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Bea González Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: González, Bethaida.
Title: Bea González Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1990-2008
Quantity: 2 linear ft.
Abstract: Bethaida "Bea" González was a school board member, Common Council president, and candidate for mayor in Syracuse, New York. Campaign materials including correspondence, donor lists, notes, news clippings, and other materials; programs, correspondence, plaques, and certificates; family photographs, general news articles about González, programs from events where González spoke, and materials related to other candidates in local and national campaigns in 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2008.
Language: English, Spanish
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Bethaida Carmen "Bea" González (1954- ) was the first Latina elected to the Syracuse (New York) School Board (1991) and Common Council (2001), and was a candidate for mayor of Syracuse in 2009.

Bea González was born in Cayey, Puerto Rico in 1954 but moved with her family to central New York when she was three years old. For nearly a decade, her migrant farmworker parents moved frequently; González estimates that she attended thirteen elementary schools. By the time she reached middle school, González’s father entered a construction laborers’ union and the family settled permanently in Syracuse. The first member of her family to receive a high school diploma, she received her B.A. in political science and Latin American studies from SUNY Binghamton and an MPA from Syracuse University. In 1984, González began working for Syracuse University as an academic advisor; since then, she has held various positions in the university’s administration including interim dean of the college (2004-2007) and dean of the college (2007-present).

Bea González became active in community and Latino politics in the 1980s; by the early 1990s, education had also become a priority. She participated in local committees and wards and was a member of the Association of Neighbors for Latino Advancement (ANCLA), Spanish Action League, and Latinos Concerned for Latino Advancement. In 1990, González served on the mayor’s Latino Task Force and the Minority Affairs Advisory Council for the city of Syracuse. More recently, she co-founded the Onondaga Latino Caucus.

In early 1991, Bea González's service on the mayor's Latino Task Force drew the attention of Mayor Thomas Young, who nominated González to the school board after the board’s president resigned. The first Hispanic to hold a citywide position, González was elected to the board later that year, becoming the first Latina elected to a citywide office in Syracuse. González served as a commissioner of education (school board member) until 1994, when she decided to take a hiatus from politics to focus on raising her son. She reentered politics in July 2001 when she was selected to fill the vacant position of Syracuse Common Council president, becoming the first Latina to serve on the Common Council. After beating her opponent in a democratic primary, González narrowly won a four-year term as council president in November 2001. She was reelected to her second and final term in 2005. In January 2009, she announced her candidacy for mayor of Syracuse.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bea González Papers consist primarily of materials from her 1991, 2001, and 2005 campaigns for Syracuse school board and Common Council president in addition to some of the many awards and honors that González has received in recent years. The campaign materials include correspondence, clippings, campaign postcards, donor lists, invitations, and endorsement materials in addition to programs, certificates, correspondence, and photos from events honoring González.

The collection includes programs from events where González spoke, and news clippings or complete publications where González is mentioned. Among the materials from other political campaigns are postcards, a letter from Senator Edward Kennedy thanking González for her assistance at a fundraiser for John Kerry, and correspondence, photos, and other memorabilia from the New York Electoral College of which González was a member in 2004 and 2008.

There are also a few personal items relating to Bea González and her family. Among them is a scrapbook containing school certificates, clippings, graded papers, a transcript, and other materials relating to Bea González and her siblings, Juan Jr., Lillian, Mary, Nereida, and Christine. Of interest are four 8x10 photos and one 5x7 photo that appear to depict Juan; a wedding photo that may picture González’s parents, Juan and Julia; and a certificate in Spanish, 1975, honoring Lillian for completion of the ninth grade bilingual program at Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School in Syracuse, reflecting relatively early bilingual education in Syracuse.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Collection is currently arranged alphabetically by subject and within that either chronologically or alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The Onondaga Historical Association has several related collections:

Files of Latino Community Organizations and Individuals. Onondaga Historical Association 2006.122.
Records of ANCLA (Association of Neighbors for Latino Advancement) (Syracuse, NY). Onondaga Historical Association 2007.100.

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Subject Headings


González, Bethaida.

Corporate Bodies

Syracuse (N.Y.). -- Common Council.
Syracuse University. -- Higher Education Opportunity Program.
Syracuse University. -- University College.


Families -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Hispanic American women.
Hispanic Americans -- Education -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Hispanic Americans -- Politics and government -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Hispanic Americans -- Social life and customs -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.


Syracuse (N.Y.) -- Politics and government.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Sound recordings.


Civil servants.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bea González Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from Onondaga Historical Association, 2009.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Ryan Lynch, OHA
Date: Jan 2009
Revision history: Mar 2009 - converted to EAD, updated (MRC)

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Awards and honors
Box 1 2004 June 17 Greater Syracuse Tenants Network Certificate of Appreciation awarded to Bea González
2004 July 17 Aleppo Court no. 140 Daughters of Isis Celebrity Luncheon honoring Bea González
Box 1 Program
Box 3 Plaque
Box 1 2004 September 23 Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Latin American Heritage History Month Certificate of Appreciation to Bea González
2005 March Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation honoring Bea González
Box 1 Correspondence and documentation 2004-2005
Box 1 Photographs 2005 March 1
Box 1 Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s proclamation 2005 March 1
Box 1 Notes for speech, unknown award (possibly Chancellor's citation) circa 2005
Box 1 2005 September 23 Spanish Action League of Onondaga County Certificates of Appreciation presented to Bea González and Syracuse University College, Syracuse Common Council
2005 October 23 Peace Action of CNY Peace Award presented to Bea González
Box 1 Newsletter
Box 3 Plaque
Box 1 2006 February 25 Benjamin Banneker Club of Syracuse/Onondaga County Certificate of Appreciation to Bea González
Bea González, Common Council, 2001
Box 1 Ephemera 2001
Box 1 Notes 2001
Box 1 Voter information, events, endorsements 2001
Bea González, Common Council, 2005
Box 1 Certifuicate of election 21 Nov 2005
Box 1 Ephemera 2005
Box 1 Financial disclosure information, including donor lists 2005
Box 1 Fundraising 2005
Box 1 Internal correspondence 2005
Box 1 Letters of congratulations 2005
Box 1 Voter information, events, endorsements 2005
Presidential election, 2004
Box 1 Thank you note, photo from Senator Edward Kennedy to Bea González 2004 March 2
Presidential election, 2008
Box 1 Letter from Douglas Schell to Bea González, elector 2008 December 18
Syracuse, NY municipal elections
Box 1 Ephemera 2001, 2005
Box 1 Matthew Driscoll to Bea González 2005 June 3
Box 3 Button, "I Read Banned Books"
Box 1 Clippings about Bea González, Syracuse University
Box 1 Nicholas Reyes
Box 1 Miscellaneous - card (from son?); magnet for Don Juan Cafe; González family reunion invitation
Box 1 League of Women Voters - Christmas party invitation
Box 1 Master of Arts in Public Administration, Syracuse University 2004 August 27
Box 1 Neighborhood meetings 2005
Box 1 New York State Electoral College 2004-2005 - includes copy of certificate of acceptance, certificate stating election, nametags, notebook (with notes of SU meetings), folders for electors and their guests, photographs, proceedings (2 folders)
Box 1 Common Council, Bea González with Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (damaged) 2005, 2006
Box 2 Negatives (35 mm, disc) - Bea González, Nicholas Reyes, others
Oversize 1 Upward Bound group photograph in front of White House - reverse has congratulatory letter to González, signed "Hank"
Printed materials
Box 2 General, collected by Bea González 2003-2006
Box 2 "The Illusion of Inclusion" City Council report, prepared by the office of Angel Ortiz, Philadelphia, PA Feb 2001
Oversize 1 The Pride of Syracuse and The Pride of Syracuse Latino covers featuring Bea González - galley proofs
Box 2 Miscellaneous, with mention of Bea González (entire publications) (2 folders)
Box 2 Miscellaneous, no apparent mention of Bea González (entire publications) 1995, 2001
Box 2 Clippings about Bea González 1991, 2001 (2 folders)
Box 2 Campaigns, Bea González 1991 - correspondence
Box 2 Campaigns, Bea González 2001 - correspondence
Box 2 Campaigns, Bea González 2001 - notes
Box 2 Campaigns, Bea González 2001 - voter information, events, endorsements
Box 2 Campaign petitions for Democratic, Liberal Parties (blank) 2001
Box 2 Common Council 12 Jul 2001 - swearing-in program and meeting agenda
Oversize 1 González family
Box 2 Invitations
Box 2 Miscellaneous 1991-2001
Box 2 "Coming Back together IV" Syracuse University, Bea González, workshop facilitator 1992 - includes photos
Box 2 Programs for events at which González spoke 2005-2006, undated - programs
Box 2 Minority business and city contracts
Box 3 Audiorecording, Bea González Y94FM 2001 October 3 (ID#: González_b_001)
Box 2 Miscellaneous - letter from NYS local retirement system; stain chart

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