Chicano Movement

The Chicano Movement of the 1960s, also called the Chicano civil rights movement or El Movimiento, was a civil rights movement extending the Mexican-American civil rights movement of the 1960s with the stated goal of achieving Mexican American empowerment. Similar to the Black Power movement, scholars have also written about the repression and police brutality experienced by members of this movement which some connect to larger government-organized activity such as COINTELPRO.

Chicano Movement
Part of Chicanismo
Cesar chavez visita a colegio cesar chavez
Cesar Chavez with demonstrators
Date1940s to 1970s
Caused byRacism in the United States
MethodsOccupations, Protest, Boycotts, School walkouts
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures


The Chicano Movement encompassed a broad list of issues—from restoration of land grants, to farm workers' rights, to enhanced education, to voting and political rights, as well as emerging awareness of collective history. Socially, the Chicano Movement addressed negative ethnic stereotypes of Mexicans in mass media and the American consciousness. In an article in The Journal of American History, Edward J. Escobar describes some of the negativity of the time:

The conflict between Chicanos and the LAPD thus helped Mexican Americans develop a new political consciousness that included a greater sense of ethnic solidarity, an acknowledgment of their subordinated status in American society, and a greater determination to act politically, and perhaps even violently, to end that subordination. While most people of Mexican descent still refused to call themselves Chicanos, many had come to adopt many of the principles intrinsic in the concept of chicanismo.[1]

Chicanos did this through the creation of works of literary and visual art that validated the Mexican American ethnicity and culture practices.

The term Chicanos was originally used as a derogatory label for the sons and daughters of Mexican migrants. Some prefer to spell the word "Chicano" as "Xicano". This new generation of Mexican Americans were singled out by people on both sides of the border in whose view these Mexican Americans were not "American", yet they were not "Mexican", either. In the 1960s "Chicano" was accepted as a symbol of self-determination and ethnic pride.

The Chicano Movement also addressed discrimination in public and private institutions. Early in the twentieth century, Mexican Americans formed organizations to protect themselves from discrimination. One of those organizations, the League of United Latin American Citizens, was formed in 1929 and remains active today.[2]

The Chicano Movement had been fermenting since the end of the U.S.–Mexican War in 1848, when the current U.S–Mexican border took form. Since that time, many Chicanos and Chicanas have campaigned against discrimination, racism and exploitation. The Chicano Movement that culminated in the early 1970s took inspiration from heroes and heroines from their indigenous, Mexican and American past.

The movement gained momentum after World War II when groups such as the American G.I. Forum (AGIF), which was founded by returning Mexican American veteran Dr. Hector P. Garcia, joined in the efforts by other civil rights organizations.[3] The AGIF first received national exposure when it took on the cause of Felix Longoria, a Mexican American serviceman who was denied a funeral service in his hometown of Three Rivers, Texas after being killed during WWII.[4] After the Longoria incident, the AGIF quickly expanded throughout Texas and by the 1950s, chapters were founded across the U.S.[5]

Mexican American civil rights activists also achieved several major legal victories including the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster court case ruling which declared that segregating children of "Mexican and Latin descent" was unconstitutional and the 1954 Hernandez v. Texas ruling which declared that Mexican Americans and other historically-subordinated groups in the United States were entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.[6][7]

There were several leaders throughout the Chicano Movement. In New Mexico there was Reies López Tijerina who worked on the land grant movement. He fought to regain control of what he considered ancestral lands. He became involved in civil rights causes within six years and also became a cosponsor of the Poor People's March on Washington in 1967. In Texas, war veteran Dr. Hector P. Garcia founded the American GI Forum and was later appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In Denver, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzáles helped define the meaning of being a Chicano through his poem Yo Soy Joaquin (I am Joaquin)[1]. In California, César Chávez and the farm workers turned to the struggle of urban youth, and created political awareness and participated in La Raza Unida Party.

The most prominent civil rights organization in the Mexican-American community is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), founded in 1968.[8] Although modeled after the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF has also taken on many of the functions of other organizations, including political advocacy and training of local leaders.

Some women who worked for the Chicano movement felt that members were being too concerned with social issues that affected the Chicano community, instead of addressing problems that affected Chicana women specifically. This led Chicana women to form the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional. In 1975, it became involved in the case Madrigal v. Quilligan, obtaining a moratorium on the compulsory sterilization of women and adoption of bilingual consent forms. These steps were necessary because many Hispanic women who did not understand English well were being sterilized in the United States at the time, without proper consent.[9][10]

With the widespread immigration marches which flourished throughout the U.S. in the Spring of 2006, the Chicano Movement has continued to expand in its focus and the number of people who are actively involved within the Mexican American community. As of the 21st Century, a major focus of the Chicano Movement has been to increase the (intelligent) representation of Chicanos in mainstream American media and entertainment.There are also many community education projects to educate Latinos about their voice and power like South Texas Voter Registration Project. SVREP's mission is to empower Latinos and other minorities by increasing their participation in the American democratic process. Members of the beginning of the Chicano movement like Faustino Erebia Jr., still speak about their trials and the changes they have seen over the years.[11][12]

The movement started small in Colorado yet spread across the states becoming a worldwide movement for equality. While there are many poets who helped carry out the movement, Corky Gonzales was able to spread the Chicano issues worldwide through "The Plan Espiritual de Aztlán." This manifesto advocated Chicano nationalism and self-determination for Mexican Americans. In March 1969 it was adopted by the First National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference based in Colorado. Adolfo Ortega says, "In its core as well as its fringes, the Chicano Movement verged on strivings for economic, social, and political equality." This was a simple message that any ordinary person could relate to and want to strive for in their daily lives. Whether someone was talented or not they wanted to help spread the political message in their own way. While majority of the group consisted of Mexican-Americans many people of other nationalities wanted to help the movement. This helped moved the movement from the fringes into the more mainstream political establishment. The "Political Establishment" typically consisted of the dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation. Many successful organizations were formed such as the Mexican American Youth Organization(MAYO). Mayo was established to fight for Civil rights of Mexican Americans. During the early 1960s in Texas many Mexican-Americans were treated like second class citizens and discriminated against. While progress has been made for equality Immigrants even to this day are still a target of misunderstanding and fear. Chicano Poetry was a safe way for political messages to spread without fear of being targeted for by speaking out. Politically, the movement was also broken off into sections like chicanismo. "Chicanismo meant to some Chicanos dignity, self respect, pride, uniqueness, and a feeling of a cultural rebirth." Mexican-Americans wanted to embrace the color of their skin instead of it being something to be ashamed of. Many Mexican-Americans unfortunately had it engrained on them through society that it was better socially and economically to act "White" or "Normal." The movement wanted to break that mindset and embrace who they were and be loud and proud of it. A lot of people in the movement thought it was acceptable to speak Spanish to one another and not be ashamed of not being fluent in English. The movement encouraged to not only discus tradition with other Mexican-Americans but others not within the movement. America was a land of immigrants not just for the social and economically accepted people. The movement made it a point not to exclude others of other cultures but to bring them into the fold to make everyone understanding of one another. While America was new for many people of Latin descent it was important to celebrate what made them who they were as a culture. Entertainment was powerful tool to spread their political message inside and out of their social circles in America. Chicanismo might not be discussed frequently in the mainstream media but the main points of the movement are: self-respect, pride, and cultural rebirth.

This is a list of the major epicenters of the Chicano Movement.

Chicanas in the movement

While Chicanas are typically not covered as heavily in literature about the Chicano movement, contemporary literature written by Chicana feminists have begun to re-write the history of women in the movement. Chicanas who were actively involved within the movement have come to realize that their intersectional identities of being both Chicanas and women were more complex than their male counterparts.[13] Through the involvement of various movements, the main goal of these Chicanas was to include their intersectional identities within these movements, specifically choosing to add women issues, racial issues, and LGBTQ issues within movements that ignored such identities.[14]

Sociologist Teresa Cordova, when discussing Chicana feminism, has stated that Chicanas change the discourse of the Chicano movement that disregard them as well as oppose the hegemonic feminism that neglects race and class.[14] Through the Chicano movement, Chicanas felt that the movement was not addressing certain issues that women faced under a patriarchal society, specifically addressing material conditions. Within the feminist discourse, Chicanas wanted to bring awareness to the forced sterilization many Mexican women faced within the 1960s.[14] The film No Mas Bebes describes the stories of many these women who were sterilized without consent. Although Chicanas have contributed significantly to the movement, Chicana feminist have been targeted for betrayal to the Chicano movement overall as well as seen as anti-family and anti-man.[14] By creating a platform that was inclusive to various intersectional identities, Chicana theorists who identifies as lesbian and heterosexual were in solidarity of both.[14] With their navigation through patriarchal structures Chicana feminist, through their intersectional identities, added to the Chicano discourse: political economy, imperialism, and class relations. Enriqueta Longeaux and Vasquez discussed in the Third World Women's Conference, "There is a need for world unity of all peoples suffering exploitation and colonial oppression here in the U.S., the most wealthy, powerful, expansionist country in the world, to identify ourselves as third world peoples in order to end this economic and political expansion."[15]


Scholars have paid some attention to the geography of the movement, and situate the Southwest as the epicenter of the struggle. However, in examing the struggle's activism, maps allow us to see that activity was not spread evenly through the region and that certain organizations and types of activism were limited to particular geographies.[16] For instance, in southern Texas where Mexican Americans comprised a significant portion of the population and had a history of electoral participation, the Raza Unida Party started in 1970 by Jose Angel Gutierrez hoped to win elections and mobilize the voting power of Chicanos. RUP thus became the focus of considerable Chicano activism in Texas in the early 1970s.

The movement in California took a different shape, less concerned about elections. Chicanos in Los Angeles formed alliances with other oppressed people who identified with the Third World Left and were committed to toppling U.S. imperialism and fighting racism. The Brown Berets, with links to the Black Panther Party, was one manifestation of the multiracial context in Los Angeles. The Chicano Moratorium antiwar protests of 1970 and 1971 also reflected the vibrant collaboration between African Americans, Japanese Americans, American Indians, and white antiwar activists that had developed in Southern California.

Chicano student activism also followed particular geographies. MEChA established in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, united many university and college Mexican American groups under one umbrella organization. MEChA became a multi-state organization, but an examination of the year-by-year expansion shows a continued concentration in California. The Mapping American Social Movements digital project show maps and charts demonstrating that as the organization added dozens then hundreds of chapters, the vast majority were in California, which should lead scholars to ask what conditions made the state unique, and to wonder why Chicano students in other states were less interested in organizing MEChA chapters.

Political activism

Mural Chicano Movement
Casa Aztlán. A mural in Pilsen, Chicago for the Chicano Movement

In 1949 and 1950, the American G.I. Forum initiated local "pay your poll tax" drives to register Mexican American voters. Although they were unable to repeal the poll tax, their efforts did bring in new Hispanic voters who would begin to elect Latino representatives to the Texas House of Representatives and to Congress during the late 1950s and early 1960s.[17]

In California, a similar phenomenon took place. When World War II veteran Edward R. Roybal ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, community activists established the Community Service Organization (CSO). The CSO was effective in registering 15,000 new voters in Latino neighborhoods. With this newfound support, Roybal was able to win the 1949 election race against the incumbent councilman and become the first Mexican American since 1886 to win a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.[18]

The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), founded in Fresno, California came into being in 1959 and drew up a plan for direct electoral politics. MAPA soon became the primary political voice for the Mexican-American community of California.[19]

Student walkouts

After World War II, Chicanos began to assert their own views of their own history and status as Mexican Americans in the US and they began to critically analyze what they were being taught in public schools.[20]

In the late 1960s, when the student movement was active around the globe, the Chicano Movement inspired its own organized protests like the mass walkouts of high school students and the Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles in 1970.[21] The student walkouts occurred in Denver and East LA of 1968. There were also many incidents of walkouts outside of the city of Los Angeles. In the LA County high schools of El Monte, Alhambra, and Covina (particularly Northview) the students marched to fight for their rights. Similar walkouts took place in 1978 of Houston high schools to protest the discrepant academic quality for Latino students. There were also several student sit-ins as objection to the decreasing funding of Chicano courses.

The blowouts of the 1960s can be compared to the 2006 walkouts, which were done as opposition to the Illegal Immigration Control bill.

Student and youth organizations

Chicano student groups such as United Mexican American Students (UMAS), Mexican American Youth Association (MAYA) in California, and the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in Texas, developed in universities and colleges in the mid-1960s. South Texas had a local chapter of MAYO that also made significant changes to the racial tension in this area at the time. Members included Faustino Erebia Jr, local politician and activist, who has been a keynote speaker at Texas A&M University at the annual Cesar Chavez walk.[22][23] At the historic meeting at the University of California, Santa Barbara in April 1969, the diverse student organizations came together under the new name Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MECHA). Between 1969 and 1971, MECHA grew rapidly in California with major centers of activism on campuses in southern California, and few chapters were created along the East coast at Ivy LeagueSchools.[24] And by 2012, MECHA had more than 500 chapters throughout the U.S. Student groups such as these were initially concerned with education issues, but their activities evolved to participation in political campaigns and to various forms of protest against broader issues such as police brutality and the U.S. war in Southeast Asia.[23] The Brown Berets, a youth group which began in California, took on a more militant and nationalistic ideology.[25]

Anti-war activism

The Chicano Moratorium was a movement by Chicano activists that organized anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and activities throughout the Southwest and other Mexican American communities from November 1969 through August 1971. The movement focused on the disproportionately high death rate of Mexican American soldiers in Vietnam as well as discrimination faced at home.[26] After months of demonstrations and conferences, it was decided to hold a National Chicano Moratorium demonstration against the war on August 29, 1970. The march began at Belvedere Park in LA and headed towards Laguna Park (since renamed Ruben F. Salazar Park) alongside 20,000 to 30,000 people. The Committee members included Rosalio Munoz and Corky Gonzales and only lasted one more year but the political momentum generated by the Moratorium led many of its activists to continue their activism in other groups.[27] The rally became violent when there was a disturbance in Laguna Park. There were people of all ages at the rally because it was intended to be a peaceful event. The sheriffs who were there later claimed that they were responding to an incident at a nearby liquor store that involved Chicanos who had allegedly stolen some drinks.[28] The sheriffs also added that upon their arrival they were hit with cans and stones. Once the sheriff arrived they claimed the rally to be an "unlawful assembly" which turned things violent. Tear gas and mace were everywhere, demonstrators were hit by billy clubs, and arrested as well. The event that took place was being referred to as a riot, some have gone as far to call it a "Police Riot" to emphasize that the police were the ones who initiated it [28]

Relations with Police

Edward J. Escobar details in his work the relationship between various movements and demonstrations within the Chicano Movement and the Los Angeles Police Department between the years 1968-1971. His main argument explores how "police violence, rather than subduing Chicano movement activism, propelled that activism to a new level -- a level that created a greater police problem than had originally existed" (1486).[1] At one Chicano Moratorium (also referred to as the National Chicano Moratorium) demonstration as part of the Anti-war activism, popular journalist Ruben Salazar was killed by police after they shot a tear-gas projectile into the Silver Dollar Café where he was after covering the moratorium demonstration and succeeding riots.[1] This is an example Escobar presents that inspired political consciousness in an even broader base of Mexican-Americans, many considering him a "martyr" (1485).[1]

Relations between Chicano activists and the police mirrored those with other movements during this time. As Escobar states, Black Civil Rights activists in the 50s and 60s "set the stage by focusing public attention on the issue of racial discrimination and legitimizing public protest as a way to combat discrimination" (1486).[1] Marginalized communities began using this public platform to speak against injustices they had been experiencing for centuries at the hands of the U.S. government, perpetuated by police departments and other institutions of power. Like many of the movements during this time, Chicanos took inspiration from the Black Panther Party and used their race, historically manipulated to disenfranchise them, as a source of cultural nationalism and pride.

The Chicano Movement and its sub-organizations were infiltrated by local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to acquire information and cause destabilization from within the organizations. Methods used by law enforcement included "red-baiting, harassment and arrest of activists, infiltration and disruption of movement organizations, and violence" (1487).[1] Agent provocateurs were oftentimes planted in these organizations to disrupt and destabilize the movements from within. Repression from law enforcement broadened Chicano political consciousness, their identities in relation to the larger society, and encouraged them to focus their efforts in politics.

Chicano art

Art of the Movement was the burgeoning of Chicano art fueled by heightened political activism and energized cultural pride. Chicano visual art, music, literature, dance, theater and other forms of expression have flourished. During the 20th century, an emergence of Chicano expression developed into a full-scale Chicano Art Movement. Chicanos developed a wealth of cultural expression through such media as painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Similarly, novels, poetry, short stories, essays and plays have flowed from the pens of contemporary Chicano writers.

Chicano Art developed around the 1960s.[29] In its beginning stages, Chicano art was distinguished by the expression through public art forms. Chicano artists created a bi-cultural style that included US and Mexican influences. The Mexican style can be found by their use of bright colors and expressionism. The art has a very powerful regionalist factor that influences its work. Examples of Chicano muralism can be found in California at the historic Estrada Courts Housing Projects in Boyle Heights.[30] Another example is La Marcha Por La Humanidad, which is housed at the University of Houston.

About 20 years later, u Chicano artists were affected by political priorities and societal values. They were also becoming more accepted by society. They were becoming more interested making pieces for the museums and such, which brought about new forms of artwork, like easel paintings. By the late 1970s, women became very prominent in the artistic world. An increase in individualism was more apparent as Chicano artists entered the art business market.

Chicano press

The Chicano press was an important component of the Chicano Movement to disseminate Chicano history, literature, and current news.[31] The press created a link between the core and the periphery to create a national Chicano identity and community. The Chicano Press Association (CPA) created in 1969 was significant to the development of this national ethos. The CPA argued that an active press was foundational to the liberation of Chicano people, and represented about twenty newspapers, mostly in California but also throughout the Southwest.

Chicanos at many colleges campuses also created their own student newspapers but many ceased publication within a year or two, or merged with other larger publications. Organizations such as the Brown Berets and MECHA also established their own independent newspapers. And Chicano communities published newspapers like El Grito del Norte from Denver and Caracol from San Antonio.

Over 300 newspapers and periodicals in both large and small communities have been linked the Movement.[32]


(Taken from the Chicano Activism section of the main article Aztlán)

The concept of Aztlán as the place of origin of the pre-Columbian Mexican civilization has become a symbol for various Mexican nationalist and indigenous movements.

The name Aztlán was first taken up by a group of Chicano independence activists led by Oscar Zeta Acosta during the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They used the name "Aztlán" to refer to the lands of Northern Mexico that were annexed by the United States as a result of the Mexican–American War. Combined with the claim of some historical linguists and anthropologists that the original homeland of the Aztecan peoples was located in the southwestern United States even though these lands were historically the homeland of many American Indian tribes (e.g. Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Comanche, Shoshone, Mojave, Zuni and many others). Aztlán in this sense became a "symbol" for mestizo activists who believed they have a legal and primordial right to the land, although this is disputed by many of the American Indian tribes currently living on the lands they claim as their historical homeland. Some scholars argue that Aztlan was located within Mexico proper. Groups who have used the name "Aztlán" in this manner include Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, "Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán").

Many in the Chicano Movement attribute poet Alurista for popularizing the term Aztlán in a poem presented during the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in Denver, Colorado, March 1969.[33]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Escobar, Edward J. (March 1993). "The Dialectics of Repression: The Los Angeles Police Department and the Chicano Movement, 1968-1971". The Journal of American History. 79: 1483–1514. doi:10.2307/2080213. JSTOR 2080213.
  2. ^ "LULAC: LULAC History - All for One and One for All". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Found in the Garcia Archives: Inspiration from a Notable Civil Rights Leader". Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  4. ^ Williams, Rudi. "Congress Lauds American G.I. Forum Founder Garcia". U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 2012-04-14.
  5. ^ "American GI Forum Map". Mapping American Social Movements. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  6. ^ "LatinoLA - Hollywood :: Mendez v. Westminster". LatinoLA. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  7. ^ "HERNANDEZ v. TEXAS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  8. ^ MALDEF - About Us Archived April 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "STERILIZED in the Name of Public Health". PubMed Central (PMC). Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Untitled Document". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2013-02-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Chicano Power in the U.S.A." Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine - Xcano Media, Los Angeles
  13. ^ Ordóñez, Elizabeth (Summer 2006). "Sexual Politics and the Theme of Sexuality in Chicana Poetry". Letras Femeninas. 32: 67–92.
  14. ^ a b c d e Hurtado, Aída (1998). "Sitios y Lenguas: Chicanas Theorize Feminisms". Hypatia. 13 (2): 134–161. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.1998.tb01230.x. JSTOR 3810642.
  15. ^ Mariscal, Jorge (2002). "Left turns in the Chicano Movement: 1965-1975". Monthly Review. 54 (3): 59–68. doi:10.14452/mr-054-03-2002-07_6.
  16. ^ "Chicano/Latino Movements History and Geography". Mapping American Social Movements Through the 20th Century.
  17. ^ ""Our First Poll Tax Drive": The American G.I. Forum Fights Disenfranchisement of Mexican Americans in Texas". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Election of Roybal, democracy at work : extension of remarks of Hon. Chet Holifield of California in the House of Representatives". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Untitled Document". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2009-06-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Our PLACE Called Home - The Chicano Student Walkout Archived May 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "The South Texan Texas A&M University-Kingsville" (PDF). March 23, 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  23. ^ a b Moore, J. W., & Cuéllar, A. B. (1970). Mexican Americans. Ethnic groups in American life series. Englewood, Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. p. 150. ISBN 0-13-579490-0
  24. ^ "MEChA chapters map". Mapping American Social Movements. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  25. ^ Moore, J. W., & Cuéllar, A. B. (1970). Mexican Americans. Ethnic groups in American life series. Englewood, Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. p. 151. ISBN 0-13-579490-0
  26. ^ "30 Years After the Chicano Moratorium". Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2013-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ a b T.,, García, Mario. The Chicano generation: testimonies of the movement. Oakland, California. ISBN 9780520286023. OCLC 904133300.
  29. ^ Goldman, Shifra M. "Latin American artists of the USA". Oxford Art Online. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Estrada Courts". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Chicano/Latino Movements History and Geography". Mapping American Social Movements.
  32. ^ "Chicano Newspapers and Periodicals, 1966-1979". Mapping American Social Movements.
  33. ^ "Alurista Essay - Critical Essays". eNotes. Retrieved 23 September 2015.

Further reading

  • Gómez-Quiñones, Juan, and Irene Vásquez. Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977 (2014)
  • Meier, Matt S., and Margo Gutiérrez. Encyclopedia of the Mexican American civil rights movement (Greenwood 2000) online
  • Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, women, or dogs allowed: The rise of the Mexican American civil rights movement (University of Texas Press, 2010) online
  • Rosales, F. Arturo. Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement (Arte Público Press, 1997); online
  • Sánchez, George I (2006). "Ideology, and Whiteness in the Making of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, 1930–1960". Journal of Southern History. 72 (3): 569–604. JSTOR 27649149.

External links


Aztlán (from Nahuatl languages: Aztlān, Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈast͡ɬaːn] (listen)) is the ancestral home of the Aztec peoples. Aztecah is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlan". Aztlan is mentioned in several ethnohistorical sources dating from the colonial period, and each of them give different lists of the different tribal groups who participated in the migration from Aztlan to central Mexico, but the Mexica who went on to found Mexico-Tenochtitlan are mentioned in all of the accounts. Historians have speculated about the possible location of Aztlan and tend to place it either in northwestern Mexico or the southwest US, although there are doubts about whether the place is purely mythical or represents a historical reality.

Brown, Not White

Brown, Not White: School Integration and the Chicano Movement in Houston is a 2005 book by Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., published by the Texas A&M University Press. Brown, Not White discusses Chicano activism in Houston, Texas during the 20th century.

It is the third volume in the University of Houston (UH) Series in Mexican American Studies, sponsored by the UH Center of Mexican American Studies. Dr. Tatcho Mindiola Jr. sponsored this publication series.

Caló (Chicano)

Caló (also known as Pachuco) is an argot or slang of Mexican Spanish that originated during the first half of the 20th century in the Southwestern United States. It is the product of zoot-suit pachuco culture that developed in the 1930s and '40s in cities along the US/Mexico border.

Católicos por La Raza

Católicos por La Raza is a political association organized by Ricardo Cruz in the later 1960s in Los Angeles, California. Formed in the fall of 1969, Católicos por La Raza was made up of Chicano Catholic student activists who were engaged with both "their Catholic and Chicano heritage," enabling them to name and fight against the racism in the Catholic Church and the effects on the community. The CPLR was concerned with the discrimination and hypocrisy of the church's institutional power and wealth, arguing that such should be "brought to bear in solving the current Chicano urban and rural crisis". CPLR sought to transform the Church into an institution for social change, creating projects focussed on housing development, education, and small business development; believing that the Catholic Church in Los Angeles should use its power and wealth to address the economic and social needs of Mexican Americans.

The CPRL, among many other organizations in the larger Chicano Movement, served to fight police brutality, employment discrimination, and the systemic racism in religious, educational, and political institutions. While the Católicos por La Raza was only active for a few years, the association's actions propelled various other movements in the 1970s, such as PADRES, an organization of Chicano priests, and Las Hermanas, an organization of Chicana/Latinx religious women.

Chicana feminism

Chicana feminism, also called Xicanisma, is a sociopolitical movement in the United States that analyzes the historical, cultural, spiritual, educational, and economic intersections of Mexican-American women that identify as Chicana. Chicana feminism challenges the stereotypes that Chicanas face across lines of gender, ethnicity, race, class, and sexuality. Most importantly, Chicana feminism serves as a movement, theory and praxis that helps women reclaim their existence between and among the Chicano Movement and American feminist movements.


Chicanismo is the ideology behind the Chicano movement. It is an ideology based on a number of important factors that helped shape a social uprising in order to fight for the liberties of Mexican-Americans. Chicanismo was shaped by a number of intellectuals and influential activists as well as by the artistic and political sphere, and the many contributors to the ideology collaborated to create a strong sense of self-identity within the Chicano community. Cultural affirmation became one of the main methods of developing Chicanismo. This cultural affirmation was achieved by bringing a new sense of nationalism for Mexican-Americans, drawing ties to the long forgotten history of Chicanos in lands that were very recently Mexican, and creating a symbolic connection to the ancestral ties of Meso-America.


Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity of some Mexican Americans in the United States. The term Chicano is sometimes used interchangeably with Mexican-American. Both names are chosen identities within the Mexican-American community in the United States; however, these terms have a wide range of meanings in various parts of the Southwest. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement by Mexican Americans to express pride in a shared cultural, ethnic and community identity.

The term Chicano had negative connotations before the Chicano Movement, and still is viewed negatively and archaic by more conservative members of this community. Over time, it has gained some acceptance as an identity of pride within the Mexican-American community in the United States.

The pro-indigenous/Mestizo nature of Chicano nationalism is cemented in the idea of mestizaje. Ultimately, it was the experience of Mexican Americans in the United States which culminated in the creation of a Chicano identity.

Chicano art movement

The Chicano Art Movement represents attempts by Mexican-American artists to establish a unique artistic identity in the United States. Much of the art and the artists creating Chicano Art were heavily influenced by Chicano Movement (El Movimiento) which began in the 1960s. Chicano art was influenced by post-Mexican Revolution ideologies, pre-Columbian art, European painting techniques and Mexican-American social, political and cultural issues. The movement worked to resist and challenge dominant social norms and stereotypes for cultural autonomy and self-determination. Some issues the movement focused on were awareness of collective history and culture, restoration of land grants, and equal opportunity for social mobility. Throughout the movement and beyond, Chicanos have used art to express their cultural values, as protest or for aesthetic value. The art has evolved over time to not only illustrate current struggles and social issues, but also to continue to inform Chicano youth and unify around their culture and histories. Chicano art is not just Mexican-American artwork: it is a public forum that emphasizes otherwise "invisible" histories and people in a unique form of American art.

Chicano nationalism

Chicano nationalism is the pro-indigenist ethnic nationalist ideology of Chicanos. While there were nationalistic aspects of the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the Movement tended to emphasize civil rights and political and social inclusion rather than nationalism. For this reason, Chicano nationalism is better described as an ideology than as a political movement.

Decoto, California

Decoto is a former settlement in Alameda County, California, now annexed to Union City. It was located 5 miles (8 km) north-northwest of downtown Newark.In 1867, Ezra Decoto, a local landowner sold land to the railroad. A settlement grew up around the place. A post office operated in Decoto from 1871 to 1959, with a closure from 1872 to 1875.In 1958, Decoto joined Alvarado to form Union City.Decoto is shown on historical maps which show it north of Alameda Creek and in the flat land below the hills, on the railroad tracks. This corresponds to present day Union City.

Decoto Road in Union City exists in the present day and the intersection of Decoto Road and Mission Blvd. in Union City appears to be approximately where the town or village of Decoto was located.

The Decoto area's population is largely Latino, mostly Mexican. Starting in the 1930s and especially during World War 2 Mexican families began moving to Decoto. Many were braceros that came to work during the labor shortages during the War years. Decoto's population is still predominantly Latino.

During the early 1970s the Chicano Movement was in full swing and racial tensions were high in Decoto between the Latino community and police and the local Union City Government. In April 1974 Alberto Terrones was shot and killed during a robbery by Union City police. Riots erupted in Decoto. To calm tensions, Union City Police Chief William Cann came to speak at Our lady of Rosary Catholic Church in Decoto. He was shot by a sniper and died a few months later.

United Airlines Flight 615 crashed near Decoto in 1951.

Mexican American Youth Organization

The Mexican American Youth Organization (acronym MAYO, also described as the Mexican Youth Organization) is a civil rights organization formed in 1967 in San Antonio, Texas, USA to fight for Mexican-American rights. The creators of MAYO, Los Cinco (meaning "the five"), consisted of José Ángel Gutiérrez, Willie Velásquez, Mario Compean, Ignacio Pérez, and Juan Patlán. MAYO and its political organization, Raza Unida Party, played an important part in Texas history during the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were a part of the larger Chicano movement in the United States, and played a role in bringing about civil rights for Mexican-Americans.

Mexican American bibliography

This is a Mexican American bibliography. This list consists of books, and journal articles, about Mexican Americans, Chicanos, and their history and culture. The list includes works of literature whose subject matter is significantly about Mexican Americans and the Chicano/a experience. This list does not include works by Mexican American writers which do not address the topic, such as science texts by Mexican American writers.

Museo Alameda

The Museo Alameda was the largest Latino museum in the USA and the first formal Smithsonian affiliate outside of Washington D.C., located in the historic Market Square in Downtown San Antonio, Texas. In 1996, Secretary I. Michael Heyman of the Smithsonian Institution announced a physical presence of the Smithsonian in San Antonio and gave birth to the Smithsonian's affiliations program. In May of the same year, Governor George W. Bush signed a joint resolution of the Texas legislature establishing the Museo Alameda as the official State Latino Museum.

The Museo Alameda opened to the public in April 2007, and has since showcased work from throughout the United States and all of Latin America. Past Exhibitions include: Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement (March 2009), American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music (June 2009), Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City (July 2008), Myth, Mortals, and Immortality: Works from Museo Soumaya de México (June 2008) and Azucar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz (September 2007). The Museo has also displayed the work of several local San Antonio artists including Alex Rubio and Vincent Valdez in their 2007 exhibition San Anto: Pride of the Southside/En El Mero Hueso (December 2007) and Jesse Treviño in his 2009 exhibition Jesse Treviño: Mi Vida (October 2009). In 2011 Manuel Castillo: The Painting of a Community was an exhibit that honored the late Executive Director of San Anto Cultural Arts Manny Castillio and his contributions to San Antoino's Westside Murals among the artist who participated were local artists who painted murals for the San Anto Cultural Arts Mural Program. Castiilo died in January 2009. The show featured works by Castillo and 16 past and present San Anto muralists who had brightened San Antonio's Westside with their work since 1996. The roster included: Valerie Aranda, David Blancas, Ruth Buentello, Jose Cosme, Adriana Garcia, Gerry and Cardee Garcia, Jane Madrigal, Cruz Ortiz, Juan Ramos, Israel Rico, Christian Rodriguez, Mike Roman, Alex Rubio, and Enrico Salinas

In August 2012, the Museo Alameda announced its impending closure on September 30, 2012, with A&M-San Antonio taking on a new five-year lease; Univision station KWEX-DT also uses the space under a sub-lease as a secondary downtown studio.

Plan de Santa Bárbara

El Plan de Santa Bárbara: A Chicano Plan for Higher Education is a 155-page document, which was written in 1969 by the Chicano Coordinating Council on Higher Education. Drafted at the University of California Santa Barbara, (UCSB) documents serves as a blueprint for the inception of Chicana/o Studies programs in colleges and universities throughout the nation. The Chicano Coordinating Council expresses political mobilization to be dependent upon political consciousness, thus the institution of education is targeted as the platform to raise political conscious amongst Chicanos and spur higher learning to political action. The Plan proposes a curriculum in Chicano studies, the role of community control in Chicano education and the necessity of Chicano political independence. The document served as a framework for educational and curriculum goals for the Chicano movements within the institution of education, while being the foundation for the Chicano student group MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán).The plan itself begins with a manifesto which calls for a renaissance and a “quest for cultural expression and freedom” and continues by pushing back against racist power structures and assimilation and a push toward the importance of community and pride in Chicanismo. The manifesto asks the colleges and universities within state of California to act in the following areas: 1. Admission and recruitment of Chicano students, faculty, administrators, and staff; 2. A curriculum program and an academic major relevant to the Chicano cultural and historical experience; 3. Support and tutorial programs; 4. Research programs; 5. Publications programs; and 6. Community, cultural, and social action programs. Finally, it calls out for students, faculty, employees and the community to come together as “central and decisive designers and administrators of these programs”.Following the manifesto, the document lays out a plan for organizing Chicano programs; recruitment and admissions, support programs, curriculum, political action, the outline of the degrees offered including a Bachelor of Arts and an associate degree, and proposed courses including those for Chicano History, Contemporary Politics of the Southwest, and Mexican American Sociology. The document closes with an outline of a Barrio Center program which aims to reach out to students outside of the colleges and universities in regards to dissemination of college entrance information, community engagement, and the presence of on-going research proposed by Chicano scholars”. Throughout the plan are pictures of those in the Chicano movement as well as art drawn by members of MEChA. This manifesto was adopted in April 1969.

Quinto Sol

Quinto Sol was the first fully independent publishing house to surface from the Chicano movement in the Sixties. Editorial Quinto Sol (Quinto Sol Publications) was founded in 1967 at UC Berkeley by Octavio I. Romano, a Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Health, in collaboration with Nick C. Vaca and Andres Ybarra. The name "Quinto Sol" is Spanish for "Fifth Sun" and it refers to the Aztec myth of creation and destruction. Since the beginning of the Chicano movement in the 1960s, this concept has become a pathway to cultural expression. The Fifth Sun has constantly been integrated into the music, art and literature of the Chicano idea.The goals of the publication house included "cultural unity and self-determination" and the publishing house, its authors, and the works they produced were centrally important in the Chicano Movement in the 1970s. Aiming to create an academic and literary outlet for Chicano voices, it originated from the movement's need of an unbiased artistic venue for Mexican American authors. Literary nationalism was, after all, the driving cultural force behind "El Movimiento" (Chicano Movement) at the end of the 1960s

Ruben Salazar

Ruben Salazar (March 3, 1928 – August 29, 1970) was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the first Mexican-American journalist from mainstream media to cover the Chicano community.Salazar died during the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War on August 29, 1970, in East Los Angeles, California. During the march, Salazar was struck by a tear-gas projectile fired by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy. No criminal charge was filed, but Salazar's family reached an out-of-court financial settlement with the county.

Teatro Campesino

El Teatro Campesino (Spanish for "The Farmworker's Theater") is a Chicano theatre company in California. Performing in both English and Spanish, El Teatro Campesino was founded in 1965 as the cultural arm of the United Farm Workers and the Chicano Movement with the "full support of César Chávez." Originally based in Delano, California, during the Delano Strike, the theatre is currently based in San Juan Bautista, California.

Currently, El Teatro Campesino’s mission is “…to create a popular art with 21st century tools that presents a more just and accurate account of human history, while encouraging the young women and men of a new generation to take control of their own destiny through creative discipline, vibrant education, economic independence, and artistic excellence.”

The Revolt of the Cockroach People

The Revolt of the Cockroach People is a novel by Oscar Zeta Acosta. It tells the story of a Chicano lawyer, Buffalo Zeta Brown, fictionalizing events from Oscar Acosta's own life, including the East L.A. walkouts at Garfield High School, the Christmas protests at St. Basil's church, the Castro v. Superior Court decision of 1970 and Acosta's run for sheriff of Los Angeles County later that year, and the death of Ruben Salazar, called "Roland Zanzibar" in the novel. Brown becomes involved with the Chicano movement when he moves to Los Angeles in 1968 looking to write a book. Brown spends three years with the Chicano Militants, defending them in various court cases and helping to organize protests and marches. The novel depicts the radical Chicano movement in the fictional barrio of "Tooner Flats" in East Los Angeles. The leaders are eventually indicted on charges of conspiracy to disrupt the schools; Brown defends them and wins.

Xicana literature

Chicana literature is a form of literature that has emerged from the Chicana Feminist movement. It aims to redefine Chicana archetypes in an effort to provide positive models for Chicanas. Chicana writers redefine their relationships with what Gloria Anzaldúa has called "Las Tres Madres" of Mexican culture by depicting them as feminist sources of strength and compassion.According to the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society, "Chicana feminist writings helped to develop a discourse in opposition to the Eurocentric frameworks." Chicana writing grew out of Chicana feminism, through the feminist journals founded since the 1960s – one of which led to Norma Alarcón's Third Woman Press; the assertions of Chicana feminism in essays; and the portrayal of the gender crisis in the Chicano Movement in the poetry and fiction of Chicana authors.

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