United Farm Workers and Mexican Americans

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The 1960s was a turbulent decade in the American history, filled with conflict over issues brought up by many different minority groups to form the various Civil Rights Movements. In this decade, the Chicano Movement started to gain a mass following and became a dynamic force of social change. Similar to blacks, Mexican Americans were plagued by police brutality, poverty, and inequality. In the pursuit of tackling these problems, the history of Chicanos in California consisted of the convergence of multiple movements: A youth movement represented in the struggle against discrimination in schools; the farm workers movement; and the movement for political empowerment, most notably in the formation of La Raza Unida Party1. The organizing efforts and achievements in California had major impact on the fate of Mexican Americans. Improvements in barrios, farm-labor camps, school districts and politic representation, led other states to sought reform.

Education has long been a primary target of Mexican American activists and reformers. The Mexican American community had the highest high school dropout rate and lowest college attendance amongst all ethnic groups. As a result of the constant underestimation of students as well as the failure to upkeep facilities, a hostile learning environment was manifested. Their goals included bilingual, bicultural education, Latino teachers and administrators, smaller class sizes, better facilities and the revision of the text books to incorporate Mexican American history. In turn, Chicano students and activists decided to make their struggle public in order to pressure school boards into compliance of their demands for education reforms. In March of 1968, thousands of students walked out of their high school in L.A. protesting racial inequality among their school district. Their effects were not wasted, as the school board recognized their efforts by recruiting and hiring more Chicano teachers and administrators2....