Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement is the most comprehensive account of the arduous struggle by Mexican Americans to secure and protect their civil rights. It is also a companion volume to the critically acclaimed, four-part documentary series of the same title, which is now available on video from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Both this published volume and the video series are a testament to the Mexican American community’s hard-fought battle for social and legal equality as well as political and cultural identity.
Since the United States-Mexico War, 1846-1848, Mexican Americans have striven to achieve full rights as citizens. From peaceful resistance and violent demonstrations, when their rights were ignored or abused, to the establishment of support organizations to carry on the struggle and the formation of labor unions to provide a united voice, the movement grew in strength and in numbers. However, it was during the 1960s and 1970s that the campaign exploded into a nationwide groundswell of Mexican Americans laying claim, once and for all, to their civil rights and asserting their cultural heritage. They took a name that had been used disparagingly against them for years—Chicano—and fashioned it into a battle cry, a term of pride, affirmation and struggle.
Aimed at a broad general audience as well as college and high school students, Chicano! focuses on four themes: land, labor, educational reform and government. With solid research, accessible language and historical photographs, this volume highlights individuals, issues and pivotal developments that culminated in and comprised a landmark period for the second largest ethnic minority in the United States. Chicano! is a compelling monument to the individuals and events that transformed society.