I had the honor of traveling to Washington, D.C., 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 see 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 Texas history books have simply left out many of our state’s Mexican-American civil rights leaders, stealing the opportunity of our youth to learn of this turbulent history of Texas Latinos. 

J.T. Canales faced countless threats of violence, including death threats, and greatly endangered himself and his family by speaking out about the persecution of Mexican-Americans. 

J.T. 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. History sanitized is not real history, but today we hold the pen. 

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

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  1. Congratulations Rep. Canales on your great uncle’s induction into the LULAC Hall of Fame. I am sure the honor was well earned, and equally sure there are other Texas Mexican-American civil rights leaders who deserve recognition they have not received. We need to do better across the board.