Photographic portrait of Raoul A. Cortez, journalist, media pioneer, and civil rights leader, 1930s. Born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 1905, Cortez moved to the United States quickly became an enterpreneur. His many business ventures included working as a sales representative for the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, Texas and operating a theatrical agency that brought entertainers from Latin America and Mexico to the United States. He is most remembered for his work in journalism and media. Cortez believed media should recognize and serve the large population of Spanish-speaking Americans. He began his career in journalism as a reporter for La Prensa, the Spanish-language newspaper, in the interwar period. He bought radio airtime on KMAC in the 1940s and began applying for a license to start is own, all-Spanish language station in 1944, telling the Federal Communications Commission that the station would win Mexican American support for the war effort. He received the license 1946, after World War II (1941-1945) ended and opened KCOR radio. True to his vision, the station used the tag line "la voz Mexicana" or "the voice of Mexican Americans." It also carried his name embedded in the call letters; COR stood for Cortez.
In risky and entrepreneurial move, he applied for and was granted a license for a television station in 1954, just as Americans were purchasing record numbers of televisions. KCOR-TV broke ground as the first Latino-owned, all-Spanish TV station in the continental United States. Although Cortez would sell the station in 1961, it would become the basis for the Spanish International Network and later Univision.
As a community advocate who promoted the civil rights of Latinos in the United States, Cortez served two terms as the president of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), worked for the improved treatment of Bra ceros working in the U.S. As a business leader, he was President of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce, or the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 10 in x 8 in; 25.4 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
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Credit Line
Gift of Emilio and Irma Nicolas
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Work and Industry: Production and Manufacturing
KCOR Radio and Television
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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