Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 39
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Ethnic Committee and the Dallas Alliance Task
Force, which created the school desegregation
plan largely adopted in his order by U.S. District
Judge William Taylor. He was the founder of the
Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce, and served as a member of the
Dallas Museum of Art board of directors.
In 1976 Dallas County Commissioner Jim
Tyson nominated Hernandez for a judgeship in
the County-Court-At-Law-No. 3. On
December 30, 1976, he was appointed to the
position by the County Commission, becoming
the first Mexican-American judge in the history
of Dallas County. He was sworn in by his old
friend, Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes.
After losing his bid for re-election in 1978,
he returned to his role as civil rights leader when
he represented Hispanics opposing the city's 83-1
method of electing candidates to the City
Council. He ran again for City Council unsuccessfully
in 1980 and for mayor in 1991.
Following his defeat in the mayoral race,
Hernandez believed that, legally, minorities had
earned all the rights belonging to Americans, and
he determined that the key to preserving those
rights for future generations lay in changing perceptions
through arts and education. He closed
his law practice during the summer months and
enrolled in New York University's film school
with the intent of becoming a filmmaker. Mayor
Steve Bartlett appointed him Dallas Film
Connmissioner in 1992, and in 1996 he formed
the Herculano and Elida Hernandez Foundation
in honor of his parents' lifelong commitment to
the Hispanic community. Under the foundation's
auspices, he founded and developed the Vistas
Film Festival, which features works by or about
Hispanics and Hispanic Culture.
Hernandez continues to practice law today
and still focuses on correcting inequalities. "I
hope I have done my fair share," he says.
Hernandez admits that there are still miles to go
for Hispanic equality in Dallas, but that the community
has made great progress over the last
forty years. "Most things I fought for in the
1960s were thought of as outlandish at the time,"
he observes. "Now they are commonplace.". *
Interview with Frank Hernandez. February 24, 2004.
Ballon, Gilbert. "Quiet Effort Opened Doors For
Hispanics." The Dallas Morning News, September 15, 1987.
Calhoun, Ron. "Judge Says Minorities in New Era."
Dallas Times Herald, April 28, 1977.
Domeier, Doug. "First Chicano Judge Faces Dual
Challenge." The Dallas Morning News,January 3, 1977.
Donosky, Lea. "Hernandez Elected President of LEAD."
The Dallas Morning News,August 25, 1972.
Payne, Darwin. As Old as Dallas Itsef: A History of the
Lawyers of Dallas, the Dallas Bar Associations, and the City
They Helped Build. Dallas: Three Forks Press, 1999.
Payne, Darwin. Big D: Triumphs and Trotbles of an American
Supercity in tile 20th Century. Dallas: Three Forks Press,
1994, revised 2000.
Sumner, Jane. "Dallas' First Film Commissioner Is
Learning the Job As He Goes." Dallas Morning News,
February 9, 1992.
Van Zelfden, Alan. "Hernandez Intent on Integrating City,
Society. "Dallas Times Herald, October 9, 1991.
Young, Lawrence. "Hispanic Ex-Judge to Join Mayor's
Race." The Dallas Morning News, March 9, 1991.
Website,The Herculano & Elida Hernandez Foundation,
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/41/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.