Mexican Americans have served in U.S. armed forces since the Civil War. But it was the generation of Mexican Americans returning from World War II who mobilized their communities and changed the political landscape of the West. Laying the groundwork for the Chicano movement of the 1960s, organizations like the American G.I. Forum began advocating on behalf of Hispanic veterans who were denied the educational, health care, housing, and other rights guaranteed by the G.I. Bill. Often working in concert with the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other Latino civil rights organizations, the Texas-based G.I. Forum soon engaged in broader social battles over school desegregation and voter registration rights. Today, the G.I. Forum is a nationally recognized source of scholarships among Mexican American students. This paño, titled Valor, the Spanish word for courage, commemorates the Korean War Medal of Honor winner Rodolfo Hernández. Paños are an art form created traditionally by Chicano prisoners on white handkerchiefs. Often mailed as gifts to friends and families, the images on paños remember loved ones, depict important memories, and tell stories about the dark side of life, as well as redemption. The maker of this paño is unknown.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Hernandez, Rudy
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
overall: 42.5 cm x 42 cm; 16 3/4 in x 16 9/16 in
Place Made
United States: New Mexico, Albuquerque
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Popular Culture
Medal of Honor
Mexican America
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Title (Spanish)
Credit Line
Gift of Rudy Padilla

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