sessions from many different groups, all of whom had real problems. I tell you categorically today that I will not call a special session for this purpose because I don’t think the urgency of it is of such a character that it has a compelling nature to it. so the answer to that is no. NELSON. I think it’s very urgent. People in the Rio Grande Valley don’t have enough to eat and don’t have decent houses to live inI say it’s extremely urgent. CONNALLY. I’m sure there are people, I’m sure there are people who have substandard housing . . . all over this state, all over this nation, all over this world, and I think there’s never been a time in the history of this country when government as such at the federal level or the state were more aware of it or attempting to do more about it than we’re doing right today, and I’m grateful for your interest. I think it’s appropriate that you are concerned about it, and well you might be. Uh, but, again I hope that we always keep things in perspective, and that, uh, that those of you who are men of reason and intelligence will not expect the impossible of anybody. NELSON. Governor, we’re not expecting the impossiblewe’re ‘just expecting the possible, a minimum wage of $1.25, which is only reasonable. NOVARRO. Governor Connally, I feel that this march represents the aspirations and longings of the Spanish-speaking people of the State of Texas. In order to feel that our undertaking and I believe that this represents the awakening of peopleand I believe that your position and statement as indicated here will invoke far-reaching political consequences in the state for years to come, and I feel that the march, in significant symbolism of it, will extend for a long time to come. The Spanish-Speaking Americans in Texas, as you know, have been patient and long-suffering, and this is the first symbol of unity and cooperation that has been found . . . and I wish that you had been. . . . VOICE. On to Washington! On to Washington! NOVARRO…. I hope, sir, you as our governor can reflect upon this situation and having met us and will be able to arrive at more constructive conclusions as you go back to Austin. . . . I believe, sir, that even if you do not call a special session of the legislature, that the climate of the new legislature will be far more healthy any sympathetic.. .. CONNALLY. Rev. Novarro, again let me point out to you that I have attempted to treat all of the people of the state with fairness, with justice, with equality, and I think we’ve made greater strides since I’ve been governor than we’ve made in a long, long time. Uh, I know that I have appointed more Mexican-Americans to positions of responsibility and authority than any governor in the history of this state. . . . [Shoutings of Viva! in the background] … over three times that many, over 3,300 of ’em working in the state government. . . . GONZALES. Let me tell you how I feel about the HemisFair. These Latin-American countries to the South of us are cousins and we love them as much as they love usWe have never spoken out. They always think we are the weakling. They say we’re ready, and I say, for what? We don’t need your help . . . Our problem is different from the Negro. We’ve got almost a dozen nations to the South of us, and we think your trips out there would not be of the best interest to us, two million people here, the Latins, and then this problem here, and then we didn’t originate this problem, you didn’t originate this problem, the problem has been born because the last 20 years 40 cents they’ve been paying, 50 cents they’re paying, I hear some of them are paying 60 cents and 65 cents, 85 cents, but that’s nothing to brag about; but, this problem is here, and when you go down as the leader of the state, and these two million people here, how are you going to say to the Latin-American people to the South, come over here, and then have two million people h ere. . . . CONNALLY. Father, I don’t want to get into any dialogue about the relative conditions of people in this state and people in other countries…. [The governor looked downward, smiling.] I’ve just come back from some of those countries, from Panama and Venezuela and Brazil, and I assure you that the situations are not comparable, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we can’t be satisfied because our conditions here, our wages here, our living conditions here, are far superior to those in those countries. . GONZALES. A hundred and fifty years ago the Latins originated the idea of how to separate Texas from Mexico. Texas is not the only history someone can read in one book, but as a matter of fact it’s written in the books that the way the Latins got together to separate Texas because of injustices from Saltillo, and they got stabbed in the back. I think that we’re coming to you because we have gone to Saltillo, now we’re going to Austin. We got no reception in Saltillo, we got separated and then the hordes from the North came in and changed the language to English, and there we are, second rate citizens. We been fighting for this cause for over 150 years and it’s your turn, Mr. GovernorI wish you would be there. [A deafening clamor.] FATHER SMITH. Did you not say, Mr. Governor, that you would not meet us even if you happened to be in Austin. Do you think that this is a bad way to come to see you? CONNALLY. Yes, I think basically it is, Father Smith, because of what is occurring elsewhere in this land with respect with marches that have resulted in riots, bloodshed, loss of life and loss of property. You don’t need a march to come see me, Father Smith. If you put it in a posture that you wanted to march for a dramatization of a social problem FATHER SMITH. Which is legitimate in itself CONNALLY. which is legitimate in itself, that’s fine. I’m here so that no one could ever say that you couldn’t see me, because I’ve come to see you. SMITH. In effect you’ve cast aspersions on us, Governor. . . . CONNALLY. No, sir. SMITH. We’re not in the ghetto of Chicago. . . . CONNALLY. I understand that. [Confusion] . . . the purpose of talking to you. GONZALES. Governor, a hundred years we’ve been talking. . . . We don’t want talk. We don’t want committees. . . . Governor, you know that as well as I do. Why, why pussyfoot? I think that the thing is a problem of hundreds of thousands of Latins. They love you, because they already do, 80% of the votes in many cities. CONNALLY. I think they did it because they feel that I have a sense of compassion about them and their problems, and I do and I’m going to continue to have. NOVARRO. Do you feel this march represents the aspirations and longings of MexicanAmericans? CONNALLY. I think this march does represent, uh, a pent-up emotion of tho Latin-American, there’s no question about that [Shouting. Much confusion.] NOVARRO. Would you commend this march? CONNALLY. I commend it in the sense that . . . you are using the march in order to point up a problem that is a real problem . . . beyond any question. I commend it for its order. I commend it for the peaceful aspects of the march. People have beyond a question a right to engage in this march. . . . and I hope that when you are joined by additional people, that you will do everything in your power to see that [Confusion. Shouting. Music. “Brown for governor!”] CARR. . . . but we don’t want violence. I want you to be prepared for anything that might happen. We’re here to compliment you on the way you’ve conducted your march. But there are others of whom you might not even know that have appeared in other states who might create violence. . . . We’re not concerned about your people. The governor stated my position exactly as attorney general, we’re very complimentary with the way you’ve done, and we’re proud that you and other leaders of the church are here . . . but I’m just calling to your attention that there may be others there who may cause problems We are interested in keeping that down also, we assure you of that. Be sure to warn your people of that so that they may be prepared should something happen. BARNES. And one bad incident could destroy the entire preparations of your whole march all these miles, the hundreds of miles that these people have marched with their true convictions could be destroyed by an incident in Austin on Labor Day GONZALES. You have to practice justiceCARR. You must be prepared now for outsiders who may try to cause violence. . . . even wearing uniforms, things of this type. . . . Let’s not let that occur in our state. I’ve stated before and I’ll state again that I think that these people at 85 cents an hour are getting too low a wages. [“The Eyes of Texas” is sung. The governor, the attorney general, and the Speaker get in the governor’s car. Marchers approach the Lincoln Continental and poke their signs up to the windows. The governor and his associates drive away. Reporters cluster around Hank Brown, state president of the Texas AFL-CIO.] HANK BROWN. I have never seen as much unity among Mexican-Americans as I see at this hour in TexasLULACS, PASO, GI Forum, every Mexican-American group, and we have purposely played a back seat, except now that they’re chartered under the AFL-CIO banner we’re going to raise more money and feed ’em and house ’em and then raise the additional money that’s necessary . . . in order to organize these peopleBecause the only way this problem is ever going to be resolved is to organize, get a union contract, get a steward to take care of the grievances, and then they’ll take their place in the sun with the rest of the workers of the industrial world. . . . A brief meeting in the sun between the governor and the Mexican-American farm workers is not going to resolve their problems. . . . A REPORTER. One of the speakers made several references to political implications of this thing. What do you think about BROWN. I think it has grave political implications. I think the governor and a candidate for the U.S. Senate and another man who’s making speeches like he is running for an officeit’s been reported that he’s seriously considering running for governor if and when Governor Connally moves on to some other rewardthe mere fact that they took time to come out here in the hot Texas sun and meet with these people indicates that they are concerned about the political considerations. The Mexican-American for too long supported candidates with mealymouthed platforms. The time has come when they are going to start drawing the historical Travis line and all those that are not willing for a decent living, decent standards, decent housingand the only way a man can get those things is through decent wages. And I don’t think he can get ’em even with the minimum wage, he has to be organized and have someone to process his grievances, someone to represent him. The bulk of these people unfortunately have been deprived of a decent education because of our system. [The reporters leave, and the marchers walk on toward Austin and the Capitol.] R.D. Cesar Chavez’ Plan Austin Cesar Chavez speaks excellent English and of course excellent Spanish. When he makes a speech he talks clearly and calmly, saying what he has to say, without histrionics or pauses for applause. He is confident of his intelligence, and he responds so quickly that he seems to be saying what he is thinking at the same time he’s thinking it ; that is, he is “articulate.” He seeks neither the microphone nor the head table, nor, in a crowd, the prominent men. He is inclined just to be standing somewhere; at Zilker Park during the picnic after the Labor Day rally, he sat on the grass alone by a bush. People gather around him, and he talks freely and easily to whoever they are about whatever they want to talk about. He looks like an Indian of the Southwest, a thick, heavy shock of black hair and his placid features and his belly that he carries easily over his belt. He is at peace September 16, 1966 11
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