Affidavits of Mexican Americans Regarding Discrimination in Texas during World War II
COLLECTED BY ALONSO S. PERALES
Alonso S. Perales, a lawyer from South Texas, served as a diplomat to several South American countries and was a cofounder of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in 1929. He was a highly respected civil rights leader of the Mexican American community. During the 1930s, he published a twovolume collection of essays and speeches exposing the discrimination in Texas.1 As president of LULAC, he pushed for civil rights for Mexican Americans and, in 1943, helped introduce a bill to the Texas legislature outlawing racial discrimination. As part of LULAC's effort to present evidence of racial discrimination to the legislature as well as to the FEPC, Perales gathered affidavits from Mexican Americans and Mexicans who had experienced segregation and exclusion. Some of these were published in the San Antonio newspaper La Prensa to mobilize the Mexican American community. Other affidavits involving Mexican citizens were passed on to the Mexican consulate for diplomatic action.
This sample of some of the testimonies Perales gathered gives a vivid firsthand account of the kind of racial prejudice Mexican Americans experienced during the war.2