The Chicano movement of the 1960s

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:History

Document 1

The movement aimed to work against racism as well as discrimination and disfranchisement of Mexican- Americans by dealing with the establishment of better employees’ rights, political rights, and satisfactory education2. Further, the movement also fought for land grants restoration as well as achieving social fairness and economic prospects. The first reason why the Chicano rose to seek for equality for the Mexican American was that the word Chicano had become popular to many American as a demeaning term3. It was used to refer to Mexican-Americans as uneducated, inexperienced and poor contrary to the normal definition of Chicano which refers to people of Mexican origin leaving in the United States. In an effort to fight against the discrimination barriers that slowed their advancement in the United States, Chicano movement rose up to establish the protests that were aimed at eliminating everything that was going against them. Other movements that existed at this time for the purposes of fighting for the rights of different ethnicities served to inspire the Chicano movement in accomplishing its objectives. Such movements included the “African-American Civil Rights Movement” which aimed to fight against the discrimination of the African-Americans. The Chicano movement worked alongside the African-American to search for freedom from discrimination which involved working standards, wages, and voting rights as well as strengthening education. One of the successful organizations that served to inspire Chicano movement was the United Farm Workers of America which was formed in Delano, California4. As the Chicanos had issues related to poor working conditions and low payments to workers, they were ready to demand equality in Job opportunities as well as good working conditions.

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In the start of 1962, Cesar Chavez, who had a poor background started his mobilizing plans by moving from one place to another via the central valleys while sensitizing individual worker on how to go against the discrimination by striking5. He moved from home to home and successfully convinced the workers to embark on a strike so that their grievances could be heard. As the grape workers in Delano embarked on a strike in 1965, the farmers who had been sensitized by the Cesar joined the strike which lasted for five years. In mid-1966, Chavez, accompanied by other strikers were involved in a 340-mile walk between Delano and Sacramento to draw attention to everyone that the farm workers issued needed to be considered. Other individuals who supported the rights of the workers joined them in marching for their rights and for the first time, the workers’ grievances were put into consideration6.

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Another best part of the Chicanos was the emergence of Chicano student movement which was started by students from high schools and colleges. The Mexican American students were able to observe injustices in the schools that were associated with Chicanos hence decided to fight against the poor and unfair conditions exposed to them. The highest numbers of college attendance and drop-out rates were from the Mexican-American community as compared other ethnic groups8. The Mexican-American were prohibited from speaking Spanish as well as forming social and cultural groups which made them feel that they were treated unfairly. Further, they were made to learn in the company of the mentally disabled or in vocational training schools which demonstrates how they were treated unfairly when it came to provision of education. All civil right movements are formed with an objective of accomplishing a particular mission for a specific group.

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The Chicano movement proved successful in its attempts to unite Mexican-American community by helping them prosper in different areas such as education, social life and politically. Chicano movement sought to address inequality which was a routine problem that they experienced. The success associated with Chicano movement was due to the powerful leadership of Cesar Chavez as well as other coordinators who took part in assisting the movement to accomplish its goals. With the able leadership of Cesar Chavez, United Farm Workers organization succeeded in winning respect for the farm workers in their workplaces and other several benefits. jstor. org/stable/j. ctt16gz4w8. Gonzalez, G. G. Martinez-Catsam, Ana Luisa. Mexican Americans and the Chicana/o Movement.  Journal of American Ethnic History 35, no. doi:10. jamerethnhist.

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