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Tony Campos Collection

Identifier:  MSS 0360

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the private and public papers of Antonio (Tony) Campos. The emphasis is on his involvement with LULAC leadership initiatives, and most notably, “The Little School of the 400’. Particular items of interest include letters to Tony Campos signed by Lyndon Baines Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and other political leaders (Box 1, Folder 8).


  • 1953-1987
  • Majority of material found in 1953-1959

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Tony Campos Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Antonio (Tony) Campos was born in Baytown, Texas on August 21, 1923. He attended Baytown public schools, and less than a month after graduating in 1942, Campos was drafted into military service. He served in the Army as a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne Division, spending most of his time in Northern France. After receiving an honorable discharge in October 1945, Campos used the GI Bill to enroll in college. He graduated from Baylor University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Campos also completed one year of Law School and in 1974 completed some graduate courses in Education at the University of Houston.

Tony Campos has devoted his life to fight for the advancement of Latinos and has engaged civil rights initiatives throughout South Texas. Campos was a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and held several leadership positions in this organization at the National, State and District levels. He played instrumental roles in several LULAC initiatives/milestones, most notably, the developing, planning, and implementation of the “Little School of the 400.” Created in 1957 and piloted in Ganado, TX, the goal of the Little School of 400 was to teach 400 English words to help Spanish-speaking children manage instruction given in English in the regular public educational system and therefore help them achieve higher levels of schooling. At the time Spanish-speaking children in Texas were labeled as ignorant and incapable of learning by the public school teachers, administrators, and systems across the state. This led to high dropout rates of Mexican Americans, many of whom did not further their education past the third grade. Felix Tijerina, then the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), along with Tony Campos, David Adame, Alfred Hernandez and Jacob Rodriguez, devised this program to help children better transition into the English-language environment of public schooling, and ultimately integrating in a segregated Texas. This program was the precursor to project “Head Start.”


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection is comprised of one box with eighteen folders arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Antonio (Tony) Campos.

Related Materials

OH 0338 Interview with Tony Campos; OH E 0212 Interview with Maria E. Campos; OH E 0213 Interview with Marc Campos; OH 0538 Esther Campos; RG E 0021 League of United Latin American Citizens Collection; MSS 0108 Felix Tijerina Sr. Family Collection
Tony Campos Collection
David Contreras in 2016, with further editing by Mikaela Selley in 2017.
September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002