History of Mexican Americans in America
Mexican American War – 1846-1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Promised citizenship to 80,000 Mexicans living in land that is now
part of the United States.
US Census until 1930 – Mexicans are counted as “white”.
Treated by American public as foreigners.
Mass Immigration to US from Mexico – late 1800’s to early1900’s
Need for labor in industry, railroads, meatpacking, steelmills and agriculture
1900: 500,000 people of Mexican descent lived in U.S. (100,000 born in Mexico)
Mexican Revolution 1910 -1920
2,000,000 Mexicans are killed during revolution – many flee to the United States. Crossing the
U.S./Mexican border very easy. Many Mexicans did not apply for citizenship.
Stereotypes -1920’s and 1930’s: Mexican Bandits (armed, dangerous, drunk, filthy, stupid)
L.A. Times report July 1931 - Two women were abducted by Mexican bandits, taken for rides, and one was
attacked Saturday night, according to reports received yesterday by police and the Sheriff's office…Mrs. Barros
said she was walking near her home when five Mexicans pulled up to the curb in an old car and forced her to
accompany them.
History of Mexican Americans in America
Repatriation during Great Depression – 1929-1939
To help the financial crisis – the US government
Mexican descent to return to Mexico.
pressured
approximately 500,000 people of
Zoot Suit Riots – During WWII (1943)
Bracero Program – 1942-1964
Over 24 years – 4 Million Mexican farm workers come to United States as part of a temporary
work program to work on railroads and to meet the agriculture need of the U.S.
Operation Wetback – 1954
President Eisenhower quoted a New York Times article for the need for the program:
“The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican 'wetbacks' to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year
has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmerexploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government”
INS program to deport “illegal aliens” in the Southwest part of the United States (primarily Texas)
Border Patrol and local police forces targeted all people of Mexican descent.
Approximately 100,000 deported and another 500,000 – 700,000 left on their own.
Mexican Repatriation
Zoot Suit Riots
During the 1960’s, Latinos struggled in the
United States.
•1/3 of all Mexican-American families lived below
the poverty line
•Twice as many Mexican Americans were
unemployed compared to whites.
•80% were in low paying and unskilled jobs
(farm labor, constructions, factory work)
•Faced discrimination in education and
had little power in the political system.
•Sought social justice and began campaigning for
their rights.
Great Grape
Boycott
Cesar Chavez
•
Co-founded with Dolores Huerta the
National Farm Workers Association
which later merged with Filipino
farm workers to become
United Farm Workers.
•
Protested for a .15 cent increase
in farm workers hourly wage.
•
To build support for the farmers,
Chavez led a 250 mile march from
Delano to Sacramento in 1965.
•
Urged shoppers to support the strike
by boycotting California grapes –
called the Great Grape Boycott.
•
The grape strike lasted 5 years (1965-1970)
and was the first major victory to improve
the lives of farmworkers.
Believer in Non-Violence
Followed the ideas of Gandhi
and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
•
He popularized the use of the term Chicano
– the name conveyed ethnic pride, Mexican
American nationalism, and commitment to
political activism.
•
Believed that Mexican Americans were being
Americanized – someone that has been
assimilated and held American views rather
than Mexican ones.
•
Founder of “Crusade for Justice”
•
Provided legal aide for Chicanos.
•
Created a Spanish newspaper.
•
Provided free bilingual classes and lessons in
Chicano culture.
•
Called upon Chicano’s to reclaim
the lands of the Southwest by
building a unified Chicano
community.
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
and the Chicano Movement
La Raza Unida & MAYO
(Mexican American Youth Orga.)
• Founder Jose Angel Gutierrez
• MAYO - Organized school walkouts and
mass demonstrations to protest
discrimination against Mexican Americans.
• Believed that for Latinos to achieve
change it would come through
economic independence and the
creation of its own political party called
La Raza Unida Party
(the united people).
• Campaigned for bilingual education,
improved public services and an
end to job discrimination.
•
Symbolized growing Chicano power.
The
Brown
Berets
• Founded by working-class Chicano students in L.A., it
became the most militant organization of the Chicano
movement. Brown Berets began their activism by protesting against
police brutality in East Los Angeles.
• Fought for bilingual education, better school conditions & Chicano
studies.
• Supported school walkouts in California – protected the striking
students by standing between them and the police.
• Disbanded in 1972 after demonstrations turned violent and lost
support of Mexican American community.
The Boricua Movement and the Young Lords
• The Boricua movements main goal was to gradually shift to self
government for Puerto Rico and better living
conditions for all Puerto Ricans.
• Group pushing for social justice for Puerto Ricans were the Young
Lords. They were a militant organization inspired by the Black
Panthers and were based in New York. They wanted local control
of Puerto Rican communities, better health care, employment, and
educational opportunities.

Chicano Powerpoint ch. 20 sec 2