Ultimately, the Chicano Movement was successful in achieving numerous changes, including the establishment of bilingual and bicultural programs in the southwest, improved working conditions for migrant workers, the employment of Chicano teachers, and the election of more Mexican-Americans to public office. The movement also helped bring national attention to the needs of Spanish-speaking Americans.
The Chicano Movement for Equality and Justice began in the late 1950's when Hispanic students began organizing at several universities, including UCLA and USC. They demanded that their schools be allowed to join other minority groups in forming a single association. Their demand was denied by university administrators who said such an organization would violate federal law which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. However, many Chicanos believed that this argument was merely a pretext for maintaining the status quo. In fact, some scholars have argued that it was precisely because Mexican-Americans were excluded from other minority groups that led them to create their own organizations.
Chicano activists next turned their attention to local politics where they had little success until 1970 when California passed its first major anti-bias law, known as the Brown Act. Since then, several other states have followed suit with similar legislation. Chicano activists also succeeded in getting several cities across the country to declare themselves official "Hispanic cities" - Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, and Albuquerque being the most prominent ones.
During the civil rights period, the Chicano movement evolved with three aims in mind: land restoration, farmworker rights, and school improvements. Latinos, particularly Mexican Americans, began seeking reforms in labor, education, and other areas to satisfy their requirements as a viable political entity.
The first aim of the movement was land restitution for Mexicans who had been displaced from their homes when Texas became a U.S. state in 1845. Between 1848 and 1873, more than 10,000 settlers arrived in Texas from Mexico and other countries, many of whom were deported or forced to leave their homeland. By the end of that decade, they made up half of all immigrants to the territory. The newcomers were often discriminated against by American landowners, who took advantage of them because of their low wages and high rate of unemployment. This led to several large-scale revolts throughout the state, the most famous being the Alamo raid of February 24, 1836. After these defeats, many Mexicans abandoned their efforts to become citizens of the United States and returned to their country of origin.
The second aim of the movement was improved working conditions for farmworkers. Mexicans worked numerous jobs across America during the early 20th century, including on cotton plantations in Texas. They were frequently paid poorly for their work and suffered racial discrimination from both white employers and employees. There were several major strikes by Mexican Americans between 1910 and 1934 that helped bring attention to this issue.
Chicano Civil Rights Movement: The Chicano (Hispanic-American) civil rights movement began in the late 1950s with the efforts of Mexican Americans to overcome discrimination. At first, they sought equal treatment under the law from the government, but soon they started fighting for their own schools and hospitals within California. The most famous leader of this movement was Cesar Chavez, who fought for better wages and working conditions for farm laborers. After his death in 1993, the National Farm Workers Association continues his work.
The Chicano movement transformed into a violent one in the 1970s when Hispanic activists took up arms against the police and the government to fight for their rights. They believed that no matter how much money you have, how important you are, or how many friends you have on social media, if you're not considered human then you cannot be treated as such.
Latino/a Power Alliance: For over a decade now, there has been an ongoing debate about whether or not Latinos should try to get more power inside the Democratic Party, so that they can continue pushing for social justice issues.
Chicanos and the LAPD assisted Mexican Americans in developing a new political consciousness that included a stronger sense of ethnic solidarity, recognition of their subordinated status in American society, and a stronger determination to act politically, and possibly violently, to end that subordination.
The movement's most visible outcome was a series of large-scale public art projects designed to promote Chicano identity and document the history of Mexican Americans from the arrival of the Spanish in 1602 until 1965, when the last project was completed. The murals are found primarily in Los Angeles, but also in San Antonio, Houston, and other cities with large Mexican American populations. Many artists were influenced by a variety of factors including social justice, labor, and Puerto Rican independence movements.
In addition to creating works of art, members of the movement participated in civil rights demonstrations, organized job actions, and established community services such as free health clinics. They also worked to change laws and policies that they believed discriminated against Mexicans Americans. For example, they succeeded in having the word "Hispanic" used instead of "Mexican" on school identification cards so that children of undocumented immigrants could attend school in California.
Although there have been attempts over the years to destroy some of the murals, many remain today as landmarks for tourists and residents alike. They offer a unique view into Mexican American culture during an important period in U.S. history.
Land restitution was important because Mexican Americans had been removed from their homes during the American Westward Expansion. They were forced to leave their communities or lose their property. The land redistribution campaign sought to address this issue by returning land to its original owners.
Farmworker rights grew out of the need for improved working conditions for farmers who used migrant labor. Many farmers refused to hire Hispanic workers because they believed them to be unreliable and thus costly. By giving voice to these concerns, the Chicano movement helped to improve wages and working hours for mestizos (mixed-race Mexicans) and indigenous people who performed agricultural work.
Schools were a central focus of the Chicano movement because many Mexican Americans lived in rural areas without access to good schools. They were often excluded from white schools through segregation laws such as busing. The Chicano movement fought against this discrimination by demanding equal treatment in public schools.
The most prominent figure of the Chicano movement was Cesar Chavez. Born in Arizona into a family of peasant farmers, he became involved in the struggle for civil rights while studying agriculture at California's Fresno County College.
The issues that fueled the first wave of Chicano literary production—the search for identity, belonging, and place, bilingual and bicultural existence, hybridity, and living on the US-Mexico border—remain relevant today, shaping an ever-expanding range of Chicano literature. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Mexican Americans fought for recognition of their humanity and citizenship rights, organizing to defend themselves against discrimination and abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers and white ranchers. They also played a role in the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when many joined up with revolutionary forces seeking to overthrow the government of Mexico.
Early Chicano writers included José Antonio Torres (1821-1872), who published several novels in English about life in New Mexico; Francisco Gómez (1778-1867), one of the first poets of Spanish America; and Juan Benavides (1797-1870), a priest and poet whose work promoted understanding between the United States and Mexico.
Chicano history is as rich in art as it is in politics and culture. Notable artists include Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974). Political activists include César Chávez (1931-1993) and Henry Broussard (1908-1989).