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SOLIS, JOHN C.

SOLIS, JOHN C. (1901–1984). John (Juan) C. Solis, a founder and organizer of the League of United Latin American Citizens, was born in San Antonio on January 1, 1901, to Juan M. and Francisca (Flores) Solis. He married Amparo Villalongin on April 23, 1934, and they had three children. After Amparo died, Solis married Lucille Mendias, in 1977. Solis attended public schools and graduated from Main High School by attending night classes. He studied business administration at St. Mary's University and took courses at the University of Houston. In 1920 he joined friends Frank Leyton, Melchor Leyton, Mercy Montez, Abraham Almendarez, Vicente Rocha, Paul Cruz, and Leo Longoria, who camped weekly at Lorenzo Morales's ranch at Helotes, where they discussed how to combat prejudice against Mexican Americans. On October 13, 1921, Solis and thirty-six others founded in San Antonio the Order of Sons of America, an organization dedicated to the problems of Mexican Americans. In 1924 or 1925 Solis moved to Corpus Christi as an employee of the Laguna Fish Company and helped organize the fourth chapter or council of the OSA there. As an OSA member he served on the committee responsible for placing the first Mexican American on the grand jury in Nueces County. Through the OSA, he also helped the first lawsuit of a Mexican against a Caucasian in Nueces County and helped two Mexican children attend a segregated white school in Banquete. After Solis returned to San Antonio in 1926 Eleuterio Escobar, Jr., employed him at his store, Escobar's Furniture Company. In 1927 Solis joined the Order of Knights of America, which he served as secretary. Solis played a key role in uniting the OSA, OKA, and League of Latin American Citizens, three organizations that merged to found LULAC. On August 4, 1928, he represented the OKA on a committee to unify the various organizations. He attended the founding convention of LULAC on February 17, 1929, and there served on the committee of unification, which drew up basis for the organization. During the administration of LULAC president Manuel C. Gonzales Solis acted as state secretary and trustee. In 1932–33 he was state special organizer general, a member of the San Antonio organizing team called the Flying Squadron, and president of Council 2 in San Antonio. In 1933–34 he held the position of state inspector general. LULAC groups throughout the Midwest and the nation invited him to speak. In 1964–65 he was National LULAC organizer. Around 1934 Solis was active with the School Improvement League in San Antonio. In 1936 he ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner. His influence with Fontaine Maury Maverick helped Severino Martinez get into West Point, the first Mexican American to do so. In 1937 Solis joined the Texas Employment Commission, where he worked for thirty years before retiring as a manager of the district claims office. Subsequently, the National Canning Company employed him for three years as a labor consultant, after which he worked for United States congressman Abraham (Chick) Kazen for eight years as a labor consultant and staff assistant, beginning in 1974. Solis was a Mason, a Catholic, and a member of the Association of International Public Employees and the Association of Texas Public Employees. He died on July 6, 1984, in San Antonio and was buried in San Fernando Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Julie Leininger Pycior, La Raza Organizes: Mexican American Life in San Antonio, 1915–1930, as Reflected in Mutualista Activities (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 1979). Moises Sandoval, Our Legacy: The First Fifty Years (Washington: LULAC, 1979). O. Douglas Weeks, "The League of United Latin-American Citizens," Southwestern Political and Social Science Quarterly 10 (December 1929).

Cynthia E. Orozco

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Cynthia E. Orozco, "SOLIS, JOHN C.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fso13), accessed July 12, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.