José Angel Gutiérrez is the firebrand civil rights leader of the 1960s and 70s who succeeded in making a minority-based political party a reality in Texas and various other states. In 1970, Gutiérrez led La Raza Unida Party to stunning victories in Crystal City, Texas and surrounding communities, with five Mexican Americans winning all five seats on the city council and school board, seats held for decades by Anglos. One of the four great leaders of the Chicano Movement, Gutiérrez, along with César Chávez, Reies López Tijerina and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, made national calls for militancy and unity, penned nationalist manifestoes and forced political and educational reform at national and regional levels.
Despite Gutiérrez’s total commitment to la causa, he found time to write in order to share his political wisdom. Originally self-published during the heat of the Chicano Movement, A Gringo Manual for Handling Chicanos, now expanded and revised, is a humorous and irreverent manual meant to educate grass-roots leaders in practical strategies for community organization, leadership and negotiation. With tongue in cheek, Gutiérrez attacks the authorities and sacred cows that caused Chicanos anxiety for decades. The manual is a classic in Chicano politics and as a political self-help recipe book. It remains as relevant today as when it was originally published in the early 1970s.