• Biography of Jose “Joe” May



    U.S. military veteran, civil rights advocate, voting rights champion and education proponent, Jose “Joe” May, was born in Laredo, Texas in 1944. He attended and graduated from Laredo public schools and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University at Commerce. May was known for his hard work and determination. He harvested grapes as an agricultural worker picking grapes and worked in a fiberglass factory to pay his way through college.

    May served two combat tours as a U.S. Army Ranger, earning the Combat Infantryman Badge and the National Defense Service Medal.

    His passion for helping the poor, the disenfranchised and those who lacked a strong political voice was demonstrated in his life’s work as a public servant with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Dallas County Community Action Agency and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, all organizations devoted to helping individuals realize the American dream. That concern was also echoed in his long history of community service, which included two terms as the president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and as a board member of Operation SER-Jobs for Progress. He also served as chairman of the City of Dallas’ Community Development Advisory Committee and vice chair of the Dallas Citizens Charter Review Committee.

    In 2002, May stood for and won election as a member of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees and quickly earned a reputation for raising issues of concern to the Hispanic community, and speaking out on behalf of programs to benefit poor and Spanish-speaking students and families.

    A tireless advocate of voting rights, May was involved in all of the city’s major redistricting and reapportionment efforts in the three decades before his death in 2006. In 2009, in recognition of his service, the Dallas ISD trustees Board of Trustees named the Joe May Elementary School in his honor.

Joe May 2017