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Who? Ignacio Elizondo was a general serving under General Joaquin de Arredondo in New Spain.
What? General Elizondo was part of General Arredondos army that organized in Laredo in 1813. They then marched on San Antonio to meet the Army of the North (Texas Army) that had recently declared Texas independent on April 6, 1813. Don Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara was no longer in command of the Tejanos and they were defeated at the Battle of Medina on August 18th.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
El Paso de Jacinto (El Paso de los Indios)
What? Name given in 1746 to the future site of Laredo, Texas.
Escandon, Don Jose de (1700 - 1770)
Who? Don Jose de Escandon; great explorer, soldier, and colonizer of the Lower Rio Grande (now South Texas).
What? The English Colonies have John Smith, and Texas has Don Jose de Escandon, the colonizer of the Villas del Norte on the Lower Rio Grande. Although he does not receive the recognition in U.S. and Texas history books that he earnestly deserves, he was a bright young military man who came to the attention of his superiors while on duty in Yucatan. He was then sent to Queretaro, where he brilliantly quelled several Indian uprisings and explored the area of what is now Northern Mexico and South Texas. His leadership showed quick results and the Crown rewarded the young administrator. He was named as the first governor of this territory that was called Nuevo Santander. His planning skills allowed him to pacify the Indians in the area. As a serious form of halting French incursions into Spanish territory, he was charged with establishing from scratch the largest and most complicated settlements up to the mid-1700s. He initially set up thirteen different communities, which eventually grew to more than twenty towns. Many of modern-day Spanish Mexican descendants around the world trace their family roots to these early villages. While the Crown was very pleased with his accomplishments, Don Jose had enemies. Not everyone agreed with his manner of organizing. For example, some of his settlers wanted title to land that Don Jose was unwilling to grant because he believed that they would abandon the towns. He had other detractors who probably envied his successes. After an inspection of Nuevo Santander directed by the Viceroy, Don Jose was summoned to Mexico City to defend himself against his accusers. The embarrassing hearing took its toll. Don Jos died in 1770 before the end of his trial. His son, Manuel, took up his fathers cause. In the end, Don Jose name was cleared. Like many other pre-1836 Spanish heroes, Governor Escandon is greatly under-appreciated in Texas history.
When? 1700 -1770
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, and Joseph, Harriett, Explorers and Settlers of Spanish Texas
Farias,Jos Antonio (Also Jose Andres, Juan Francisco, Francisco)
Who? The Jose Antonio Farias Family
What? The Jose Antonio Farias Family is a story of Mexican and Texas heroes and leaders that goes back to the Spanish colonial era. The names of Jose Antonio Farias and his wife Catarina Rodriguez first appear in San Juan Bautista, Coahuila at the Presidio of the Rio Grande. The exploration of Texas and the establishment of missions began at San Juan Bautista, called the Gateway to Texas. Attesting to Spains masterful organization skills when it came to the exploration of America, no Spanish European could set foot in Texas without going through this singular point of entry. Jose Antonio was thus one of the first intrepid Spanish colonial heroes that lived in and manned the important post.
Jose Antonio Farias, Jr. married Gertrudis Trevio. His brother, Jos Andrs Farias and Guadalupe Snchez acted as sponsors. This is considered as the event that established a Farias connection with Laredo. In 1798, Jose Andres was posted to Laredo as the commander of the local Spanish colonial garrison. It was here that on Nov 30, 1803, Jose Andres married Guadalupe Snchez at San Agustin Church. Significantly, Guadalupe, the daughter of Santiago de Jesus Sanchez and Maria Santos Gonzalez, was the granddaughter of Don Tomas Sanchez, Laredos founder. As such, there is no doubt that the Farias family enjoyed great respect and were leaders in the Laredo colonial community.
In Laredo as a member of the Third Flying Cavalry Company Compania Volante, Jose Andres established a strong reputation for his military leadership. He was actively involved, along with other members of the Laredo garrison, in the capture of Father Hidalgo, leader of the insurgency that ultimately led to Mexicos independence. Jose Andres was cited specifically for his dedication to duty in defending New Spain against the many insurgents. He was also part of the military force organized by Gen. Arredondo in his march to San Antonio that led to the Battle of Medina, bringing to an end the First Republic of Texas. After the battle, his superiors cited him for his bravery. Returning to Laredo, Jose Andres Farias became Laredos mayor in 1816. Using his military training and skills, he was a successful chief administrator of the city. Jose Andres and Guadalupe had seven children. Juan Francisco, born in 1807, was the eldest. Significantly, Laredo Farias family members are all descendants of Juan Francisco.
Records indicate that on June 15, 1832, Juan Francisco married Maria Inocente Benavides. She was a widow, whose husband Jose Cayetano de la Garza had been killed by Indians. They had eleven children of their own, plus Marias two children from Jose Cayetano. The eldest of their children, Francisco, married Francisca Benavides, half-sister of Texas hero, Colonel Santos Benavides. Jose Andres eighth child, Andrs M., also began a large branch of the Farias family. Andrs M. and his wife, Nemesia Hernandez married in 1867 and had 15 children. When General Francisco Villa occupied Torreon, Andres Librado Farias Hernandez was appointed as Mayor by the general himself. Their descendants continue to follow Jose Andres' footsteps by excelling in positions of leadership in politics and business throughout Mexico. Juan Francisco Farias was actively involved in the 1840 convention of federalist leaders in Laredo to combine Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila into an independent Republic of the Rio Grande. (It should be noted that South Texas was part of Tamaulipas at the time.) They sought to separate themselves from the Republic (centralist government) and declare themselves followers of the 1824 Constitution. After a number of military battles, the young borderlands government was defeated by the end of the year.
After the U.S. conquered Northern Mexico, Juan Francisco swore allegiance to the new government. He became Mayor of Laredo. Again, he became part of an insurgency when Texas joined the Confederacy. After the Civil War, Juan Francisco's daughter, Manuelita, married Evaristo Madero, a widower and grand-father of the future president of Mexico, Francisco I. Madero. Having completed a career filled with selfless courageous acts of service to his country, his community, and his family, Juan Francisco Farias died in 1870. Continuing the Farias tradition of enterprise and public service, Francisco Farias, Manuelitas oldest brother, became a prominent leader of the community, businessman, and rancher. He served as a county commissioner and later presided over the first Laredo school board. Because of his passion for education and leadership, a Laredo elementary school is named in his honor. Francisco Farias died in 1915.
Four Ragged Castaways (See Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez)
Who? Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Alonso Castillo Maldonado, Andres Dorantes de Carranza and his African-born slave, Estevanico
What? The four survived the ship-wreck of the Panfilo Narvaez Expedition. They were washed ashore near modern-day Galveston Island. After surviving the shock of the landing, they became hostages of several Tejas Indians. However, using ingenuity and determination, they were able to survive for eight years traveling on foot from East Texas to the Pacific Coast. The description of their saga is truly monumental and is the first account of Native Americans by Europeans. In order to survive, they became slaves, merchants, and medicine men. In an odd way, certain tribes in Texas did not get along with each other. Therefore, the castaways often acted as intermediaries or go-betweens among the warring tribes. After being rescued in Northern Mexico, they were able to recount the incredible journey of The Four Castaways.
Recommended Source: Book by Resendez, Andres, A Land so Strange
Who? Guy Gabaldon is a real WWII hero.
What? While serving in the Pacific Mariana Islands (Saipan), over 1,500 Japanese soldiers surrendered to Gabaldon, who was only 18 years old at the time. He was able to communicate in Japanese with the enemy soldiers hidden in caves. He promised them that they would be well cared for if they surrendered. In several trips to the mouths of the caves, he was able to convince large groups of Japanese to surrender. In one day alone, he escorted over 800 to the American camp. Oddly enough, Guy Gabaldon had learned the Japanese language from Japanese boyhood friends living in his neighborhood in California. Had he not been able to win the enemy soldiers over, hundreds more American marines would have been killed. While the story was received with enthusiastic patriotism by the American public, people soon forgot that it was a young, five foot, four inches tall Mexican American marine from California who had single-handedly captured the Japanese prisoners of war. Later, Gabaldons story was made into a popular movie titled From Hell to Eternity. The story was his, but not the main character. In yet another example of blatant injustice against Hispanics regularly committed by Hollywood movie producers, the hero was transformed into a six foot tall Anglo Saxon role played by the actor Jeffrey Hunter.
Bernardo de Glvez was born in Mlaga, Spain on July 23, 1746, and died Nov. 30, 1786, in Mexico City.His noble family was one of the best in Spains royal service. Glvez was the general in charge of all Spanish forces in New Spain. He served as governor of Louisiana and Cuba and as Viceroy of New Spain. He also helped Gen. George Washington gain U.S. independence from England.
Like his father and uncles before him, he joined the military service of the king of Spain. In true family tradition, he saw his first battle action as a young officer. He was only 16 years old. He first came to America in 1765 as part of his uncle Joss staff when his uncle came to inspect New Spain activities for the king.
The viceroy of New Spain liked Lieutenant Glvez and quickly made him a captain. The viceroy then assigned him to the most northern part of New Spain to fight hostile Apache tribes. It was in this role that he improved on his qualities as a leader. He was very brave. All of his men loved to follow their young leader. As a result, he was able to complete the many tough tasks they gave him.
His bravery became well known in New Spain and in Spain. The viceroy promoted him again. A story is told of Glvez being ambushed by five enemy Indians. On his own, he defeated them, but was badly wounded by arrows and lance stabs to his chest. While getting well from his injuries, he led further attacks on the unfriendly Indians. To give him time to get well from his wounds, his uncle Jos took him back to Spain.
He stayed in Spain until 1775, where he was active in military affairs. During a battle, he was wounded again. He also served in France where he learned to speak French, an ability that would serve him well as Governor of Louisiana.Due to his bravery, he was made a lieutenant colonel and a professor at the military academy of vila.
In 1777, he was sent to Louisiana, as a colonel and interim governor of the province. This was the large territory between New Spain and the area claimed by the U.S. colonies. It was here where he became a brigadier.
As governor, Glvez set up a free trade plan with Cuba and Yucatn. He founded Glvez Town and pushed for more Spanish colonies. His foreign policy was anti British and very strongly aided the U.S. colonies. Patrick Henry and many other U.S. patriots wrote to Glvez asking for his help.
In fact, many students of today know that French people helped the U.S., such as Marquis de Lafayette, but not many of them know that the Spanish people also helped and that is the reason that Glvez is the forgotten Lafayette.Here is why. A lot of aid went up the Mississippi River from Louisiana to the U.S. army. This help was in the form of money, gun powder, supplies, food in the form of Texas cattle, other goods, and clothing for the soldiers. In fact, the Governor spent much of his own personal wealth to send help directly to George Washingtons Army.
In 1779, leading troops in action himself, Glvez beat the British Army from the Mississippi River across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. First, he won a battle near New Orleans. Then, in less than a month, he and his army cleverly attacked a better equipped British force near Baton Rouge and Natchez. The British quickly surrendered to him. For his bravery, he was promoted to brigadier general. He was not done yet.
In 1780, moving east toward Florida, he won a battle against the British forces in Mobile, Alabama, and won at the battle for Pensacola, Florida. He finally completed his goal of helping Gen. Washington. He kept the British from encircling the U.S. forces from the south. In other words, the entire Gulf of Mexico was in Spanish hands and out of the reach of the British.
After his capture of Mobile in 1781, he was made a Field Marshal.It was here where he was given command of all Spanish forces in America. Then, after his victory in Pensacola, King Carlos III of Spain named him Count of Glvez and Viscount of Glvez Town.
So thankful was the king for Gen. Glvez loyal service, that he gave Glvez a special coat of arms decorated with his ship, the Glveztown, and included the words Yo Solo, which in English means I Alone.On top of that, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and was named the governor of West Florida and Louisiana.
The young U.S. government was equally thankful. Glvez took part in the main celebrations in honor of their great victory against the British. The U.S. Congress thanked Gen. Glvez in public for his huge support. The U.S. citizens also thanked Gen. Glvez and his New Spain army for their vital help. As a symbol of their thanks, he was asked to march next to and to the right of General George Washington in the July 4th parade in Washington, D.C.
In 1784, his father, Matas de Glvez, the viceroy of New Spain, died. In 1785, Glvez was named to take his place as viceroy. He spent the last two years of his life as viceroy, trying to improve the lives of New Spain colonists.He was very popular with the people. Sadly, Glvez became very ill during a plague and died at the young age of 40.Sadder still is the following fact. For some reason, the vital role that Gen. Glvez played in getting U.S. independence from England has been ignored in U.S. history books. It is time to give him the honor he deserves.
Who? Trini Gamez is a true Mexican American activist in labor, education, civil rights, and voting registration.
What? As with many Spanish-surnamed women in Texas history, few people have heard of or appreciate her key contributions to society. Trinis story is one of faith, hope, and determination. Taught by her parents and grandmother to aspire to be the best, she has been a supporter of continuous education since the time she was a child. In the 1940s, she perceived as unfair the working conditions of many Mexican Americans in the Hereford, Texas, area where she lived. The situation was ironic. The Mexican American migrant workers were the ones who picked the fruits and vegetables served in tables of every home in Hereford and homes around the country. However, they were not good enough to live next door to Anglo families and their children were not allowed go to school with Anglo children. Trini decided to get involved and set out to change the state of affairs. The life of migrant workers was dismal. Treated more or less as pieces of equipment, they were transported from community to community during growing seasons and made a lot of money for the Anglo farmers and ranchers. Worsening the problem was the fact that the same Anglo landowners who hired them also practiced anti-Mexican prejudices. (Note: It should be noted here that migrants are not immigrants. Migrants are U.S. citizens who, through a variety of complex reasons not of their own making, find themselves even today at the very bottom of the social and economic ladder. As a result, they were easily manipulated and abused by the Anglo farmers who as a matter of rule violated farm workers civil rights and paid them little for their back-breaking work.) Because of her ability to speak English well, Trini became involved in solving migrant workers problems. Her breadth of involvement was extensive. She also became actively involved in PTA meetings, where she tirelessly tried to convince Mexican American parents that the improved education opportunity for their children was the ultimate answer. Also, during the 1960s 1970s she was a voice of the Mexican American civil rights movement. With that experience, she was able to teach others about their civil rights. Often, she traveled to areas not friendly to labor organizers and faced blatant discrimination by the Anglos. She met with small groups of workers and their families and was able to convince the workers to organize for better wages and living conditions. She has done it all in the labor, education, civil rights, and voter registration movements. Trini Gamez and other committed like-minded leaders are truly unsung heroes in Texas and U.S. history.
When? 1940s - Present
Recommended Source: Book by Zamora, E., Orozco, C., and Rocha, R. Mexican Americans in Texas History
Who? Gus Garcia was a brilliant attorney who dared challenge the system by questioning the way that Texas juries were selected before 1954. Although his contributions to civil rights are largely unknown, the general public is finally getting to know Mr. Garcia. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently aired a documentary called A Class Apart. It involves the Hernandez vs. Texas case (see below). The Edgewood Independent School District recently dedicated the Gus Garcia Middle School in his honor.
What? Funded by LULAC, the American G.I. Forum and Mexican American citizens, Carlos Cadena, Gus Garcia and a team of young Hispanic attorneys defended a Mexican American accused of murder in Jackson County, Texas. The case became famous and is now known as Hernandez vs. Texas. Although Mexican Americans made up 14% of the countys population, no Spanish-surnamed jurors were on the jury. Over 70 counties had similar records of excluding Mexican Americans from serving on juries. As expected, the all-Anglo jury found Mr. Hernandez guilty. On appeal, the defense team argued that the jury system was unfair to minorities, especially Mexican Americans in Texas. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the verdict. The defense team appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time that Spanish-surnamed attorneys had ever argued a case at that level. The State of Texas argued that since Mexican Americans were classified as white people, it was just coincidence that none of them had ever served on juries, at least for the last 25 years. They added that since they were white, Mexican Americans were actually represented by the Anglos on the jury. The Supreme Court rejected the states argument and declared that the State of Texas had singled out a group of its citizens as a class apart and was therefore unfair. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the courts unanimous decision on May 3, 1954, in favor of Hernandez and ordered his conviction reversed. A jury of his peers then convicted Hernandez of the crime.
Recommended Source: Book by Valencia, R., Garcia, S., Flores, H., and Juarez, J., Jr., Mexican Americans and the Law
Garcia, Dr. Hector P.
Who? Dr. Hector P. Garcia is a distinguished member of his Spanish-surnamed Texas community. Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, he and his family moved to Texas as a result of the Mexican Revolution. He graduated from the University of Texas and earned his medical degree in 1940. He was a highly decorated WWII veteran.
What? Little did the wife and parents of Felix Longoria, a young Mexican American soldier killed in the Philippines in 1945, know that their loss was going to double in grief when the funeral home in their hometown, Three Rivers, Texas, denied him burial services because he was Mexican American. Already greatly concerned and upset about the mis-treatment of Mexican Americans in Texas, Dr. Garcia asked for the intervention of then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Senator Johnson fully supported Dr. Garcias request and that of Mexican American families. He arranged for Private Longoria to be buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery, thus becoming the first Mexican American hero to be so honored. It is then that Dr. Garcia founded the American G.I. Forum to demand equality for returning WWII Veterans. Throughout his life, Dr. Garcia dedicated his life not only as a medical doctor, but as a champion of the Mexican American people who so needed a leader. Learning of his accomplishments is must reading for citizens of all ages and of all ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Recommended Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Hector_P._Garcia
Garcia, Dr. Lino
Who? Dr. Lino is Professor Emeritus of Spanish Literature at The University of Texas at Pan American, Edinburg, Texas.
What? He is the author of several books and articles on the rich Spanish Mexican roots of Texas. He has written a significant number of magazine and newspaper articles dedicated to improving the knowledge of pre-1836 Texas history. He is well-known on both sides of the Rio Grande as an authority of early Texas history.
Garcia, Macario (Congressional Medal of Honor Winner)
Who? Macario Garcia is one of five Texans of Mexican ancestry who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service in World War II.
What? Having served with honor in faraway lands to guarantee basic freedoms for all, Macario and his returning Spanish-surnamed military men were not guaranteed those same freedoms in their own country. Thinking that he had earned the right to be respectfully and equally served with a cup of coffee at a caf in his hometown of Sugarland, Texas, he was denied service because they did not serve Mexicans. The young soldier complained, resulting in an altercation when the owner tried to throw him out of the caf. The incident was picked up by the news services, including Walter Winchell, whose articles about the indignity experienced by the Medal of Honor winner were read around the world. Worldwide opinion was overwhelmingly in support of the highly-decorated soldier. Instead of apologizing and speaking against the bigotry that ruled their community, Sugarland officials shamelessly pressed charges against Garcia for aggravated assault on the proprietor of the restaurant. The blatant discrimination against a segment of the U.S. population throughout Texas and the U.S. Southwest simply because they were considered Mexican continued well into the 1960s. (See Benavides, Roy, Longoria, Felix, and Lopez, Jose M.).
Who? Catarino Garza (1859-1895) is a little-known revolutionary hero of the trans-U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
What? Catarino was born near Matamoros, Mexico. As a young boy, he helped his parents operate their small farm. As such, he didnt have time for an education. However, he was such a gifted child that the local priest agreed to tutor him in literature, military training, and the arts. In 1877, the eighteen year old moved to Brownsville, Texas. He had great dreams of becoming part of the booming labor market in Texas. Quickly finding employment, the young man was on his way. However, his aspirations received a jolt when he discovered the blatant discrimination against Texas citizens of Mexican (Mestizo) extraction. He quickly noticed that liberty and justice in the U.S. did not include Spanish-surnamed people who lived in a vicious cycle of poverty and despair. Not only did he fault the Anglo majority for leading the discriminatory practices, but he was equally disappointed on the middle-class Mexicans who he believed could have done more to help those in need. He set up several organizations in South Texas to inform and educate the people as to their civil rights in the U.S. At the same time, he objected to the tyrannical policies of President Diaz. As a matter of fact, the border was full of plotters against Diaz. It was this backdrop that allowed Catarino to join several such movements. He traded his pen for a rifle. He began his manifesto, La Logica de los Hechos, where he explains why revolution by the Mexican citizenry is necessary. Feeling a sense of patriotism, he began his revolt with ample help from well-to-do backers on both sides of the border. Unfortunately, he was branded a bandit by the U.S. press and he was hounded by the U.S. military. As soon as his revolution began, several of his men were arrested and brought to trial for violating U.S. neutrality laws. Catarino was forced to go into exile in Central America where he continued to get involved in political and armed conflict. His dream of eliminating the Diaz regime would not occur until years later when Francisco Madero brought about the revolution. He was killed in Panama where he was part of rebels seeking to topple their government.
Recommended Source: Book by Elliott Young, Catarino Garzas Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border".
The Green Flag. It is the first flag of Texas Independence.
It is the spark that lit the revolt for liberty in our state.
Starting as a gentle glow of a peasants lantern, it expanded to a beacons potent light, beckoning Don Bernardo Gutierrez deLarato lead his army in answering the call for freedom.
It was not a flag of conquest, but a flag of self-rule.
It was not a flag to build an empire, but to end an unjust one.
It was a precious flag, wrapping those who carried it with the ideals of equality.
It was the first breathe of a new life;
the first step of a long journey;
the sign of a new beginning.
It is the Green Flag, the first flag of Texas Independence.
Gutirrez de Lara, Jose Bernardo
Who? Full name: Don (Lt. Colonel) Jos Maximiliano Bernardo Gutirrez de Lara (1774-1841). He was the son of Don Joseph Santiago Gutierrez de Lara andDoa Maria Rosa Uribe.
What? Don Bernardos life has the drama, action, and intrigue of a Hollywood movie, but it is a true story. He was born in Revilla (now Guerrero), on the southern bank of the Rio Grande back when the Rio was just another river in what is now South Texas (Guerrero, Tamps. and Zapata, Texas) where the same families lived on both sides of the river. Don Bernardo was the visionary who first saw Texas as an independent province of Mexico. After responding to Father Miguel Hidalgos Grito (Call) to arms on September 16, 1810, he led the Army of the North (First Texas Army) in securing independence for Texas. He was the President of the First Republic of Texas (1813). He was a man of his word. He wrote and signed the first Texas Declaration of Independence (April 6, 1813) and its first constitution. Because of his patriotic service to Texas and Mexico, Don Bernardo should be honored as a hero on both sides of the Rio Grande. He led an illustrious career as a rancher, military leader, gifted communicator, and skilled diplomat. We owe our gratitude to this great hero who gave us the first vision of a free and independent Texas. It is recognition for this unique deed that has been denied Don Bernardo in mainstream Texas history books for too long.
Recommended Source: Book by Lopez,Jos Antonio, The Last Knight (Don Bernardo Gutirrezde Lara Uribe, A Texas Hero)
Gutirrez de Lara, Jos Antonio
Who?Jos AntonioGutirrez de Lara, Don Bernardo's older brother, was equally involved in achieving liberty and independence for Mexico and the Province of Texas. He was ordained a priest as a young man. From that vantage point, he was able to realize first-hand the inequality in Spanish colonial rule.As a member of the Gutierrez de Lara family, hebecame a target of the Spanish authorities. At the onset ofhis brother's rebellion, FatherJos Antonio was forced to live like a hermit in the mountains of northern Mexico for over two years. He was finally pardoned by the authorities and was allowed to return to Revilla to look after his ailing mother and other relatives. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, FatherJos Antonio was elected to the legislature. He is an unsung hero both in Texas and in Mexico.
When? 1810 1820s
Recommended Source: Book by Joel Uribe, "The Sword and the Chalice".
Gutirrez de Lara, Ignacia (See Uribe, Doa Ignacia Gutirrez de Lara de)
Hernndez vs. Texas (See Cadena, Carlos and Garcia, Gus)
What? Hernandez vs. Texas is a landmark case. All Spanish-surnamed citizens in Texas should be very familiar with it. Many modern-day Hispanics in Texas have no clue as to the mother of all court battles granting them the basic freedoms they now enjoy. They do not know that Hernandez vs. Texas is the case that granted them full benefit of the law in all aspects of social, political, economic, and education matters. The case deals with a Mexican American who was accused of murder in Jackson County, Texas. Although Mexican Americans made up 14% of the countys population, no Spanish-surnamed jurors were on the jury. Over 70 counties had similar records of excluding Mexican Americans from serving on juries. As expected, the all-Anglo jury found Mr. Hernandez guilty. On appeal, the defense team argued that the jury system was unfair to minorities, especially Mexican Americans in Texas. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the verdict. The defense team appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time that Spanish-surnamed attorneys had ever argued a case at that level. The State of Texas argued that since Mexican Americans were classified as white people, it was just coincidence that none of them had ever served on juries, at least for the last 25 years. They added that since they were white, Mexican Americans were actually represented by the Anglos on the jury. The Supreme Court rejected the states argument and declared that the State of Texas had singled out a group of its citizens as a class apart and that the official system to select juries was therefore unfair. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the courts unanimous decision on May 3, 1954, in favor of Hernandez and ordered his conviction reversed. A jury of his peers then convicted Hernandez of the crime.
Recommended Source: Book by Valencia, R., Garcia, S., Flores, H., and Juarez, J., Jr., Mexican Americans and the Law
Hidalgo, Father Francisco
Who? Francisco Hidalgo was one of the earliest missionaries in Texas. He loved Texas and its indigenous people.
What? He helped set up a Franciscan College in Queretaro, near Mexico City. He then traveled north to preach in the many mining towns of Northern Mexico. He had a special gift of communication. Father Hidalgo was a great orator who had a large following among the Native Americans. He was part of Teran de los Rios efforts to reestablish the Catholic missions in Texas. However, because the Tejas Indians were unwilling to cooperate, their attempt to re-open Mission San Francisco de los Tejas failed.
When? 1680s -1690s
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
Hinojosa, Armando (See Tejano Monument)
Who? Armando Hinojosa is a gifted artist of many talents.
What? Armando was born in Laredo, Texas. He is an accomplished painter, sculptor, and artist. The Tejano Monument, Inc, selected his design, as their choice for the Tejano Monument to be built in the capitol grounds in Austin, Texas. Armandos design aptly represents early Texas exploration and settlement. This honor to the Spanish Mexican roots of Texas is long overdue. Construction has already begun and Armando plans to finish the monument by 2011. His works include the Twin Dolphins on Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX; the Vaqueros sculpture at the Laredo Airport, Laredo, TX, and the Texas A&M University in Kingsville (TAMUK) Javelinas art and sculpture, Kingsville, TX.
Ibarbo (Ibarvo, Ybarbo), Antonio Gil
Who? Don Antonio was born in Los Adaes, the Capital of Texas in 1729.
What? Don Antonio was an East Texas rancher-merchant who traded freely with everyone. He was often at odds with the authorities. However, he was such an enterprising and charismatic young man that he enjoyed a fair amount of freedom in trading with Native Americans and the French. The reason is that if the wealthy Spanish officials needed something that was hard to come by, they always knew Don Antonio could get it for them. As a result of the Marques de Rubi report to the king, the Texas governor was told to close the East Texas missions and its citizens moved to San Antonio. Because the Governor didnt want the settlers to dwell on the bad news, he gave them only five days to prepare. Many children died on the long march to San Antonio which took over three months. Several adults later died as a result of the grueling trip. Because like the Isleos they didnt exactly feel welcome by the people in San Antonio, Don Antonio helped start a petition for the Los Adaes settlers to return to their homes in East Texas. While Texas Governor Ripperda supported the request, he had no authority to approve it. As such, Don Antonio and two other volunteers went to Mexico City to meet with the Viceroy, Antonio Maria de Bucarelli. The viceroys approval led to the establishment of Nacogdoches, Texas. That is why Don Antonio is known as the Father of East Texas.
When? 1760s 1770s
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, and Joseph, Harriett, Explorers and Settlers of Spanish Texas
Idar Family (Nicasio, Jovita, Clemente, and Eduardo)
IDAR, NICASIO (18551914)
Who? Nicasio Idar, newspaper editor and publisher and civil-rights advocate, was born in Port Isabel, Texas, in 1855, either on December 11 or 14, the son of Manuel and Eleuteria Espinoza Idar.
What? Nicasio moved to Laredo in 1880 after attending school in Corpus Christi. He and his wife, Jovita, had eight children, of whom three, Jovita, Clemente, and Eduardo wereinvolved in the publication of Idar'sLa Crnica in Laredo. Idar's seventeen-year publishing career also included La Revista, a Masonic newspaper with an international distribution. He was active in nearly all local social and fraternal Texas Mexican organizations in Laredo and helped found the Caballeros de Honor and the Sociedad Hijos de Jurez. He also served as a justice of the peace and assistant city marshal in Laredo.
La Crnica probably began publication in the 1890s, though Idar perhaps did not assume the role as publisher and editor until 1910. Under his leadership the paper took on major political, social, economic, and educational issues facing Mexican Texans in the early 1900s. The newspaper's logo reflected this commitment: "We work for the progress and the industrial, moral and intellectual development of the Mexican inhabitants of Texas." La Crnica documented the segregation, lynchings, and denial of civil rights of Texas Mexicans.
In a series of articles that ran during late 1910 and early 1911 under the rubric "The Mexican Children of Texas," Idar spoke out against separate schools and neighborhoods for Mexican Americans who by linguistic segregation were "isolated and kept ignorant." He also reported social and working conditions of Mexican Texans in the interior of the state. Often La Crnica pointed out that most Mexican Texans labored in menial jobs in agriculture or domestic work and that the few professionals among them lived along the border. The paper covered incidents of injustice, including the "barbarism" in the case of Antonio Rodriguez who, after being accused of killing an Anglo woman near Rocksprings, was burned and hanged by a mob. Idar sought also to make La Crnica a mouthpiece for the organizations in which he was involved and for news on the cultural life of Laredo. The newspaper often reported on theater groups from Mexico and other artistic ventures. Like other Spanish Language newspapers, La Crnica was a literary vehicle for poets and is an important record of Texas Mexican literature of the early twentieth century.
Idar organized the Gran Concilio de la Orden Caballeros de Honor not long after 1910. The council was meant to unite Mexican Texans for cultural and intellectual discussions and to gain the respect of the "Americanos." The group called for members that were noble, generous, and patriotic persons who would also provide assistance and fraternity to other Mexican Texans. Idar and his family organized a conference in Laredo to address racial discrimination on September 1422, 1911. The Congreso Mexicanista focused on the need for teaching Spanish in schools, women's groups, and protection of the lives and land rights of Mexican Texans. Through La Crnica the Idars urged Caballeros de Honor lodges and other Mexican-Texan groups to send delegates to the convention. They tried, evidently without success, to establish a group called La Gran Liga Mexicanista; its intended motto, "por la raza y para la raza," foreshadowed the Raza Unida Party.
Idar continued to publish his newspaper until he fell ill with an intestinal disorder. He died in his family home in Laredo on April 7, 1914. At his funeral, which was attended by many townspeople and members of social fraternities, he was eulogized as "a good father, noble friend, and benevolent counselor."
Source: Handbook of Texas History Online.
IDAR, JOVITA (18851946)
Who? Jovita Idar, teacher, journalist, and political activist, was born in Laredo in 1885, one of eight children of Jovita and Nicasio Idar.
What? Jovita attended Holding Institute (a Methodist school) in Laredo, from which she earned a teaching certificate in 1903. She then taught at a small school in nearby Los Ojuelos. Inadequate equipment and poor conditions, as well as her inability to improve them, frustrated her. So, she resigned and joined two of her brothers as writers for her father's weekly newspaper, La Crnica.
In 1910 and 1911 La Crnica was vocal in criticizing certain aspects of Hispanic-Anglo relations. It featured stories on educational and social discrimination against Mexican-Americans, deteriorating economic conditions, decreasing use of the Spanish language, the loss of Mexican culture, and lynchings of Hispanics. The newspaper also supported efforts of the revolutionary forces in Mexico. In 1911 La Crnica called a convention of the Orden de Caballeros de Honor, a fraternal order, to discuss the troubling issues of the times. In September 1911, Jovita Idar joined lodge members and others at Laredo in the First Mexican Congress (Congreso Mexicanista)to discuss educational, social, labor, and economic matters. Women participated as speakers and participants; for some it was the first political meeting. This congress has been called the first attempt in Mexican-American history to organize a militant feminist social movement. One outcome of the congress was the formation in October 1911 of the League of Mexican Women. Jovita Idar became its first president and organized its principal effort, to provide education for poor children.
In 1913 during the Mexican Revolution Battle of Nuevo Laredo, Idar and a friend, Leonor Villegas de Magnon, crossed the border to care for the injured. Idar later joined La Cruz Blanca, a medical group similar to the Red Cross, and traveled in northern Mexico with revolutionary forces as a nurse. When she returned to Laredo later that year she joined the staff of the newspaper El Progreso and soon offended the United States Army and Texas Rangers with an editorial protesting President Woodrow Wilson's dispatch of United States troops to the border. When rangers arrived to close down El Progreso, Idar stood in the doorway to keep them from entering. The rangers closed the newspaper later, however, and Idar returned to La Crnica. After her father died in 1914, she ran the paper.
In 1917 Idar married Bartolo Jurez. The couple moved to San Antonio, where Jovita Jurez became an active member of the Democratic Party and established a free kindergarten. In addition, she worked as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients in a county hospital and was an editor of El Heraldo Christiano, a publication of the Rio Grande Conference of the Methodist Church. She and her husband had no children. She died in San Antonio in 1946.
Source: Martha P. Cotera, Diosa y Hembra: The History and Heritage of Chicanas in the U.S. (Austin: Information Systems Development, 1976). (Handbook of Texas History Online.)
IDAR, CLEMENTE NICASIO (18931934)
Who? Clemente N. Idar, labor organizer, journalist, civil-rights activist, and orator, was born to Jovita and Nicasio Idar on November 11, 1893, in Laredo, Texas.
What? Clemente attended the Lydia Patterson Institute until the fifth grade but otherwise taught himself, particularly by reading and studying newspapers. In 1911 he joined other family members in issuing a call for the Congreso Mexicanista, the first statewide Mexican-American civil-rights conference, although he was unable to attend. In his family's newspaper, La Crnica, he condemned lynching, particularly of Mexican Americans. He cut himself severely in a printing press and as a result saw no military duty during World War I.
In 1918 he began organizing and chartering American Federation of Labor locals in Laredo, most of which were independent workers' organizations. In 1919 he moved to San Antonio, where Samuel Gompers hired him as an official labor organizer of Mexican-origin workers. The AFL was responding to a charge by La Confederacin Regional Obrera Mexicana, a Mexican labor organization that the AFL discriminated against Hispanic workers in the United States. More importantly, Gompers sought to win Mexican president Venustiano Carranza's support for the Allied cause. Gompers believed, however, that a reduction in the number of Mexican immigrant workers would improve the "strategic position of organized labor." (As early as 1911, the Texas State Federation of Labor, and other southwestern state federations, had sought to address questions concerning Mexican labor.) Idar formed unions across the state and in Mexico, but mostly in Laredo, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. He argued for the inclusion of Mexican immigrants into the unions. At the international level he mediated between the AFL and the Confederacin Regional Obrera Mexicana. At conferences and activities of the Pan American Federation of Labor, he served as translator. He spent a year in Mexico, working under the Plutarco Calles administration to organize workers. According to Idar's son, Samuel Gompers died in Idar's arms in 1924.
During the 1921 Texas recession, Idar helped plan a repatriation program for 50,000 Mexicans living in the state. He thus aided American management in opposition to Mexican strikebreakers and job competitors. In 1922 Idar acted as the principal author of the constitution of the Order of Sons of America, along with Ramn Carvajal, Jr., and Santiago Tafolla, Sr. As a supporter of women's rights, he provided that the Sons of America, of which he was a member, would include ladies' auxiliaries and youth. In 1927 he suggested to the Corpus Christi order that women and youth be organized. Because he was a labor organizer, Idar chose a low profile in civil-rights activism. He argued against the inclusion of non-naturalized Mexican immigrants at the Harlingen Convention in 1927. Though he did not attend the founding of the League of United Latin American Citizens, in the early 1930s, he was honorary president of San Antonio LULAC Council 2. Idar was an orator who referred to Mexican agricultural workers as "peones on the land of their forefathers." In 1925 in a speech before the Texas State Federation of Labor, he argued against racism because it defeated the purpose of organized labor. According to Idar's son, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Idar to serve as United States Secretary of Labor, a position Idar declined because of his health. Idar married a woman named Laura on November 13, 1913, and they had six children. He worked for the AFL for sixteen years. He died of diabetes on January 27, 1934, and is buried in San Antonio.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online
IDAR, EDUARDO (18871947)
Who: Eduardo Idar, journalist and civil-rights activist, was born in Laredo, Texas, on July 27, 1887, to Jovita (Vivero) and Nicasio Idar.
What? Eduardo was at least a third generation Tejano. He married Irene Guerra in 1917, and they had three children, including Ed Idar, Jr,, who served as executive secretary of the American G.I. Forum. Idar attended eight years of school in Laredo (probably a combination of the public school and a private Mexican school) but was largely self-educated. He was proficient in both Spanish and English. From 1897 to 1902 he worked as a printing apprentice and at a print shop, probably his father's. In 191112 he worked for the San Benito Light and in 191213 for the Brownsville Herald. He was also active with the family newspaper La Crnica from 1911 to 1914. When Nicasio Idar died in 1914, the family moved to San Antonio, but Eduardo remained in Laredo. From 1913 to 1916 he was an auditor.
On January 22, 1917, he established the newspaper Evolucin in Laredo. The paper circulated in Texas, Mexico, Cuba, and other Latin-American countries. It reported on the Mexican Revolution and supported United States entry into World War I and the participation of Mexican-descent servicemen in that war. It also advocated women's rights. In conjunction with the paper, Idar established Compaa Publicista Idar to do printing jobs and maintained a bookstore that sold books on history, science, literature, religion, pedagogy, medicine, languages, and Freemasonry (Idar was an avid Mason).
He devoted his life to journalism and educating Mexican Americans. In 1926 he began publishing another newspaper, Las Noticias, which had a circulation of 2,000 and was one of the best Spanish-language newspapers in Texas. In 1917 he had written that the Mexican press in Texas should initiate an active campaign of public instruction among its readers, and in 1927 he volunteered to take charge of Spanish-language propaganda for the movement to unite Mexican Americans into what eventually became the League of United Latin American Citizens. He was a speaker at the Harlingen Convention, where he argued against the inclusion of Mexicans in the organization. Idar became president of the Laredo chapter of the Latin American Citizens League, a South Texas civil-rights association. He served on the commission designated to study the constitution of the Orden Hijos de America (the Order of Sons of America) to further unification efforts among this group, the Latin American Citizens League, and the Order of Knights of America. He also tried to bridge differences between Alonso S. Perales and Santiago Tafolla, Sr. According to Jos T. Canales, Idar wrote most of the twenty-five aims and principles in the original 1929 LULAC constitution. Idar was a member of the constitutional committee and spoke at the LULAC constitutional convention in May 1929. He also wrote the LULAC code, a moral guide for members.
In the 1930s he became more directly involved in local politics. In 1932 he worked with the Progressive party, known among the Spanish-speaking community as the Partido de las Garras, and wrote and printed its broadsides. He ran for the office of county tax assessor, but he and his party lost. Due to the Great Depression and the costly bid for office, his business folded around 1932. He then moved to Falfurrias, where he continued to work in the printing business. In 1933, as the result of a political deal, he was awarded the position of deputy tax collector for Webb County, which he held until 1941. After that he worked on the staff of La Prensa in San Antonio for a short while. He died of a heart attack resulting from diabetes on March 13, 1947. Copies of Evolucin are located in the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Source: Handbook of Texas History Online
LA CRONICA (See Idar Family)
What? La Cronica, a Spanish-language newspaper, probably began publication in Laredo in the 1890s with Nicasio Idar as editor and later became a family business when several of the Idar children joined their father in the enterprise. La Cronica became noted for its coverage of the economic and social condition of Texas Mexicans and for championing their cultural heritage and exposing racial exploitation. The newspaper also promoted economic development of the border region and included commentary and essays on philosophical, religious, literary, and political issues. One of its contributors was poet Sara Estela Ramirez. Idar became the owner and publisher of the paper in 1910. He asserted that La Cronica defended "enthusiastically and frankly the interests of Mexico-Texano" people. To this end, the paper promoted the intellectual development and civil rights of Hispanics. It ran poetry columns, editorials against bigotry, and promotions of civic leagues.
La Cronica often provided the only in-depth coverage of events affecting Texas Mexicans. As a result, its pages are filled with Tejano history that would otherwise be lost. In 191011, in particular, it portrayed the devastating impact of educational segregation on Tejano children, the loss of their culture and language, social discrimination, and the complacent attitude of the powerful toward the lynching of Texas Mexicans. The paper attacked each of these problems with specific charges and solutions. One series called for an end to "ethnocentric" approaches that accorded only an inferior education to Tejano children. In another, reporter Clemente Idar wrote about discrimination against Texas Mexicans throughout South Texas and called on the Mexican consul to review the situation personally. The murders of Antonio Rodrguez and Antonio Gmez, probably at the hands of sheriff's deputies and a mob, respectively, were decried in other articles in La Cronica. The first Congreso Mexicanista in September 1911 was conceived and promoted by the editors of La Cronica to discuss social, educational, and women's issues. The paper was still in existence in 1914. In its pioneering efforts to rally the Texas Mexican community to gain its "rightful place" in the society, La Cronica was a precursor to the Chicano movement newspapers of half a century later, which often combined cultural nationalism with a political defense of the community.
Source: Jos E. Limn, "El Primer Congreso Mexicanista de 1911," Aztln 5 (Spring, Fall 1974). (Handbook of Texas History Online.)
Laredo History 101
For those who may wish to know some of the interesting history of Laredo, Texas, my hometown, the following summary is provided:
(l) Laredo was never the sleepy border town popularized in song, nor were our Spanish Mexican ancestors the docile, passive people that books and especially movies have been allowed to negatively portray for many years. The head of the family usually managed huge ranchos and supervised large numbers of people. He and his wife were usually educated in basic knowledge and skills. It was not unusual for astute young members of a family to be educated in the advanced schools of Monterrey, Queretaro, and Mexico City. Nor was it rare for the more gifted to continue and/or complete their education in the finest European schools in Madrid and Paris. Our Laredo Spanish Mexican ancestors were patrons of the arts who valued education. The earliest settlers of towns, such as the Villas del Norte, were quick to establish the mandatory school system later adopted by the state of Texas. They also began many of the institutional systems in land management, law, and security. For example, when the government couldnt provide basic security, they organized the Compaa Volante system, a citizens police patrol that predates the Texas Rangers. Plus, our ancestors were well aware of the political climate. Due to their independent nature, they did not always agree with members of their family on everything. As a result, families often found themselves divided on an issue. So it was during the 1813 Texas Revolution and the Battle of Medina, with some of them joining the conflict on the side of the Spanish Royalist Forces and some on the Republican (Tejano) side. As a result, our families were split in half for the first time, each sincerely believing that their side was the right one.
(2) As the fight for liberty progressed throughout Mexico, the clash advanced still more. After Mexicos independence in 1821, some supported a strong central government in Mexico City, while others supported states-rights and a clear sense of independence as was the case in Texas. Because of their rugged individualism, many, but not all, of our Spanish Mexican ancestors in Texas, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Central and Northern Mexico were fervent federalists. As a result, for the second time, family loyalty was split in two.
(3) In 1836, Laredo families were split into two factions yet again. The rolling boil soon rose beyond control. The rift widened between those supporting the central government and those wanting a federalist system, similar to what Lt. Colonel Bernardo Gutirrez de Lara had promised and achieved in 1813.
(4) Some additional fine points of Laredos interesting history that mostly go unnoticed in the writing of Texas history are as follow:
(a) Because Laredo is located half-way between San Antonio and Monterrey; it was home to never-ending political intrigue. Established in 1755 by Don Jose de Escandn, it was part of New Spains defensive barrier against the French, who according to rumor were said to be moving west from Louisiana. The threat proved to be false, but Escandns Villas del Norte prospered to over 20 different communities. They covered the area on both sides of the Rio Grande, extending from Laredo to the Gulf of Mexico. A significant number of modern-day Spanish Mexican citizens in the U.S. have their genealogy roots here in the Lower Rio Grande.
(b) Laredo was one of only two Escandn towns founded on the northern side of the Rio Grande. (The other was Dolores, just south of Laredo.) As such, very possibly in 1813 when General Arredondo stopped in Laredo on his march toward San Antonio against the Army of the North, he may well have occupied one of the buildings facing San Agustin Plaza, which at the time was the center of town. Such a location may have expedited the organizing of his army in the vicinity of the square. The presence of such a high Spanish government dignitary must have made Laredo officials nervous, who undoubtedly did their best to host Gen. Arredondo and his senior staff. The march toward San Fernando (San Antonio) most probably started on the plaza itself where an outdoor mass may have been held. After mass, the army that was camped nearest the center of Laredo may have marched behind San Agustin Church (now a Cathedral) onto the path that was to become San Bernardo Avenue as they headed north on El Camino Real to meet the Texas Republican Army (Army of the North). Another school of thought is that a portion of the Royalist forces camped in the Chacon Creek area. Those troops probably headed north as a separate group and joined Gen. Arredondos army later on.
(c) Not only did Laredo figure prominently in the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande by being selected as its capital, Laredo retained its key role as a borderlands hot spot. It is said that a young Porfirio Diaz sought support against the Mexican government in the Laredo/Zapata/Brownsville area. In his book, The Kingdom of Zapata, my uncle Mercurio Martinez mentions that in the 1870s, Diaz was a guest of Don Blas Maria Uribe at his El Uribeo Ranch. Don Blas Maria, my great, great grandfather, was a renowned freighter in what is now the Zapata area. The future president of Mexico bought forty mules from Don Blas Maria to carry military provisions that Don Porfirio needed to begin his revolution. Modern-day people may not have a real appreciation of the importance of Laredo, Dolores, and San Ygnacio and their role on the Camino Real.
(d) Ironically, in the 1890s and early 1900s, the region was home to various revolutionary plots against the Diaz Regime, such as that of Catarino Garza. It may be said that the 1910 Mexican Revolution that finally toppled President Diaz had some of its roots in Laredo.
(e) Also, the mutualista movement was very active in Laredo at the turn of the twentieth century. Several of these mutual aid societies and Spanish-language newspapers filled a void by educating Spanish-speaking citizens. The most prominent of the newspapers was La Cronica, published by the Idar Family. (See above entry.) Serious in their commitment, they provided a free-of-charge system of services to the poor, including civil rights education, equal pay for equal work, English lessons, discrimination, and land reclamation. A member of the Idar family deserves special mention. Her fascinating story isincluded inthe Summary tabs (See Idar, Jovita).
(f) Equally important, socially-conscious civil rights activists operated escuelitas (schools run mostly in private homes and provided basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills for poor Mexican children). These volunteer advocates also offered other assistance and support to a large part of Laredos population whom they sincerely believed were basically falling through the cracks in mainstream society. Many Laredoans who grew up in that era credit the escuelitas for giving them a much-needed good start to a successful life for them and their descendants.
In summary, this is only a sampling of Laredos unique history. Anyone who says that nothing ever happened in Laredo does not know Laredo!
Las Porciones Genealogy, Edinburg, Texas
What? Las Porciones is an organization of genealogy enthusiasts that promotes the long history of Spanish Mexican Texas citizens. The name, Las Porciones, refers to the first Spanish Mexican settlers that came to South Texas and were awarded their land in a Porcion or portion or access to the Rio Grande. It is a not-for-profit organization and promotes genealogy as a hobby and research interest of anyone interested in the history of their ancestors. The society promotes public awareness by supporting genealogy through outreach and educational programs.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) (See Perales, Alonso)
What? LULACs mission is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. With over 115,000 members, LULAC acts on behalf of all Hispanic U.S. citizens. LULAC was organized in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is the nation's oldest Hispanic advocacy organization. See also American G.I. Forum.
Recommended Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LULAC
Leon, Alonso de
Who? Alonso de Leon is one of the first Texas explorers and is the father of the Camino Real in Texas.
What? De Leon was the governor of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. He was the son of an early rancher in Northern Mexico. Due to the lack of schools in the frontier, his parents sent him to Spain for an education. He joined the Spanish Navy, but decided that he wanted to return to Mexico and the area that will one day be known as Texas. He served Spain by volunteering to stop the French from coming into Spanish territory. For that reason, he helped establish the first Spanish mission in East Texas, San Francisco de los Tejas in 1690. He is noted for saving several French children from a tribe of the Karankawa Indians who had killed their parents and others in the ill-fated LaSalle expedition. Alonso de Leon is truly a trailblazer in Texas history.
When? 1680 1690s
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
LIGA FEMENIL MEXICANISTA (See Idar Family)
What? The Liga Femenil Mexicanista was a social, cultural, political, and charitable organization for Mexican-American women, founded in Laredo in 1911 by Jovita Idar. It was modeled on the recently established Congreso Mexicanista. Several of the women operated their own schools and allowed the children of the poor to attend free of charge. The organization also provided food and clothing to the needy of the community. The Liga's members came predominantly from the working class. Meetings were sometimes held at the home of Idar's parents, Jovita and Nicasio Idar. Nicasio Idar published news of the organization's activities in La Cronica. The Liga also sponsored literary readings and theatrical productions to raise funds for its charities. Jovita Idar served as the organization's first president; other members included Mara de Jess De Len, Soledad Flores de Pea, Mara Rentera, and Mara Villarreal. The league is one of the first-known attempts by Mexican-American women to unite for a social and political cause, and it attracted the most educated women of the community.
Source: La Cronica, October 19, November 2, December 7, 1911. Jos E. Limn, "El Primer Congreso Mexicanista de 1911," Aztln 5 (Spring, Fall 1974). (Handbook of Texas History Online.)
Longoria, Felix (See Garcia, Hector P.)
What? Like many of his fellow Mexican American friends growing up poor but proud and patriotic in South Texas in the 1930s and 40s, Felix Longoria joined the U.S. Army and was sent overseas to defend our nations principles of equality, freedom, liberty, and justice for all in World War II. He was killed in the Philippines in 1945 and was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery. In 1948, when his body was delivered to his widow and family in Three Rivers, Texas, the local Anglo-owned funeral home denied Felix burial services because he was Mexican American. Even in death, he was denied his civil rights. Such was the level of ugly, unjust discrimination by the Anglo majority against Spanish-surnamed Texans which the Anglos had practiced unabated since 1836. Dr. Hector P. Garcia, himself a war veteran, decided to draw his own line in the sand. Dr. Garcia enlisted the help of then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson who was aghast at the totally insensitive actions of his fellow Anglo Texans. Senator Johnson then arranged the burial of Felix in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors. Felix Longoria was the first Mexican American military member to be buried in Arlington. The incident stirred the souls of Hispanics and supporting Anglos throughout the world. It was also then that Dr. Garcia established the American G.I. Forum to ensure that Hispanic veterans would never again suffer the disrespect and indignity that Felix and his family had endured. (See Benavides, Roy, Garcia, Macario, and Lopez, Jose M).
Lopez, Jose Antonio
Who? Mr. Jose Antonio (Joe) Lopez is an author, public speaker, and historian. He is the founder of TejanosUnidos.org and the Tejano Learning Center, LLC, whose mission is to bring early Texas history to life.
What? Mr. Lpez was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. USAF Veteran. Served over 37 years in military/Federal Service. When he retired on January 1, 2000, he held a senior civilian management position at the U.S. Air Education/Training Command, Randolph AFB, TX.
He is a direct descendant of Don Javier Uribe, one of the earliest families that settled in what is now South Texas in 1750. He is married to the former Cordelia Jean Cordy Dancause of Laredo. He and his wife reside in Universal City, TX. They have one daughter, Brenda Jo. Mr. Lpez has college degrees from Laredo Jr. College and Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. He earned a Masters Degree in Education.
He is the author of two books: The Last Knight (Don Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara Uribe, A Texas Hero), and Nights of Wailing, Days of Pain (Life in 1920s South Texas). He presently conducts presentations throughout South Texas to teach students about the Spanish Mexican roots of Texas. His hobbies are many; they include writing, poetry, jogging,cooking, baking,gardening, landscaping, archeology, and rock collecting. He volunteers in his community. (www.tejanosunidos.org )
Lopez, Jose M.
Who? Jose Mendoza Lopez is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
What? Jose M. Lopez was born in Mission, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. While a young boy, his parents died and as a result he was raised by an uncle. He had to work to pull his own weight and so he quit school and worked full time. He also boxed for a few years. He joined the Merchant Marine and spent five years traveling around the world. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Jose was threatened with arrest in California. Due to his small stature and dark complexion appearance, the authorities thought he looked Japanese. Regardless of the discrimination, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After basic training, he was assigned to the European Theater. He proved himself a hero at the Battle of the Bulge. His Medal of Honor citation is summarized as follows: On his own initiative, he carried his heavy machinegun from Company K's right flank to its left, in order to protect that flank which was in danger of being overrun by advancing enemy infantry supported by tanks. Occupying a shallow hole offering no protection above his waist, he cut down a group of 10 Germans. Ignoring enemy fire from an advancing tank, he held his position and cut down 25 more enemy infantry attempting to turn his flank. Glancing to his right, he saw a large number of infantry swarming in from the front. Although dazed and shaken from enemy artillery fire which had crashed into the ground only a few yards away, he realized that his position soon would be outflanked. Again, alone, he carried his machinegun to a position to the right rear of the sector; enemy tanks and infantry were forcing a withdrawal. Blown over backward by the concussion of enemy fire, he immediately reset his gun and continued his fire. Single-handed he held off the German horde until he was satisfied his company had effected its retirement. Again he loaded his gun on his back and in a hail of small arms fire he ran to a point where a few of his comrades were attempting to set up another defense against the onrushing enemy. He fired from this position until his ammunition was exhausted. Still carrying his gun, he fell back with his small group to Krinkelt. Sgt. Lopez's gallantry and intrepidity, on seemingly suicidal missions in which he killed at least 100 of the enemy, were almost solely responsible for allowing Company K to avoid being enveloped, to withdraw successfully and to give other forces coming up in support time to build a line which repelled the enemy drive.
The U.S. Army was so impressed with the gallantry and character of Sergeant Lopez that they sent him on a goodwill tour of Mexico. Sadly, upon his return from his very successful mission south of the border, the Medal of Honor winner couldnt escape the most blatant bigotry in his own country. He entered a small Anglo-owned restaurant in the Rio Grande Valley and was denied service because they did not serve Mexicans. Sergeant Lopez protested the indignity, to no avail. The obvious discrimination by Anglos against Spanish-surnamed citizens in Texas and the U.S. Southwest continued well into the 1960s. (See Benavides, Roy, Garcia, Macario, and Longoria, Felix).
Los Bexarenos Genealogical Society, San Antonio, Texas
What? Los Bexarenos is one of the most successful Hispanic Genealogy Societies in the U.S. Organized in 1983 as a not-for-profit by Gloria Cadena, the society promotes genealogy as a hobby and research interest of anyone interested in the history of their ancestors. The society promotes public awareness by supporting genealogy through outreach and educational programs. Visit them at www.LosBexarenos.org .
Los Caminos del Rio (See Villas del Norte)
What? Beginning in the mid-1700s, Los Caminos del Rio served as the lifeline for the settlers of Don Jose de Escandon as he established the Villas del Norte on the banks of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In addition to the Camino Real system of roads leading to other parts of Northern Mexico, and East Texas, the Caminos served more as a direct lifeline among the Villa communities. It stretched from Laredo downriver to what is now Brownsville, more than 200 miles in length. All trade and mail traffic used the Rio Caminos, as did church officials and military leaders. Today, parts of U.S. 83 highway are built on the original Rio Caminos built by the strong arms, legs, and backs of the Spanish Mexican pioneers who settled there. There is a bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar, together with Rio Grande Valley representatives, to designate the Caminos del Rio as a National Park.
Losoya, Paula (Taylor Rivers)
Who? Paula Losoya Taylor Riversis the co-founder of Del Rio, Texas. She introduced irrigation and grape farming in the area.
Who? Toribio is a real Texas Independence hero. He was involved in the call for liberty in 1811-1813 and fought as part of Don Bernardo Gutierrez' Army of the North (First Texas Army). He they valiantly fought under Captain Juan Seguin. Toribio is the only one to have been born at the Alamo and die there during the 1836 seige.
Who? Mimi Lozano is the editor of the internet periodical, Somos Primos.
What? Ms. Mimi Lozano was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her family moved to California where she spent her formative years and received her education. She received a bachelors degree in science and a Masters in Public and Recreation Administration from UCLA. She is married to Win Holtzman. They reside in California and have two married children: a son, Aury (M.D.), and daughter Tawn (Esq.) and six grandchildren.
She earned herCalifornia Teaching certification,(K-12).Using puppetry as the media, she produced/directed/mounted Hispanic folktales puppet plays as a teaching tool.She earned Spanish, special ESL and bilingual training certification, and was an Oral Language Specialist on three federal projects.
She co-founded the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR) in Orange County, CA, a recognized non-profit, all-volunteer organization whose purpose is helping Hispanics and Latinos research their family history. From1990 to 2000, Lozanoserved as the newsletter editor of Somos Primosfor the organization.
January 2000, Somos Primos went ononline as a monthly publication dedicated to Hispanic heritage. In 1995, Lozano was asked to serve onthe US Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, activelyserving until 2003. She was also named Californias 68th Assembly Districts 2006 Woman of the Year. She is a member of LULAC.
Ms. Lozano helped form the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Orange County. In 1999, she became a member of the Pepperdine University's Hispanic Council of Orange County. In 2005,she helped organize a Hispanic heritage conference at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC and onthe same year,was on the U.S. Army planning committeeforthe Pentagons celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. (www.somosprimos.com ).