The 1960’s was a veryturbulent time in American history, they involved conflicts over issues fromcivil rights and all the way into the Vietnam war. Although the Vietnam war wasjust about everyone’s focus during this time, there were other important eventsgoing on as well. One of the least studied but one the most important movementsfor Mexican-Americans were going on during this decade, the name of it would becalled the Chicano Movement. There are many factors that caused this movementto spark and fight for the injustice on Chicanos or Mexican-Americans. The Chicanosdecided for their voice to be heard and some of the reasons the Chicanomovement was fighting for was the restoration of land grants, farm workers’rights, better education, to voting and political rights.
The Chicanomovement would begin in New Mexico by Reies López Tijerina, and the land grantmovement would be picked in Denver by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales. Corkyproduces a poem “I an Joaquin” that defines the Chicano movement, and alsoembraces Cesar Chavez and the farm workers as well as the struggles of urbanyouth and grows political awareness. The Chicano movement was not just aboutpolitics it was also a cultural movement as well.
Although some of the issuesand injustices we had in the 1960’s are still around in 2017, the ChicanoMovement did help improve a lot of very important issues. Mexican Americans had three major goals when the Chicanomovement rose during the civil rights era: restoral of land, rights for farmworkers and education reforms. There was one major issue the faced to be ableto succeed and achieve their goals, prior to the 1960’s Latinos lackedinfluence in the national political arena.
However, the Mexican AmericanPolitical Association worked to elect future president John F. Kennedyinto office in 1960, this would establish Latinos as a significant voting bloc.After Kennedy was sworn into office he did display his gratitude towards theHispanic community by not only appointing Hispanics to post in hisadministration, but by also taking into consideration some of the concerns ofthe Hispanic community. Now that their voice mattered the Hispanic communitybegan demanding that reforms be made in labor, education and other areas to meettheir needs. Although the Chicano movement really began to press forequal rights in 1960 their activism predated to the 1940s 1950s winningmultiple significant court cases. In the 1960s 1970s the Chicano movement beganto question the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Treaty was an agreement in1948 that ended the Mexican American war which resulted in America takingterritory from Mexico.
The Chicanos began to demand that the land be given toMexican Americans, as they believed it constituted their ancestral homelandAztlan. In 1966 Reies Lopez Tijerina led a three day march from Albuquerque inNew Mexico to the state capitol Santa Fe, where he then gave the governor apetition to investigate the Mexican land grants. Reies López Tijerina that America’s annexingof Mexican land in the 1800s was illegal.
They did not only focus on the past injustices done toMexican Americans, they also focus on current injustices going on at the time.One of the most well known fights that the Mexican Americans waged during the1960s was for the unionization for farm workers. To help the farm workers gainrecognition from the grape growers Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta launched theDelano, California Union, a national boycott that began in 1965. The Grapepickers would then go on strike, and Cesar Chaves would go on a twenty-five dayhunger strike in 1968. When the fight was reaching its peak Sen.
Robert F.Kennedy visited the farm workers to show his support. It took until 1970 forthe farm workers to succeed, and in that same year the grape growers would signagreements acknowledging United Farm workers as a union. Although younger millennials are the last ones to worryabout what is happening in society, this did not seem to be the case for thesegroup of students. Students played a very important role in the Chicano fightfor equality, and some of the most recognized groups were the UnitedMexican American Students and the Mexican American Youth Association.
Membersin these types of groups would stage walkouts in places such as Denver and LosAngeles in 1968 to protest high dropout rates among Chicano students, and a banon speaking Spanish and related issues among other things. These group ofstudents made a huge impact on the educational system as well as other systemsand they made it illegal to deny anyone who was unable to speak English theright to education. This did not only help with the drop out and literacyrates, but it helped Mexican Americans have the proper tools to pursue a bettercareer to be able to have a much better lifestyle.