University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Good Neighbor Commission Records, 1949-1950



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Good Neighbor Commission
Title: Good Neighbor Commission Records
Dates: 1949-1950
Abstract: The Good Neighbor Commission was established in 1943 to improve education, housing, and health measures for migrant workers and other Mexicans living in Texas. The records of the commission contain manuscripts pertaining to Mexican discrimination in Texas, labor and human relations and problems between Texas and Latin American nations, and intercultural education and history.
Accession No.: 80-112
Extent: 1/4 in.
Language: Materials are written in English and Spanish.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

In 1943, Governor Coke R. Stevenson established the Good Neighbor Commission in response to requests by Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) agent Tom Sutherland, among others. The OIAA was established by President Roosevelt in 1940 with the goal of improving cultural and economic relations with Latin America. The Good Neighbor Commission was originally requested because of the Mexican government’s ban on moving workers into Texas because of discrimination against Mexicans. The purpose of the six-person commission was to handle, solve, and improve social, cultural, and economic relations and problems among Mexican Americans living in Texas. The commission also aimed to ease relations between Texas and Mexico, and between Texas and other Latin American countries. Specifically, the commission intended to improve education, housing, and health measures for migrant workers and other Mexicans living in Texas.

The Good Neighbor Commission was officially designated a paid state commission in 1945. In 1947 Mexico lifted the ban on movement into Texas. Poor living conditions and discrimination were still in effect, however, but eventually most discrimination issues were turned over to the Texas Council on Human Relations, formed in 1950 under oil magnate Neville Penrose. The next few years saw varied effects of the commission depending on who was working for it at the time. For example, in 1949 state representative J.F. Gray made a claim against the commission when access to a funeral home was denied to the family of Felix Longoria, a Mexican who was killed during World War II. The commission responded to the claim, and, with help from Lyndon B. Johnson, enabled Longoria to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Texas Council on Migrant Labor, which had been established in 1957, disbanded in 1965, transferring its work to the commission, which resulted in an increased budget and staff force for the commission. The commission was reviewed once more for relevance in 1977, and over the next ten years, its duties were incrementally taken over by other agencies. The official abolition of the Good Neighbor Commission took place in 1987.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Good Neighbor Commission," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/GG/mdg2.html (accessed June 23, 2010).


Scope and Contents

The Good Neighbor Commission Records, 1949-1950, contain manuscripts pertaining to Mexican discrimination in Texas, labor and human relations and problems between Texas and Latin American nations, and intercultural education and history. Items of note in the records include summarized proceedings from the Southwest Council on the Education of Spanish-Speaking People, 1950, English and Spanish versions of the history of the Good Neighbor Commission, and an address delivered at the National Convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens, by Lyle Saunders, 1949. These manuscripts outline the functions and purposes of the Good Neighbor Commission, as well as address the discrimination, housing, and education issues of the time in Texas.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Saunders, Lyle, 1907-
Cole, Stewart Grant, 1892-
Galarza, Ernesto, 1905-
Sánchez, George Isidore, 1906-1972
Gammage, Grady, 1892-1959
Black, Hugh C.
Orrego, Glasfira
Stevenson, Coke R. (Coke Robert), 1888-1975
Sutherland, Tom
Subjects (Organizations)
Good Neighbor Commission--Archives.
Southwest Council on Education of Spanish-Speaking People
Council on Human Relations (Tex.)
Subjects
Mexicans--Texas--History--Sources
Mexicans--Texas--Social conditions
Latin Americans--Texas
Mexican Americans--Texas--Civil rights--History--20th century
Mexican Americans--Texas--Economic conditions.
Mexicans--United States--Education
Mexicans--United States--History--20th century--Sources.
Discrimination--United States--History--20th century.
Discrimination in education--Texas.
Labor relations--Texas.
Places
Arizona
Texas
Mexico

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Good Neighbor Commission Records, 1949-1950, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

box
3W106 Manuscript collection:
"A Suggestion for Attacking Ethnic Discrimination" by Lyle Saunders, 1950
Southwest Council on Education of Spanish-Speaking People,
Summarized proceedings:
"Let us Look at Ourselves" by Stewart G. Cole, 1950
"The Social History of Spanish-Speaking People in Southwestern United States Since 1846" by Lyle Saunders, 1950
"Mexican-United States Labor Relations and Problems" by Ernesto Galarzo, 1950
"The Default of Leadership" by George I. Sanchez, 1950
"The Spanish-Speaking People of Arizona" by Grady Gammage, 1950
Comments by Delegates
"Council on Human Relations for the State of Texas"
"Address Delivered at the National Convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens" by Lyle Saunders, 1949
Intercultural Education--An Introductory Bibliography by Hugh C. Black
"Wetbacks," a Preliminary Report to the Advisory Committee Study of Spanish-speaking People, The University of Texas by George I. Sanchez and Lyle Saunders
Outline History of the Good Neighbor Commission of Texas (English and Spanish versions)
"Can the Good Neighbor Policy Work in Texas?" (English and Spanish versions)
Address delivered by Miss Glasfira Orrego of Santiago, Chile, at the Regional Conference International Relations Clubs, Lubbock, TX, Feb. 23-25, 1950
The Good Neighbor Commission of Texas, Voices of America Program (English and Spanish versions), May 11, 1950