Nemesio García Naranjo, poet, playwright, biographer, historian, journalist, orator, and teacher, was born in Lampazos, Nuevo León, Mexico, on March 8, 1883, the son of Nemesio García and Juana Naranjo. The family moved to Encinal, Texas, in 1886, and he attended elementary school there from 1888 to 1894. He then attended the Colegio Civil of Monterrey from 1897 to 1902 and studied at the National School of Law in Mexico City, where he received his LL.B. degree. From 1909 to 1914 he was a professor of Mexican history at National University. His political career included service as a deputy in the Mexican Congress and as congressional secretary during Francisco Madero's administration from 1910 to 1913; he was also minister of public instruction under Victoriano Huerta in 1913–14. García Naranjo was a vocal member of a group that opposed Madero in 1912, known as the "Cuadrilátero group."
With the fall of the Huerta regime in 1914, he joined numerous political leaders in exile in San Antonio, Texas, where he decided to launch a magazine to address the needs of exiled Mexicans in South Texas. The first issue of Revista Mexicana appeared in August 1915. Its readership eventually included Spanish-speaking communities in El Paso, Laredo, Brownsville, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. Three major themes sounded throughout its articles and editorial pages: strong nationalistic views toward Mexico, impassioned opposition to Mexican president Venustiano Carranza, and vehement antagonism toward Wilsonian interventionist policies. Revista Mexicana did not pretend to be neutral. García Naranjo editorialized: "A neutrality so abstract in times so terrible as these would be criminal and unpatriotic." The last issue of Revista Mexicana was published on January 25, 1920. Thereafter, García Naranjo contributed articles to La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily published in San Antonio by Ignacio E. Lozano, from 1920 to 1923. His first exile ended in 1923. However, when Plutarco Calles was elected president of Mexico, García Naranjo, never silent about the abuses of this new regime, viewed a second exile as inevitable. In Washington, D.C., for a conference of journalists in April of 1926, he was informed he would not be allowed to reenter Mexico. He subsequently traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America until 1933, when the friendly regime of Abelardo Rodríguez came to power.
Many honors were bestowed upon García Naranjo during his lifetime. After he published a full-length biography of Simón Bolívar in 1931, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the liberator's death, the government of Venezuela presented him its highest honor, the Condecoracíon del Busto del Libertador. His biography of Porfirio Díaz, whom he greatly admired, was published in July of 1930 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Díaz's birth. About 1938 he was appointed a member of the Mexican Academy of Languages, and in 1956 he was named delegate to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language. He left a lasting legacy in educational reform policy implemented while he was minister of public instruction in Mexico. He expanded the curriculum, advanced new pedagogical techniques, and extended educational opportunities to all segments of society. His impact on journalism was immeasurable. His standards of integrity and professionalism were observed and studied on both sides of the border. In short, his accomplishments were those of a most extraordinary man, who left his mark on two separate but congruent cultures. García Naranjo married Angelina Elizondo. They had four children. He died in Mexico City on December 21, 1962.
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Roderic A. Camp, Mexican Political Biographies, 1884–1935 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991). Diccionario Histórico y Biográfico de la Revolución Mexicana, Vol. 5 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución, 1992). Nemesio García Naranjo, Memorias de Nemesio García Naranjo (Monterrey, Nuevo León: Talleres de "El Porvenir," n.d.). Fred Koestler, Vida y Obras de Nemesio García Naranjo (M.A. thesis, Texas Christian University, 1971). Juan López de Escalera, comp., Diccionario Biográfico y de Historia de México (Mexico City: Editorial del Magisterio, 1964). Who's Who in Latin America, Vol. 1 (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1946).
Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
Authors and Writers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Nora E. Ríos McMillan,
“Garcia Naranjo, Nemesio,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
September 1, 1995
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