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Civil rights leader Benny Martinez passes away

Posted at 8:11 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 22:35:16-05

(AP) - An iconic Mexican-American civil rights leader and a native of Goliad passed away this weekend.

Benny Martinez died of natural causes in Olmitos on Sunday.

Martinez is credited with helping to organize the historic Latino meeting with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, hours before the president was assassinated.

Martinez also organized boycotts against businesses that refused to hire Mexican-Americans when he returned from a tour in the Korean War.

He later joined LULAC and helped raise money for Mexican-Americans to pay their Texas poll taxes so they could vote.

Before becoming ill, the LULAC icon raised scholarship money for Hispanic students.

Benny Martinez died at the age of 85.