J.T. Canales House
The J.T. Canales House is located at 505 E. St. Charles St. Brownsville, TX. It is recognized as a Texas Historical Landmark. This Victorian transition house was built in 1913 by Baltazar Torres.
José Tomás "JT" Canales (1877–1976) was an attorney and judge, civil rights advocate and state legislator, who moved to Brownsville in 1903 and represented deep South Texas as a state representative (1905–1910). Having married in 1910, Canales purchased the lot in 1911, and he and his wife, Anne, built their home in 1913.
J.T. Canales served in the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 95th District of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Zapata counties (1905–1911) and later the 77th District of Cameron and Willacy Counties (1917–1921). As a legislator, Canales worked for public irrigation and education, prohibition, women's suffrage, and judicial and tax reform. He fought ethnic and racial discrimination and advocated for the rights of Mexican-Americans.
Between legislative terms, J.T. Canales served as Cameron County Judge and Cameron County Superintendent for public schools and continued to practice law in Brownsville.
He is perhaps best known for standing up to the Texas Rangers in 1919, when he filed nineteen charges against the Rangers and demanded an investigation into state sponsored violence against the citizens of Porvenir. Canales' ultimately brought about reformation and reorganization within the Texas Rangers, but at the expense of his personal safety and political career, as he endured threats from Ranger Frank Hamer and the Ku Klux Klan.
As a founding member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and author of its first constitution, J.T. Canales also served on its first board of trustees and national president (1932–1933).
Canales. (1919). 2022/044 Volume 1, Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the Texas State Ranger Force transcript of proceedings. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Lynch,Michael John, I.,II. (1996). South texas renaissance man: The humanitarian, political, and philanthropic activities of judge J. T. canales (Order No. 1381936). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304317087).