The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Class and Consensus

The organization came apart in 1971 amid charges, countercharges,
and threatened lawsuits. Finally in 1973 an out-of-court settlement
awarded the old guard (now called the American Citizens' Social Club
Incorporated, or ACSCI) $1,2oo in contested club assets and the right
to maintain the name American Citizens' Social Club Incorporated. The
other group was given control over the remainder of the club's assets
but was required to change its name.27 Eventually it became the United
Citizens' Club. As late as 1979 the American Citizens' Social Club
Incorporated donated $4,100 in scholarships for the spring semester to
twenty-nine college students.28
By the time of America's entry into World War II, Mexican Americans
in Victoria and throughout the American Southwest had been relegated
to a role as marginalized citizens, a role they had begun resisting in vari-
ous ways since the 18oos. But the World War II experience acted as an
unprecedented catalyst for change. Returning veterans questioned and
critiqued the society to which they returned. Never seeking to under-
mine its basic ideological, political, or economic foundations, these men
and their families believed that they had twice in this century paid for
equality with the common currency of citizenship, blood. Such attitudes
created the atmosphere out of which emerged the American G.I. Forum
(AGIF) in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1947. In addition, the war had pro-
vided an opportunity for young men to escape the ranches, farms, and
low-wage urban labor of South Texas. Hence, while the AGIF had over
the years included educated members of the Mexican American profes-
sional class, the rank and file remained and has remained largely work-
ing class. The AGIF established a chapter in Victoria in 1954.29 Sharing
founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia's belief in education as the most powerful
tool for bringing about social change, local Forum members immediate-
ly set about creating a college scholarship fund that was supported by a
pancake supper and benefit barbecue." One year later they bestowed
the first of many such scholarships to a young man named Alfred
Borrego.31 The following year the Forum was able to provide scholar-
ships for five students.32
The significance of such activities is that they reflected the value that
the organized, publicly articulate segments of Victoria's Mexican
21 "Settlement Made in Suit By Club," Victona Advocate, June 2o, 1973-
21 Victona Advocate,Jan. 18, 1979.
2" "G.I. Forum National Office Will be Moved to Victoria," Vzctona Advocate, June 24, 1956.
*' Victona Advocate, Dec. 3, 1955;June 9, 1956.
SVictoria Advocate, Sept. 4, 1955. Today Borrego owns and operates an insurance agency in
the central portion of the city, which caters to the Mexican American community.
2 "Scholarships Awarded to Five Local Students," Victona Advocate, May 19, 1956.

2002

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed June 2, 2015.