Tejano Association for Historical Preservation
Dec. 2004 Issue
P. O. Box 231021 Houston, Texas 77023-1021
The following is the paper presented by Dr. Guadalupe San Miguel, Associate Professor of University of Houston, to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas San Jacinto Chapter on the historic day of May, 6, 2004. This scholarly paper was requested by Benny C. Martinez and is now being shared with you, as a courtesy of activist Dr. San Miguel.
El Cinco de Mayo
by Guadalupe San Miguel, Ph.D.
Thank you for the invitation.
I was asked to speak on the significance of el Cinco de Mayo. The term Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the 5th of May. What is this holiday and why do we celebrate it in this country?
First of all, el Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. This other holiday is celebrated on September 16th or el 16 de Septiembre.
Second, el Cinco de Mayo is not an American holiday but a Mexican one. We celebrate el Cinco in this country for several reasons. One of the reasons for celebrating it in the U.S. is because of the size of the Mexican origin population. The Mexican origin population is the largest of the Hispanic population in the U.S. Today, there are over 25 million Mexican origin individuals in the U.S. They comprise over 60% of the total Hispanic population. The majority are American citizens and referred to as Mexican Americans and a significant number are immigrants. Most of these immigrants are here legally but others are not. Historically, this group settled in the area we know as the American southwest but over the decades they established communities in the Mid-west, the Pacific Northwest, and recently in the Northeast, especially the South.
What is El Cinco de Mayo? El Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at the Battle of Puebla. The Battle of Puebla was a very important battle between the Mexican army and an invading force of French troops that took place in Puebla, Mexico in 1862. Puebla was a town of about 80,000 residents in the 1860s located in southeast Mexico between the port city of Vera Cruz and Mexico City the capital of Mexico.
Let’s look at the history of this battle, at some of the key actors involved in it, and at its significance for Mexicans then and for all of us living in this country now.
The battle of Puebla occurred during a violent and chaotic time in Mexico ’s history. Mexico had finally gained independence from Spain in 1821 but it failed to unite as a country and around both national leaders and a common national political culture.
Mexico came out of this independence struggle bitterly divided along political, social, and religious lines. “Mexican history from 1833 to 1855,” noted two prominent historians, “constantly teetered between simply chaos and unmitigated anarchy” (Myer and Sherman, p.324).
During these years, Mexico was engaged in a fierce battle for control of the state by various groups of liberals interested in curtailing the power of the military and the church and of conservatives interested in maintaining their privileges in the society. The battles for power by the conservatives and liberals led to political instability, social chaos, and economic underdevelopment. They eventually led to significant conflicts that affected the nation’s development. Two of the most important were the war with the U.S. from 1836 to 1854 and the War of Reform from 1858 to 1861.
The former occurred between 1836 and 1854, when Mexico lost over half of its territories to U.S. intervention forces. The territories it lost to the US eventually became part of the American Southwest and included five states: Texas , New Mexico , Colorado , Arizona , and California . The loss of its lands was due to two major factors: manifest destiny on the part of the U.S. and political instability within Mexico . The divisions between conservatives and liberals in Mexico left it in a vulnerable state to U.S. intervention. These divisions became apparent as early as 1833 when Santa Ana became President of Mexico. Although he was elected as a champion of liberalism he soon joined the conservative cause and replaced the liberal federalist Constitution of 1824 with a conservative centralized Constitution of 1836. Liberals throughout the nation opposed his actions. The most serious were those in Texas which eventually led to the loss of Texas in 1836 and to the loss of its northern frontier as a result of the war with the United States in 1846.
This conflict not only left a legacy of bitterness between both countries but it also exacerbated Mexico ’s internal divisions (Meyer and Sherman, 1983).
The second major conflict was the War of the Reform, a civil war between liberals and conservatives that lasted for three years from 1858 to 1861. This civil war began with the efforts by liberals to oust Santa Ana from power in 1855. These liberals spoke out against corruption in the church and in the state. Their ideals were expressed in El Plan de Ayutla, a list of grievances against Santa Ana and a call for his replacement. The liberals soon replaced Santa Ana , drafted a liberal Constitution, and enacted liberal reforms. These, in turn, were vehemently opposed by conservative political leaders and by the Catholic Church. The battle between conservatives and liberals eventually led to the War of Reform, a devastating civil war with dramatic consequences. The liberals, under the leadership of Benito Juárez, the first Indian president of Mexico , triumphed in 1861 but the civil war left the country bitterly divided, the national treasury empty, and the national economy in ruins (Meyer and Sherman, 1983, 325-388.)
PICTURE OF JUAREZ
Juárez became one of Mexico ’s most revered national leaders. He was the first Indian president of Mexico and a strong supporter of liberal doctrines. Juárez was born on March 21, 1806, in the Oaxaca village of San Pablo Guelato . His parents, members of the Zapotec tribe prevalent in Oaxaca , were small farmers and illiterate. When he was thirteen years and in quest of greater educational opportunities Benito migrated to Oaxaca City . His sister lived in that city and worked as a cook for Don Antonio Maza. With Mr. Maza’s assistance and encouragement, young Benito Juárez learned to read and write in Spanish. He was encouraged to become a priest but soon turned to law as a profession. He earned a law degree in 1834 from the Institute of Science and Art in Oaxaca . Law was the entry point for those interested in politics and soon after getting this degree he began to get elected to office. Juarez believed in liberal principles and devoted his entire life to reforming the church and the military and in supporting the interests of Indians and the poor masses. He was elected to the presidency in 1857 and again in 1861.
The war with the U.S. and the devastation caused by its internal political conflicts wiped out Mexico ’s national economy. As a result of these developments Mexico , by the latter part of the 1850s, was in debt and unable to pay the armed forces, civil servants, and its bills. During this period it accumulated heavy debts to several nations, including Spain , England , and France . Unable to pay its debts Mexico decided in 1860 to suspend or to stop making any loan payments, especially to its three major European creditors-France, Spain (Isabella), and England .
These three nations met that same year in London to discuss their responses. They decided to occupy Vera Cruz in an attempt to collect their claims against the Mexican government. In December 1861, they sent troops to Vera Cruz and occupied it. Spain sent 6,000 troops, Britain 7000, and France 2000.
Unlike Spain and England which only wanted to recover their debts, France, which had the best trained army in the world at that time, had imperialistic motives and wanted to takeover Mexico.
France was under the rule of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I. He won the presidency of the French republic in 1848 but craved for the imperial status of his famous uncle. Beginning in 1852, when a French plebiscite approved the title and dignity that he desired, Emperor Napoleon III, he embarked upon an aggressive foreign policy. In the name of the Second French Empire he reinforced earlier claims to Algeria , established a protectorate in Indochina, landed troops in Lebanon , founded French colonies on the west coast of Africa, and helped to defeat Russia in the Crimean War. But, most importantly, the emperor dreamed of imposing a monarchical government upon the nations of Central and South America . This would not only benefit France ’s imperial designs but it would also check the growing power of the United States which had just annexed half of Mexico .
France ’s designs were encouraged and abetted by the conservative landowners of Mexico who feared loss of land and political power to the newly elected constitutional government of Benito Juárez.
By coming to the rescue of the church in Mexico Napoleon III could also hope to curry favor with the strong conservative Catholic element in France .
The Mexican action to suspend its foreign debt seemed to present Napoleon with a perfect opportunity.
Once France made its motives known, Spain and England withdrew and left Mexico .
Within a month after these nations left and with additional troops (4,500), the French army, a well outfitted, professional group of over 6,500 troops proceeded to Mexico City .
The invading force, led by General Conde de Lorencez, was told by the French minister in Mexico City , Count Dubois du Saligny, that the Mexican people in Puebla would welcome them with open arms. The local clergy, the French minister told General Lorencez, would “not only shower them with magnolia blooms but would offer a special Te Deum (mass) in their honor.” No such thing would occur. The French were not to be met by open arms but by open resistance.
President Benito Juarez, upon hearing of the invading force issued a statement declaring Mexico ’s intent to defend itself. “I can assure you…,” he told the nation, “the Imperial Government will not succeed in subduing the Mexicans, and its armies will not have a single day of peace...we must stop them, not only our country but for the respect of the sovereignty of the nations." He then declared martial law and declared all areas occupied by the French in a state of siege.
As part of his strategy, he also asked for assistance from President Abraham Lincoln. Although President Abraham Lincoln was sympathetic, he was unable to provide any significant direct assistance because the country was involved in its own Civil War. The Mexican government thus had to defend its country without any outside support.
Finally, Juarez sent troops from Mexico City to Puebla to confront the French army. The group of soldiers sent by President Juárez was a small, well-trained militia of about 1,000 or 2000 troops. These were supplemented with local militias comprised of several thousand hastily conscripted men of Puebla and untrained volunteers. Many of these volunteers brought their own farm tools as weapons. Together, the regular Mexican army and the local militias comprised about 4,500 Indian and Mestizo troops. The Mexican troops were led by Texas-born General Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza.
Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza was born in a house outside the presidio of La Bahía del Espíritu in Goliad , Texas on March 24, 1829. Ignacio was the second son of María de Jesús Seguín of San Antonio and Sergeant Miguel G. Zaragoza of Veracruz , Mexico . Miguel Zaragoza arrived in Texas in the 1820s as an infantry soldier. After the defeat of General Antonio López de Santa Anna at San Jacinto in the spring of 1836, he moved his family to Matamoros , Tamaulipas, south of the Rio Grande .
Young Ignacio received an education in Matamoros and later enrolled at the Colegio of San Juan. He was sent to a seminary in Monterrey , Nuevo León, with the expectation that he would enter the priesthood. Dissatisfied with his academic studies, Ignacio enlisted in the militia of Nuevo León and survived General Zachary Taylor’s invasion and occupation of Monterrey in 1846. After the U.S.-Mexico War and at age 24, he decided to pursue an army career. He won rapid promotion to captain in the army.
During the late 1950s Ignacio got married and had a family. He married Rafaela Padilla in Monterey on January 21, 1857 and had four children, three sons and a daughter. All three sons died in their infancy. In February 1862, his wife of several years died of typhoid fever in Mexico City .
Despite his personal tragedies, Ignacio Zaragoza continued to play significant roles in the political destiny of his country. During the 1850s, he sided with the liberal forces favoring the Plan de Ayutla, the platform calling for the ousting of Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna from office and for the establishment of a democratic government. He took part in the battles of Saltillo and Monterey against the armies of Santa Anna in the 1850s.
During the years of the War of the Reform (1858-1861), the struggle between conservative powers and liberal forces led by Benito Juárez, Zaragoza took part in a number of military engagements. He fought in the battle of Guadalajara in defense of the reformist principles of the constitution and in 1860 he participated in the battle of Calpulalpan, which ended the war.
The following year, in April 1861, Juárez appointed Zaragoza Minister of War in his administration. After the European powers invaded Mexico , he resigned from the ministry to lead the defense of Puebla .
Although poorly armed Zaragoza’s troops were determined and ready to defend Mexico ’s autonomy. The 4,500 troops established themselves in the city of Puebla and waited for the invading French troops.
On May 5, 1862, the battle between Mexican and French troops took place. La Batalla de Puebla, the battle of Puebla , raged on for several hours.
General Lorencez was contemptuous of the Mexican troops and assumed that they would quickly flee from heavy fighting. He therefore directed his first charge directly at the Mexican center that was protecting the major forts leading to the city. The Mexicans held their ground and drove the French back. Two additional times he attacked but the Mexicans held their ground.
The Mexicans stood their ground because of the defensive trenches that Zaragoza had dug across the road leading to the major forts of Loreto and Guadalupe.
The Mexican troops also were aided by the weather, as the rain made the ground muddy and difficult to maneuver. This eventually slowed the movement of the French artillery.
The Mexican troops then counter-attacked, including a force of Zapotec Indians, many of them armed only with machetes. These Indians stirred hundreds of stampeding cattle to attack the French soldiers. They succeeded in overrunning part of the French lines.
The decisive maneuver of the day was carried out by young Brigadier General Porfirio Diaz. Late in the afternoon Díaz, commanding the Second Brigade, repelled a determined French assault on Zaragoza ’s right flank (Meyer and Sherman, p. 389). Diaz later would become President of Mexico and rule that country from 1876 to 1911.
The French then pulled back some distance as dark fell. General Lorencez waited two days for a Mexican counter-offensive, but Zaragoza did not wish to attack the French in open country where he would lose his defensive advantage. Unwilling to risk another attack on the Mexican position, Lorencez then withdrew his forces back to Orizaba .
Despite tremendous odds, the humble Mexican army under Zaragoza ’s leadership repelled and defeated what one source called “the greatest military force on the globe.” For nearly 50 years, since the defeat of Napoleon I’s army at the hands of allied forces at Waterloo , Belgium in 1815, the French army had not known defeat. This changed on Cinco de Mayo, 1862.
The number of French troops reportedly killed ranged from 476 to 1,000. Many of them however were apparently already ill from their stay in the coastal lowlands. Mexican losses were reported to be approximately eighty-six (www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 1).
While in Orizaba , the dejected invaders licked their wounds and sought support from their Mexican allies. Conservative leaders and church officials openly encouraged other Mexicans to assist the French. Upon hearing of the clergy’s support for the French invaders, President Juárez was furious. On August 30, 1862, he issued a presidential decree aimed at forbidding priests to assist the French. The presidential decree stipulated the following:
“In use of the broad powers with which I have been invested, I have found it proper to declare that
Priests of any cult who, abusing their ministry, excite hate or disrespect for our laws, our government, or its rights, will be punished by three years’ imprisonment or deportation.
Because of the present crisis all cathedral chapters are suppressed, except for that of Guadalajara because of its patriotic behavior.
Priests of all cults are forbidden from wearing their vestments or any other distinguishing garment outside of the churches… All violators will be punished with fines of ten to one hundred pesos or imprisonment from fifteen to sixty days.”
In the same month that President Juárez issued the decree, Zaragoza went to Mexico City where he was treated as a hero and given a medal of honor.
When Zaragoza returned to his troops in Puebla he became ill with typhoid fever and died there on September 8, 1862. Juarez placed General Jesús González Ortega in charge of the troops in Puebla . In the meantime, a state funeral was held in Mexico City with internment at the Panteón de San Fernando . On September 11, 1862, President Juárez issued a decree changing the name of the city of Puebla de los Angeles to Puebla de Zaragoza and making Cinco de Mayo a national holiday. (www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 1).
The Re-taking of Puebla , the conquest of Mexico and the establishment of a monarchy.
Unfortunately, the Mexican victory was short-lived. After hearing of his troops’ defeat, Napoleon ordered some 30,000 additional troops and within a year again attacked Puebla .
Although they encountered heavy resistance, this time the French were successful. General González Ortega, the new commander had constructed a series of fortifications around the city. In the middle of March 1863 the French encircled Puebla and launched a heavy bombardment. The mortars and artillery pounded away for days. Only when the walls surrounding the city had been reduced to rubble did the French infantry attack, but they were beaten back by the Mexican defenders. The siege that ensued lasted almost two months. Juárez’s plans to resupply and reinforce the city were unsuccessful, for the invaders were able to intercept (interdict) and repel the supply trains sent out from Mexico City . With the civilian and military population of Puebla finally reduced to nourishing themselves on rodents, pets, and leaves, González Ortega agreed to turn the city over to the French (Sherman/Meyer, 390).
After the fall of Puebla French troops continued to Mexico City . President Juárez realized that the fall of Puebla opened the doors to Mexico City , but he initially resolved to make a final stand in the capital. Only after consulting with his leading military advisers did he admit that the lack of troops available to him made the defense of Mexico City impossible. On May 31, 1862, he decided to evacuate the city. Despite this decision, he received a strong vote of confidence and a grant of extraordinary powers from the Congress. He answered by assuring the Congress that the evacuation of the capital was not tantamount to abandoning the fight. "Adversity," he told the deputies, “discourages none but contemptible peoples.” As Juárez, his cabinet, and what was left of his army withdrew for San Luis Potosí , the French army entered the Mexican capital unopposed.
In 1863 the French selected a provisional government consisting of Mexico ’s conservative leadership. Napoleon III decided to establish a monarchy and appointed Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg emperor of Mexico . He agreed but only if the people of Mexico voted for him. The emperor promised to pay for the salaries of the French troops, 20,000 remained until the end of 1867 and to assume payment of all claims. In return Napoleon gave Maximilian full command over the French force in Mexico . He agreed and began to learn Spanish and changed his wife’s name from Charlotte to Carlota. (392)
Maximilian’s rule of Mexico also was short lived. It lasted from 1864 to 1867. Under the leadership of Juarez and with active support this time from the U.S. , the Mexican army expelled the French rulers and executed Maximilian.
Despite the eventual French invasion of Mexico , the Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery and victory of Gen. Zaragoza’s smaller, outnumbered, ill-fitted militia at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This victory served as a reminder to all others that the Mexican army was ready and willing to fight for their autonomy as a free nation and against unwanted invaders. It gave Mexicans the confidence to persevere and ultimately triumph over the French in 1867. It also demonstrated to ordinary Mexican citizens that they could repel a superior fighting force. Likewise, it instilled national pride, improved the international stature of President Juarez and discouraged further European invasions of Mexico and Latin America .
What is the significance of this battle?
First, this is a classic battle between the weak and the mighty and the role that determination can play in reaching a goal. The Battle of Puebla in particular indicated the importance of determination in reaching an objective. The Mexican army under Gen. Zaragoza, although small and lacking in training and weapons, was determined to win against all odds. The French had the advantages of weaponry, experience, and numbers, but the Mexican troops had the guts and determination to triumph over their enemy. And they did.
Second, this day is a way to show respect for the rights of people everywhere to enjoy in the fruits of self-determination. People everywhere have the right to determine the kind of life that they want to live and not be under the rule of any foreign government.
Third, this day is a symbol of pride and unity. It is a day when all people can come together and unite around a common goal. More specifically, it is a time in which Mexican origin individuals, whether citizens of the US or newcomers, display their pride in this particular battle.
Fourth, this day is significant for all Americans because it marks the last time that any European foreign power acted as the aggressor on North American soil (Cinco de Mayo, p. 1).
Celebrating el Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular along the US-Mexico border and in parts of the US that have significant numbers of Mexican origin individuals. Why is this the case? I would argue that four major desires account for the popularity of this holiday.
First, this holiday is popular because of the desires of the Mexican origin community to publicly express pride in its heritage. For this group, over 25 million and growing daily, el Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the culture, food, music, beverage and customs unique to this country and to these people. Their pride is reflected in the many events they organize and participate in including parades, concerts, and other outdoor and indoor activities. An example of the popularity of Cinco de Mayo activities is the Sunday concert in George R. Brown on May 2, 2004 attended by over 70,000 people.
Let us also remember that the celebration of this event was, in many respects, a result and legacy of the Chicano/a Movement. During the explosion of political and cultural activism of the late 1960s and 1970s, the activists of that period applied political pressure on American society and American institutions, especially the public schools for accepting Cinco de Mayo as an official holiday. Although no official proclamation declaring this day a holiday was ever issued by any institution, the vast majority of schools, businesses, and government offices celebrate el Cinco de Mayo. The activists of the past, in other words, were partially successful in institutionalizing this holiday as is evident by the establishment of programs and activities in the schools, museums, and in other institutions throughout the country.
The increasing numbers of Mexican origin individuals, both documented and undocumented as well as the growing presence of other Latinos in this country has served to strengthen the unity and pride of all Spanish-speaking people living in the U.S.
A second reason for its popularity is the desire of Americans to celebrate their differences by publicly enjoying the traditions, customs, cuisine, and libations of the Mexican people as expressed in the U.S. Although the majority of Americans primarily view this holiday as simply another of many opportunities to party it up, it is usually celebrated within the context of a Mexican theme. This Mexican holiday is one of the many cultural groups comprising the new American culture in the U.S. and many Americans wish to celebrate this distinct event.
A third reason for its popularity, especially in Texas is the desire by Tejanos, that is, Mexican origin individuals born or raised in Texas, to acknowledge and celebrate the heroic exploits of one of their own. Zaragoza, Mexico ’s national hero was a Tejano; he was born in Goliad, Texas . He was the first Tejano hero in the country and probably the first Tejano transnational hero of the 19th century.
A four and final reason for the popularity of el Cinco de Mayo is the desire by political and economic elites to profit from this holiday. Many businesses large and small make a great deal of money during el cinco de Mayo by promoting the products and services focused on Mexican food, beverages, and festive items. Economically-based political interests, such as the local chamber of commerce offices and tourist bureaus, also promote this holiday and all of its activities in order to attract visitors to their cities in order to sell their products and services. There are economic motivations for supporting this holiday and there is money to be made in promoting el Cinco de Mayo.
So go out in the world knowing the meaning and significance of this one particular battle and remember that this day is an important historical event that still affects all of us in one way or another.
¡Que viva el Cinco de Mayo!
 This date was originally a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla ,
 (Jim Tuck, “ Mexico ’s Lincoln : The Ecstasy and Agony of Benito Juárez (1806-1872),” n.d. www.mexconnect.com/mex_/history/jtuck/jtbenitoj…, p. 1-3; Casey Carr, Benito Juárez,” n.d. http://staff.esuhsd.org/~balochie/studentprojects/benitojuarez/, pp. 1-9.)
Michael Mayer and William Sherman, The Course of Mexican History, 2nd ed, 1983, p. 388).
 (Meyer and Sherman, 1983, p. 388. This is verbatim; summarize).
 Myer and Sherman, 1983, p. 389, say that the general in charge was General was Charles Latrille.
 Two sources have argued that Lincoln did supply Juárez with some arms and munitions. This source indicated that “as many as 30,000 muskets from Baton Rouge alone” were sent to the liberals fighting the French invasion. See Jim Tuck, “Mexico’s Lincoln: The Ecstasy and Agony of Benito Juarez (1806-1872),” in www.mexconnect.com/mex_/history/jtuck/jtbenitojuarez, p. 3 of 5 and Colin M. MacLachlan and William H. Beezley, El Gran Pueblo: A History of Greater Mexico, 3rd ed (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004).
 The statement “well armed, well trained men” was made in article cited in www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 1. This source stated that 1,000 troops were sent. Another source said that 2,000 troops were sent. See John Shepler, “Cinco de Mayo, the Real Story,” www.johnshepler.com/articles/cincodemayo.html, p. 2 of 6.
 “Battle of Puebla,” http://www.fact-index.com/b/ba/battle_of puebla.html, p. 2 of 3.
Félix D. Almaráz, Jr., “Ignacio Zaragoza’s Historic Roots,” www.texancultures.utsa.edu/hiddenhistory/pages1/almaraz.htm. p. 3 of 6.
 He was unable to attend his own wedding to in Monterey because he was on an important army assignment in San Luis Potosi. His brother, Miguel served as his proxy. www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 1)
 During Comonfort’s rebellion in 1857, he led forces in defense of the reformist principles of the constitution. He also fought in the battle of Guadalajara . See www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 2
 Ignacio Seguín Zaragoza,” The Handbook of Texas Online, n.d., www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/onling/articles/view/ZZ/fza4.html.
 (Meyer and Sherman say for 2 hours. Others say for several hours.)
 The following is based on the following articles: “Battle of Puebla,” http://www.fact-index.com/b/ba/battle_of puebla.html, p. 1-3; “Cinco de Mayo-The Battle of Puebla, 1862,” www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Bunker/7475/puebla.htm, pp. 1-6.
 [The dejected invaders retried to Orizaba . Conservative monarchists and church officials openly encouraged other Mexicans to assist the French. On Aug 1862 President Juárez issued a presidential decree aimed at forbidding priests to assist the French.-OMIT]
 “The Battle of Puebla and Cinco de Mayo,” www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/history/timeline/10.html, p. 1 of 1.
 Quoted in Ernesto de la Torre Villar, La Intervención Fracesa y el Triunfo de la República. ( Mexico , 1968, p. 159. See also Meyer and Sherman, p. 390.)
 The president bestowed on him the distinguished honor of Benemérito de la Patria. Félix D. Almaráz, Jr., “Ignacio Zaragoza’s Historic Roots,” www.texancultures.utsa.edu/hiddenhistory/pages1/almaraz.htm. p. 5 of 6
 Zaragoza thus became one of the great national heroes of Mexico . Since then songs have been written in his honor and schools, plazas, and streets have been named either Zaragoza or Cinco de Mayo. Each year Zaragoza societies meet throughout Mexico and in a number of Texas towns, including La Bahia and Goliad on Cinco de Mayo. In the 1960s General Zaragoza State Historic Site was established near Goliad to commemorate Zaragoza ’s birthplace. In 1980, dignitaries from the United States , Texas and Mexico participated in the dedication of a ten-foot bronze statue honoring Zaragoza, commissioned by Alfredo Toxqui Fernández de Lara, governor of Puebla , as a gift to the people of Goliad and Texas . www.presidiolabahia.org/zaragosa.htm, p. 2. Almaraz also notes that in the final quarter of the twentieth century, three cities in Texas-Laredo, Goliad, and San Antonio-honored the memory of Zaragoz and the victory of Cinco de Mayo by installing life-sized statues in their town plazas. See Almaraz, p. 5 of 6.
Please note that a change of date to Sat., April 9, 2005 has been made for the Cesar E. Chavez Hispanic Pride Parade recognizing 70 years of LULAC Council 60. The parade will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the corner of Cesar Chavez Blvd. and the 6700 block of Capitol in Houston ’s East End . Parade Marshal will be LULAC #60 member,
Dr. Abelardo Saavedra, Houston Independent School District Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Saavedra is also HISD’s first Hispanic Superintendent and was appointed on Dec. 9, 2004 by HISD board members. Dr. Saavedra earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at Texas A&I University in Kingsville in 1972 and 1974, respectively. He completed his doctorate in School Administration at the Univ. of Michigan in 1976. He was recruited to the district by Rod Paige, the former U.S. Education Secretary and HISD’s first Black Superintendent. Dr. Saavedra has held the position of HISD area superintendent, deputy superintendent and since July has served as the district’s interim superintendent. The district’s population is comprised of 58% Hispanic, 32% Black, and 3% Asian. It is the nation’s seventh largest school district and more than 70 languages are spoken within the district. For more information on the Cesar Chavez Parade please contact TAHP President, Linda Alonzo Saenz at 713-540-5449.