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Introduction to the Alonso S. Perales Collection


Alonso S. Perales, in a suit with vest and lapel pin.

Alonso S. Perales (1898-1960) was a lawyer, statesman, diplomat, author, writer, speaker, and a man with strong ties to his Catholic faith and family.   However, history provides little recompense to the man, who served as a defender to the cause of, and devoted advocate for, the civil rights of all Mexican and Latin American citizens in the United States.  The complete Alonso S. Perales’ Collection at the University of Houston Special Collections, serves as the annals of his life story from the early 1920s until his death in 1960.  For a visual snapshot of the collection, Recovering the US Hispanic Heritage Literary Heritage has created the Alonso S. Perales Digital Collection which highlights some of his significant accomplishments.

Born Alonso Sandoval Perales to Susana and Nicolás Perales, on October 17, 1898, in Alice, Texas, circumstances would find him orphaned at the age of six (Olivas 77).  Through his own determination, Perales graduated from the Draughon’s Practical Business College, but then was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War I as a Field Army Clerk, from which he was honorably discharged in 1920 (Orozco).  In 1925, Perales earned a law degree from what would later become the George Washington University Law School (Olivas 77).  Returning to Texas shortly thereafter, Perales was by all accounts, the third Mexican American to hold a law degree in the state during this time (Olivas xi).


Written by Theresa Mayfield, MLS

Alonso S. Perales