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The Felix Longoria Affair: A Turning Point in the Latino Movement

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LBJ Auditorium

2313 Red River Street

Austin, TX 78712

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You are invited to join us for a conversation on how the death of Army Private Felix Z. Longoria, a Mexican-American soldier killed in action in World War II, and the dispute over his burial in Three Rivers, Texas, sparked a turning point in the Latino movement.

Our panelists include:

  • Dr. Vicki L. Ruiz, Professor Emeritus of History and Chicano/Latino Studies in the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine

  • Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, founder of the Voces Oral History Project, and professor in the School of Journalism at the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin

  • Dr. Patrick J. Carroll, author of Felix Longoria's Wake: Bereavement, Racism, and the Rise of Mexican American Activism, and Professor Emeritus of History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

  • Moderator: Dr. Kyle Longley, director of the LBJ Presidential Library


This event is free and open to the public. A reception in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library will follow the program. Please register to attend.

Location and Parking

The LBJ Auditorium is located on the lower level of the LBJ complex at 2313 Red River St. Access to the auditorium will be through the lobby of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Parking details will be posted soon.

Historical Background

Army Private Felix Z. Longoria was a Mexican-American soldier killed in action in 1945 while serving in the Philippines in World War II.

Four years later, in January 1949, Longoria’s widow, Beatriz, tried arranging a funeral for her husband whose body was being returned by the U.S. Army. When she was met with resistance over holding the wake at the only funeral home in the small town of Three Rivers, Texas, she reached out to American GI Forum leader, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a prominent physician and civil rights leader from nearby Corpus Christi, Texas, for assistance.

Dr. Hector P. Garcia reached out to then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson directly and over the following month, debates played out in the national news over the dispute. Ultimately, with Johnson’s assistance, the family buried Longoria at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

This event has caused many analysts to look at the Longoria affair as sparking a turning point in the country’s Latino movement.

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This event is co-sponsored by Humanities Texas.

The LBJ Presidential Library is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

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LBJ Auditorium

2313 Red River Street

Austin, TX 78712

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