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The Women of LULAC

LULAC was one of the first national organizations to place emphasis on the role of women. Its first council #9 was created on February 22, 1934, in El Paso, Texas. By 1938, the league had created the first women's national office in Mrs. Ester Machuca as Ladies Organizer General.

The growth of the role of women in LULAC has never stopped. In 1981, the league's first National Vice-President for Women was elected. Programs for women are carried out at the local level through the efforts of state coordinators for women. One of the league's most successful programs has been two-day conferences on education and employment held in various states, and a national conference.

Mujeres de LULAC: A History of Accomplishments

LULAC was established in Texas. Membership was open to persons of Mexican origin but women were note encouraged to join.

Women formed LULAC Ladies' Auxiliaries in Alice, El Paso, Kingsville, and San Antonio, Texas.

Ladies LULAC was founded at the Texas State LULAC Convention in Del Rio, when the League permitted Latin American women to organize on the same bas is as men. Joe Alamia and J. M. Canales, of Edinburg, submitted the resolution establishing Ladies LULAC. Jose Luz Saenz served as the first organizer of Ladies LULAC, the only man ever in this position. Alice, Texas, organized the first council by incorporating the existing ladies' auxiliary there. Ladies LULAC councils largely worked independently of one another and apart from men's councils. They were especially concerned with children, the poor, the elderly, women, scholarships, education and politics.

Ester Machuca founded Ladies LULAC Council#9, in El Paso, Texas, by incorporating the existing ladies' auxiliary there, and served as first treasurer. Council #9 is the only Ladies Council founded in the 1930s that still exists today. Council #9 is currently lead by Lila Gutierrez. LULAC established the position Ladies Organizer General, the official organizer of women's councils. This position existed until 1942. In Goliad, Ladies LULAC fought for admission of students of Mexican descent into public schools.

Maria Torres Reyna founded Ladies Council #22 in Houston and served as first Secretary. Council 322 collected poll taxes, registered voters, and bought eyeglasses for school children.

Alice Dickerson Montemayor was elected Second National Vice President, the first woman to hold a national elected position. Ladies LULAC established Junior LULAC. The first charter was written by Alice Montemayor, who served as Director General from 1939-1940.

With Filemon Martinez as National LULAC President, Ladies LULAC was recognized as a national entity and the position of Ladies Organizer General (later called National Vice President of Women) was created on the national board. Ester Machuca was named Ladies Organizer General and Ladies LULAC Councils were established in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

Eva Carrillo founded Ladies LULAC in Austin. She and her council worked to desegregate movie theaters and swimming pools as well as schools. They also encouraged Hispanics to buy property, pay the poll tax, vote, and defend their rights.

The May edition of LULAC NEWS, the official magazine of the League, was conceived, edited, and produced by Ester Machuca and dedicated to Antonietta Delgado de Martinez, Ladies LULAC member and deceased wife of LULAC National President Filemon Martinez. It is the only edition ever produced entirely by LULAC women and is one of only two issues about LULAC women. At 68 pages, it was also one of the thickest.

Alice Dickerson Montemayor became associate editor of LULAC News. She wrote more articles for LULAC News than any other woman, including a 1937 article entitled " Women's Opportunity in LULAC" in which she defined a woman's place to be in that position where she can do the most for the furthering of her fellow woman and in 1938 editorial entitled "Son Muy Hombres?" in which she denounced notions of male superiority and argued for women's right to participate in LULAC.

Ladies LULAC contributed funds for Delgado v Bastrop ISD lawsuit, which ended segregation of Hispanic American children in Texas schools.

LULAC Councils began to integrate. In Houston, Ladies LULAC collected poll taxes, registered voters, and bought eyeglasses for school children.

Consuelo Herrera Mendez, President of Ladies LULAC Council #202 in Austin, and her council worked on political campaigns, getting voters to the polls, and fund-raising for scholarships.

Lucy Acosta was the first woman elected National Director for youth activities. She served as Second National Vice President in 1965.

Belen Robles was appointed National Secretary. She served until 1970.

Integrated LULAC Councils were typical and the majority of women joined them although Ladies LULAC councils continued to exist. Belen Robles became the first woman to run for the office of LULAC National Office.

LULAC endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment. Belen Robles was elected the first woman to serve as National Vice President for the Southwest.

Dolores Adame Guerrero was elected the first woman Texas LULAC State Director. Lucy Acosta organized Project Amistad, a social service program for the elderly and adults with disabilities, originally funded by the Texas Department of Human Services and Community Development funds from the City of El Paso to combat abuse, neglect, and exploitation as well as to provide escort and transportation services primarily to and from medical appointments. She continues to serve as the Director of the project until her death in 2008.

El Paso to combat abuse, neglect, and exploitation as well as to provide escort and transportation services primarily to and from medical appointments. She continues to serve as the director of the project today.

Dr. Anita Del Rio became the second woman to run for LULAC National President. Her platform was immigration and bilingual -education. Women comprised more than 50% of membership, yet held fewer than 2% of elected positions.

Lucy Acosta was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame for her civic endeavors. In McAllen, Ladies LULAC opened the LULAC Information and Referral Center, which helped Hispanic immigrants establish resident and assisted other with job referrals and other needs.

Eva Carrillo Garcia's name and picture were included in a pictorial display at the Texas State Capitol to mark National Women's History Month.

Rosa Rosales was elected the second woman Texas LULAC State Director. She has served as National Vice President for Women.

Belen Robles was elected the first woman LULAC National President. She served 4 years in office.

Angela Garcia was elected the third woman Texas LULAC State Director.

Mujeres de LULAC Council, 34677, was founded in Dallas, Texas, the last Ladies council to incorporate in the 20TH Century.

Today, only a handful of Ladies LULAC councils exist.

Rosa Rosales, from San Antonio Texas, was elected LULAC National President LULAC National Convention in Wisconsin.

Regla Gonzalez , was elected LULAC National VP for Women at the LULAC National Convention in Washington, DC. (2008-2012).

Margaret Moran, from San Antonio Texas, was elected LULAC National President at the LULAC National Convention in Albuquerque, NM.

LULAC National Board appoints first Latina Chief Executive Officer, Sindy M. Benavides, in its 90 year history.

Historical Chronology by Cynthia E. Orozco Ph.D.