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

Josue Garza

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(62 pages)

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Josue Garza, more popularly known as George Garza, is a Mexican-American educator and Uvalde businessman who attended Texas A&I-Kingsville and holds a Master's degree from California State University, Sacramento. He served on the Uvalde Board of Education and as Executive Director of the Community Council of Southwest Texas (Community Action Program (CAP)/War Against Poverty). He is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Elected mayor of Uvalde in 1996, he served several terms but was defeated in a bid for reelection in 2008.

Interview Summary:

Mayor Josue 'George' Garza talks about his family background, their association with the Assemblies of God in South Texas, and the example his father set for his family. Mayor Garza describes his earliest involvement in politics when he marched as a student at Texas A&I-Kingsville in support of the Kingsville farm laborer strike in 1966. He speaks at length of discrimination against Mexican-Americans in Uvalde, and how efforts at electing Mexican-Americans were repeatedly thwarted, and to what extent Mexican-Americans and their families were pressured to refrain from political activity. He discusses the role of the Raza Unida Party and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in halting discriminatory practices against Mexican Americans in Uvalde County and what it took to overturn unfair decisions made by local judges. Mayor Garza recalls his work as a teacher and the pride he helped imbue in the students, and the ensuing formation of a local chapter of the Mexican-American Youth Organization (MAYO). He gives details of his first run for public office and the support he received from colleagues and students when his teaching contract was not renewed in retaliation for his bid for public office. He discusses Genoveva Morales' legal battle for bilingual education in Uvalde schools and talks about how former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, a Uvalde native, facilitated racial integration in the schools. He also describes unfair practices conducted by the Selective Service Board in Uvalde and what actions were taken to correct them. Mayor Garza elaborates upon his financial struggles, the threat to his real estate holdings by unfair banking practices, and his resolution to strengthen his financial position by concentrating on the profitability of his business ventures. He talks about his election as Executive Director of the Community Council of Southwest Texas, the local organization of the national Community Action Program (CAP)/War on Poverty, and how the Council put a halt to a 'good old boy' system that undermined elections and maintained the status quo. He assails Texas Ranger Captain Alfred Young Allee's intimidation tactics toward Mexican-Americans in court and reveals details of the handling of incidents of alleged police brutality attributed to Morris Barrow. Mayor Garza mentions other prominent Mexican Americans involved in Uvalde politics, including Joe Uriegas, Gilbert Torres, Ismael Sosa, and his son, Ronald B. Garza. He also notes the work of Gabriel 'Jimmy' Tafolla with the Texas Migrant Council and as the first Mexican-American elected to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees.

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