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.