Topic: Fighting for Political Power: Rise of La Raza Unida Party (Chicano Rights Movement)
General Purpose: To inform
Specific Purpose: To inform how the Mexican- American people fought to gain political power.
Live your life not celebrating victories, but overcoming defeats. – Che Guevara In the 1960’s a new generation of Mexican- Americans created a militant social movement in response to the anger and frustration that had been building for so many years within their community. In California and Texas they demanded humane treatment in the fields were they labored. In New Mexico they fought for a land that was once owned by their ancestors. It became clear that without political power Mexican- Americans would remain second class citizens. In Texas a new political party took shape known as “La Raza Unida Party” that threatened to change the political landscape of America. As the nation watched, Chicanos took on the most challenging quest of the Mexican- American civil rights movement. In the 1960’s Mexican- Americans made up the majority of the population in South Texas, most were migrant farm workers, poor with little education. After picking the winter crops many of them traveled across America in search of yet another harvest. In Crystal City around the 1940’s and 50’s Mexican- Americans accounted for 85% of the population but they had no political representation. For years Chicanos had been denied the right to vote, by obstacles like poll taxes, literacy test, and gerrymandered voting districts. In 1963 for the first time in more than 100 years Mexican-Americans put up their own candidates for office and challenged Anglo politicians for control of city government, they were called “Los Cinco”. They were 5 Chicanos that successfully ran for local office in Crystal City, Texas in 1963. Although only a student, Jose Angel Gutierrez one of “Los Cinco” was also active in the campaigns making speeches, registering voters, and organizing rallies....
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