Examining the Mexican American civil rights movement through the public rhetoric of a veteran activist
Hector P. Garcia: Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights examines the transition of Mexican Americans from political and social marginalization to civic inclusion after World War II. Focusing on the public rhetoric of veteran rights activist and physician Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a Mexican immigrant who achieved unprecedented influence within the U.S. political system, author Michelle Hall Kells provides an important case study in the exercise of influence, the formation of civic identity, and the acquisition of social power among this underrepresented group.
As a major influence in national twentieth-century civil rights reform, Garcia effectively operated between Anglo and Mexican American sociopolitical structures. The volume illustrates how Garcia, a decorated World War II veteran and founder of the American GI Forum in Texas in 1948, successfully engendered a discourse that crossed geographical, political, and cultural borders, forming associations with the working poor as well as with prominent national figures such as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Through his rhetoric and action, Garcia publicly revealed the plight of Mexican Americans, crossing class, regional, and racial lines to improve socioeconomic conditions for his people.
Hector P. Garcia, which is enhanced by sixteen illustrations, contributes to rhetorical, cultural, and historical studies and offers new scholarship establishing Garcia's role on the national front, effectively tracing Garcia's legacy of resistance, the process of achieving enfranchisement, and the role of racism in the evolution from social marginalization to national influence.