Alonso Perales May be the Most Important Mexican American Civil Rights Figure that No One Knows

Historians in the News
tags: civil rights, Mexican American history, Latino/a history, LULAC

Had the League of United Latin American Citizens annual convention not been scrubbed by COVID-19 this year, more people inside and outside the largest U.S. Latino civil rights organization might have heard about the work to get its founding father recognized.


[Alonso] Perales may be one of the most influential Mexican Americans of the 20th century who’s still relatively unknown.

Two women seek to correct that wrong: His San Antonio-born daughter Marta Perales Carrizales, who now lives in Houston, and preeminent Mexican American scholar Cynthia Orozco at Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso.

LULAC has credited several Mexican American leaders, including Perales, and a merger of several South Texas groups for its creation, but Orozco says Perales was “the major founder.”

His critical role in an early convention of the Order of the Sons of America helped it survive and thus gave birth to LULAC. “LULAC would not have existed had Perales not organized this convention.”

Orozco said Perales died without the Mexican American community knowing much about him, and those who knew him “couldn’t collectively see his achievements.”

Read entire article at San Antonio Express-News

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