Santiago Hernandez Papers
This collection consists of a single photograph of Felix Longoria, correspondence, documents, and newspaper clippings; all related to the attempt to rename to Three Rivers Post Office after Longoria from 2003-2005.
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The Santiago Hernandez Papers consist of a variety of original correspondence and photocopied newspaper clippings central to the attempt to rename the Three Rivers Post Office after Pvt. Felix Z. Longoria Jr. A local resident of Three Rivers, Texas, Longoria was killed in action in the Pacific Theater during World War II. When his body was returned to Three Rivers the local funeral home declined to provide services; ostensibly because Longoria was Mexican-American and it would “upset the whites.” The resulting controversy over segregation caused a national response and helped launch the fledgling GI Forum into the national consciousness.
Biographical / Historical
Santiago Hernandez was a resident of Corpus Christi that worked for the Federal Correctional Institution in Three Rivers, Texas for over a decade. His uncle, Guillermo Luna, was the National Director of Hispanic Veterans Military History for the American GI Forum and pointed out that Hernandez worked in the town where the Longoria Affair occurred. Galvanized with this newfound information, Hernandez seized the moment to try and have the Three Rivers Post Office renamed after Longoria.
Pvt. Felix Z. Longoria Jr was killed in action in the Pacific theater of World War II in 1945, however his body was not recovered until 1949. When his body was returned to Three Rivers, a racial dispute with the local funeral parlor owner Tom Kennedy and Longoria’s surviving family ensued. Tom repeated to both Hector P. Garcia and Corpus Christi Caller reporter George Groh that “the whites would not like it” if Hispanic Longoria was permitted a wake at the parlor. The small local dispute soon escalated to international news. Texan political start-up Lyndon B. Johnson intervened and was able to get Longoria a full military burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Ultimately, a vocal group of local Three River residents were able to squash the post office renaming measure after disputing the series of events. A Texas Historical Marker was placed at the funeral parlor in 2010, and damaged in 2014 when the structure was demolished to make way for a parking lot. The marker was subsequently relocated to the town square near city hall after being repaired.
This collection is organized by a single series with five subcategories. The subcategories are photographs, correspondence, Longoria renaming documents, newspaper clippings, and newspapers.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by Santiago Hernandez on 5-20-2005.The donation was assisted by Thomas H. Kreneck.
This collection was arranged by Eric Christensen, Archive Processing Librarian for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi’s Special Collections & Archives Department.
- American GI Forum
- Bonilla, Tony , 1936
- Chicano movement
- Civil rights
- Dolores Garcia
- John Cornyn, 1952
- Judith Zaffirini, 1946
- League of United Latin American Citizens
- Longoria, Felix Z., Jr., 1920-1945
- National Council of La Raza
- National Hispanic Leadership Conference
- Ram Chavez, 1945
- Raul Yzaguirre , 1914-2014
- Samuel L. Neal Jr.
- Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- The Progress
- Tom Kennedy
- Veterans, Hispanic American
- World War II
- Hernandez, Santiago (Person)
- Santiago Hernandez Papers Finding Aid
- Eric Christensen
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Edition statement
- Second processing
Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository
6300 Ocean Dr.
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States