HAI Celebrates Launch of Online Exhibit of Dr. Hector P. Garcia Papers

Date: December 8, 2016
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

Kennedy poses with Dr. Garcia (left) and other leaders of Viva Kennedy clubs. The clubs helped Kennedy win 85 percent of the national Latino vote in the 1960 presidential election. Photo courtesy Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

A new online exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia is now live. This collection provides important resources to researchers and community members interested in the American G.I. Forum, the Felix Longoria incident, and other major civil rights issues faced by Mexican Americans during Dr. Garcia’s remarkable lifetime. Selections from his personal papers are now available at http://omeka.tamucc.edu.

“This project puts a wonderful resource about civil rights and service to humanity right at your fingertips. Now everyone has access to this unique and highly significant body of materials.” said Ann Hodges, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist at the Bell Library. Catherine Rudowsky, Bell Library Director added “This is an important academic and civic achievement.”

Dr. Garcia (1914-1996) was a champion of civil rights for veterans and Mexican Americans. The exhibit organizes the collection around his public roles as a doctor, a soldier, an activist, an ambassador, and includes a section on his legacy. “I was particularly struck by how his collection revealed aspects of Dr. Garcia, the man,” said Jennifer Giambrone, historian at History Associates and lead content developer for the website. “He was a tireless public advocate, but in his papers, you see how he took a personal interest in people’s lives – he was actively involved in the community.”

The inaugural exhibit contains nearly 100 photos, documents, and audiovisual items, with more materials to be added in the coming year. Visitors can read a letter Dr. Garcia wrote to a patient, urging her to seek care regardless of her ability to pay. There is also a letter he wrote to the U.S. Army requesting a delay in deployment for the son of a sick patient. Tellingly, he also saved the hate mail he received during his years of service and an example is displayed in the exhibit.

Since June, HAI has been working with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation on this important project, slated for completion in 2017. The online exhibit is part of a larger effort to organize, preserve, and catalog the entire collection so it can be more readily accessed and used. In addition to correspondence and newspaper clippings, the papers include audio/visual materials and artifacts such as buttons, plaques, medical bags, stethoscopes, photographs, telegrams and letters.

About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Offering more than 80 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly rated degree programs since 1947. The Island University has earned its spot as the premier, urban doctoral-granting institution in South Texas, supporting a UAS test site, two institutes and more than 20 research centers and labs. Discover your island at www.tamucc.edu.

About HAI

For more than 35 years, HAI has helped clients to bring knowledge forward – use the past to inform the present and prepare for the future. The company’s historians and archivists research and write histories, create educational experiences, preserve and manage historical content, and conduct specialized historical research for corporations, government agencies, law firms, and nonprofit organizations worldwide.

For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or contact HAI today.

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