ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Advisor

Cristina Salinas


This thesis focuses on the city of Fort Worth during the second half of the twentieth-century and provides an analysis for how the struggles of the Mexican American population were shaped by the long history of discrimination throughout Texas and the Southwest, and most importantly highlights the World War II veterans who were the catalysts for change for their growing community. A 1969 Mexican American Leadership Conference not only revealed the divide between the Mexican American Generation and Chicano Generation activists in Fort Worth, but also exposed the misconceptions members of various organizations had about each other. Gilbert Garcia’s creation of the Chicano Luncheon, shortly after this chaotic conference led to more unified efforts among community leaders and a realization of the importance of coming together to reach a common goal. Jesse Sandoval’s resolute ties to his community and his leadership in the local chapter of the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations (PASSO) and his willingness to find common ground with both conservative and radical activists prevented frictions between the two groups from completely fracturing this relatively small population of Mexican Americans in Fort Worth. Sam Garcia’s publication of Community News and Events ensured the issues pertaining to the Mexican American community and happenings of multiple organizations were available to all of Fort Worth residents, and his publication of the Hispanic Directory advanced the Hispanic economy and encouraged Anglo owned business to begin to cater to the growing Hispanic community. Rufino Mendoza’s leadership in the Mexican American Educational Advisory Council and his unwavering dedication to equal educational opportunities forced the school district to make major reforms that have affected generations of Mexican American students in Fort Worth. The worldview of all four of these men was shaped with their involvements in World War II, all four experienced or witnessed inequalities in Fort Worth after the war, all four found the limited post-war opportunities to carve out a place in society for themselves and their families, and all four found themselves working together toward a common goal. This thesis at last tells the story of their journey, and several other men and women in Fort Worth, to educational equality, political inclusion, and upward mobility.


Mexican American, Civil rights, Fort Worth, Texas


Arts and Humanities | History


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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