Cynthia E. OrozcoAug 18, 2022
Pioneer of Mexican-American Civil Rights
Alonso S. Perales
Arte Publico Press 2020
In this episode, Tiffany speaks with Professor Cynthia Orozco about her new book, Pioneer of Mexican-American Civil Rights: Alonso S. Perales, published with Arte Público Press in 2020. Alonso S. Perales is a leading Latino lawyer of the twentieth century. Though he has remained overlooked in the historical record until now. In Orozco’s newest publication, she argues that Perales was a significant player in civil rights politics and made a profound impact by founding the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and organized many Latinos to engage in political and educational reform. From primary and rich secondary sources across Texas, Orozco masterfully crafted an intriguing life story of Perales. Chapters include Perales upbringing in south Texas, pursuing an education in Washington, D.C., organizing Latinos in San Antonio, the founding of LULAC, familial influence in his personal and political decisions, the rivalries and solidarities he formed over time, and the events leading up to his death. There are not enough political biographies on Latina/o peoples in the U.S. But Orozco’s work continues to pave a path for opening discussions about the need for biography writing. And more people should take notice.
Tiffany González is an Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University. She is a historian of Chicana/Latinx history, American politics, and social movements.