Mexican tapestery pattern

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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Gregory Luna

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(51 pages)

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Attorney, politician, former state representative from San Antonio. Born 1932 in New Braunfels, Texas.

Interview Summary:

The interview covers Luna's role in organizing MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) with Pete Tijerina; Warren Burnett's role in the Del Rio protest; the Ford Foundation's role as the first founder of MALDEF; conflict with Chicanos in California; how Luna became chair of MALDEF: Henry B. Gonzales' opposition to MALDEF and his relations with Pete Tijerina and José Angel Gutierrez; the roles of Gonzales, Tijerina, Gutierrez, and Rep. Mills (first name not given) in the move of MALDEF's national office from Texas to San Francisco; Mario Obledo's chairmanship of MALDEF; Luna's entry into politics via his election to the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) and as state representative. The interview also mentions the campaign of Joe Bernal for an unspecified office (Luna was campaign manager) and La Raza Unida's part in his defeat. Luna also recounts the creation of Mexican American Democrats as a counterforce to La Raza Unida, gives his opinion of MAD's split, and explains his withdrawal from participation in MAD and SDEC. He discusses his theory on why national unity among Mexican American leaders and organizations has been elusive, why Mexican American voter turnout is still low, and his motivation for running for office. Luna describes interaction among members of the Mexican American political commmunity; discusses efforts made to improve higher education in South Texas; and gives his opinions of the role of women in the Texas Legislature and in politics (he especially mentions Irma Rangel and Judith Zaffirini), the role of Mexican American studies in higher education, and on the Mexican American leaders of today.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

Interview Date: