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YOUNGBLOOD, GUADALUPE CRUZ, JR.

YOUNGBLOOD, GUADALUPE CRUZ, JR. (1946–2002). Guadalupe Cruz Youngblood, Jr., Tejano political activist, public officeholder, and educator, was born to Guadalupe Cruz Youngblood, Sr., and Josefina (de la Paz) Youngblood in Robstown, Nueces County, Texas, on November 2, 1946. Guadalupe Jr. (also known as Lupe) had one brother and three sisters.

Youngblood attended public schools in Robstown. In 1961, at fourteen years of age, he was struck by an automobile and critically injured but survived. He graduated from Robstown High School in 1965. Youngblood completed an associate’s degree from Christopher College of Corpus Christi in 1967. In 1969 he graduated from Texas A&I University in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University–Kingsville) with a B.A. degree in sociology and psychiatry. Youngblood was a political activist in the 1960s and 1970s. He became the Texas state chairman of the La Raza Unida Party and taught Mexican American studies at several colleges. 

Youngblood was involved in the progressive Mexican American student movement in the 1960s and 1970s, along with Jose Angel Gutiérrez, Carlos Guerra, Emilio Zamora, and others. The Raza Unida Party was formed in 1970. Its first statewide convention was held in San Antonio in October 1971. In late 1974 the convention was held in Houston. At first Youngblood was considered a dark-horse candidate, but he became the 1974 convention’s compromise candidate and was elected state chair of the party for a two-year term. He was an active advocate for Mexican Americans. He was a member of VISTA, Texas Rural Legal Aid, the Food Research and Action Center, and he was founder of Familias Unidas in Robstown. After the Texas legislature created the 214th Judicial District in Nueces County, Youngblood, as chair of La Raza Unida, sent a telegram to Governor Dolph Briscoe in December 1974 and requested that a Chicano be appointed judge of that district court. The writer of an Associated Press news article about that letter evidently assumed that Youngblood was a female, probably because his first name suggested that. When Southwestern Bell Telephone Company requested a rate hike from its customers in San Antonio, Guadalupe wrote letters to the city’s mayor and each of the city council members and implored them to deny the rate increase. 

Youngblood worked as a paralegal in the Texas Rural Legal Aid office in Kingsville. Later he served as chief clerk in Robstown in the office of a justice of the peace, Lorenzo Rojas, for sixteen years. In 1998 he and three other candidates ran in the Democratic primary for justice of the peace (in the same office where he had worked so many years as chief clerk, Precinct No. 5). He won a primary runoff against Robert Gonzalez. No Republican ran for the office, and Youngblood won the general election and served for the two-year term. During the campaign, Guadalupe said, “I would like to establish a computer network with the other offices such as the sheriff’s and the police department. When someone comes in our office right now, we have no way of helping them find information on a lost parking ticket, but we also don’t know if someone has a warrant out on their arrest.” In the next Democratic primary, Youngblood was defeated by Gonzalez. 

On August 19, 1988, Guadalupe Youngblood married Eva R. Montoya; she was sixteen years his junior. He was a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Robstown. He had a daughter, Marisa Youngblood, and a stepson, Jeremiah Rivera.

Youngblood was hospitalized with heart problems shortly after New Year’s Day of 2002 and placed in intensive care. He died there on February 4, 2002, at fifty-five years of age. His funeral Mass was said at St Anthony’s Catholic Church on February 7, 2002. His body was cremated.

In an oral history interview in 1998, Judge Lorenzo Rojas praised Guadalupe Youngblood’s
steadfast commitment to service:

…When I came here, there were two secretaries working here for the incumbent. And the day that I showed up. . .they didn't show up for work. So, I called Youngblood and. . .I remember telling him you are not going to make as much as you were making with the law firm where you were working. And he said it doesn't matter. He said I want to be where I will be able to help people. . . . I remember him saying you don't have an[y] idea how many people are going to come through this office for help and I want to be in a position where I can help them.  

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times, August 21, 1961; May 12, 1967; April 11, 1998; March 5, 15, 2000; February 7, 2002. Del Rio News Herald, December 19, 1974. Armando Navarro, La Raza Unida Party: A Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-Party Dictatorship (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000). North Texas Daily (Denton, Texas), September 27, 1974. Lorenzo Rojas, Interview by Jose Angel Gutierrez, June 23, 1998, Robstown, Texas, Oral History Interview. San Antonio Express, February 15, 1975. Eva Youngblood, Telephone Interview by Robert J. Duncan, Saturday, December 24, 2016.  Emilio Zamora, Interview by Cassie Smith, August 17, 2012, Austin History Center, Oral History Center. 

Robert J. Duncan

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Handbook of Texas Online, Robert J. Duncan, "Youngblood, Guadalupe Cruz, Jr. ," accessed December 17, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fyong.

Uploaded on June 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.