TX

Felicita Munguia Arriaga


By Hope Teel

In 1959, Felicita Munguia Arriaga was a 12-year-old accompanying her mother to the polls, where the older woman planned to cast her vote for a man named Joe Hubenak.

Very few Hispanics were voting during that time for various reasons, including fear and illiteracy, but because she worked for Hubenak and his wife, Jesusa Munguia and her husband had agreed to go vote for him.

Manuel De Jesus Lozano


By Angela Bonilla

From a very young age, World War II veteran Manuel De Jesus Lozano was on the move. After a childhood marked by struggle, his work ethic propelled him to a long and successful career in the Air Force.

He finally settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked in state government and later for a neighbor -- Bill Clinton. Lozano worked on Clinton's campaigns for governor and for president of the United States.

Ernestine Mojica Kidder


By Haley Dawson

Ernestine Mojica Kidder vividly recalls one of her earliest memories as a young child in Taylor, Texas. Her father lifted her into his arms and pointed to a schoolhouse in the distance. “That’s where you’re going to school as soon as you’re old enough,” she remembers him saying. “When you’re 6, you’re gonna go to school.”

A child of the World War II era and a woman of the Civil Rights era, MojicaKidder was among the first Hispanic women for whom a higher education became both a possibility and a reality.

Charley Gonzales Kidder


By Natasha Verma

“Two years, 11 months and 21 days,” World War II veteran Charley Gonzales Kidder said with a smile. “That’s exactly how long I served.”

At 18 years of age, Gonzales Kidder was proud and honored that his country gave him the opportunity to serve during a time of strife. At the time of his interview, he was 85 and his feelings had not changed.

"I got to see a lot of the world and meet a lot of fine people,” Gonzales Kidder said. “I’m very proud of the service I helped render.”

Raul Portales


By Jordan D. Schraeder

Working at Dodson’s Grocery in 1943, Raul “Roy” Portales dreamed of sailing the high seas. That year, the San Antonio native found a way to make that dream a reality: enlistment in the U.S. Navy. After three years of stocking and delivering groceries, Portales’ enlistment in the Navy on July 7, 1943, offered a change of scenery.

Ernesto Sanchez


By Mikael DeSanto

Laredo, Texas, native Ernesto Sanchez didn’t always want to join the military, even when there was a war in Korea. He was a college student -- hoping to get an officer's commission in the ROTC -- and didn’t want to leave his family. That changed when he saw that communists were advancing through Korea. He said to himself, “Well, someone has to stop them.” He decided to step up.

Juan Provencio


By Alex Cannon

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Juan Provencio knew what he had to do. As the war overseas had worsened, his father, Manuel, an immigrant from Mexico, had told his sons: "All of you men must be ready to go and help your country. You were born here, and you have been given many privileges that many don’t get. It is up to you now."

Albert Henry Kauffman


By Amayeli Arnal-Reveles

Al Kauffman's middle-class background, attending segregated schools in Galveston, Texas, might not have seemed to prepare him for a role in Mexican American civil rights. But other aspects of his life - he was a sensitive teenager growing up in the 1960s - would surely suggest his later work was not so unlikely.

Alma Hernandez Salinas


By Estefanía de León

Alma Salinas, a lifelong Democrat, switched to the nascent Raza Unida Party in the 1970s. A native of Pearsall, Texas, Salinas used to take Mexican Americans to the polls on election days. But it seemed the Democratic Party, which the community supported, was doing little to improve their lives.

"We thought going to vote would make a difference, but then we found out that the ones sitting in the Democratic chair have the say so you can't go further," said Salinas, who is now 82.

Adolfo Alvarez


By Jacob Martella

Coming back from the Korean War, Adolfo Alvarez knew he had to do something with his life.

He had survived nine months along the 38th Parallel holding the line against the North Koreans, not knowing if he would return to his family in the United States. Now, he wanted to make a difference for the Hispanics in South Texas.

"I said to myself if I make it back, I'm not going to raise hell, but I'm going to do something constructive so that this would not be in vain," Alvarez said.