Alonso S. Perales was born on October 17, 1898 in Alice, Texas. As an orphan by age 12 he worked laying railroad ties and picking cotton. He was drafted into the United States Army during World War I in which he received an honorable discharge after the war. When he returned from war he moved to Washington DC to work for the U.S. Commerce Department. Mr. Perales eventually received his B.A. from George Washington University and his Law degree in 1926 from the National University.
Mr. Perales married Marta Perez whom he adopted a daughter and two sons with. In the 1920's and 1930's Perales went on 13 diplomatic missions to the Dominician Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile and the West Indies. In 1945 he served as legal counsel to the Nicaraguan delegation at the United Nations conference. He also served under the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration.
Most of Mr. Perales' life was dedicated to defending Mexican-American civil rights. From the 1920's until his death he remained a prominent political leader founding several civil rights organizations such as League of United Latin American Cititizens (LULAC) and the Independent Voters Association. He helped write the LULAC constitution and was elected as their second president in 1930. Perales played a major part in helping defeat the Box Immigration Bill which would have put a quota on Mexican immigration in the United States.
Mr. Perales wrote and published two books: Are we good neighbors? and the two volume En defensa de mi raza. Both books are about racial discrimination. Mr. Perales died on May 9, 1960. In 1977 Edgewood ISD honored and celebrated the struggles fought and success that Alonso S. Perales endured by dedicating our school after him.
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