Civil Rights Movement and the Impact on the Chicano Rights Movement


Civil Rights Movement and the Impact
On the Chicano Rights Movement

Rafael Molina

Southern New Hampshire University

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. He spoke about Civil Rights and the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence for all citizens of this country, regardless of race, creed, or color. He said he hoped to see a day when “… children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. Martin Luther King saw segregation as “one of the root causes of the unfulfilled intellectual and academic potential of so many black children.” Since Brown v Board, numerous studies have demonstrated that one of the best ways to improve the education of poor minority students is to “provide them with a racially and socio-economically diverse school setting.”  (Groves & Tegeler., 2011) In a 1963 interview, King said “… I lean towards the idea that segregation must be removed from schools all over the country. For I do not think that the residential segregation must be used as an excuse for the perpetuation of segregation in educational institutions. (Groves & Tegeler par 7) “The African American Civil Rights Movement was intended by many of its leaders to include all Americans of color struggling for equality. After seeing the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Among Americans of various backgrounds began organizing their own struggle for civil equality and fairness” (Library of Congress, p 1). Among Mexican Americans in the Southwest, this struggle came to be known as the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. In a speech he gave in 1968 entitled “The Other America,” Dr. King said: “In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education.” “…the schools are so inadequate, so over-crowded, so devoid of quality…” (Groves & Tegeler., 2011)


Civil Rights Movement and the Impact on the Chicano Movement

In Brown v. Board of Education, the ruling by Justice Earl Warren states ‘The race-based segregation of children into “separate but equal” public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and is unconstitutional.” (Library of Congress. p1) Segregation of children in public schools based on race denies children the equal protection of the laws, even if the facilities are equal. A public education is a right that should be available for all children and it should be the same for everyone, regardless of race or socio-economic status. “Public education in East Los Angeles before the walkouts reflected the legacy of the so-called "Mexican Schools" in the Southwest and southern California going back to the early 20th century when mass immigration from Mexico began.” (Garcia & Castro., 2011) These “Mexican Schools” provided limited and inferior education. Although Mexican Americans tried to make changes, the poor quality of education for Mexican students continued into the 1960s. Some of the concerns facing Mexican American students were high dropout rates, a lot of emphasis on a vocational curriculum and not providing a strong academic program. The schools had low reading scores, few academic counselors, overcrowded conditions, and low expectations of the Chicano students by mostly Anglo or white teachers. These schools didn’t reflect the ethnic and cultural background of the students. Because of these concerns that the Chicano students faced in 1968, they decided to take matters into their own hands, wanting the local school board to make some changes. They did this by going on a student strike.

The student walkouts of 1968 were the beginning of the urban Chicano Movement, not only in Los Angeles, but...

References: Acuña, R. (2007). Occupied America a history of Chicanos (6th ed.). New York: Pearson Longman.
Brown v Board of Education Summary - Brown v Board of.... (n.d.). Retrieved, from
Chicano Movement – History and Goals of the Chicano Movement. (n.d.) . Retrieved, from
Dr. King’s Unfulfilled Dream of School Integration for .... (n.d.). . Retrieved , from
EDUCATION: Proposition 227: 10 years later. (n.d.). U-T San Diego. Retrieved , from
Full text of "Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for .... (n.d.). . Retrieved , from
García, M. T., & Castro, S. (2011). Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano struggle for educational justice. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
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