The Order of Knights of America, or Orden Caballeros de America, was a civic organization founded in 1927 in San Antonio. It merged with two other organizations in 1929 to form the League of United Latin American Citizens. Its founders were young members of the Order of Sons of America who seceded to form the OKA. Its purpose was to educate its members about their rights and obligations as citizens or inhabitants of the United States. In 1927 the executive committee consisted of President Ramon Carvajal, Vice President Manuel C. Gonzales, Secretary John C. Solis, Assistant Secretary Henry Cañamar, Treasurer M. J. Morales, Collector J. C. Valdez, and Parliamentarian Jesus Villegas. Standing committees included membership, ways and means, publicity, festivities, and sergeant-at-arms.
Membership was open to men of the "Mexican race," citizens of either the United States or Mexico living in San Antonio. Typically small businessmen or professionals, members represented the middle class of Mexican San Antonio. About fifty men belonged to the OKA, including Mauro Machado, the fifth LULAC president (1933–34), and OSA founders Vicente Rocha, a coffee salesman, and Francisco (Frank) Leyton, a businessman specializing in tires. The organization held weekly meetings.
Members of the OKA attended the Harlingen Convention of 1927, where they were the largest delegation. The OKA sponsored Christmas festivities for west-side Mexican and Mexican-American children in 1927 at Cassiano Park; 2,500 attended. Editor Henry Cañamar issued the organization's monthly bilingual news magazine, OKA-News, which contained seventeen pages of news about the organization and articles on the Mexican community; the circulation totaled 1,500.
The OKA maintained communication with the Corpus Christi chapter of the OSA, and when it too seceded from the parent OSA of San Antonio in January 1929, the two groups joined forces with the League of Latin American Citizens and formed the League of United Latin American Citizens on February 17, 1929. After the merger OKA members became members of LULAC Council No. 2.
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O. Douglas Weeks, "The League of United Latin-American Citizens," Southwestern Political and Social Science Quarterly 10 (December 1929). Oliver Douglas Weeks Collection, LULAC Archive, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Cynthia E. Orozco,
“Order of Knights of America,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
April 24, 2019
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