Birthday of Reies Lopez Tijerina, Political Activist

On September 21, 1926 in a one-room adobe home near Falls City, Texas, Reies Lopez Tijerina began his turbulent, brilliant, controversial life.  Tijerina’s family started as sharecroppers but were reduced to migrant workers, and he spent his early life working in the fields.  His experiences with discrimination inspired his life as a social activist; as he stated in an interview, “We were happy in poverty. Earthly possessions didn’t bother me, but I was always attracted…by that fascinating power that is justice.”  His radical acts of civil disobedience over land grant restoration in New Mexico led to a felony conviction and imprisonment on several occasions.  In turn, Tijerina unsuccessfully tried to apprehend US Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger in a citizen’s arrest for “decisions detrimental to the civil rights of minority groups”.  Tijerina continued to advocate for the Chicano movement and on behalf of the Latinx holders of land grants who were dispossessed after the Mexican American War.

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