While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


V. Carl Allsup
Pvt. Felix Longoria, Jr.
Portrait of Pvt. Felix Longoria, Jr. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

FELIX LONGORIA AFFAIR. The controversy surrounding the burial of Felix Longoria provided a successful case for the American G. I. Forum, a civil rights organization for Mexican Americans, to fight racial discrimination with political pressure. In 1948 the remains of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, were recovered from the Philippines, where he had been killed on a volunteer mission during the last days of World War II. His body was shipped home for burial in the Three Rivers cemetery, where the "Mexican" section was separated by barbed wire. The director of the funeral home would not allow the use of the chapel because of alleged disturbances at previous Mexican American services and because "the whites would not like it." Longoria's widow and her sister discussed the refusal with Dr. Hector Garcia, the founder of the American G. I. Forum. He, in turn, contacted the funeral director and received the same refusal and rationale. On January 11, 1949, Garcia called a meeting of the Corpus Christi Forum, which he had organized as the first G. I. Forum chapter in March 1948; he also sent many telegrams and letters to Texas congressmen. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson responded immediately with support and an offer to arrange the burial at Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral took place on February 16, 1949, at the Arlington National Cemetery; with the Longoria family were Senator Johnson and a personal representative of the president of the United States.

After the funeral, the Texas House of Representatives authorized a five-member committee to investigate the Felix Longoria incident. The committee held open hearings at the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce and, after recriminations and exculpatory arguments, concluded that there was no discrimination on the part of the funeral director and that he had acted in anger but had apologized. Four of the committeemen signed the report. Frank Oltorf, the fifth member, stated that the funeral director's words "appear to be discriminatory." Another member withdrew his name from the majority report and filed his own account, which stated that the actions of the director were on "the fine line of discrimination." The report was never filed. The Felix Longoria Affair provided Mexican Americans an example to unify and expand their struggle for civil rights in the coming decades.


Carl Allsup, The American G.I. Forum: Origins and Evolution (University of Texas Center for Mexican American Studies Monograph 6, Austin, 1982).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, V. Carl Allsup, "FELIX LONGORIA AFFAIR," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/vef01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on February 21, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...