DATE:  March 17, 2004
CONTACT: Dr. Paul Hain, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities (361) 825-2659; Dr. Pat Carroll, Professor, College of Arts and Humanities (361) 825-3073; Jorge A. Ramirez, Assistant Vice President for Communications (361) 825-2427

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Professor Awarded Tullis Prize for BestTexas History Book Published in 2003
Dr. Pat Carroll, professor of history at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was awarded the Tullis Prize for the best Texas History book published in 2003 at the Texas Historical Association’s annual meeting in Austin, Friday, March 5. Carroll’s book, “Felix Longoria’s Wake,” is an account of the events surrounding the attempt to hold a wake for the 25-year-old Mexican-American soldier in his hometown of Three Rivers, Texas in 1949. Longoria, who received the Bronze Star posthumously, was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Cagayan Valley, Luzon, Philippines on June 16, 1945. However, his body was not returned to his hometown until 1949.

The refusal of the local mortuary to allow Longoria’s body to lie in state in its chapel made the soldier a national symbol of racial discrimination and propelled the American GI Forum, which had been formed by Dr. Hector P. Garcia just months earlier, into the national spotlight. Through the efforts of Garcia, freshman U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and others, Longoria was given a hero’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 16, 1949.

“Dr. Carroll’s new book is important locally because it provides a context and interpretation of the important events which catapulted the American GI Forum into national standing in the struggle for civil rights,” said Dr. Paul Hain, dean of the University’s College of Arts and Humanities. “Dr. Carroll was a friend of Dr. Hector P. Garcia and many of the people whose important work is chronicled and put into perspective in his book.”