Five Official 1949 Investigations
Five investigations into the incident were conducted. Three exonerated Mr. Kennedy; two others each had division between exoneration and dissent.
· Legislative Hearing Record Disappeared: The 51st Texas House of Representatives conducted a Legislative Investigation into the Longoria situation. That Legislative hearing was officially recorded by a Texas State Certified Court Reporter. Soon after the hearing, the 327 page report was offered for sale and quickly disappeared.
· Commissioners or Legislators: The film alludes erroneously to only one investigation and says “the commissioners” could not agree. The “commissioners” were five State Legislators assigned to a committee to perform an investigation into the possible discrimination. Their decision was four to one (4-1). Four agreed Kennedy was not guilty of discrimination in this case and published the Majority Report. One posted a Minority Report.
Investigations were as follows:
1. The Army Graves Department report by Shag Floore clearly exonerates Mr. Kennedy and Three Rivers. Contrary to claims that Mr. Floore only visited with Three Rivers’ ‘whites,’ he also visited with Dr. Garcia and other Hispanics. Johnson was raging mad when he read Floore's report. He had the part about the family fight and differences redacted until all parties involved passed away. The redaction was removed by the University of Texas Library Archivist when Hudson made the request for removal and they personally verified that these persons were no longer living.
2. The Texas Funeral Association decided not to remove Mr. Kennedy’s license based on the investigation by Mr. Peter Dunne, one of their directors sent to Three Rivers. Mr. Kennedy continued serving both Anglos and Hispanics in his county until his health failed.
3. The San Antonio American Legion was so outraged after their investigation that they sent a demand for apology to Johnson and Garcia.
4. The Good Neighbor Commission had a draw betweeen their chairman and his aide. Bob Smith, Chairman of the Good Neighbor Commission, sat through the entire legislative hearing. He reported he found no reason to believe discrimination by Tom Kennedy or Three Rivers. Tom Sutherland reported discriminartion based on one phone conversation with Kennedy. Sutherland was Johnson's executive secretary and brother to Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird Johnson's press secretary and personal friend. He did not recuse himself.
5. The 51st Legislative Hearing Committee issued a majority report signed by four legislators finding Tom Kennedy not guilty of discriminating against Beatrice Longoria as charged by Hector P. Garcia. Frank Oltorf, an LBJ campaign manager and the lone dissenter, issued a minority report saying it “appeared” Kennedy "may have discriminated" but he could "not say conclusively". As reported in the Corpus Christi Caller the day after the hearing, Oltorf joined the rest of the committee members in saying “there is no evidence” of discrimination by “the citizens of Three Rivers". The more time that elapsed after the hearing, the bigger Oltorf's stories became claiming just the opposite.
Even though the 327 page record of the 51st Legislative Hearing at Three Rivers disappeared with the critical testimonies that could have cleared the issues, the majority and minority reports are available with signatures through the Texas State Library and Archives.
As part of his research, Richard Hudson began an intensive effort to find a copy of the Three Rivers court report. He received access to several sources including a barn. He came up with no report. Excited when his request from the Texas Archives was returned with the message, "We found the box containing the record." Ready to drive to Austin and read the report, he received a second call. The box was filled only with crumpled newspaper and more crumpled brown wrapping paper. No record.
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, "Truth About the Investigations," accessed from https://www.longoriaaffairrevealed.com/truth-about-the-investigations/.
Uploaded on August 12, 2011. Modified on November 9, 2015. Published by Agarita Publishing.