Some people found Dr. Garcia’s unrepentant activism threatening, and reacted with violence and hatred. Hate mail like this reveals the depths of the racism against which Dr. Garcia fought.
Dr. Garcia and his family experienced racism regularly. When the Garcias were refused service at a restaurant, he alerted AGIF leaders and urged them to take action.
The AGIF provided crucial support for a 1954 Supreme Court case, Hernandez v. Texas, which struck down legislation that prevented Mexican Americans from serving on grand juries. The attorneys in the case are shown here.
In 1957, a Colorado AGIF chapter peacefully resolved a racist incident when it held a ceremony to reconcile with the offending organization. The incident epitomized the AGIF’s thoughtful approach to conflict.
Racism also manifested itself in the English-Only movement, which the AGIF considered a violation of the right to free speech.
Dr. Garcia spoke out against the racism he witnessed in his community, calling attention to issues like police discrimination and brutality.
In this 1977 photograph, Dr. Garcia and his sister Clotilde protest the murder of Jose Campos Torres and the light sentences his police assailants received.
Dr. Garcia made it his mission to put an end to the deeply entrenched racism and discrimination that defined the Mexican American experience in the first half of the 20th century. Civic activism was central to Dr. Garcia’s approach. He effectively mobilized the AGIF’s expansive network to organize marches, launch protests and boycotts, and support civil rights legislation and lawsuits.