Today begins a series of blog posts highlighting titles digitized in Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’s repository of historic American newspapers, by the UNT Libraries’ Digital Newspaper Unit from 2016-2018. The Digital Newspaper Unit has received National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to work with the Library of Congress in building access to historic Texas newspapers. The 2016-2018 award cycle focused on non-English newspaper content. El Regidor is also available on the Portal to Texas History as part of the Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

This essay was prepared by our own Sarah Lynn Fisher, Texas-NDNP project coordinator, and Brooke Edsall, Digital Newspaper Unit Imaging Lead.

El Regidor

In 1888 Pablo Cruz founded El Regidor (also available on the Portal), a weekly Spanish-language newspaper, with Cruz serving as both publisher and editor. El Regidor reported on issues concerning Tejano people in San Antonio, giving first-person, eyewitness accounts of Texas politics. In his editorials, Cruz detailed the Mexican immigrant’s struggle to obtain United States citizenship. Cruz, himself a naturalized Mexican immigrant, used El Regidor as a platform to publicize his social and political goals for the Mexican immigrant community (Orozco 2019).

In 1893 El Regidor measured 13 inches by 20 inches, typically published four-page issues, and aligned itself with the agrarian populist People’s Party (Barnes 2019). The Party’s support of small landowners and opposition to centralization of power resonated with Cruz and his immigrant readers. However, following the Party’s attempts to limit the voting rights of Mexican immigrants in Texas, which culminated in the pivotal 1897 civil rights case In Re Ricardo Rodríguez (Acosta 2019), Cruz abandoned the Populist movement. El Regidor remained independent until 1906, when it declared itself to be Republican. Its circulation grew from a modest 1,200 in 1896 to nearly 10,000 at the end of its run in 1915 (Kanellos & Martell 2000). The paper included national and international newswires, focusing on the politics of Mexico in particular. The last page of every issue from 1904 to 1915 is dominated by advertising for medicines and local merchants.

Cruz used his paper to voice discontent with those who questioned and violated civil rights of barrio residents by encouraging them to unite against behavior such as educational segregation of children of Mexican ancestry (Menchaca 2011). In 1901, Cruz started a campaign through El Regidor to raise funds for the defense of Gregorio Cortez, a Mexican man charged with the murder of Sheriff Morris of Karnes County. Cruz, convinced the murder of Sheriff Morris was justified, advocated for Cortez in the pages of El Regidor. The campaign was a success – funds were allocated to hire Judge B. R. Abernethy of Gonzalez and Samuel Belden of San Antonio to conduct the defense and Cortez was eventually pardoned in 1913 (Martinez 2003).

Cruz died in 1910. His wife, Zuelma P. de Cruz, edited and published the paper, suspending publication in 1915. After Cruz’s death, El Regidor’s masthead still credited “Fundador, Pablo Cruz.” (Orozco 2019). Col. Francisco A. Chapa, who published El Imparcial , took Cruz’s place as an activist in the community, particularly in the effort to defend Gregorio Cortez. Cruz’s son, Pablo Cruz, II, was a founding member of a Mexican American fraternal organization that eventually organized as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

For more information about the National Digital Newspaper Program, you can visit the NEH NDNP page.

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Acosta, T. P. (2019). IN RE RICARDO RODRIGUEZ. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

Barnes, D. A. (2019). PEOPLE’S PARTY. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

Kanellos, N., and Martell, H. (2000). Hispanic Periodicals in the United States, Origins to 1960: A Brief History and Comprehensive Bibliography. Houston: Arte Publico Press.

Martinez, A. L. R. (2003). The Voice of the People: Pablo Cruz, El Regidor, and Mexican American Identity in San Antonio, Texas, 1888-1910. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from

Menchaca, M. (2011). Naturalizing Mexican immigrants: A Texas history. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Orozco, C. E. (2019). CRUZ, PABLO. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

A Twentieth century history of southwest Texas. (1907). Vol. 1. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co. Retrieved from

For more information about the National Digital Newspaper Program, you can visit the NEH NDNP page.