The Longoria Affair Discrepancies and Omissions

Valadez Knew about Benjamin Ruiz BEFORE He Filmed the Longoria Affair and Chose to OMIT This Knowledge from His Film

First Mexican-American Soldier Buried by Tom Kennedy in Three Rivers Before Felix Longoria

First Repatriated Mexican-American Soldier buried by Tom Kennedy in the Three Rivers Cemetery before the Felix Longoria Request

Omitted, the grave of Benjamin Ruiz lies in the Three Rivers Cemetery. Mr. Kennedy facilitated the complete services. Richard Hudson stood with Producer John Valadez over Ruiz's grave in 2009 and explained to him that Benjamin Ruiz's wake and burial was handled by the very man who was accused of refusing to "wake" or "bury" Felix Longoria. (Reported in both the San Antonio Express and the Valley Morning Star, January 12, 1949.)

Regarding Wake, Burial, and Funeral

The following discrepancies and omissions occur in The Longoria Affair documentary.

The Request

Omitted, the widow requested Kennedy to exclude her Longoria in-laws from the wake in the chapel, i.e., turn them away at the door. Kennedy refused saying "we've never done that and don't want to start now."  He suggests the widow use her home for the wake if she wishes to exclude her in-laws. Pianist, Betty Reynolds-Dickinson in the chapel at the time provides a notarized statement of fact. (Video with Betty's testimony, Online in this site. Notarized Statement, Dickinson Family Lawyer Archives.)

 

The Family Fight

Omitted, the family fight between Felix's father and Beatrice's boyfriend led to Mr. Kennedy's remark, "...the white's wouldn't like it." The fight is corroborated by Judge W.E. McMurray, the Justice of the Peace, George Flores, the deputy sheriff, and the Floore Report. It strained family relations. The context for the "white's" statement if a fight broke out in the chapel was based on the possibility of its happening during a simultaneous Anglo funeral. This fight is unmentioned, giving the viewer no reason for Kennedy's concern. (Majority Report. Texas 51st Legislature, Texas State Archives. Floore Report, LBJ Library, Austin, Texas.)

 

Wake Planning

Not clear, Kennedy planned and negotiated a wake, a funeral, and a burial in Three Rivers with Beatrice on January 8, 1949. There was no wake or funeral in Washington. Instead there was a burial held simultaneously with 18 other deceased veterans. (Majority Report, 51st Texas Legislature, Texas State Archives. Widow's request to LBJ for services in Washington, Hector Garcia Archives, TAMUCC.)

 

Accommodations for Felix's Widow

Omitted, Mr. Kennedy picked Beatrice up at the bus stop, took more time than usual in planning, drove her to the home Felix built for her, then the train depot to arrange Army's sending remains to Three Rivers, and finally took her to Moreno relatives' home. This does not fit the documentary's image of a man afraid of his community. (Carroll, Patrick. Felix Longoria's Wake.)

 

Monopoly on Services

Omitted, the Three Rivers' Funeral Home was the only funeral facility in all of Live Oak County serving all its citizens. Mr. Kennedy answered all county emergency calls to take sick or injured persons to the hospital as well as performing all last rites. He had no reason to fear losing business as the film portrays. (Testimony, Mrs. Jane Kennedy, and other Three Rivers and Live Oak County residents.)

 

Family Problems  

Omitted, in spite of Mr. Kennedy's repeated statements regarding family problems as the reason for his decision, the film does not mention that Beatrice did not walk across the street from her home to tell Felix's family about his return. The family learned about it in the newspaper three days later, and made immediate arrangements for full military honors in Three Rivers. Felix's brothers asked Mr. Kennedy to inform the family of the date because they did not expect to learn otherwise. (Report from the San Antonio Express)

 

First Repatriated Mexican-American Soldier Buried by Tom Kennedy in the Three Rivers Cemetery BEFORE the Felix Longoria Request

Omitted, the grave of Benjamin Ruiz lies in the Three Rivers Cemetery. Mr. Kennedy facilitated the complete services. Richard Hudson stood with Producer John Valadez over Ruiz's grave in 2009 and explained to him that Benjamin Ruiz's wake and burial was handled by the very man who was accused of refusing to "wake" or "bury" Felix Longoria. (Reported in both the San Antonio Express and the Valley Morning Star, January 12, 1949.)

 

Wake Customs

Not clear, all ethnics in the area in 1949 often chose home wakes. The documentary leads one to believe it was "Mexican" only. Mr. Kennedy was planning an Anglo home wake on the same day Beatrice met with him. On the next Tuesday, when Mr. Groh called, Mr. Kennedy was helping Mrs. Tex Jones plan a home wake for her husband who died of a heart attack that very morning. With no family problems, the most obvious place for the wake would have been Felix's parent's larger home, not the small house across the street. (Testimonies: Betty Dickinson and Joe Jones, son of Tex Jones.)

 

Dr. Garcia Changed from Wake Location to Refusal of Re-Interment (sic)

Omitted, Garcia's 17 telegrams to President Truman and other dignitaries stated that Mr. Kennedy was "un-American" and that he "refused...reinterment"(sic) for Felix because of his "Mexican ancestry". The junta announcement and Corpus news accounts both discuss only the wake. The nation reacted to what they believed was a refusal to bury as announced in the national news clip of the burial. (Junta announcement, Corpus Christi Caller, January 13, 1949, Garcia Telegram to dignitaries. TAMUCC Archives.)

 

Three Rivers' Efforts

Omitted, the mayor of Three Rivers sent a telegram to Dr. Garcia by lunch the day of the junta. It explained the misunderstanding. Then he offered: the chapel, his home, or the American Legion Hall for the wake. His telegram arrived at least 5 hours before Johnson's when the junta decided for Arlington. Mayor Montgomery's telegram is not mentioned in the film. (TAMUCC Archives) Instead, Sara Posas blames Three Rivers and the "ignorance of one man" for Felix being buried so far away where his family cannot visit. The city of Three Rivers paid for one member of the family to go to Washington, and women provided coats to be worn in Washington. The documentary credits the coats all being provided by GI Forum contributions. (Testimony of Ann Fair, life long teacher to Hispanic children in Three Rivers, in conversation with producer.)

 

Viewer Competency

Omitted, viewers are not given any reason to find Mr. Kennedy innocent. None of his testimony about the event, his gallant and decorated military service as a WWII field medic, his services to clients, kindnesses to the community of all ethnics, thoughtfulness toward his wife and daughter, or even the fun they shared described on camera is presented. It is all cut. That is why at the end of the first screening, a student stood and asked, "Why were the ‘whites' from Three Rivers included in the film?What did they add to the film?" Since the producer included the whites from Three Rivers, why didn't he allow them to present their side? The student saw this omission clearly. (The Longoria Affair, screened at the University of North Texas, October 13, 2010.)

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