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Date: July 4, 2015

Why the Chicano Movement of the ’70s is So Relevant Today

Daniel DiQuinzio

The Second World War ended in 1945 after both the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces. Of course, many of the American service men returned to the States, but only to find that another enemy lurked on their own home front. It was the beast of racial prejudice. Well-known for its rampage against African Americans, it is lesser-known for its massive attack on Mexican Americans.

In fact, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, a turning point in American history against legal and institutionalized discrimination, is first remembered, sometimes solely and only, as a victory for Black Americans. It was a time when the nightly news broadcast the speeches of their charismatic leader, Martin Luther King, and watched as he led them, on march after march – not turning their cameras away as they endured the brutal backlash of a Southern culture built upon their backs.

These are images burnt into our brains, along with the pictures of more than a quarter million standing in Washington, D.C. to listen to a speech, in 1963, by Dr. King about his ‘dream’. Shortly after that, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Nevertheless, prejudice did not fade away, and 4 years later, still leading that fight, King was constantly on the road.
In 1968, he arrived in Memphis to support a march of 1300 black sanitation workers who were protesting years of discrimination and dangerous working conditions; two workers had recently been crushed to death as city rules permitted black employees only the back of their compressor trucks, with the garbage, as shelter from the rain. Dr. King was assassinated, by a shot to the head, on the evening before that march was to begin.

For many, the Civil Rights Movement ended that day. Yes, the fight was not over but, no doubt, discrimination had been exposed. Unless you were a Mexican American.

In fact, unless you are a Mexican-American – and, maybe, only an older one at that – this July 4th story may open up, for you, an entirely new window on the era’s Civil Rights Movement.

Continue reading

30,000 Mexican-American March Assaulted by the LA PD

It was a peaceful March for Rights and Respect… that the LA PD brutalized and, some say, assassinated its leader. Here is a story of him and the 30,000 people hardly ever mentioned in discussions of the Civil Rights era, but who may soon be seen as the pioneers of what now appears to be upon us:
the Civil Rights Movement dos.cero
(And, yes, that IS the Los Angeles Free Press Front Page featured in this trailer for the PBS Documentary, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle. The entire documentary – excellent, btw – is also available via YouTube, free of charge.)

A final note ~ For more about the Chicano Movement (or any past piece on any subject, individual, or topic in the LA FP) simply send an email to: info@losangelesfreepress.com with Subject Line: ARCHIVE Request for [this].

July 4th (1970 ! ) Latinos Declare Their Independence

Here’s something that mainstream media didn’t much follow, but the LA Free Press did: the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.
This is the original LA FP article about the July 4th Rally (45 years ago today!!) at which they declared their Independence, stood up for their Rights and demanded Respect.
A 30,000 person march ensued.
Now, because of recent events, we may all, once again, see that history doesn’t like to be forgotten.

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