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Jose Griñan

Broadcast journalist José Griñán was born on July 24, 1952 in Tampa, Florida. His father was a native Cuban; his mother, a first generation Cuban-American. Griñán studied speech and theatre at the University of South Florida, but his interest in broadcasting resulted from his filming and helping to produce documentaries for the U.S. Army.

In 1975, Griñán was hired as a reporter and weekend anchor for KTSM AM-FM-TV in El Paso, Texas. From 1978 to 1982, he worked as a news reporter and anchor for Miami, Florida’s WCKT-TV (now WSVN-TV). Griñán worked as a news anchor for the now defunct Satellite News Channel in 1982 and 1983, before being hired by WTVJ-TV in Miami in 1984, where he stayed until 1990. From 1990 to 1993, he was a correspondent/host for Crime Watch Tonight, and served as a freelance correspondent and researcher for CNN, and other broadcast services. In 1991, he anchored and reported for KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas, and then, in August of 1993, Griñán joined FOX’s KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas, where he is the senior morning news anchor for the 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m. and 12 noon newscasts.

Throughout his career, Griñán has covered major events of all types, including floods, hurricanes, the sewer explosion in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, where he was one of the first reporters on the scene. In addition, Griñán has produced a variety of special series reports, and has hosted two public affairs programs for KRIV-TV: “The Black Voice” and “Hola Houston.”

Griñán has been active in the community and has served as a volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among others. Griñán is also a board member of the Dive Pirate Foundation, the Houston READ Commission, and Keep Houston Beautiful/Clean City America.

Griñán has been a member of the National Association of Black Journalists since 1978, and maintains membership in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Southwest Alternate Media Project. He is the father of two adult girls.

José Griñán was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 8, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.132

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/8/2014

Last Name

Grinan

Maker Category
Schools

University of South Florida

Henry B. Plant High School

Jesuit High School

George Washington Carver Junior High School

Meacham Alternative School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jose

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

GRI10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cayman Brac

Favorite Quote

For All Your Days Prepare, And Meet Them Ever Alike; When You Are The Anvil, Bear; When You Are The Hammer, Strike.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/24/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Latino, Creole

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Jose Griñan (1952 - ) was the senior morning news anchor on KRIV-TV Fox 26, where he worked from 1993.

Employment

KTSM

WCKT-TV (WSVN-TV)

Satellite News Channel

WTVJ-TV

Crime Watch Tonight

CNN

KDFW-TV

KRIV-TV

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jose Grinan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his community in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about his experiences of discrimination as a black Cuban American

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan describes the history of racial discrimination in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about the experiences of black Cubans under Fidel Castro and Fulgencio Batista

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan talks about his family's roots in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan talks about the Spanish American War

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about Antonio Maceo Grajales

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about the brutality of slavery in Cuba

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan describes his home life in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers Meacham Elementary School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan remembers visiting Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about the history of baseball in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers his godfather, Francisco A. Rodriguez

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan talks about his experiences at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his mentors and his aspirations to become a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan remembers his mentor at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan recalls his early exposure to black theater and screen acting

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers the growth of the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan remembers moving out of his parent's home

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the counterculture of the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan recalls his draft orders from the U.S. military, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan remembers appearing in 'The Daredevil'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan recalls his draft orders from the U.S. military, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan describes his start in film production, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan describes his start in film production, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan describes the film production process

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan describes his duties at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers becoming a reporter at KTSM-TV in El Paso, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan remembers becoming a radio host at KTSM Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan remembers advocating for undercover officer Frank Percy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan recalls joining WCKT-TV in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan talks about the migration of Cubans to Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan remembers the riots of 1980 in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan recalls working for the Satellite News Channel in Stamford, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers his work on 'Crime Watch Tonight'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about his first marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan talks about his role as an advocate for minority communities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan remembers the drug wars in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about the height of drugs and crime in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the Mariel boatlift in Miami, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers Bishop Agustin Roman's peace negotiations at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan recalls the aftermath of the prison riot in Oakdale, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan recalls his transition to KDFW-TV and KRIV-TV in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan remembers the mass killings of the early 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers joining KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan talks about the local stations affiliated with FOX

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about working at KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about his work with minority journalist organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers covering the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan reflects upon his career as a journalist

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan remembers saving a woman from a burning car

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about the aftermath of saving a person's life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan remembers Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan remembers experiencing a stroke on the air

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jose Grinan talks about working at KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jose Grinan talks about the importance of community relationships

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jose Grinan remembers interviewing Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jose Grinan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jose Grinan talks about his father's legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jose Grinan talks about his plans to write a book about his mother

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jose Grinan reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jose Grinan talks about his daughters, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jose Grinan remembers vacations with his daughters

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Jose Grinan talks about his daughters, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Jose Grinan talks about his wife, Kathryn Griffin Grinan

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Jose Grinan describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Jose Grinan remembers visiting Cuba
Jose Grinan remembers Bishop Agustin Roman's peace negotiations at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana
Transcript
Okay. And meanwhile, now, you're born in '52 [1952]?$$Yes.$$But in, was it '56 1956], that's when the Cuban Revolution ends?$$In '59 [1959].$$Fifty-nine [1959], yeah.$$Yeah.$$The traffic back and forth, you know.$$Well, you used to travel back and forth. In fact, I was there in '58 [1958].$$Okay.$$Before--because my father [Jose Grinan] (laughter)--it's very strange and unusual right now. Because, okay, last year I went to Cuba looking for distant relatives. Because I had addresses and phone numbers that I hadn't called and used in more than twenty years. But I went with the hope that they would still be in the same place. I go back. Yes, I find the grandchildren of the people I knew. And they're amazed that I know so much about them. I knew so much about their grandmother. But what I haven't told them is that, "I think your grandmother was my daddy's girlfriend for a while before he got married to my mother [Sylvia Grillo Grinan]." Because they both came from the same town, Remedios [Cuba], and they both moved to Havana [Cuba]. And they just stayed in touch when they were students going to school, and afterwards. And when I went as a journalist in 1978, I think we had gone to a Cuban prison called El Combinado del Este [Havana, Cuba]. I had gone through a lot of high school yearbooks in Miami [Florida] just to look to see, and see what names--, "Okay, he was captured." So when I went to the prison I could say, "Your name is Yoenio [ph.], no?" "Yes, how do you know that?" "Well, your daddy told me to tell you hello, and he's looking forward to your returning." Emotional moments in a prison. Coming back from the prison we were staying in el Hotel Nacional [Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba]. At that time, Cubans were not allowed inside. So, we were getting off the bus and this little old lady just stood right in front of me, stopped my path, "You look just like your papa." "Excuse me?" And then she started running down my pedigree. She knew my grandfather [Antonio Grillo], she knew my mother's mother [Amparo Valdez Grillo]; she knew my grandmother on my father's side [Luisa Falero Grinan]. She just knew everybody. And it's like, "Who are you?" "Well, I'm Amelia [ph.]. Don't you remember coming to my house as a child?" "Are you the lady who had canaries?" "Yes, yes." You don't know what stuff like that does to somebody's mind. Very, very, emotional. Because it's tapping into a past that you really didn't know about. Now, I had to bribe a taxi driver to go to her neighborhood, because this was in 1978. You weren't supposed to walk around in Cuba if you were an American. You know, everybody's going to be watching you. And I could tell you some stories about being watched in Cuba. Amelia cooked me rice, beans and pork. And I had to ask her, "Where did you get all of this?" "We have our ways, Jose [HistoryMaker Jose Grinan], we have our ways." And she gave me a silver dollar, a Jose Marti silver dollar [Cuban peso] to give to my father, and I did that when I came back. But Amelia, interesting story. In I want to say the late '30s [1930s] or early 1940s, Communists had truckloads of food, and they would go through neighborhoods. "You want a bag of food? You could feed your family for two weeks with this, but you have to sign this paper." A lot of people signed the paper. In 1960 when Amelia left her house with her bags and went to the airport to get on a plane to go to Miami, they pulled out this piece of paper and said, "Is that your signature?" "Yes, but that was so long ago." "We don't admit Communists to the United States." So, she had to turn around and go back home. Now, if she didn't have her son staying in that house and her grandchildren staying in that house, she would have been homeless, have no place to go to. I asked her in 1980 when I was there, "What happened?" That was '78 [1978]. "What happened to the canaries? You know, I remember some, you know, all these canaries. You had a patio, you had all of these cages--big, two big cages." She said, "Jose, I was not going to let that man profit off my hard work." She's talking about Castro [Fidel Castro]. So, what she did was open all of the cages and let the birds go free. Because she was not, she wouldn't have been able to make any money on them, because the society was changing into a Socialist society.$$Okay.$$So, she said, "You know, I can't be free, but I'll let them go."$So, do you think the drugs and the, you know, there's the connection here (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The Cocaine Cowboys?$$Yeah, the Cocaine Cowboys and the Mariel situation [Mariel boatlift].$$Because many of those who came from Mariel--and this was, okay, let me explain this. Many of those who came were criminal, but some were not. But they had to engage in criminal activity here in order to feed their families. The guy who negotiated the peace at--it was a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana [Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale]. The guy who negotiated the peace was a lieutenant in the Cuban Navy [Cuban Revolutionary Navy] who defected to come to the U.S. But he couldn't find a job because he didn't have any documents. So, he dealt cocaine. He got arrested, sent to prison. He was getting ready to be sent back, but then they stopped that, because those who were going to be sent back were going to be persecuted. He was a good man, but he had to feed his family, so he did something wrong. And there were a lot of folks who were in the prison who did something like that, got caught, and they were thrown in prison. Now, if they had a job, if they had all of these other things, they would not have had to go to prison. But it was, it was, that was an interesting time. I think that was '88 [1988].$$Okay.$$And then in fact, that ended with Bishop Agustin Roman who--remember when I said sometimes you just have to help people? I should not have done something as a journalist, but I did it as a human being. People in Oakdale, Louisiana, they didn't have Bishop Agustin Roman's personal number. I did, because he was the bishop for the Cubans in Miami [Florida]. I had to have it, because he was one of my contacts. So, I wrote the number down in my book, and I put my book at the end of the table and told Carla Dudeck--and I remember her name because she was the attorney who was representing all of them, "Carla, there may be something down at the end of the table that you could use." And they went, looked, called the bishop, and he was there the next day. And it ended that day. Nobody else got hurt. And it was an amazing thing to see all of these hard core inmates--I mean they had ripped up the inside of the prison. They had made weapons out of the beds; they had done everything. And they were really ready to fight the corrections officers, National Guard [National Guard of the United States], anybody. But they didn't. And when the Bishop came, he got on the back of a pickup truck and rode the circumference around the gate. And it was amazing to see all these tough guys drop their weapons in a pile, get on their knees. And the Bishop blessed them all, went to another group--blessed them all. And they dropped the weapons. Was I wrong in leaving the number? I think I did the right thing, because I didn't want to see a blood bath, and they were ready for a blood bath (pause). I guess I'd think twice about doing it now, but I thought I was helping people. I didn't want to see a massacre, because that's what the National Guard would have done.