46 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
community. This broader focus stemmed from Mexican American
desires to reach out to the larger community and become active partici-
pants in mainstream American life. Just as the organization, nationally,
had since the 1950os sought to address issues outside the Mexican
American community as a way of participating in and claiming a place in
mainstream American life, so too did Council 626 seek to carve out a
public space for itself as defender of all citizens, not just those who
In September 1977 the council sent a letter to the administrator of
Care Inn South, a local nursing home, charging the institution with thir-
teen serious deficiencies. Among the problems listed were inadequate
staffing, unsanitary conditions, infrequent visits by doctors, and frequent
falls by patients. The council also included a list of nine suggestions for
improvement7 The concerns LULAC raised did not simply involve
Mexican American patients, nor did they arise out of ethnic issues.
Council President Alex Lopez emphasized that none of the charges were
relevant to issues of race. According to council members, 90 percent of
the citizens who came to LULAC with information regarding inadequa-
cies at the nursing home were Anglo. Additionally, District X Director
Roque "Rocky" Martinez argued that the council thought that "our
senior citizens--Anglo, Mexican-American or whatever they may be-
deserve more than that.""s Eventually the Texas Department of Human
Resources launched an investigation into the nursing home that found
seven deficiencies."3 And, just as LULAC Council 626 began to take an
active part in community issues and develop a reputation as a champion
of injustice, dissent was on the horizon.
That same year a split developed between two factions within Council
626, leading to the formation in 1978 of a second branch of LULAC in
Victoria-Council 4319. The split resulted from a philosophical diver-
gence that was exacerbated by personal animosities. One segment of
Council 626 sought to maintain a focus on broad, community-based
issues, while a rival faction within the council sought to focus more close-
ly on issues immediately related to Mexican Americans, similar to the
activities of the ACSC. These philosophical issues quickly became person-
al as expressed in correspondence with Ruben Bonilla, then national
president of LULAC. The rival faction within Council 626 successfully
37 Lucille Martinez Garcia, LULAC Council 626, to Lucinda Cornish, administrator of Care
Inn South, Sept. 29, 1977, letter, Lucille Martinez Garcia personal papers, Victoria, Texas (copy
in author's possession); "LULAC Charges Nursing Home," Victona Advocate, Sept. 30, 1977, as
reprinted in LULAC Word newsletter, 1 (Oct., 1977), 3, Lucille Martinez Garcia personal papers.
*S LULAC Word newsletter, 1 (Oct., 1977), 3, in Lucille Martinez Garcia personal papers.
"S Victona Advocate, Oct 25, 1977.
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 March 4, 2015.