200 YEARS OF CHICANO/LATINO HISTORY
TIMELINE : 1970-1976
February 28, 1970 Rosalío Muñoz organizes a march to protest the high numbers of Mexican Americans dying in Vietnam. In spite of a pouring rain, 5,000 people turn out for the protest march. It is subsequently known as “The Moratorium In the Rain.”
March 6, 1970 Students at Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles continue to protest educational inequities with more walk-outs. This time the Los Angeles police department responds with force beating many students before horrified parents and arresting more than 37 students.
April, 1970 In Texas, the La Raza Unida political party runs 16 candidates for various city offices in Crystal City, Cotulla and Carrizo Springs and wins all but one seat. The victory in Crystal City is particularly significant. Unlike the victory of “Los Cinco” in 1963, this time activists are determined to keep political control of the town. Although Anglos make up only 15% of the town’s population, for years they have controlled the city council, school board, police and fire departments and other municipal agencies. They are stunned by the victories of La Raza Unida; white flight ensues as many Anglo Americans leave town. The historic victory in Crystal City sends shockwaves throughout the Southwest as Chicano activists see the possibility of finally winning political control of their lives. José Ángel Gutíerrez reflects, “No one could argue with success.” Within weeks, La Raza Unida chapters are created throughout the Southwest. (SEE BIO: José Ángel Gutiérrez)
May 5, 1970 The first Mexican American Roman Catholic Bishop, Patrick F. Flores, is consecrated.
June, 1970 Chicano students meet in Santa Barbara, California and draft El Plan De Santa Barbara which outlines an approach to higher education rooted in community activism and Chicano identity.
July, 1970 After five years of strike and grape boycott, the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) is successful in getting twenty-five powerful California grape growers to sign a three-year union contract guaranteeing farm laborers a decent salary, a union-run hiring hall, a health clinic, credit union and decent work conditions.
July, 1970 A National Chicano Moratorium Committee march and rally is held in Houston, Texas, drawing more than 5,000 people. It is one of several anti-war protests organized by the Chicano Moratorium Committee in anticipation of a national march and rally scheduled for August.
August 29, 1970 Anti-war activists Rosalio Muñoz and Bob Elias organize a march and rally to protest the high number of Latinos deaths in Viet Nam. The Chicano Moratorium
attracts more than 25,000 participants to East Los Angeles from throughout the nation and ends in an attack on the crowd by police and sheriffs. Ruben Salazar, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, is one of three people killed during the rioting. (SEE EVENT: 1970 Chicano Moratorium March)
1970 In Los Angeles, the Comisión Femeníl Mexicana Nacionál (CFMN) is created at a meeting of the Mexican American National Issues Conference. The new organization is created to call attention to issues affecting Mexican American women and their families.
1970 Mexican American actor Richard “Cheech” Marin begins his career as part of the comedy team of Cheech and Chong, beginning a decades long career in acting. The antics of the two comedians popularize the concept of the pot-smoking “cholo” to American audiences.
1970 Veteran Chicano labor organizer and educator Ernesto Galarza publishes Barrio Boy, one of the first Chicano autobiographies which chronicles his experiences growing up in Sacramento, California.
January 31, 1971 More than 5,000 attend a follow an anti-war rally held in East Los Angeles and are attacked by Los Angeles County Sheriffs. Fifteen protesters are shot and one is killed.
1971 More then 600 women attend the First National Conference of La Raza Women convened in Houston, Texas.
1971 Ramona Acosta Bañuelos, the owner of a tortilla factory, is appointed U.S. Treasurer becoming the first Latina to hold a Cabinet post.
1971 Chicano authors emerge with a diversity of national expressions about the Chicano identity. Sabine Ulibarri writes of rural life in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico in Cuentos de Nuevo Mexico (Tierra Amarilla: Stories of New Mexico); Chicano poet Ricardo Sanchez writes of urban barrio life in Canto y Grito Mi Liberación; Alurista (Alberto Baltazar Urista) writes of Chicano Indian identity in his collection of poems Floricanto En Aztlán, and Tomás Rivera writes of growing up in a family of migrant farm workers in Y No Se Lo Trago La Tierra (And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him Up.).
1971 Chicano cinema emerges with Requiem-29, a documentary about the August 29th Chicano Moratorium police riot and its aftermath, produced by Moctesuma Esparza and Directed by David García and with Jesús Treviño’s América Tropical, which chronicles the whitewashing of a Davíd Alfaro Siqueiros mural in Olvera Street, Los Angeles, during the 1930s. (SEE EVENT: 1932 Whitewashing of América Tropical Mural)
1971 With the rise in militancy in Chicano activist groups, the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) infiltrates Chicano organizations. Agents provacateur begin to sow dissent among Chicano activists.
July 26, 1971 After serving two years in prison, Reies López Tijerina is paroled. He returns to New Mexico to continue his efforts on behalf of the land grant movement.
1972 The Mexican Museum in San Francisco is founded by Chicano artist Peter Rodriguez.
1972 Members of the La Raza Unida political party, an all Latino third party in American politics, convenes a national convention in El Paso, Texas where José Ángel Gutiérrez and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales compete for the post of national chairman. The convention is covered by the national news media further, convincing Democratic Party leaders that they
must make further overtures to the Mexican American community. (SEE EVENT: 1972 La Raza Unida National Convention)
1972 La Luz, one of the first national Latino magazine to reflect a all-Latino perspective, begins publishing in Denver, Colorado.
1972 Yo Soy Chicano (I Am Chicano), written and produced by Jesús Salvador Treviño,
is the first documentary about Mexican Americans to be broadcast nationally. The PBS film reviews Mexican American history in the United States and highlights current leaders and issues. The organization AIM (Accuracy in Media) unsuccessfully attempts to block the national broadcast.
1972 Para La Gente, a popular album by the Texas group Little Joe y La Familia, establishes a new style of music known as La Onda Chicana (The Chicano Wave); it is a combination of Tex-Mex music with jazz and rock and roll.
1972 Chicano art continues to flourish with the completion of Luis Jiménez’s resin epoxy and fiberglass sculptures Indian to Rockets and the opening of the Mechicano Art Center in East Los Angeles by artists Leonard Castellanos and Charles Félix. Muralist Willie Herron is commissioned to paint a mural Doliente De Hidalgo, at the City Terrace pharmacy after his previous mural Quetzalcoatl is whitewashed. In San Francisco, meanwhile, Mujeres Muralistas comprised of Patricia Rodriguez, Consuelo Méndez, Irene Pérez, and Graciela Carrillo, begin to paint murals in the Mission District highlighting the role of women in the Latin communities.
1972 In Los Angeles, Chicanos produce and host a number of television talk shows focusing on the Mexican American
community. Producers of such shows as Unidos (ABC), The Siesta Is Over (CBS), Impacto (NBC), Community Feedback (KTLA), and Acción Chicano (PBS) use the opportunity to produce short films focusing on Chicano themes.
1972 Rodolfo Anaya wins the Premio Quinto Sol award for his novel, Bless Me Ultima, a coming of age narrative with magical overtones set in the rural communities of New Mexico.
By 1980, it will become the most widely read book written by a Chicano.
1972 Activist Chicano scholar and professor Rudolfo Acuña publishes Occupied America, A History of Chicanos which methodically chronicles five hundred of colonization of the Mexican American and which soon becomes the standard text in Chicano studies classes throughout the United States.
Nov. 3, 1972 The United Farm Workers Union successfully defeats California’s Proposition 22, an legislative initiative organized by California growers that would have made the secondary boycott, on which the UFW based much of its victories, illegal.
1972 A follow up meeting of the La Raza Unida national committee convened by José Ángel Gutíerrez in New Mexico is boycotted by Corky Gonzalez, effectively bringing an end to the possibility of a national La Raza Unida party.
March, 1973 Following a street disturbance, the Crusade for Justice is attacked by more than 200 Denver police officers. In the ensuing shoot-out, a Crusade apartment is destroyed and one of the Crusade members, Luis Martinez, is killed. The Crusade will never recover from the assault as frightened members begin to leave the organization.
1973 Chicano literature continues to grow. Estela Portillo Trambley wins the Quinto Sol award for her short story collection, Rain of Scorpions and Other Writings, and Rolando Hinojosa wins the Premio Quinto Sol for his novel Estampas del Valle y Otras Obras (published in English as The Valley). Victor Villaseñor’s novel Macho! is published by Bantam press. Over the next two decades Villaseñor will develop as one of the most prolific and successful of Chicano writers.
1973 Cinco Vidas, a documentary about five different Mexican Americans living in Los Angeles, is broadcast on NBC. The one-hour documentary, directed by José Luis Ruiz and produced by Moctesuma Esparza, marks the beginning of successful careers for both filmmakers. Other important films include Ricardo Soto’s prison documentary A La Brava, Prison and Beyond and Rick Tejada-Flores’ documentary on César Chávez’s 24-day fast, Sí Se Puede (Yes, It can be done).
1973 Attorney Vilma Martinez, a graduate of Columbia University Law School, becomes the general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).
1973 Charles Felix organizes a massive mural painting project in an economically impoverished housing project in East Los Angeles known as Estrada Courts. Within a decade the walls of each apartment building are painted with murals reflecting the life and culture of the community. Among the artists Félix recruits to train young barrio painters are muralists Willie Herron, Gronk, David Botello and Wayne Healey.
1974 Political activist Willie Velasquez creates the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP) in San Antonio, Texas. The goal of the grass roots organization is to expand voter awareness among Latinos and register more Latinos to vote. Through the efforts of SVREP Latino voter registration will double from 488,000 in 1976 to more than a million voters by 1985.
1974 The Equal Educational Opportunity Act is passed by Congress. The act recognizes that facility in the English language may include education based on a child’s native language and provides for special bilingual programs for Latino youth.
1974 The Bilingual Review Press begins publishing works written by Chicanos and other Latinos writing in English. Within a short time it will become one of two major publishing houses in the United States publishing Latino literature.
1974 Judy Baca creates a city-wide mural program funded by the city of Los Angeles.
1974 The Unwanted, a documentary about the plight of undocumented Mexican workers in the United States produced and directed by José Luís Ruíz, is broadcast on NBC in Los Angeles.
1974 High school teacher Jaime Escalante begins to teach at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. His teaching style is so successful that students from his classes will achieve the highest scores in the nation in mathematics and calculus. His efforts will be the subject of the motion picture Stand and Deliver, directed by Ramón Melendez and starring Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips in 1987.
1974 Expanded Mexican American electoral power begins to be felt in the Southwest. Jerry Apodoca is elected Governor of New Mexico, Raúl Castro is elected governor of Arizona and Polly Baca Barragan is elected to the Colorado House of Representatives.
1974 Chicana artist Carmen Lomas Garza completes her widely successful series of prints, Lotería-Tabla Llena (The
Lottery). The stylized, two-dimensional tableaus are based on her recollection of growing up in South Texas. In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Los Four, a collective of four Chicano artists, Gilbert Sanchez Luján, Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Beto De La Rocha open their first collective exhibition at the University of California at Irvine. Later, they will be the first Chicanos to exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
1976 Willie Velasquez creates the Southwest Voter Registration Project in San Antonio, Texas. The goal of the organization is to register Mexican Americans and other Latinos to vote. By 1980, Southwest Voter will have successfully registered more than one million new Mexican American voters in the United States.
1974 The Mexican American Women’s National Association is created to promote the status of Mexican Americans
and other Latinas in the United States.
1975 More Chicano authors emerge: Alejandro Morales publishes his first novel Caras Viejas y Vino Nuevo (Old Faces and New Wine) in Spanish, Angela de Hoyos publishes her first book of poetry Arise Chicanos and Other Poems, and Gary Soto wins the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Discovery-Nation Award for his poetry collections.
1975 The Mexican Museum is opened in San Francisco, California.
May, 1975 In California, farm worker efforts result in passage of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act which creates an Agricultural Labor Relations Board to supervise union elections and resolve disputes. In response, California growers pressure state legislators to not set aside funds for the operation of the board. The UFW takes the issue to the voters by launching Proposition 14 which would have taken the funding jurisdiction of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board away from the state Legislature. But Proposition 14 is defeated at the polls.
1975 Muralist Wayne Alaníz Healy and David Botello join forces and form East Los Streetscapers. They paint a mural on the corner of Broadway and Daly in East Los Angeles , the first of dozens of murals they will paint throughout East Los Angeles in the decades that follow.
1975 The success of bilingual programs inspires the creation of the National Association of Bilingual Educators (NABE) whose membership is made up of teachers, educators, parents, and business people who work to promote bilingual education in the United States.
1975 The Voting Rights Act is passed. The legislation facilitates groups like SVREP to pressure for changes in gerrymandered districts which results in a greater number of Latino elected officials.
1975 History of the Mexican Worker, a mural painted in Blue Island, Illinois by Raymond Patlán, Vicente Mendoza and José Nario, stirs controversy when its completion is delayed because of a city ordinance prohibiting advertising on public walls. The artists file a successful lawsuit allowing completion of the mural.
1975 Henry Cisneros is elected to a seat in the San Antonio city council. Eventually he will become mayor of San Antonio and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton White House.