The Longoria Affair Omissions
Valadez Knew about Benjamin Ruiz BEFORE He Filmed the Longoria Affair and Chose to OMIT This Knowledge from His Film
First Repatriated Mexican American Soldier buried by Tom Kennedy in the Three Rivers Cemetery before the Felix Longoria Request
Omitted: The grave of Benjamin Ruiz lies in the Three Rivers Cemetery. Mr. Kennedy facilitated the complete services. Richard Hudson stood with Producer John Valadez over Ruiz's grave in 2009 and explained to him that Benjamin Ruiz's wake and burial was handled by the very man who was accused of refusing to "wake" or "bury" Felix Longoria. (Reported in both the San Antonio Express and the Valley Morning Star, January 12, 1949.)
Regarding Wake, Burial, and Funeral
The following discrepancies and omissions occur in The Longoria Affair documentary.
Omitted: The widow requested Kennedy to exclude her Longoria in-laws from the wake in the chapel, i.e., turn them away at the door. Kennedy refused saying "we've never done that and don't want to start now." He suggests the widow use her home for the wake if she wishes to exclude her in-laws. Pianist, Betty Reynolds Dickinson in the chapel at the time provides a notarized statement of fact. (Video with Betty's testimony, online in this site. Notarized Statement, Dickinson Family Lawyer Archives.)
The Family Fight
Omitted: The family fight between Felix's father and Beatrice's boyfriend led to Mr. Kennedy's remark, "...the white's wouldn't like it." The Longoria family fight with Beatrice's boyfriend (Felix' cousin) is corroborated by Judge W.E. McMurray, the Justice of the Peace; George Flores, the deputy sheriff; and Floore's Army Report. It strained family relations. The context for the "white's" statement if a fight broke out in the chapel was based on the possibility of its happening again during a simultaneous Anglo funeral (Anglos were the majority population; more of them died.) Kennedy had no intent to say this was a majority town population attitude. Kennedy's lack of specificity and his continual use of pronouns, as those unused to biased media reporting often do, played very hard for him throughout this event. The Longoria family fight is unmentioned, along with Beatrice's presence at the hearing with her boyfriend. This gives the viewer no reason for Kennedy's concern. Kennedy's concern was not a judgement about race or morality, just a concern about the enmity that had become a part of Beatrice's relationship with Felix' family. (Majority Report. Texas 51st Legislature, Texas State Archives. Floore Report, LBJ Library, Austin, Texas.)
Wake and Funeral
Omitted: There was no wake nor funeral in Washington. Kennedy planned and negotiated a wake, a funeral, and a burial in Three Rivers with Beatrice on January 8, 1949. Instead the burial at Arlington was held simultaneously with 18 other deceased veterans. (Majority Report, 51st Texas Legislature, Texas State Archives. Widow's request to LBJ for services in Washington, Hector Garcia Archives, TAMUCC.)
Accommodations for Felix's Widow
Omitted, Mr. Kennedy picked Beatrice up at the bus stop, took more time than usual in planning, drove her to the home Felix built for her, then the train depot to arrange Army's sending remains to Three Rivers, and finally took her to Moreno relatives' home. (Beatrice's Moreno uncle, since her family had moved away several years before.) This does not fit the documentary's image of Kennedy afraid of his community. (Carroll, Patrick. Felix Longoria's Wake.)
Monopoly on Services
Omitted, the Three Rivers' Funeral Home was the only funeral facility in all of Live Oak County and the surrounding counties serving all their citizens. Mr. Kennedy answered all emergency calls to take sick or injured persons to the nearest hospital as well as providing for wakes, funerals in the funeral home or elsewhere, and performing all last rites. He had no reason to fear losing business as the film portrays. (Testimony, Mrs. Jane Kennedy, and other local and area residents.)
Omitted, in spite of Mr. Kennedy's repeated statements regarding family problems as the reason for his decision, the film does not mention that Beatrice did not walk across the street from her home to tell Felix's family about his return. The family learned about it in the newspaper three days later, and made immediate arrangements for full military honors in Three Rivers. Felix's brothers asked Mr. Kennedy to inform the family of the date because they did not expect to learn otherwise. (Report from the San Antonio Express)
Three Rivers Predominantly Hispanic City Council: Blatant bias is evident in Sara Posas’ racist rant calling Three Rivers’ racist over and over in less than a few seconds. Context connects her rant to a contentious City Hall meeting. The film's sanitized presentation bias the viewer against Three Rivers. The camera pans an audience of “old white racist people”, Sara seems to be addressing. Viewers are led to believe this scene accentuates and validates Posas’ statement. The camera does not show the Hispanic Mayor, sitting on the dais with two Hispanic Council members and two Anglos. Read the detail under Manipulations and Distortions next to see what really happened and how the viewer is continued to be misled.
First Repatriated Mexican-American Soldier Buried by Tom Kennedy in the Three Rivers Cemetery BEFORE the Felix Longoria Request
Omitted, the grave of Benjamin Ruiz lies in the Three Rivers Cemetery. Mr. Kennedy facilitated the complete services. Richard Hudson stood with Producer John Valadez over Ruiz's grave in 2009 and explained to him that Benjamin Ruiz's wake and burial was handled by the very man who was accused of refusing to "wake" or "bury" Felix Longoria. (Reported in both the San Antonio Express and the Valley Morning Star, January 12, 1949.)
In 1949, it was common for all ethnics in the area to chose home wakes. The documentary leads one to believe it was "Mexican" only. Mr. Kennedy was planning an Anglo home wake on the same day Beatrice met with him. On the next Tuesday, when Mr. Groh called, Mr. Kennedy was helping Mrs. Tex Jones plan a home wake for her husband who died of a heart attack just a block away that very morning. With no Longoria family problems, the most obvious place for the wake would have been Felix's parent's larger home, not the small house across the street. (Testimonies: Betty Dickinson and Joe Jones, son of Tex Jones.)
Dr. Garcia Changed from Wake Location to Refusal of Re-Interment
Omitted, Garcia's 17 telegrams to President Truman and other dignitaries stated that Mr. Kennedy was "un-American" and that he "refused...reinterment" for Felix because of his "Mexican ancestry". The junta announcement and Corpus news accounts both discuss only the wake. The nation reacted to what they believed was a refusal to bury as announced in the national news clip of the burial. (Junta announcement, Corpus Christi Caller, January 13, 1949, Garcia Telegram to dignitaries. TAMUCC Archives.)
Three Rivers' Efforts
Omitted, the mayor of Three Rivers sent a telegram to Dr. Garcia by lunch the day of the junta. It explained the misunderstanding. Then he offered: the chapel, his home, or the American Legion Hall for the wake. His telegram arrived at least 5 hours before Johnson's when the junta decided for Arlington. Mayor Montgomery's telegram is not mentioned in the film. (TAMUCC Archives) Instead, Sara Posas blames Three Rivers and the "ignorance of one man" for Felix being buried so far away where his family cannot visit. The city of Three Rivers paid for one member of the family to go to Washington, and women provided coats to be worn in Washington. The documentary credits the coats all being provided by GI Forum contributions. (Testimony of Ann Fair, life long teacher to Hispanic children in Three Rivers in conversation with producer.)
Omitted, viewers are not given any reason to find Mr. Kennedy innocent. None of his testimony about the event, his gallant and decorated military service as a WWII field medic, his services to clients, kindnesses to the community of all ethnics, thoughtfulness toward his wife and daughter, or even the fun they shared described on camera is presented. It is all cut. That is why at the end of the first screening, a student stood and asked, "Why were the ‘whites' from Three Rivers included in the film? What did they add to the film?" Since the producer included the whites from Three Rivers, why didn't he allow them to present their side? The student saw this omission clearly. (The Longoria Affair, screened at the University of North Texas, October 13, 2010.)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.
The Longoria Affair Revealed, Friends of Three Rivers, "Documentary Omissions," accessed from https://www.longoriaaffairrevealed.com/documentary-omissions/ .
Uploaded on August 12, 2011. Modified on November 9, 2015. Published by Agarita Publishing..
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