"All for One, One for All"

Welcome to ORIGINAL LULAC Council No. 2 website.  We hope our website will give you an insight of what LULAC Council No. 2 is all about.  We have a rich history of community accomplishments in San Antonio and its surrounding area.              -Tom Sandoval


LULAC HISTORY


REASONS THAT LED TO THE FORMATION OF LULAC

When the United States of North America annexed a third of Mexico's territory following the Mexican War, nearly 77,000 Mexicans became U.S. citizens. For generations, these citizens were to be plagued by a prejudicial attitude which would result in overt acts of discrimination and segregation which in turn brought about the curtailment of many of their civil rights, privileges, and opportunities. The sign, "No Mexicans Allowed" was found everywhere.

In Texas, prejudicial attitude and discrimination acts had reached such extreme proportions that Mexican Americans started organizations as defensive measures against such anti-American practices. Outstanding among these were three organizations: The Order of the Sons of America with councils in Somerset, Pearsall, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio; The Knights of America in San Antonio; and The League of Latin American Citizens with councils in Harlingen, Brownsville, Laredo, Penitas, La Grulla, McAllen, and Gulf.

The Unification Effort

Council #4 of the Order of the Sons of America, under the leadership of Ben Garza in Corpus Christi, was the driving force behind the idea of uniting all Mexican American organizations under one title, one set of objectives, and one constitution. The first series of attempts occurred on the 14th of August 1927, when delegates from The Order of the Sons of America, The Knights of America, and other similar organizations traveled to Harlingen, to attend the formal installation of The League of Latin American Citizens. The new organization, under the leadership of Attorney Alonso S. Perales of Harlingen, was invited by the President General of The Order of the Sons of America to unite with them as a primary step toward ultimate unification of all Mexican American organizations. The idea was approved by The League of Latin American Citizens and a resolution intended to bring about the merger was adopted.

There were serious doubts as to merger because of personal reasons and ill feelings that existed between the leaders of The League of Latin American Citizens and the President General of The Order of the Sons of America from San Antonio. With this in mind, The Order of the Sons of America and The Knights of America made an agreement to unite themselves even if The League of Latin American Citizens did not. For a year, Council #4 of The Order of the Sons of America and The Knights of America waited for the proposed merger. In the meantime, Alonso S. Perales was in constant contact with Ben Garza to bring about the merger. The fact that the long awaited unification convention was never called by the President General of The Order of the Sons of America resulted in the withdrawal of Council #4 from The Order of the Sons of America at a meeting held February 7, 1929. Also, at this meeting in which Alonso S. Perales was present, it was voted to have a uniting convention on February 17, 1929, at the Obreros Hall, on the corner of Lipan and Carrizo streets in Corpus Christi.

On the appointed date and hour, delegates from Alice, Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Encino, Harlingen, La Grulla, McAllen, Robstown, and San Antonio opened the unification convention. Elected as chairman protem was Ben Garza, as secretary was M.C. Gonzalez.

This delicate task was assigned to Juan Solis and Mauro Machado, members of The Knights of America, Alonso S. Perales and J.T. Canales, members of The League of Latin American Citizens, E.N. Marin, A. DeLuna and Fortunio Trevino, members of The Order of the Sons of America. Alonso S. Perales propose the name "Latin American Citizens' League." Mauro Machado suggested the word "United" as apropos for the merger and as a way of differentiating the title from "The League of Latin American Citizens" name. Juan Solis made a motion that the be "United Latin American Citizens." J.T. Canales made a friendly amended to the motion that the name read "League of United Latin American Citizens". Juan Solis accepted the friendly amended. The amended motion was unanimously passed.

The committee proceeded to adopt a motto as proposed by J.T. Canales, "All for One and One for All", as a constant reminder of the trials of unification and as basis for all future activities of LULAC. A set of rules were drawn up as temporary rules until a constitutional convention could be held. In the rules proposed to the assembly was a provision calling for a constitutional convention to be held on 18, and 19 May 1929, in Corpus Christi, Texas, and for an executive committee to administer LULAC until the convention. The executive committee included Ben Garza as chairman, M.C. Gonzalez as secretary, J.T. Canales and J. Luz Saena as committee members.

On 18 May 1929, at the Allende Hall in Corpus Christi, Texas, the first LULAC General Convention was called to order by Ben Garza. The first order of business was a constitution. The assembly promptly adopted one proposed by J.T. Canales and based upon the one used by The Knights of America. The next order of business was the election of officers. Ben Garza was elected President General, M.C. Gonzalez was elected Vice President General, A. DeLuna was elected Secretary General, and Louis C. Wilmot of Corpus Christi, Texas, was elected Treasurer General. These officers undertook the thankless job of guiding a new and young organization besieged by many enemies and skeptical friends and facing a future beset by pitfalls yet to be encountered. Mexican Americans were not allowed to vote because in many instances they could not understand the English language; moreover they were not allowed to learn it. Finally, when Mexican American were able to vote, they had to pay for this right. Many were not able to pay; instead their Anglo bosses paid this charge and told them who to vote for.

Many Mexican American families worked in fields, farms, and ranches and their children never went to school; and unfortunately many were denied jobs because they were perceived as lazy, poorly dressed, dirty, ill educated, and thieves.

American children had to attend segregated schools known as "Mexican Schools.”In those days "Mexican Schools" were legal in the southwest. These schools were staffed with the worse of teachers and the buildings were in deplorable conditions.

Discrimination against Mexican Americans was awful. One of the best kept secrets in American history is that during those years there were more Mexican Americans hung than the total number of blacks hung during the civil war. One famous Anglo gunfighter was once asked how many men he had killed. His response was that each notch on the handles of his guns represented one kill and that he had twenty seven notches, not counting Mexicans. However, discrimination did not know any age limit. In one incident a young Mexican American girl who was eating a dry tortilla had choked to death because her peers were not allowed to get her a drink of water from a "whites only" water fountain. In another incident, LULAC members on a weekend recruitment journey, stopped at a hamburger place. One of the men went to the takeout window and placed an order. When the food was ready, he was told that he had to go to the black section to eat his food. When he told the food handler that he was Mexican and not black, the food was taken away and he was asked to leave. Yet, another incident, a LULAC member (who later became a LULAC President General) had to dress as a woman in order to get pass a sheriff with rifle in arm who had vow not to allow LULAC to organize in his Town.

Many of the above, if not all, were some of the reasons that caused Mexican Americans to respond by building strong traditions of self-determination. In 1921, courageous men and women began organizing organizations in Texas to ensure that juries reflected the composition of the population, and they filed suits to have Mexican Americans placed on jury rosters. Service organizations were started to champion Mexican Americans rights and in 1929, a number of these organizations met in Corpus Christi, Texas, and merged into a single self-help organization.

This was not a day for a meeting. It was Sunday and a day of rest. The rain was filling the dirt streets. But the task was great and the mud splashing on their shoes was of little concern to those men about to make history. It was a meeting that would merge three largest Mexican American organizations into one.

The merger has been discussed in 1927 during an installation of officers of a newly formed Mexican American organization, "The League of Latin American Citizens", founded in Harlingen, Texas, by Alonso S. Perales. However, for whatever reason, two years had passed without a merger. Now on February 17, 1929 the merger was now about to take place in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Delegates from three very prestigious Mexican American organizations; The Knights of America, The Sons of America, and The League of Latin American Citizens, gathered on this rainy day to attempt the merger. Hesitation regarding the merger was strong. However, after strong and moving speeches delivered by the leaders of the organizations, the delegates were calmed and the urge to merger was renewed. A committee, with two delegates from each organization, was formed. The task of this committee was come up with rules and a name for the new organization.

This was to be a very delicate task, because each organization had a very proud history, its own constitution, its own structure, and a strong leader. The Knights of America of San Antonio, the oldest of the three and under the leadership of M.C. Gonzalez, had done much for its community. The same held true for The Sons of America of Corpus Christi, the second oldest and under the leadership of Ben Garza. However, The League of Latin America Citizens of the Texas Valley, the youngest of the three and under the leadership of Alonso S. Perales, had done just as well, and in some instances better, and was growing at a much faster pace than the other two combined.

After a four hour meeting the committee announced that the constitution for the new organization would be the combination of the constitutions of the three merging organizations. The best would be taken from each. The name of the new organization would be taken from the youngest of the three with the word "United" added to the name. Thus "The League of United Latin American Citizens" came to be.

The delegates were so pleased with the calmness of Ben Garza and with the outstanding efforts that he had given to the merging efforts, that he was elected the first President General of LULAC. The delegates agreed to hold the first LULAC Convention on May 19, 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

LULAC - uses a different approach!


The three merging organizations which became LULAC were by no means the only Mexican American organization of that era, many others existed. Many wanted to revolt and regain the territories ceded to the United States of America by Mexico after the Mexico-Texas war. Others wanted to simply continue to defy the authority of the dominating population. In those days, Mexican Americans had to be real careful anytime they gathered. If they gathered in large numbers, they would cause suspicions and faced charges of communism. Yes, there were many that felt insulted and considered LULAC members as a bunch of "vendidos." They could not understand why LULAC members would go out of their way to embrace an Anglo society that had been so cruel to Mexican Americans. However, the founders of LULAC had seen many Mexican American organizations flourish and disappear within a couple of years, and without accomplishments. LULAC founders were determined not to let this occur to LULAC. Therefore, the founders of LULAC, in order to avoid suspicions of un-American activities and a safe haven for its members, forewent many of their convictions. Many of the official rites which LULAC adopted had never be adopted by any other Mexican American organization. Adopted was the American Flag as the official flag, America the Beautiful as the official song, and The George Washington Prayer as the official prayer. Also, adopted were Robert Rules of Order as the governing rules during meetings and conventions.

These founders envisioned an organization that would strongly be accepted by Mexican Americans throughout Texas. In this belief they were right! However, what they were not prepared for was the rapid growth, within the first three years of LULAC's founding, in the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and California. That LULAC would later stretch it arms of services into 48 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, South America, and the armed service base in Heidelburg, West Germany, as LULAC International, Inc., was far from the minds of these founders on that rainy day of February 19, 1929.

That their creation would include all those of Hispanic origin, and not just Mexican Americans, is indicated in the Philosophy of the League.