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Save the Date

January 13, 2012

The life and work of this civil rights leader will be highlighted in a conference and exhibition.

Alonso Perales

Alonso S. Perales (1898 - 1960) was a civil-rights lawyer, diplomat, political leader and soldier. 

One of the most influential Mexican Americans of his time, Perales saw himself as a defender of la raza, especially battling charges that Mexicans and Latin Americans were inferior and a social problem. He was one of the founders of LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) in 1929 and helped write the LULAC constitution. He served as the organization's second president.

Perales was an intellectual who firmly believed in the law. He wrote about civil rights, religion and racial discrimination, which he argued "had the approval of the majority." His work includes the pamphlet Are We Good Neighbors? and the two-volume set, En defensa de mi raza. A member of the American Legion and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Perales was also a columnist for La Prensa and other Spanish-language newspapers. 

In Defense of My People:

Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals

Friday, January 13, 2012

University of Houston

M.D. Anderson Library

Rockwell Pavilion

Conference Information:

En defensa de mi raza 2Highlighting the recent acquisition of the Alonso S. Perales Collection by the University of Houston's M.D. Anderson Library, courtesy of the Perales Family and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, scholars will present their research on this trailblazing public intellectual at a day-long conference on Friday, January 13, 2012. 

Coming from prestigious institutions around the country and abroad, scholars will shed light on Perales' activism and defense of Latinos, including the chronology and history of Mexican American and Latino civil rights movements, the impact of religion on Latinos, the concept of "race," and individual versus community action to bring about social and political change. 

About the Exhibition:

En defensa de mi razaThe previously unavailable items in this collection shed light on Alonso S. Perales' leadership, ideas and writings. His legacy can now be studied from historical, ethical, religious, legal and humanistic perspectives. On view will be:

  • Letters and correspondence with key political figures
  • Manuscripts
  • Personal documents
  • Memorabilia, including photographs


For conference information, call 713-743-2078

For logistical information, call 713-743-3128

 is the nation's largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters, and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books, and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity. For more information, please visit our website at