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LULAC founded
February 17, 1929

On this day in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens, originally called the United Latin American Citizens, was founded at Salón Obreros y Obreras in Corpus Christi, Texas. LULAC is the oldest and largest continually active Latino political association in the United States and was the first nationwide Mexican-American civil-rights organization. It grew out of the rising Texas-Mexican middle class and resistance to racial discrimination. The strength of the organization has historically been in Texas. Over the years LULAC has been a multi-issue organization. It was organized in response to political disfranchisement, racial segregation, and racial discrimination. It responded to bossism, the lack of political representation, the lack of a sizable independent Mexican-American vote, jury exclusion of Mexican-Americans, and white primaries. It also dealt with the segregation of public schools, housing, and public accommodations. The organization has attempted to solve the problems of poverty among Mexican Americans and has sought to build a substantial Mexican-American middle class.

Art museum chartered at crossroads city
February 17, 1930

On this day in 1930, the El Paso Museum of Art was chartered under its original name, El Paso International Museum. Since 1959 the museum has been operated under the authority of the city of El Paso, along with a history museum and a wilderness park. The art museum features the Kress collection of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Baroque works, a collection of Pre-Columbian and Mexican art, and a "Sensorium" for blind patrons.

Hydraulic dredge Comstock catches fire
February 17, 1913

On this day in 1913, the Comstock caught fire off the mouth of the Brazos River. The hydraulic hopper dredge General C. B. Comstock was built for the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1895 and named for Cyrus B. Comstock, a prominent nineteenth-century corps of engineers officer. The Comstock was ordered for service in Galveston and designed for southern climates, with a metal-sheathed wooden hull and an airy, well-ventilated superstructure. The vessel traveled to Galveston on her own keel in the summer of 1895 and spent most of her career there. The dredge was a very efficient machine that moved material at a cost of approximately 7.4 cents a cubic yard. She could move four or five full loads in a ten-hour day; the hoppers could be discharged in 7½ minutes. After being driven ashore by the Galveston hurricane of 1900, she could not be freed until a channel fifty feet wide and eight feet deep was dug to release her. After 1910 she was lent to the Wilmington Corps District and sent to work first at Aransas Pass and afterward at Freeport. On February 17, 1913, she caught fire and burned to the water line. The crew was quickly rescued by fishermen from Quintana and the life-saving crew from Surfside, but the Comstock was a total loss. The wreck was relocated during jetty construction in June 1987 and investigated and identified in 1988. The artifacts are in a collection at Corpus Christi Museum.