Pocket-Riverside area native Dolores (Silva) Greenslate has been named grand marshal for this year’s Spirit of the Pocket Parade, which will begin at the Yay Pem Suab Academy (formerly Lisbon Elementary School) at 7555 South Land Park Drive on July 4 at 10 a.m. and make its way through city streets to Garcia Bend Park.
A special committee selected Dolores for this honor due to her longtime connection and involvement in the community.
At 90 years old, Dolores is one of the few living people who can tell firsthand stories about the Pocket area during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
She is also a descendant of early Portuguese settlers of the area, and she spent the first 10 years of her life residing in the Riverside area, just north of today’s bar, The Trap, which is located at 6125 Riverside Blvd.
Dolores was born in Sacramento to Victor Dias Silva and Maria da Gloria “Mamie” (Machado) Silva in 1924.
Mamie’s father, John Joseph Machado, immigrated to California from Santa Amaro, Pico Island, in the Azores Islands of Portugal in 1915.
But Dolores’ connection to Sacramento dates back much further, as her great-grandfather, Antone Pereira Rodrigues, came to the Pocket area in the early 1850s. His former property is the site of Lewis Park at 6570 Park Riviera Way.
Antone eventually married Pico Island native Maria da Gloria Silva.
In the early 1900s, Antone had his name legally changed to Antone Rodrigues Perry.
Dolores grew up with her brother, Marvin, and attended Sutter School, Crocker Elementary School, California Junior High School (presently California Middle School), C.K. McClatchy High School and Sacramento Junior College (now Sacramento City College). She graduated from McClatchy High in June 1942.
While attending California Junior High, Dolores met Norman Greenslate, who would eventually serve in the Army from 1943 to 1946.
Norman, who also graduated from McClatchy High in June 1942, fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
Dolores and Norman were married on Oct. 12, 1946, and had their only child, Lynette, four and a half years later.
In July 1962, Dolores and Norman became one of the original residents of the Greenhaven 70 development, which is located immediately south of The Trap.
As mentioned in an article in the last edition (June 4, 2015) of this paper, during the development of the area, Dolores became known as the “Duck Lady,” because of her efforts in saving a group of domesticated ducks that were struggling for survival around Lake Greenhaven.
Dolores became a founding member and original board member of the Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society in 1979, and she is presently that organization’s historian and archivist.
She was also active as a contributor for the 1990 edition of the book, “Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area.” She also worked on material for the second edition, which was published in 2003.
More recently, Dolores contributed to the Portuguese Heritage Publications of California books, “The Holy Ghost Festa,” “Immigrants of Agriculture” and “Tower of the Spirit.”
For many years, Dolores was involved with the annual Sacramento Camellia Festival, which featured various civic and cultural events, including an opening day parade with floats, bands, horse units and costumed marchers.
In 1983 and 1985 through 1994, Dolores served as the chairperson for the Portuguese delegation to the festival.
Additionally, for many years, Dolores volunteered to transport camellias from Capitol Park and from local home gardens to various Camellia Festival display locations.
In 1984, when Portugal was the host country for festival, Dolores assisted in decorating Portugal’s parade float entry, which sat on a sea of camellia leaves.
From 1980 to 1991, Dolores wore traditional Portuguese clothing, mainly at local schools, while lecturing and displaying artifacts pertaining to the discovery of the Azores and the Azorean people’s immigration and settlement in the Sacramento area.
Dolores also volunteered to serve as the curator of Portuguese exhibits at the Sacramento History Museum.
Through Dolores’ request, that museum ran a Portuguese exhibit from Oct. 11, 1990 to Feb. 24, 1991. And as a guest curator, she assisted the museum’s main curator in developing displays for that exhibit.
Another Portuguese exhibit was presented at the Folsom History Museum. That exhibit was presented from March 20 to July 18, 2004.
Additionally, Dolores was chief curator of that exhibit, which utilized the museum’s entire exhibit area and drew more visitors than any of the museum’s previous exhibits.
Dolores has also appeared in several television documentaries, including “Sacramento: The Good Old Days Remembered” for KVIE Channel 6.
In Ken Burn’s documentary, “The War,” Dolores told her story about having a pin up photograph taken of her to send to her then-future husband while he was serving in the Army.
That photograph appears on a page of Burns’ corresponding book by the same name.
Dolores briefly appears in another KVIE documentary, which focuses on the history of the coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway.
Various Portuguese government-produced documentaries about Portuguese immigration to the United States include guest appearances by Dolores.
In those documentaries, Dolores speaks about the Portuguese people’s 19th century settlement in today’s Pocket area.
On April 19, 2000, Dolores received the prestigious Uniao Portuguesa do Estado da California (Portuguese Union of the State of California) “Causa Portuguesa” (Portuguese Cause) award during a special gathering at the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley hotel.
Once per year, one Californian is selected to receive this award for his or her important deeds for the Portuguese people of California, and only a few women have received this honor.
Dolores presently serves as an alternate Sacramento representative of the Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society for Portuguese Heritage Publications of California.
Additionally, she serves on that business’s selection committee and continues to contribute to Sacramento area historical writings for Portuguese of California-themed books.
Dolores also remains on the board of directors of the Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society and is the liaison between the local Portuguese community and the Center for Sacramento History.
In commenting about being selected as the grand marshal of this year’s Spirit of the Pocket Parade, Dolores said, “I couldn’t believe that I was selected to be the parade’s grand marshal. I have done a lot of things in my life, but I was surprised that I should even have been considered for such a position. But since I have been selected, I consider it a great honor to have been bestowed upon me. It will be fun to see everyone at the upcoming parade. It should be a good time for all.”