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AMERICAN G.I. FORUM WOMEN'S AUXILIARY

AMERICAN G.I. FORUM WOMEN'S AUXILIARY. The American G.I. Forum of Texas established its Women's Auxiliary at the first national conference of the Forum in 1956. A group of female members led the movement to formalize the supportive roles that women already played in the organization. Women's involvement in the Forum's activities had always been considered natural because the organization stressed the Mexican-American family, in which women were central, as a major source of its strength. In the earlier years of the Forum, women had helped raise funds by such activities as tamaladas (tamale sales), dances, and "queen" contests. When the organization expanded its role beyond Mexican-American veterans' matters to larger civil-rights issues, women led some of its membership and voter-registration drives and became lobbyists for equal-opportunity legislation. In Texas Dr. Clotilde García, a physician and teacher and the sister of Dr. Hector P. García, founder of the Forum, became an example for other women in leading Forum activities.

With the establishment of the auxiliary, women were able to become leaders and help define the Forum's mission. In 1957 the auxiliary organized a women's leadership conference, an unusual move at the time. By running their own caucus, women gained political skills and contributed to the Forum's success in rallying Mexican-American support for its struggle against prejudice. The auxiliary members set up scholarships for Mexican-American students and developed community or women's education. In most cases, the women were interested in equalizing opportunities for all Mexican Americans rather than advancing a feminist agenda.

The auxiliary continued to involve its members in public issues through conferences on the state legislative process. In addition, it used the Forum's newsletter, The Forumeer Today, to bring members' attention to both the needs of the developing female Hispanic labor force and the great increase in the numbers of Hispanic female immigrants. The Women's Auxiliary predated Mexican-American women's involvement in the Democratic and Republican parties and foreshadowed their contributions to the Chicano Movement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Henry A. J. Ramos, A People Forgotten, A Dream Pursued: The History of the American G.I. Forum, 1948–1972 (N.p.: American G.I. Forum, 1983).

Teresa Palomo Acosta

Citation

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

Teresa Palomo Acosta, "AMERICAN G.I. FORUM WOMEN'S AUXILIARY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/voa03), accessed September 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.