Mexican American Soldiers Mistreated 1943

Although many Latinos joined the military during World War II to prove their citizenship and valor, they were treated as second-class citizens at home. Returning Latino servicemen increasingly protested their treatment as outsiders and organized to advance at home the democratic ideals they fought for abroad. The Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, the first national Latino civil rights organization, called for an end to segregation and discrimination.

In 1949, a Texas funeral home denied use of the chapel for Felix Longoria, a Mexican American who died in combat during World War II. The American GI Forum, a Mexican American veterans’ organization, successfully attained a proper burial for him at Arlington National Cemetery. But most discrimination against Mexican American soldiers went unchecked.