Remembering Maria L. de Hernandez: community and rights activist
July 29, 2018 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Today would be the 122nd birthday of María Rebecca Latigo de Hernández, a Mexican-American rights activist who is considered one of the most important leaders of the Tejano community starting in the 1920s (Google books preview). She formed and lead organizations through the 1970s that were dedicated to civic and political activities to benefit Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants, focusing on education, and the rights of women and workers.

Hernández, with her husband, formed Orden Caballeros de América (the Order of Knights of America), whose membership was open to men of the "Mexican race," citizens of either the United States or Mexico living in San Antonio. That Order merged with two other organizations in 1929 to form the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is now the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States.

She also became became San Antonio's first Mexican female radio announcer in 1932 , and in 1933, María helped organize the Asociación Protectora de Madres, which provided assistance to expectant mothers. She was also a midwife and helped deliver babies in San Antonio and surrounding towns.

In 1934, she spoke on the "Voz de las Americas" program to promote Council 16 of the League of United Latin American Citizens, organized to promote equality for Mexican Americans in all spheres of life, where she was the only female speaker at the first meeting. María and her sisters were involved (PDF) with the Pecan-Shellers' Strike of 1938, where she took up the cause of women workers' rights.

Over the years, she made hundreds of speeches promoting equality for the Mexican American community. In 1968 she appeared regularly on television in San Antonio to speak about education and social progress on a program sponsored by El Círculo Social Damas de América. In December of that year, she and her husband were also invited to testify at the San Antonio hearing before the United States Commission on Civil Rights, where they argued for changes in education to reform the embarrassing inaccurate portrayals of Mexican Americans and other minorities in the curriculum.

Maria L. de Hernández is remembered as woman ahead of her time, doing for her community what she did for her family. There is a conference room named after Maria L. de Hernandez at the Forest Hills Library, and a portrait of her is in that room.
posted by filthy light thief (3 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Google also plays tribute to her on their main search page.
posted by CRESTA at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

The first link in this post is to Google's doodle tribute page, and was my inspiration today.

There's not a ton of material, in English at least, on María L. de Hernández on the internet at this time. I'm hoping others can provide links to more materials, and I'll post anything I find in the next few weeks.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on July 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you filthy light thief.
posted by Qex Rodriguez at 5:21 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

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