Garcia, Hector Perez (1914-1996). Physician and World War II veteran Hector Garcia established the American GI Forum in 1948 in Corpus Christi, Texas, to aid veterans in their struggles against discrimination in health, housing, education, and employment. In 1960 he created and coordinated Viva Kennedy clubs, helping to win the presidency for John F. Kennedy. He served as the U.S. alternate ambassador to the United Nations in 1967 and was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1968. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in1984.
Paredes, Americo (1915-1999). Scholar Americo Paredes laid the foundation for Mexican American studies by working on corridos and folklore of the border region. One of the most beloved professors at the University of Texas at Austin, Paredes has written a variety of works, including With a Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and its Hero, Folktales of Mexico, and A Texas Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border. At UT, he founded the Center for Intercultural Studies of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.
Tenayuca, Emma (1916-1999). San Antonian Emma Tenayuca worked on behalf of Latino workers in Texas during the Depression. In 1934 she organized a strike at the Finck Cigar Factory and helped to establish the Workers Alliance, an organization for the mostly female unemployed workers. In 1938 she organized the San Antonio pecan shellersâ€™ strike in protest of low wages and working conditions. In 1939, Tenayuca became chairperson of the Texas Communist Party.
Gonzalez, Henry B. (1916-2000). In 1956, Democratic candidate Henry B. Gonzalez became the first Mexican American to be elected to the Texas senate. In 1961 he became the congressman for Texasâ€™s twentieth district and served in that capacity until 1998. During his tenure in Congress, Gonzalez promoted civil rights and served on committees investigating political corruption.
Gutierrez, Jose Angel (1944-). Lawyer, activist, and University of Texas at Arlington professor Jose Angel Gutierrez was a founding member of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Raza Unida Party. His publications include El Politico: The Mexican American Elected Official (1972), A Gringo Manual on How to Handle Mexicans (1974), and The Making of a Chicano Militant: Lessons from Cristal (1998). He founded the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) at UT Arlington (1994). Cisneros, Henry (1947-). In 1981, Henry Cisneros became the first Mexican American to be elected mayor of a major American city, San Antonio. After serving four terms as
mayor, Cisneros became the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton in 1993; he remained there until his resignation in 1997. While holding national office, he reformed the public-housing system and successfully strengthened the department.
Munoz III, Henry (1960-). Henry Munoz III is chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Kell Munoz Architects Inc., the largest minority-owned architectural firm in Texas. Munoz and his team developed Mestizo Regionalism, a style incorporating the history, traditions, and cultural evolution of the Texas and Mexico borderlands. In 1999 the Smithsonian Institution appointed Munoz to its national board of trustees, and in 2002, Munoz was elected a vice chairman of the board. In 2001 he was appointed to the National Committee for the Performing Arts of the Kennedy Center.
Haubegger, Christy (1968-). Houston native and media mogul, Christy Haubegger started Latina magazine in 1996, after she had graduated from Stanford Law School at the age of 25. Latina, a bilingual magazine, has a growing readership of 2 million people and has been ranked first out of all Latino magazines in the United States. Beyond publishing, Haubegger has also worked in film. To date, she has been an associate producer for the film Chasing Papi (2003) and an executive producer for Spanglish (2004).
Rodriguez, Robert Anthony (1968-). San Antonio-born director and producer Robert Rodriguez came to national attention with his film El Mariachi (1992), which won the Audience Award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Rodriguez completed the trilogyâ€™s next two films, Desperado (1995) and Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003). These coincided with the Spy Kids trilogy (2001-2003). He has collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on films such as From Dusk Till Dawn (1995) and Grindhouse (2007). Sin City (2005), shot nearly entirely in front of a green screen, won the Technical Grand Prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
Quintanilla-Perez, Selena (1971-1995). Tejano singer Selena began singing at the age of six and was known for performing at venues on both sides of the border. Her fame spread during the 1980s and culminated in the award for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards (1987). She won a Grammy award in 1994 for her album Selena Live! and was nominated for another the following year. She was murdered at the age of 23 on March 31, 1995.