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Tejano Matriarch Immortalized By U.S. Postal Service

Joey Palacios
Members of Lydia Mendoza’s family pose in front of a large rendition of her Music Icon stamp in the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.";

Lydia Mendoza has been called the first lady of Tejano and Conjunto Music and Wednesday the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a forever stamp in her honor as part of a music legends series.

La alondra de la frontera (the lark of the border) was honored at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center on the West Side.

Mendoza was born to a musical family in Houston in 1916 and she progressed in her talents, eventually mastering the 12-string guitar.

Mendoza is one of several pioneering musicians being honored in the postal services' Music Icon stamp series.

"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," said Maria Teresa Dominguez, the vice-president for government relations with the postal service

The stamp features Mendoza holding her guitar in  front of the Texas flag. Other artists yet 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.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules