Voting Rights Act

Maria R. Garcia


By the time her husband began pushing the idea of greater participation by Mexican Americans in her small South Texas town, Maria Ramirez Garcia had developed a strong and broad network of contacts who could support the effort.

Garcia was born July 2, 1940, in Taft, Texas, 136 miles southeast of San Antonio. She and her sisters worked in a segregated movie theater while her mother, father and five older brothers were migrant workers in the cotton fields.

Paul Cedillo


By Vinicio Sinta

One evening during the early 1970s, a crowd much larger than the usual Latino activists who periodically met in Rosenberg, Texas, poured into the local A.W. Jackson Elementary School to listen to a speech by Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

Paul Cedillo, an attorney and activist who first contacted Jordan about the disenfranchisement going on in his community, recalled the moment as a milestone for minority communities in the then-segregated Texas town.

Jordan's oratory was electrifying, as she talked to local Hispanics about changing the system.