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was elected in a countywide vote to become the first Hispanic to serve in the Senate from Bexar County. Five of us organized a $100 fundraising dinnerthe first ever for him. There were six of us there: the organizers and Henry B. What a contrast to December 1989 when we celebrated his first anniversary as chairman of the banking committee. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp; William Seidman, president of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Congressman Joe Kennedy; David Maxwell, president of the Federal National Mortgage Association; former San Antonio Republican Congressman Tom Loeffler; and 1,500 others were present. In 1961 Henry ran for Congress, and this campaign too was a bitterly fought one, against a wealthy, entrenched, well-financed opponent. It was a classic Gonzalez campaign: low to no funding, bombastic opposition and the “powerhouse” of the community aligned against him; yet he prevailed, won a tremendous victory and became the first Hispanic from Bexar County ever elected to Congress. It shows the dimension of the man and the strength of his convictions that at the breakfast Henry B: held right after his election for the business community to talk about his plans for the 20th District, his first act was to introduce as his new administrative assistant a labor union man of impeccable credentials, Fred Schmidt. It was a courageous and precedent-breaking appointment, and I can still hear the heavy breathing of his guests when they heard about it. Sinkin is a San Antonio businessman. Henry B, the Mexicano Troublemaker By Ernesto Cortes Jr. GROWING UP MEXICANO in San Antonio, I remember a number of people who were sources of inspiration to me because of the leadership they exhibited in public life, but one person in particular stands out because of his political leadership. After the Supreme Court desegregation decision of Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, it is difficult to imagine the oppressive racist backlash that resulted. During the era of massive resistance to desegregation, the forces of reaction and racism proposed a series of desegregation laws which were part of the resistance to Brown . One persistent thorn in the side of the segregation forces was the state senator from Bexar County, Henry B. Gonzalez, who had the temerity to defy the Senate establishment with a filibuster. It was an act of courage because it was very unpopular with both the state and the city political establishments. Gonzalez was a troublemaker. His opponent subsequently ran against him by asking San Antonio to break the “Gonzalez Iron Curtain,” an obvious effort to redbait him and anyone else who even suggested civil rights. When Gonzalez ran for governor in 1958 Mexicano political leaders from all over South Texas came to San Antonio for Gonzalez rallies and fundraisers. It was an exciting moment. Young Mexicans at the time could not wait until their 21st birthdays so they could cast their first votes for Henry B. When Gonzalez ran for Congress, my whole family was excited about the prospect of a young, articulate, progressive Mexicano congressman from San Antonio. All the progressive Mexicano politicians sensed the importance of this moment. My grandfather, on his own initiative, hired a sign painter to construct a huge sign in front of his home on Woodlawn Lake which said, “Send Henry B to DC.” JAMES E. WATHEN Those times were hard, and they were tough, but they were inspiring. Cortes is a member of the national staff of the Industrial Areas Foundation in charge of 1AF projects in the Southwest. For the Public Good By Ralph W. Yarborough I BECAME AWARE of and acquainted with the Honorable Henry B. Gonzalez when he was a candidate for local office in Bexar County. It has been so many years back, I do not remember the exact year. He served as chief probation officer of Bexar County, and he won election to the city council and became mayor pro tern in San Antonio. In 1956 he won his election to the Texas State Senate. He was an outstanding figure in the Senate. Ably and articulately, he advocated measures that protected minorities and the poor and filibustered against proposed legislation that did not protect them, participating in one of the longest filibusters of record up to that time. While he was a senator, he ran for governor of Texas in the Democratic primary. He was so ridiculed in the Dallas daily newspapers, being an Hispanic, for running for governor, that he went to one of them and said he had called on them so they could see him and not think he was a “mad dog” whose head should be cut off and examined for rabies before they could safely become acquainted with him. That is just a sample of the sarcastic humor Henry B. Gonzalez used in his long fight for Hispanics in Texas and the United States, for THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7