Texas A&M University-Kingsville

The Longoria Affair documentary to be shown at Texas A&M-Kingsville

KINGSVILLE - October 29, 2010

Contact: Julie Navejar
julie.navejar@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

The controversial documentary The Longoria Affair will be shown at Texas A&M University-Kingsville at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, in ballroom A of the Memorial Student Union Building. John J. Valadez, producer and director of the film will be present to answer questions and lead discussion. The Longoria Affair aired on PBS earlier this month.

The film presentation is sponsored by the communications and theatre arts department, the Javelina Press Club and the Texas A&M-Kingsville Student LULAC Chapter.

The documentary is based on the story of Private Felix Longoria, a soldier from Three Rivers who was killed during World War II. After controversy in his own hometown, he eventually became the first Mexican-American to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

After the war, while most people came together to welcome the soldiers home and mourn for their loved ones, Longoria was denied the right to lie in state in the only funeral parlor in Three Rivers because it was a “whites only” establishment.

This incident is what caused him to become a national symbol of discrimination and eventually led to Dr. Hector P. Garcia forming the American G.I. Forum, one of the most prominent Mexican-American civil rights organizations.

“This was an incredible event in the quest for civil rights for Mexican-Americans in our country,” said Dr. Manuel Flores, chair of the communication and theatre arts department, “It is hard to believe that a fallen soldier’s family would be denied the use of this facility.”

Flores said bringing Valadez and the documentary to the campus will help students to see the historical discrimination of people of Mexican descent in the United States. “The act of discrimination helped thrust the American G.I. Forum’s civil rights agenda into the national spotlight and essentially helped make Dr. Garcia a true national hero,” he said.

Valadez’ goal in producing and directing the documentary was to show how Mexican-Americans struggled to obtain their rights in this country. “When most people in this country think of civil rights, they don’t tend to think about the contribution that Mexican-Americans made toward the equality and freedom of all people,” Valadez said. “People should know about that contribution.”

For more information, call 361-593-3401.


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