Hector P. García: In Relentless Pursuit of Justice is the first definitive, superbly researched and documented biography of the founder of the American GI Forum.
García was an immigrant from Tamaulipas, Mexico, whose family journeyed north in the fashion of so many other immigrant families at the time seeking economic opportunities and safety from the numerous revolutionary conflicts. In spite of rampant discrimination and poverty common in the Rio Grande Valley, García became a physician in 1940 and, like many young Mexican Americans, served his adopted country with distinction in fighting fascism and injustice abroad. After receiving the Bronze Star and six battle stars, he returned to Texas only to find that much of the discrimination and segregation against Mexican Americans was still rampant, despite their having proved themselves on the bloody battlefields overseas.
An outraged García went on to rally Mexican-American veterans into one of the most effective civil rights organizations in history and to create a space for them within the political process. His pioneering efforts not only resulted in changed laws and practices, but also in a new awareness among Mexican Americans that they could fight for their rights and win. He proved to be a decisive factor in the election of America’s first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. His activism inspired a new generation of social reformers in the barrio and a reluctant acceptance that Mexican Americans were first class citizens. For his work, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1984.