Scope and Content
Title: American GI Forum of California
Date (inclusive): 1960-2008
Collection number: 115
Creator: American GI Forum
of California 1958 -
19 linear feet
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: The American GI Forum of California
Collection includes correspondence, ephemera, and organizational papers
documenting their activities. These materials offer researchers a lens
into the often-difficult reintegration process that veterans undergo
following their separation from the armed forces, as well as the overall
effects of this process on their families and their communities.
Researchers will find these materials useful for critical examinations
of the social location of Latino servicemen and servicewomen within the
context of a large metropolitan center and how this identity has evolved
since 1942. Indeed, a collection of this caliber has wide application
for studies on the overall condition of Latinos within the United States
as well as on the lives and communities of California Latino veterans.
Moreover, according to Kelly Lytle-Hernandez, professor of History at
UCLA, this particular collection has much to offer scholars interested
in studying local California politics, Latino veteran organizing, and
gender dynamics in a traditionally male-centered context. According to
her, the stories reflected in these papers act as a precursor to later
Chicano organizing. Researchers who would like to indicate errors of
fact or omissions in this finding aid can contact the UCLA Chicano
Studies Research Center Library and Archive.
Physical location: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF:
Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA
Chicano Studies Research Center Library and Archive for paging
Language of Material: Collection materials in English
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice
required for access. Contact the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
Library and Archive for paging information.
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Chicano
Studies Research Center Library and Archive. Literary rights, including
copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the
responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright
and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to
publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], American GI Forum of California Papers,
115, Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, University of California,
The materials were donated by Willie and Helen Galvan and Eddie
Processed by Linda Vera Rivas, Kyoko Aoki, 2009-2012
The American GI Forum was founded in 1948 in Corpus Christi, Texas as
a resource for Mexican American veterans returning from service in WWII
and their families. The repressive socio-economic and political climate
of Texas prior to WWII and the lack of social mobility and limited
opportunities afforded to servicemen and women despite their service in
the nation's armed forces, functioned as an impetus to create an
organization that could represent and fight for veterans' rights.
Although this organization was originally created to meet the needs of
those veterans living in South Texas, several victories related to
veterans' benefits and access to health care, motivated Mexican
Americans in other parts of the nation to create their own local
American GI Forum chapters. Key to this growth was the denial of funeral
services in 1949 to a Mexican American soldier – Private Felix
Longoria, whose remains were returned home four years after being killed
in combat in the Philippines. After organizing several protests and
receiving a great deal of media attention, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson
intervened and arranged for PVT Longoria to be buried with honors at
Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
Nearly ten years later, the American GI Forum of California was
founded in 1958. Much like its parent organization in Corpus Christi,
Texas, it has been dedicated to serving the Latino community by
centering their efforts on the Latino veteran population residing in
California along with their families. Approximately 40 chapters have
been chartered in California, and currently there are 27 active chapters
throughout the state. The state chapter has been involved in numerous
activities including but not limited to: fighting deficiencies within
the educational system, biased hiring practices on the part of the U.S.
government, demanding apologies from former Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1986 for discriminatory remarks against the Mexican
and Puerto Rican communities, and advocating for the need for greater
mental health services for Latinos, especially those returning from
Scope and Content
The American GI Forum of California Collection includes
correspondence, ephemera, and organizational papers documenting the
activities of this organization.
The collection is organized into the following series:
- Series 1. National Forum
- Series 2. California State Forum
- Series 3. Local Chapters
Dr. Hector P. Garcia Papers. Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas
A&M University-Corpus Christi.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
American GI Forum
American GI Forum
American GI Forum of
American GI Forum
Veterans -- benefits
Veterans -- California
Veterans -- education
Veterans -- employment