Unfortunately, the Texas history books leave out many of our state’s Mexican-American civil rights leaders.

I had the honor of traveling to Washington, DC for the induction of my great-uncle, Jose Tomas Canales (JT Canales) into the LULAC Hall of Fame.

JT Canales and Alonso Perales (from Alice, Texas) are the first and only inductees. JT Canales and Alonso Perales are two of the founders and former presidents of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the largest and oldest Hispanic and Latino civil rights organization in the United States.

On behalf of my family, we are deeply honored to have my uncle JT Canales added to the LULAC Hall of Fame. JT Canales was a prominent Texas-born civil rights leader who has not received the historical attention he deserves. The sad truth is that the Texas history books have simply left out many of our state’s Mexican-American civil rights leaders, stealing the opportunity from our youth to learn about this checkered history of Latinos in Texas.

JT Canales has faced countless threats of violence, including death threats, and put himself and his family in danger by speaking out against the persecution of Mexican Americans.

JT is a true Mexican-American hero, but the history books have largely forgotten him, along with the victims of these terrible crimes and the family members of these victims. The sanitized story is not the real story, but today we hold the pen.

Editor’s Note: The guest column above was written by Texas State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburgh. The column first appeared on the author’s Facebook page and appears in the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with his permission. The Canales representative can be contacted by email via: [email protected]

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