José de la Luz Sáenz (Luz) believed in fighting for what was right. Though born in the United States, Luz often faced prejudice because of his Mexican heritage. Determined to help his community, even in the face of discrimination, he taught school—children during the day and adults in the evenings.
When World War I broke out, Luz joined the army, as did many others. His ability to quickly learn languages made him an invaluable member of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, Luz found that prejudice followed him even to war, and despite his efforts, he often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon returning home to Texas, he joined with other Mexican American veterans to create the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which today is the largest and oldest Latinx civil rights organization.