ENTERTAINMENT

VIDEO: The Small-Town Case That Birthed a Movement

Just a few days after this year’s historic Latino vote in the midterm elections, PBS’s Independent Lens debuted “The Longoria Affair,” a documentary set to warm the cockles of your empowered heart.

In 1949, the body of decorated Mexican-American war hero Felix Longoria was sent home to Three Rivers, TX for burial. But when Longoria’s widow went to the town’s only funeral home, she was told she wouldn’t be able to hold a wake in its chapel. “The whites wouldn’t like it,” the funeral director said.

The Longoria Affair, as it came to be called, outraged Latino veterans and became front-page news across the country. It also bonded two wily public figures—newly elected Senator Lyndon Johnson and activist Dr. Héctor García—in a relationship that would make Latinos into a significant voting block for the first time, help elect John F. Kennedy to the White House, and ultimately lead to Johnson’s signature on the most important civil rights legislation of the 20th century.

The documentary retells the story—and reveals that, in Three Rivers, old wounds have not yet healed.

Beginning on Nov. 10, the episode will be available for streaming from the PBS.org website for free, in both Spanish and English. You can check out where and when it’ll be airing in your area tonight here and watch a trailer below.

 

Watch the full episode. See more Independent Lens.