacher’s College (now Northern Arizona University) on a football scholarship, graduating in 1939, the same year he became a U.S. citizen. He applied for a teaching position in Douglas but was denied because the school board voted not to hire teachers of Mexican descent. Disappointed, he stowed away in railroad boxcars and traveled the country.
Castro eventually found employment as a foreign service clerk for the U.S. State Department. He worked in Sonora, Mexico, where he was often the U.S. representative for Americans jailed in Mexico. The experience motivated him to apply to the UA College of Law. He taught Spanish at the UA while in law school and graduated with a J.D. degree in 1949.
After graduation, Castro practiced law for five years, was a Pima Country attorney from 1955-1959, and served as a judge of the Pima County Superior Court from 1959-1964. President Johnson appointed Castro as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 1964 to 1968 and as ambassador to Bolivia from 1968 to 1969.
Castro made history in 1974 when he became the first and only Mexican-American to be elected Governor of Arizona. After completing two years of his four-year term as governor, Castro was chosen by President Jimmy Carter to be ambassador to Argentina, a post he held until 1980, when he returned to Arizona to resume practicing immigration law and international law until he retired in 2003.