Hispanics are comprised of 16 percent of the U.S. population, just 43 percent of Hispanics are eligible to vote. According to the Pew Demographics report, Latinos have a higher proportion of non-citizens and those under 18-years-of-age. This is spread among many states and diminishes the impact on elections and the Electoral College. In some states, Latinos only comprise of as little as one or two percent of the electorate.

However, in states such as California and Nevada, the demographic effects of the Hispanic and Latino vote can impact the results dramatically. In these states, both political parties will be competing for their votes using the issues that are important to these voters.

The Hispanic population in Florida is the third-largest in the nation with Latinos representing 13.1% of all votes for the state. Candidates will be paying the closest attention to the state of New Mexico that accounts for the largest percentage of Hispanic voters at 39%.

The demographic reality may affect the way both political parties discuss and handle policies that alienate Latinos. However, unless there is a higher proportion of Latinos voting in 2012 could determine which party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress for the next four years.


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LULAC founded

On this day in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens, originally called the United Latin American Citizens, was founded at Salón Obreros y Obreras in Corpus Christi, Texas. LULAC is the oldest and largest continually active Latino political association in the United States and was the first nationwide Mexican-American civil-rights organization. It grew out of the rising Texas-Mexican middle class and resistance to racial discrimination. The strength of the organization has historically been in Texas. Over the years LULAC has been a multi-issue organization. It was organized in response to political disfranchisement, racial segregation, and racial discrimination. It responded to bossism, the lack of political representation, the lack of a sizable independent Mexican-American vote, jury exclusion of Mexican-Americans, and white primaries. It also dealt with the segregation of public schools, housing, and public accommodations. The organization has attempted to solve the problems of poverty among Mexican Americans and has sought to build a substantial Mexican-American middle class.

1756 — Lt. Gov. Bernardo de Miranda y Flores of Spanish Texas set out from San Antonio to search for mineral deposits and discovered the Los Almagres silver mine in Llano.


Longoria given hero’s burial

On this day in 1949, the body of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Longoria had died in the Philippines near the end of World War II. When his recovered remains were sent to Three Rivers for burial, the funeral director refused the use of his chapel for a “Mexican.” After action by the American G.I. Forum and Lyndon Johnson, Longoria was buried in Arlington. The affair provided a model case in the Mexican-American struggle for civil rights.

Lone survivor of Bonilla expedition found

On this day in 1599, Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Once across the border, Bonilla and his party determined to explore New Mexico and the plains beyond and to search for the fabled treasure of Quivira. They spent about a year at the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their principal headquarters. They then explored into Arkansas and Nebraska. According to the statement of Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Bonilla was stabbed to death after a quarrel with his lieutenant, Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña, who then assumed command. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass at a place on the High Plains subsequently called La Matanza.

GUTIÉRREZ, JUSEPE (ca. 1572-?). Jusepe Gutiérrez (Jusephe, José, Joseph), a native of Culhuacan, a short distance north of Mexico City, was a Mexican Indian servant of Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña,qv a lieutenant in the illegal expedition of Francisco Leyva de Bonilla.qv Following the murder of Bonilla by Humaña, Jusepe, along with five other Mexican Indians deserted the expedition somewhere on the high plains. Jusepe was captured by a wandering band of Apache Indians and held prisoner for a year. On hearing of the Spaniards in New Mexico he escaped to the Pecos pueblos, where he was found by Juan de Oñateqv at Picuries on February 16, 1599. He guided Oñate to Quiviraqv in 1601. Jusepe was the only known survivor of the Bonilla expedition.

1959: Fidel Castro became the president of Cuba.


Texas adopts constitution

On this day in 1876, citizens of Texas adopted the Constitution of 1876. They ratified it by a vote of 136,606 to 56,652. The document is the sixth constitution by which Texas has been governed since declaring independence from Mexico. Among the longest of U.S. state constitutions, the Constitution of 1876 reflects the earlier influences of Spanish and Mexican rule, the state’s predominantly agrarian nature in the late nineteenth century, and a resurgent Democratic party determined to undo many of the measures implemented by Republican administrations during Reconstruction. Despite having been amended more than 230 times, it remains the basic law of Texas today.

Texas has had six constitutions: the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, and the state constitutions of 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1876.

The 1876 constitution, which took effect on February 15, is the current constitution of Texas. Texas’ Constitution is the one of the longest state constitutions in the United States, and one of the oldest still in effect.

Texas (Hispanic) rancher murdered by Mexican troops

Slater, H. D., editor. El Paso Herald (El Paso, Tex.), Ed. 1, Wednesday, February 25, 1914, Newspaper, February 25, 1914; digital images, ( : accessed February 17, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.

On this day in 1914, the body of South Texas rancher Clemente Vergara was found hanging from a tree. Vergara owned a ranch near Palafox. He allowed his horses to graze on an island in the Rio Grande, land that was disputed by the United States and Mexico. Vergara suspected that Mexican soldiers had stolen eleven of his horses from the island. He and a nephew crossed the Rio Grande to meet with several soldiers who called the two men over. Vergara was struck on the head and carried to the Hidalgo garrison, while his nephew escaped and returned to the United States. Vergara’s wife and daughter crossed into Mexico on February 14 and found him severely beaten and jailed in the Hidalgo garrison. The following morning soldiers told the women that he had been taken to Piedras Negras. Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt and President Woodrow Wilson‘s administration disagreed on how to deal with the situation, with the former advocating the use of Texas Rangers to extradite Vergara’s kidnappers if necessary. On February 16 the commander at Piedras Negras reported that he had ordered Vergara’s release and the return of his horses; however, on February 25 witnesses told American officials that they had seen Vergara’s body hanging from a tree near Hidalgo, and that it had been there since February 15. Vergara’s body was finally “delivered” to his relatives in Texas on March 7. Vergara’s murder outraged Texans and increased tension between Mexico and the United States.


Arizona’s Federico José María Ronstadt Big Businessman

George Wiley Paul Hunt walked from his Phoenix hotel to the Capitol on Feb. 14, 1912 to be sworn in as Arizona’s first governor. The F. Ronstadt Co., Tucson’s leading wagon maker, was so buoyed by the economic prosperity it expected to follow statehood that it announced plans that February to build a new 4,000-square-foot shop. The company’s namesake, Federico José María Ronstadt, had arrived 30 years earlier. His father brought the 14-year old from Mexico to apprentice at a blacksmith shop. Hunt and Ronstadt were among the 200,000 people living in Arizona on that Valentine’s Day 1912 when it became the 48th state. It was a prize Arizonans had hoped for since shortly after President Abraham Lincoln declared Arizona a territory, separate from New Mexico, in 1863. Arizona celebrated its centennial on Feb. 14, 2012. Ronstadt remained both a business and community leader until his death in 1954, and descendants continue that tradition to this day.

Spanish nobleman calls for settlement of Texas

On this day in 1729, the Marqués de Aguayo proposed to the king of Spain that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. Eventually some fifteen families from the Canary Islands came to Texas. The first of the Canary Islanders arrived at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar on March 9, 1731. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists.


Spanish language newspaper debuts in San Antonio

On this day in 1913, Ignacio E. Lozano founded La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily newspaper published in San Antonio to address the needs of Mexicans residing temporarily in the United States who wished to follow events in Mexico, which was engulfed in the Mexican Revolution. As the voice of “el Mexico de Afuera” (“Mexico Abroad”), La Prensa linked that community of Mexicans on the outside with the homeland. It provided coverage of Mexican national political events an well as analysis and criticism; it announced activities of Mexican and Mexican-American organizations; and it always reflected admiration and even reverence for Mexico and its people. It sometimes defended Mexicans and Mexican Americans from abuse. Above all, La Prensa promoted and expressed patriotic fervor for the homeland.The paper was sold all over South Texas and in communities of Mexican emigrés elsewhere in the United States and Central and South America.The last issue of La Prensa, by now a bilingual tabloid, was published on January 31, 1963, just two weeks short of the paper’s fiftieth anniversary. 


“Madam Candelaria” dies at age 113

On this day in 1899, Andrea Castañón Villanueva (Madam Candelaria), who claimed to be a survivor of the battle of the Alamo, died at age 113 in San Antonio. She said she had been born in Laredo in 1785, though other sources say she was born at Presidio del Río Grande. She came to San Antonio when she was about twenty-five and married Candelario Villanueva, who she said was her second husband; thereafter she became known as Madam or Señora Candelaria. She was the mother of four children and raised twenty-two orphans. She nursed the sick and aided the poor. She claimed to have been in the Alamo during the 1836 battle and to have nursed the ailing Jim Bowie. Since evidence of survivors is sparse, her claims may never be confirmed, but in 1891 the Texas legislature granted her a pension of twelve dollars a month for being an Alamo survivor and for her work with smallpox victims in San Antonio. Madam Candelaria is buried in San Fernando Cemetery.

Legislature confirms South Texas land grants

On this day in 1852, the Texas legislature confirmed the work of the Bourland Commission, a group of three officials appointed to investigate land claims after the Mexican War. The war’s outcome had brought into question the validity of numerous Spanish and Mexican land grants north of the Rio Grande. Against a complex backdrop that included agitation for making trans-Nueces Texas a separate country, Governor Peter Bell recommended that the legislature appoint a commission to investigate claims. The commission began its business in Laredo in mid-1850 and in February 1852 confirmed 234 grants in five South Texas counties to the original Spanish and Mexican grantees.


Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act

On this day in 1887, in a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings.

Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands.  Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots.  The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres.  Women received no land.

photo of Senator Henry Laurens Dawes

The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands.  The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites.  Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings.

Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed.  Many religious and humanitarian “friends of the Indian” supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture.  Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, “Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition… into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity.”

In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized.  Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership.  Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades.  In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations.  The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.


Seguin Incorporates

On this day in 1853, the town of Seguin was officially incorporated. This South Texas seat of Guadalupe County saw settlement as early as the 1830s, and founders originally called the site Walnut Springs before changing the name to Seguin in honor of Tejano revolutionary and Texas Republic senator Juan Nepomuceno Seguín in 1839. The town enjoyed a rich agricultural landscape and ample water resources thanks to the nearby Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers and Cibolo and Geronimo creeks. Its original schoolhouse, built in 1850, was still used for educational purposes well over 100 years later, when the state recognized the structure as the oldest continuously used school building in Texas. Texas Lutheran College relocated to Seguin in 1912, and the town’s economy experienced a major upswing with the discovery of oil in the nearby Darst Creek fields in the late 1920s. Throughout the twentieth century the community supported agricultural, oil-based, and manufacturing interests. In 2000 Seguin had a population of 22,011.

1883 — Birthday of Jessie Marion Koogler McNay, whose willed her estate and Spanish colonial mansion to found the first modern art museum in San Antonio.

1959: The United States recognizes Fidel Castro as head of Cuba


Frenchman, considered a troublemaker by the Spanish, dies in prison

On this day in 1756, Joseph Blancpain, a French trader whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century, died in prison in Mexico City. Blancpain had been arrested in 1754 by Spanish army lieutenant Marcos Ruiz for unauthorized trading with Indians, to whom he was evidently furnishing firearms. The Spanish authorities believed him to be an agent for the French government. As a result of Blancpain’s activities the king of Spain ordered that any Frenchman found in Spanish territory would be imprisoned.

1899: US Congress ratified the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War

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Noted US Latino scholar ‘forgotten’ in birthplace

The name George I. Sanchez has been celebrated for years among Mexican Americans in Texas and California.

This undated image provided by Cynthia Kennedy/AP shows pioneer Mexican American educator and activist George I. Sanchez standing somewhere in New Mexico before his days as a well-known advocate in Texas and California

A son of an Arizona miner, the Albuquerque-born Sanchez worked his way out of poverty as a rural public school teacher in New Mexico to become a pioneer scholar and education activist. His 1940 classic book “Forgotten People” brought attention to the plight of poor Mexican Americans in Taos.
His writings on racial segregation attracted the attention of Thurgood Marshall, the lead NAACP attorney in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case and later a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
But while a dozen or so schools in Texas and California are named in honor of Sanchez – including the School of Education building at the University of Texas where he taught for many years – not a single school in New Mexico bears his name. Few New Mexico educators or activists know much about him, according to historians and educators. No plaque exists to show his birthplace or the school where Sanchez taught. He is not listed among the state’s notable figures in New Mexico Centennial guidebooks.
In a state obsessed with its Hispanic heritage, its most celebrated Latino civil rights leader and “dean of Mexican American studies,” ironically, is seldom mentioned. His political fallout with state lawmakers in the 1930s over education reform and a divorce with his first wife, Virginia Romero, who was from a politically connected New Mexican family, diminished his stature at the time. Forty years after his death, few memories of him remain.

photo by: Christianson-Leberman Studio of Austin

He’s a forgotten man for a forgotten people,” said his granddaughter Cindy Kennedy, 48, a Santa Fe teacher.
Sanchez developed his theories on school inequalities using New Mexico’s Hispanic and Navajo populations as examples. He argued that bilingual students were discriminated against by monolingual school systems and testified in landmark court cases about the negative effects of segregation and IQ testing on Hispanic, American Indian and black children.
That work seldom comes up in present-day discussions about education reform in the state.
“It does surprise me that New Mexico doesn’t honor Sanchez,” said Carlos Blanton, a history professor at Texas A&M University, who is writing a book about the educator. “Maybe it’s because he left, and you just don’t leave New Mexico.”
Born in Albuquerque in 1906, Sanchez became a public school teacher at a small rural school in Yrisarri, N.M. just outside of Albuquerque at the age of 16. Within six years, he became superintendent of the Bernalillo County school district while taking classes at the University of New Mexico. It was this teaching experience among the children of poor Hispanic ranchers that he would later say sparked his mission to reform the state’s educational system, particularly IQ testing of Hispanics and American Indians, which he viewed as racial bias.
Eventually, Sanchez became what would be equivalent to the state’s secretary of education thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation while he also finished his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, said Blanton.
But Sanchez clashed with the state’s governor for pushing a state equalization funding formula for schools and came under fire from some lawmakers for helping with a University of New Mexico professor’s survey on racial attitudes in schools, said Blanton. The highly publicized fights resulted in the state opting not to fund a Department of Education, ultimately leaving Sanchez without a job.
“He was a boy genius but was damaged goods,” said Blanton.
Thanks to a Carnegie commission to UNM to study the education and economic conditions of the state’s Spanish-speaking population, Sanchez wrote “Forgotten People.” It didn’t romanticize New Mexico, but rather focused on a population that was slowly being pushed aside by discrimination.

This undated image provided by Cynthia Kennedy/AP shows pioneer Mexican American educator and activist George I. Sanchez sitting in one of his offices in N.M., before his days as a well-known advocate in Texas and California.

The book drew attention from the University of Texas, which eventually offered Sanchez a job. There, he wrote other books, became a national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and corresponded with Marshall on desegregation strategy. Sanchez’s writings would be used in a number of desegregation cases leading up to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case which would legally end “separate but equal” in public education. He died in 1972.
Cynthia E. Orozco, a history professor at Eastern New Mexico University, said Sanchez is not well known in New Mexico because historians haven’t paid too much attention to the state’s 20th century history, focusing instead on its Spanish colonial heritage. “Hispanics want to take pride in their heritage and that’s the least controversial option,” said Orozco.
Moises Venegas, a retired educator in Albuquerque, said bringing up Sanchez also brings up painful, unfinished business in New Mexico – namely, that of educating the state’s poor Latino population.
“I think a lot of what my grandfather talked about is still relevant today,” said Sanchez’s grandson, Mark Sprague, 58, of Austin, Texas. “I think we’d be honored if New Mexico finally recognized him.”
Kennedy, Sanchez’s granddaughter, agreed that the family would love it should New Mexico finally recognize her grandfather. But she said the family won’t actively campaign for a school name or other monument. “I’ve very proud to have him as my grandfather and I’m happy to continue his legacy as a teacher,” said Sanchez. “It’s just not like us demand something. Tata (her name for her grandfather) also didn’t seek recognition.”
However, Greg Kennedy, Cynthia’s husband, and a pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Santa Fe, said it would be fitting if New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who was born in Texas, is the one to finally honor the New Mexico-born civil rights leader. “That would be the ultimate,” he said.
At George I. Sanchez Elementary in Houston, Texas, the school has a portrait of Sanchez hanging in its hallway and a few newspaper articles on the educator behind a glass case. Principal Jesus Herrera said he believes Sanchez would be proud of his school since most of the students are immigrants from Mexico and the schools ranks high in academic achievement.
Yet, Herrera was surprised to discover that Sanchez was not well-known in his home state of New Mexico.
“I didn’t even know he was from New Mexico,” said Herrera. “I was just assumed he was from Texas.”
Read more: Fresno Bee

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On this day in 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Mexico cedes about half of its territory to the United States, mainly parts of what are now Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.


On this day in 1620, María Coronel took religious vows in a Franciscan order of nuns who wore an outer cloak of coarse blue cloth over the traditional brown habit. As a nun, now known as María de Jesús de Agreda, she had numerous mystic experiences (more than 500) in which she thought she visited a distant, unknown land. Franciscan authorities determined that the land was eastern New Mexico and far western Texas. Sister María supposedly contacted several Indian cultures, including the Jumanos, and told the natives to seek instruction from the Spanish. Shortly thereafter, some fifty Jumano Indians appeared at the Franciscan convent of old Isleta, south of present Albuquerque, in July 1629 and said that they had been sent to find religious teachers. They already demonstrated rudimentary knowledge of Christianity, and when asked who had instructed them replied, “the Woman in Blue.” A subsequent expedition to the Jumanos, led by Fray Juan de Salas, encountered a large band of Indians in Southwest Texas. The Indians claimed that they had been advised by the Woman in Blue of approaching Christian missionaries. Subsequently, some 2,000 natives presented themselves for baptism and further religious instruction. Two years later, Fray Alonso de Benavides traveled to Spain, where he interviewed María de Jesús at Agreda. Sister María told of her bilocations and acknowledged that she was indeed the Lady in Blue. After she died in 1665, her story was published in Spain. Although she said her last visitation to the New World was in 1631, the legend of her appearances was current until the 1690s. In the 1840s a mysterious woman in blue reportedly traveled the Sabine River valley aiding malaria victims, and her apparition was reported as recently as World War II.


On this day in 1830, business partners John Stryker and James Wiley Magoffin arrived at Matamoros in the sloop Washington. They made port carrying a newly designed cotton gin and several hundred bags of upland cotton seed and set out distributing free seed to landowners in the Rio Grande Valley. Magoffin eventually moved to Chihuahua, but Stryker purchased property along the Rio Grande. Stryker, an agriculturalist, was appointed consul for the port of Goliad (later the port of Matagorda) by President Andrew Jackson in 1835. He bought a league of land in Victoria, where he was living at the time of his death in 1844. His efforts in cotton seed distribution and the introduction of the cotton gin enabled the profitable cotton culture of the Rio Grande Valley. Years later those same cotton fields provided the pathway for the dreaded boll weevil’s entry into the United States.

1923 US signs friendship treaty with Central American countries

1948 President Truman urges congress to adopt a civil rights program

1972 Lefty Gomez selected for Hall of Fame

2002  The wedding of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands to the Argentinean born Máxima Zorreguieta takes place

2003 Jennifer Lopez starts a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘All I Have’

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On this day in 1933, the United States and Mexico signed the Rio Grande Rectification Treaty, which called for construction of a 590-foot-wide floodway and 66-foot-wide normal flow channel along a stretch of the river from Cordova Island to below Fort Quitman. The agreement became necessary after the 1916 completion of Elephant Butte Dam near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Assuring water for irrigation, Elephant Butte also kept the stream from flooding and cleaning its own channel. The bed filled with silt, and uncontrolled wanderings not only wasted water but destroyed crops and shifted the international boundary. When little water flowed through the river the channel still marked the border, but that line became more and more difficult to find. The agreement made the international boundary the middle of the deepest channel of the Rio Grande within the rectified channel. The project was completed in 1938 at a cost of $5 million, 88 percent of which the United States paid. The International Boundary Commission, later renamed the International Boundary and Water Commission, was given responsibility for its construction and maintenance.

Speaking of the US/Mexico Border….

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