Mexican tapestery pattern

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

Arcenio García


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(85 pages)

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Biography:

Born August 26, 1947, in Defiance, Ohio. Mr. García is county commissioner for La Salle County, Texas. He was formerly Mayor of Cotulla, Texas in 1972.

Interview Summary:

Mr. García talks about race discrimination practices in the schools, employment, and society. He tells how he and other Mexican Americans decided to enter the political arena by organizing the community and performing social services for the citizens to establish public visibility for themselves. Mr. García describes how involvement with MAYO and VISTA trained community members in political matters that allowed them expertise needed to succeed in politics. He elaborates upon the methods he used to campaign and how he financed those campaigns. He recounts the events and problems that he and other local Mexican American politicians faced such as the threat of being fired from their professional jobs if they became involved in politics. Mr. García talks about his election as Mayor of Cotulla in 1972 and he discusses political maneuvering by the local political power structure that caused him to be removed from office after he legally won re-election as mayor. Mr. García discusses the role and problems of the Raza Unida Party in Texas and gives his perspective on the origins and outcomes of the Cotulla mini riot of 1974 which resulted in the felony conviction of Raza Unida leader Ra'ul Martínez. He elaborates upon his achievements and problems as county commissioner of La Salle County, Texas and Mexican American political involvement with Cotulla school board elections and politics. He describes positive changes that resulted from Raza involvement in school district politics. Mr. García reviews the internal problems within the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) organization that resulted in a split in that organization in 1993 and the formation of the Tejano Democrats. He concludes the interview with a description of capital improvement programs achieved in La Salle County during his administration as county commissioner.

Locations of residence or activity:

La Salle County/Cotulla

Interview Date:

10/23/1997