Hector Perez Garcia, Mexican American Surgeon, Veteran and Civil Rights Advocate

January 17, 1917 is the birthday of Hector Perez Garcia (1914- 1996).  A Mexican American surgeon, World War II veteran and civil rights advocate, Garcia founded the American GI Forum in 1948, to assist veterans returning from the war.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, our nation’s highest civilian honor.  Earlier in his life, while fulfilling his medical residency in Nebraska, the FBI investigated complaints about him by local residents, for being a “Mexican” wearing an officer’s uniform.

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