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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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The Legend Of Gregorio Cortez
Program #

Oct 22, 1976

The Legend of Gregorio Cortez

Richard Goodman retells the legend of Gregorio Cortez. In 1901, a sheriff killed Cortez’ younger brother Ramon, after Ramon had played a trick on an Anglo neighbor. Gregorio shoots the sheriff and a mob forms to exact vengeance, but Cortez is an excellent tracker and horseman and he is able to elude the mob.

He rides from Central Texas to Laredo on his mare, chased by a growing number of rangers, and vigilantes who want to capture him. After several close encounters during which Gregorio uses his tracking skills and wits to trick the Rangers and escape, he reaches the border where the Mexican American community welcomes him. However, Gregorio soon learns that the sheriffs are torturing anybody who helps him, and he decides to surrender to the governor.

Once captured, legend has it that Cortez successfully defended himself in court. Goodman explains that, in reality, he had a team of lawyers paid for by the Mexican American community who organized on his behalf. After four years, the courts declare him innocent. Cortez has become a symbol of justice and the belief that through organized and nonviolent efforts, Mexican-Americans could put an end to the injustices they faced in Texas.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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