1975 Voting Rights Act

Maria del Rosario Castro

At a young age, Rosie Castro was outspoken about racial, educational, housing and gender inequality. Despite facing pushback, she became a prominent political and civil rights activist.

Castro was born in San Antonio on March 7, 1947. Her mother, Victoria Castro, migrated from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and cleaned houses in affluent Anglo neighborhoods.

Dora Flores Olivo

Dora Flores Olivo became one of the few Latinas elected to the Texas Legislature in 1997 and remains a fierce advocate of Latino voting rights and education.

Olivo was born March 6, 1943, in Sinton, Texas, 129 miles southeast of San Antonio. She was the third of eight children born to Isidro Ramirez Flores and Luz Garcia Flores.

She attended Texas A&I University in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) and earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1966. After finishing college, she taught at Zavala Elementary in Corpus Christi.

Patricia Villareal

June 5, 1975, was a red-letter day for Patricia Villareal, a San Antonio native and a staff member of the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the House Judiciary Committee. That was the day the bill extending the Voting Rights Act – and expanding it to Latinos – was passed.

Villareal was born in Sonora, California, to Lonnie Villareal and Stella Finnegan. Her father was a Mexican American who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He met her mother, a woman of Irish descent, in Manchester, England.

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