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Veterans found G.I. Forum


On this day in 1948, 700 Mexican-American veterans, led by Hector P. Garcia, met in Corpus Christi and organized the American G.I. Forum, a civil-rights organization devoted to securing equal rights for Hispanic Americans. The first issue the forum dealt with was the failure of the Veterans Administration to deliver benefits earned through the 1944 G.I. Bill of Rights. After securing those benefits, the forum addressed other veterans' concerns, such as hospital care and Mexican-American representation on draft boards. In 1949 the group's involvement in the Felix Longoria Affair established the forum as an effective civil-rights advocate for Hispanics and expanded the scope and nature of its activities. The forum worked with the League of United Latin American Citizens on educational reform and voting rights issues. In 1958 the forum became a national organization, and its members led Mexican Americans into national politics. The American G.I. Forum continued its work through the 1970s with such efforts as the first application of the due-process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to de facto Mexican-American school segregation in Corpus Christi.

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