Welcome to The Longoria Affair Revealed - Purpose and Introduction.
The 1949 wake and burial of Felix Longoria, fallen World War II (WWII) soldier, occasioned a media frenzy. Dr. Hector P. Garcia of Corpus Christi, Texas and newly elected Texas Senator, Lyndon B. Johnson, accused former WWII medic, then Three Rivers Texas funeral director Thomas W. Kennedy, of egregious racial discrimination. Alleged by Garcia, Kennedy refused a wake and burial for Longoria to Beatrice Longoria, widow of Felix, because her fallen soldier husband and she were Mexican Americans.
Since 1949, media sources continue support for the view against Kennedy also indicting the town. Historical inquiry requires balance and objectivity previously denied historians and critical thinkers regarding this event.
On this site, primary and secondary sources reveal information most often ignored, suppressed, or denigrated by popular and even educational media. Begun in 2010, this website is continually updated with primary documents, primary and secondary witnesses, including cultural and period information which can lead to open-minded, unprejudicial conclusions.
Regarding Longoria's interment, in Texas House Resolution 68, the 51st Texas House of Representatives instructed the Speaker of the House to "appoint a committee composed of five members of this House empowering such committee with authority to subpoena witnesses and administer oath and take evidence and that the committee be instructed to do all things necessary to find and report back to this House the truth in this controversy not later than March 1, 1949, to the end that justice may be done."
Even though many Texans with Mexican heritage known as Tejanos fought with Texas for independence from Mexico, until the 1940s discrimination against multiple ethnics abounded throughout America without impunity or legal recourse. In South Texas, Mexican Americans felt it strongly because of their number.
The United States, and especially the Southwestern border states, became flooded each year with impoverished, uneducated migrant workers from Mexico. They became the stereotypical "Mexican". Mexicans and Mexican descendants with higher education and social status already in the US and those who came later were often equated with and treated as the greater Hispanic mass then known to the American public. Discrimination included lack of equal opportunity for education, property ownership, employment, social integration, and even public service.
Many Mexican immigrants stayed in the U.S. and made their home wherever they found work. Some applied and achieved citizenship. Others remained without citizenship but birthed children then legally born Americans. Yet, discrimination often did not stop with citizenship and education achieved. Regrettably, few championed the Mexican American cause. Even so, such discrimination was never unilaterally practiced nor approved by all.
When media frenzy regarding Longoria rose to international attention in 1949, the question placed before a Texas Legislative Commission of five legislators by Texas Speaker of the House, Durwood Manford, was, “Did Thomas W. Kennedy, Funeral Home owner in Three Rivers Texas, discriminate against Beatrice Longoria, Felix Longoria’s widow, regarding Longoria’s wake and burial, because she and her fallen soldier husband were Mexican American?” Both the Majority and Minority reports of this 4 to 1 decision are in The Texas State Library and Archives and will soon be added in the Appendix of this website.
New York Times, January 13, 1949, Lyndon Baines Johnson Public Library, Austin. Julie Pycior, LBJ and Mexican Americans: The Paradox of Power (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997). Ignacio Garcia, Hector P. Garcia. In Relentless Pursuit of Justice (Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2003). Byron Tinsley, Video interview by Richard Hudson, November 24, 2014, The Woodlands, Texas. Journal of the House of Representatives of the Regular Session of the Fifty-first Legislature of the State of Texas, begun January 11, 1949 (Austin: A.C. Baldwin & Sons, 1949).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.
Richard Hudson, "Longoria Affair Revealed - Purpose and Introduction" accessed from: https://www.longoriaaffairrevealed.com/
Uploaded on September 17, 2018. Modified on October 6, 2018. Published by Agarita Publishing.