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Henry B. González: 1916-2000: Congressman

Entered Public Office

In 1950 González made his first bid for public office by running for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Although he lost the election, three years later he successfully ran for a seat on the San Antonio City Council. As a councilman, González pushed for fair and equal treatment of the city's Hispanic population and succeeded in pushing through ordinances that desegregated the city's public facilities.

In 1956 González was elected as a state senator, becoming the first person of Mexican descent in the previous one hundred years to be elected to the Texas Senate. In a day when racism was openly expressed and discrimination openly employed, his victory was not easy. The election results were re-counted three times, and the margin of his ultimate victory was only 309 votes.

When he first arrived in Austin to serve his term, González encountered suspicion and a spirit of racial prejudice among many of his colleagues, and was often referred to as "that Mexican." Despite his less-than-welcome presence, González quickly made it clear that he was prepared to fight for his ideals. He called for an end to racial discrimination and became an outspoken proponent of liberal causes such as improved housing services and slum clearance, and was a strong opponent of the proposed state sales tax.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyHenry B. González: 1916-2000: Congressman Biography - Worked To Improve The West Side, Entered Public Office, Filibustered On Segregation Legislation, Became A U.s. Representative In Congress