Each year, the Library of Congress inducts 25 films into the United States National Film Registry. Cinematic works are selected for preservation in perpetuity and are considered by film scholars and historians across the country to have extraordinary cultural, historic, and aesthetic significance.
This year, Professor John J. Valadez’s documentary The Longoria Affair is among a select few nominated by Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro with the support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Broadcast on the primetime PBS series Independent Lens, The Longoria Affair tells the story of a key injustice – the refusal, by a small-town funeral home in Texas after World War II, to allow the family of a Mexican American soldier killed in battle use of the only funeral chapel in the county “because the whites wouldn’t like it” – and shows how the incident sparked outrage nationwide.
Two stubborn and savvy leaders, Senator Lyndon Johnson and activist Dr. Hector Garcia formed an alliance and life-long friendship over the incident. Their complex, often contentious relationship would help propel Latinos – for the first time in American history – into a national political force, carry John Kennedy to the White House, and ultimately lead President Johnson to sign perhaps the most important civil rights legislation of the 20th century, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“I’m attracted to cinema that is life-affirming, promotes understanding, and advances the democratic tradition. I believe that’s what The Longoria Affair does.” -- John Valadez