The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 40
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
In this light the ACSC reflected an ideology that informed most
expressions of citizenship by Mexican Americans in late twentieth-centu-
ry Victoria. The ideology of the ACSC mirrored the level of consensus
that permeated Victoria's Mexican American community. Despite differ-
ences of class or educational attainment, Mexican Americans in Victoria
through the second half of the twentieth century sustained a deeply
rooted devotion to a core set of American values. Whether these values
existed primarily in the national mythology or in everyday practice was
not the issue. To be sure, there were other core American values that
the ACSC membership rejected, such as bigotry and the political disfran-
chisement of minorities and the poor. It was the belief of Victoria's
activist Mexican Americans that traditional, if largely unrealized, values
such as egalitarianism, representative democracy, and socially responsi-
ble individualism could help overcome the other, very real negative val-
ues that made up the climate of everyday life.
Over the years the ACSC membership grew dramatically and became
more politically active, albeit in a formally non-partisan fashion. Prior to
ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment the ACSC worked to
encourage Mexican Americans to pay their poll taxes and vote.
Throughout the 195os and early 196os the ACSC drew members from
the smaller surrounding communities of Tivoli, Port Lavaca, and
Placedo and by 1965 the club had mushroomed in size from its original
forty-seven in 1947 to more than seven hundred members.16 In order to
maximize the club's growing influence in the Mexican American com-
munity, the ACSC began developing connections with and inviting
important political figures to speak at its functions. In 1968 and 1969,
for example, U.S. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez and U.S. Sen. Ralph
Yarborough addressed the group's annual anniversary banquets.17 So
important was the club that Mexican American and Anglo candidates
for local elections began to feel it incumbent upon them to attend
ACSC-sponsored candidate meetings. s
Further, the ACSC membership challenged employment discrimina-
tion, first in local government and later in the post office and at the
local chemical plants and retail outlets. The preferred tactic was not the
demonstration, the strike, or even the lawsuit. Rather, members
16 "American citizens [sic] Club Will Hear Candidates," Victoria Advocate, Feb. 9, 1964;
"Citizenship Club Grows to 70o," Victora Advocate, "Victoria Story" edition, Mar. 28, 1965;
Constitution of the American Citizens' Social Club, 2.
" Victoria Advocate, Sept. 21, 1968; Victoria Advocate, Aug. 28, 1969; Ralph Castillo to John
Young, undated letter on behalf of ACSC, folder 47.23, Hector P. Garcia Collection (Texas A&M
University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas).
m" Matt Lopez to Anthony Quiroz, Feb. 9, 1995, interview (tapes m author's possession); Solis
to Quiroz, May 1, 1996, interview.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/68/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.