Tijerina, Pedro “Pete” Jr.
- Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez
Tijerina, Pedro “Pete” Jr. (1922–2003), attorney and civil rights activist, was born to a furniture mover, Pedro Martinez Tijerina, and Gertrudis Guerra Tijerina in Laredo, Texas on the U.S.–Mexico border. Tijerina was part of the World War II generation of Mexican Americans who grew up under segregation throughout the Southwest and parts of the Midwest. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade and joined the Civilian Military Training Corps (CMTC), a New Deal program designed to steer young men into possible military service. At one point the Mexican American members of the corps—but not the white members—were ordered to report for crew cuts. Tijerina’s friends appointed him to represent them and complain about the unequal treatment. Tijerina was promptly expelled from the CMTC....