Hector Perez Garcia, Mexican American Surgeon, Veteran and Civil Rights Advocate

January 17, 1917 is the birthday of Hector Perez Garcia (1914- 1996).  A Mexican American surgeon, World War II veteran and civil rights advocate, Garcia founded the American GI Forum in 1948, to assist veterans returning from the war.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, our nation’s highest civilian honor.  Earlier in his life, while fulfilling his medical residency in Nebraska, the FBI investigated complaints about him by local residents, for being a “Mexican” wearing an officer’s uniform.

The Zimmermann Telegram … Um, no, we are not attacking the USA

During World War I, the Germans attempted to ally with the Mexican government to attack the US.  In the Zimmermann Telegram from the German Foreign Secretary, the Germans proposed assisting the Mexicans in the re-conquest of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  The then President of Mexico did not think that attacking the United States was a particularly good idea, and declined the invitation.


Esquiel Cabeza De Baca (1864 – 1917)

On January 1, 1917, Esquiel Cabeza De Baca (1864 – 1917) was inaugurated as Governor of New Mexico.  Baca was the second elected Governor and the first Latinx Governor in New Mexico’s history.  He had served as Lieutenant Governor prior to his election as Governor.  He was a descendant of the original Spanish settlers.  Cabeza De Baca was also a prominent journalist and blogger, and founded the newspaper “La Voz del Pueblo”.