On January 1, 1937, Manuel B.

Bravo was sworn in as county judge of Zapata County,
a post he would hold for the next 20 years. He worked with many Texas and national
politicians, including James Allred, Lloyd Bentsen, Kika de la Garza, Ralph Yarborough,
and, most prominently, Lyndon Johnson. Teir association began with the special
Senate election of 1941 and is documented in the more than 50 letters between the two
in Bravo’s personal papers. Later, during Johnson’s 1948 Senate runof against Coke
Stevenson, voting irregularities were alleged in Zapata County when election returns
from Precinct No. 3 were reported missing. Quezada analyzes the Bravo papers for
any evidence that he and Johnson had arranged the disappearance and ofers possible
alternative explanations.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Zapata County was one of six South Texas counties where
the Tejano majority dominated local politics and held most public ofces, and Bravo
became known as one of the “Mexican bosses” of South Texas. But now, Quezada draws
a more nuanced picture of bossism than has been presented previously, analyzing
the role of infuential leading families but looking as well at the degree of economic
integration into the state and nation as factors in how bossism developed.
“Quezada’s solid and well-researched
local study ofers a wealth of intimate detail
on the daily political life of an important fgure
from Texas.”—Choice magazine
$34.95 cloth. $17.95 paper.
6.125 x 9.25, 312 pp.
25 b&w photos., 11 tables.
J. GILBERTO QUEZADA, Associate Superintendent for Special
Programs, Finance, and Pupil Services for the South San Antonio
Independent School District, is an active member of the Texas State
Historical Association and several other historical societies. He received
his master’s degree in history from St. Mary’s University.
2000 Heritage Award, presented by the Webb County Heritage Foundation
2000 Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award for the “Book Making the Most
Signifcant Contribution to Knowledge”, presented by the Texas Institute of Letters
2000 Luciano Guajardo Historical Awareness Award, presented by the Webb County
Heritage Foundation
2001 Certifcate of Commendation, presented by the American Association
for State and Local History

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