NPR Story
7:00 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Tejano Matriarch Immortalized by U.S. Postal Service

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Lydia Mendoza has been called the first lady of Tejano and Conjunto Music. On Wednesday the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a Forever Stamp in her honor as part of a music icons series.

At the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, a woman regarded as the mother of Tejano was immortalized on postage. She’s been called La Alondra de la Frontera or Lark of the Border.

Lydia Mendoza was born in Houston in 1916 to a musical family and as she progressed in her talents she became a master of the 12-string guitar. Mendoza is one of several pioneering musicians being honored in the Postal Service's Musical Icon Forever Stamp series.

Maria Teresa Dominguez is the vice president for government relations with the Postal Service.

“She’s the first Latina, the first Tejano performer and she’s the very first in a very distinguished series that is going to some feature some really incredible American music artists," Dominguez said.

The stamp features Mendoza holding her guitar and the Texas flag. Other artists to be featured include Johnny Cash and Ray Charles.

Mendoza spent some of her youth in Mexico before moving to San Antonio in the 1930s, where she and her family would play in city squares.

“I’m thankful for everyone that still remembers her and continues to remember her legacy," said Veronica Acevedo, Mendoza's granddaughter. "She’s somebody who worked hard, fought hard, but never forgot her family. She never forgot where she came from and she never forgot her roots.”

Mendoza died in San Antonio in 2007 at the age of 91.

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