The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Fellowship
The Archives and Special Collections at Bell Library is lucky enough to be the home of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Papers. Coming in at almost 360 linear feet—the length of a football field—and spanning the doctor’s entire 50+ year career in public life, you can imagine the trove of information and insight this collection represents. In 2018, when the papers came back from a year and a half in Maryland being processed, arranged and described, Dean Cate Rudowsky decided the Library needed to do something to highlight this truly unique and remarkable collection.
The result was the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Fellowship. The Fellowship is a $1,000 award designed to allow the recipient to travel to Bell Library and do research with the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Papers. Not only does this bring a researcher to the papers, it brings Dr. Hector to the world. By encouraging research into his collection, the Fellowship helps ensure that Dr. Hector’s work for justice and equality is remembered.
Rosana Vanessa Gomez Pachon
DR. HECTOR P. GARCIA: A STUDY IN CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION LEADERSHIP
Dr. Antonio Vásquez
Lecturer with the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin
I think this is the most important thing that has happened to the Mexican-American people -that we now feel that we belong to this country. That this is truly our "country" and we may keep our pride and our dignity. That we are Mexican in origin and in blood, but we also now have the feeling that we are accepted as Americans also!
Below is a transcript of a 1969 interview with David G. McComb. This interview is part of the LBJ Library which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration
INTERVIEWEE: HECTOR GARCIA
INTERVIEWER: DAVID G. MC COMB
July 9, 1969
MCCOMB: Let me identify the tape first of all. This is an interview with Dr. Hector Garcia. I'm in his office in Corpus Christi, Texas, at 1315 Bright Street. The date is July 9, 1969, and my name is David McComb.
Now you gave me this copy of the GI Forum program of the 21st Annual Founders' Day Banquet which has a capsule biography of you here, which I will place into the record so that anybody using this tape will have the opportunity to use this. There are several points about this that I'd like to ask you about. In the first place it says you were born in Mexico, and I'd like to know when you came to the United States.
GARCIA: Well, Mr. McComb, I came to the United States when I was only about three and a half to four years old. I was not quite four and I was a little bit over three, so I would say approximately four years old.Read more
The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation was created to expand awareness of his legacy and the continued relevance of his fight for equal rights for all. Dr. Garcia grew up in a time when discrimination against minorities was not only common, it was expected. Blacks and Hispanics were denied equal access under the law. Schools, hospitals and even graveyards were segregated.
As a leader in LULAC and the American GI Forum, Dr. Hector helped to end segregation in schools, hospitals and public facilities in Texas and nationally. He organized an effort that defeated the oppressive poll tax and led the way to a Hispanic voting majority in South Texas. He fought for fair wages and better working conditions and to bring resources to the colonias, areas along the U.S.-Mexico border that lacked basic services. By organizing the Hispanic vote and voice he brought political power and consequently justice to his people.
Dr. Hector believed in the promise of America and spent a lifetime making the Constitution a living document for every American no matter what their race, ethnicity, or economic status. The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Foundation has been established to continue this work. Our mission includes raising money to provide scholarships to students at the post secondary level, the promotion of civil liberties, the development of effective public service, the advancement of the health and social welfare of the community, and the education and training of leadership that serves the people.
Black and Hispanic Americans still lag in graduation rates from both high school and college. They have higher teenage birth rates, infant mortality rates and shorter life spans. They are incarcerated and live in poverty at higher rates. Not only has the dream of overcoming racism and discrimination not yet been achieved, there are those who actively support a eturn to institutionalization of new forms of economic segregation and discrimination that denies many citizens of their rights.
This Foundation will honor the legacy of Dr. Garcia by supporting people, projects and actions that will protect the rights of all through the funding of scholarships, educational grants and community building efforts. The Foundation, as Dr. Hector did, will also promote the fair treatment, support and honoring of those who have served our country in the armed forces.
We firmly believe that the promotion and protection of civil liberties and the care and support of our Nation's veterans directly leads to a better society.
Foundation Presenting Sponsor.