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A Latinx Resource Guide: Civil Rights Cases and Events in the United States

1938: Spanish Speaking People's Congress

"One person can’t do anything; it’s only with others that things are accomplished."

-Luisa Moreno

El Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española (the Spanish Speaking Peoples of Congress), popularly known as El Congreso was a Latino civil rights organization active between 1935 and 1950 with chapters across Texas and California. El Congreso advocated against malicious acts committed by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) and worked to halt discrimination against non-citizens. On April 28-30 1938, El Congreso convened about 1,000 to 1,500 representatives from 120 organizations, including politicians, students, and union members, in Los Angeles to address civil rights issues pertaining to the Latino(a) community. The event was the first national Latino(a) convention that addressed the community’s most pressing issues, including segregation, women's rights, and employment discrimination. Luisa Moreno, a renowned Latina labor and civil rights activist from Guatemala, Josefina Fierro de Bright, and Bert Corona helped organize and held leadership of El Congreso. By 1950, El Congreso was dissolved amid political pressure from California's Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, which confiscated many records from the organization.

Timeline

1935

A coalition of civil rights activist establish El Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española (the Spanish Speaking Peoples of Congress) in California.

1937 The Comite de Damas del Congreso (Women’s Committee) is established care for children suffering from tuberculosis.
April 28-30 1938 Luisa Moreno and Josefina Fierro de Bright organize a national convention for El Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española (the Spanish Speaking Peoples of Congress) in Los Angeles, California.
1947 Luisa Moreno retires and faces deportation proceedings as a “dangerous alien”.
1950 Moreno voluntarily leaves the U.S. and El Congreso is dissolved following allegations of communism by California's Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities.

Resources

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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

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