Reflecting on the Chicano Movement - The South Texan (2024)

It’s the 1960s and the sun is shining bright over the Texas A&I campus. The flawless blue sky is the perfect backdrop for the campus as it highlights its beauty.

There isn’t a cloud in the sky. The thought of the opportunities and possibilities that could be ahead is very exciting.

College is where you get to meet new people, pick your own classes, join clubs, be a part of Greek life and experience living on campus…well if you’re a white student that is. Turns out there is a cloud in the sky. This was a reality for Dr. Manuel Flores as he became a student at Texas A&I.

“I came here knowing it was a racist campus and fully aware that there would be some clubs and fraternities I would not be able to join. I didn’t care about Greek life, so that didn’t matter.

“But soon I noticed there was discrimination in housing in the community and if you were Mexican or Black you could not stay in certain dorms,” Flores recalled.

Hispanic and African-American students often found themselves looking for housing off campus which proved to be a tough challenge as well. As if that weren’t enough discrimination, minority students also found that professors assumed they were not intelligent.

“Professors expected that you were not smart enough and when you did well, they would question your ability. Who the hell did they think they were? Enough! Basta! We, the college students, knew it was time to step-up. It was time to protest in the streets, stir-up our fellow students and ask for change. Fortunately, we had a very understanding university president – James C. Jernigan – and he listened to us and joined our struggle,” Flores said.

Soon after, not just in Kingsville, students began to take a stand.

In 1967, five young men studying at St. Mary’s University including José Angel Gutierrez founded MAYO, Mexican American Youth Organization, and La Raza Unida.

They hoped that the creation of MAYO would help fight for social justice and unite Mexican Americans.

La Raza Unida party was created in 1970 to bring Mexican-Americans determination to be recognized in their communities. South Texas was in dire need of help as Mexican-Americans were the majority of the population but still had little power to use their voices.

“Jose Angel Gutierrez and Carlos Guerra were among the best leaders of the Chicano revolution nationwide, not only in Texas,” Flores said. Guerra was a graduate of A&I.

As Hispanic students began to fight back, Flores joined The South Texan and he made sure people were going to hear the truth.

“I got a job as a reporter for The South Texan and I made it my business to tell the story of the Chicanos’ struggle for recognition at our university, our state and our nation. Stories that had not been told before were being told. We weren’t in the shadows of College Hall anymore. We were here.”

Soon after the Chicano protests began.

Reflecting on the Chicano Movement - The South Texan (1)

Hundreds of Hispanic students gathered together in the streets to fight to get equal education and equal rights.

“MAYO once stormed College Hall and took over the president’s office. And, in Kingsville, across from St. Martin’s, El Teatro Campesino of Luis Valdez came to visit. It was very inspirational…Our goal was to change our world and then the entire world to get people to be treated with class, dignity and respect.

“We fought hard and demanded things for all people. But, guess what? It wasn’t enough. So, we must continue to strive to fight for civil rights and liberty and make America a more perfect union,” Flores said.

Many Hispanics risked their lives for the fight for equality.

Just like many other progressive groups that dared to speak up they were met with hatred and violence while protesting. For years many Hispanics put their life on the line while fighting.

The Chicano Movement brought on not just rallies and protests but school walk outs all over the nation in hopes that their dissatisfaction with the way they were treated would be heard.

Mexican-American students were tired of being scolded for speaking Spanish and not being provided with essentials like books so that they could have an equal education. Walking out of their classrooms led to many being met with violence, being arrested and put in jail despite peacefully protesting.

Luis Garza, who was a photojournalist for La Raza, recalled the horrible treatment that students faced for exercising their right to protest in an interview for “The Walkout – How a student movement in 1968 changed schools forever.”

“You’re going up against an authoritative system that allowed for no protests and would rather suppress it rather than engage in dialogue, so there were consequences.

“You have the LAPD. You have sheriffs. You have undercover surveillance. You have intimidation and threats that are being made, you’re being castigated and vilified for protesting for a subject that does not take into account who you are, what you’re trying to express,” he said.

The movement lasted until the 1970s, but the fight was far from over.

After years of fighting, much was accomplished as Hispanics were ultimately treated better and were allowed to participate in ways they could not before.

However, there is a new part of the struggle. The Chicano Movement is rarely spoken about.

In an in interview for The University of Texas at Austin’s “Voces oral history project” Gutierrez expressed his concern for the new Hispanic generation’s lack of knowledge about who they are.

“We need to study ourselves; we need to tell the world the state of the Chicano and Latino in the U.S., that’s not done. We need a center for biography, we don’t know who our heroes and heroines are.

“We are always idolizing the dancers on Dancing with the Stars or the newest boxer or a football player. We can’t name our leaders that’s the problem we need a lot of infrastructure within our own group… know who you are,” Gutierrez said.

Flores said now is the time for Hispanics to keep their heritage alive.

“What my generation did, was not enough. So, batter-up,” he said. “You must regain our pride. It’s okay to speak Spanish, it’s okay to listen to Tejano music, it’s okay to dance cumbias and polkas and it’s okay to be brown and proud.

“It’s okay to acknowledge that many of us are Mestizo (mixed race) and that the blood of the Spanish conquistador and Aztec warriors and princesses run through our veins. But more importantly, we must not be afraid to be scholars, academics, lawyers, professors, accountants, etc. It’s not easy, but someone must do it. Why not you all?”

Reflecting on the Chicano Movement - The South Texan (2024)


What was the Chicano Movement in Texas? ›

The Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s was es- sentially a grassroots community insurrection and rebellion against a stifling racism and oppression that strangled the Latino and Black communities of Houston and Texas in that time, and a determination to fight and defeat it.

What were the main points of the Chicano Movement? ›

The Hispanic community embarked on a social movement aimed at combating institutional racism, increasing cultural hegemony, and guaranteeing equal labor and political rights. The Chicano Movement sparked national conversations on the political and social autonomy of Hispanic groups everywhere in the United States.

What did the Chicano Movement focus on quizlet? ›

What did the Chicano movement fight for? Equal rights, equal education, equal jobs, and equal housing opportunities.

What was the Chicano Movement and what strategies did Chicanos use to reach their goals from the 1960s? ›

The Chicano Movement, also referred to as El Movimiento, was a social and political movement in the United States that worked to embrace a Chicano/a identity and worldview that combated structural racism, encouraged cultural revitalization, and achieved community empowerment by rejecting assimilation.

How did the Chicano Movement change society? ›

Overall, the movement aimed to end discrimination and negative stereotypes against Mexican Americans, and it sought to expand workers' rights, voting rights, educational equality, and land usage.

What was the Mexican Revolution in South Texas? ›

The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Hispanic Texans) against the centralist government of Mexico in the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas.

Which statement best describes the goal of the Chicano Movement? ›

The correct statement that best describes the Chicano movement is option D: The Chicano movement was made up of different groups working for equal social and political rights for Mexican Americans.

Where did Chicano come from? ›

The term “Chicano” is based on the indigenous, Nahuatl word “mexica” that was incorporated into Spanish and then used as an identifier in the United States for the descendants of Mexicans starting in the late nineteen fifties and sixties.

Who speaks Chicano English? ›

Chicano English is a dialect spoken mainly by people of Mexican ethnic origin in California and the Southwest. There are other varieties associated with Latino communities as well.

Who were the important people in the Chicano Movement? ›

In fact, during the Chicano Movement (El Movimiento) of the 1960s and 1970s, Chicanos established a strong political presence and agenda in the United States through the leadership of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta.

What was the focus of the Chicano Mural movement? ›

Since its inception, the Chicano Mural Movement has had dual purposes: to advocate for social and political equality for Chicano-American communities and to give public voice to Chicano culture through art and artistic expression.

What was the Chicano Movement the movement of Chicano art? ›

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.

What were the four components of the Chicano Movement? ›

The "movement" or movimiento was really a convergence of multiple movements that historians have broken down into at least four components: A youth movement represented in the struggle against discrimination in schools and the anti-war movement; the farmworkers movement; the movement for political empowerment, most ...

What was the greatest success of the Chicano Movement? ›

Ultimately, the Chicano Movement won many reforms: The creation of bilingual and bicultural programs in the southwest, improved conditions for migrant workers, the hiring of Chicano teachers, and more Mexican-Americans serving as elected officials.

What challenges did the Chicano Movement face? ›

Discrimination, educational segregation, voting rights, and ethnic stereotyping were principle issues of the activists, as well as the need for a minimum wage for migrant agricultural workers and citizenship for the children of Mexican-born parents.

What is the history of Mexican Texas? ›

Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico. Mexico gained independence in 1821 after winning its war against Spain, which began in 1810. Initially, Mexican Texas operated similarly to Spanish Texas.

What was the name of the Chicano political party that was founded in Crystal City Texas? ›

The Raza Unida Party's ideology was based on Chicano nationalist ideas and some Marxist ideas. Their local platform in Crystal City supported farmers, students, and the working class.

What was the outcome of Hernandez v. Texas? ›

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court extended constitutional rights to Mexican Americans in the landmark civil rights case Hernandez v. Texas. Before the ruling, Mexican Americans were officially classified as white but faced overt discrimination and segregation.

What is the difference between a Chicano and a Tejano? ›

The word Chicano comes from the term Mexica, the Nahuatl (Aztec language) name for the Aztecs. Mexicano, pronounced Mechicano (some say Meshicano), is the Nahuatl/Spanish pronunciation for Mexican. Tejanos are Mexicans and Chicanos from Texas.


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