22 Pages

Introduction: Mexican Americanism and the Long Chicano Movement

From the dusty border towns of Texas to the busy streets of Chicago and Los Angeles, the impact of the Chicano Movement is still felt in the daily lives of all Americans. 1 The Mexican American civil rights movement, which fl ourished in the 1960s and 1970s, pushed the boundaries of US citizenship, provided the impetus for modern bilingual education, and continues to expand the historical understanding of what it means to be a long-standing racial minority in the United States. This social movement, with aims comparable to those of the African American civil rights movement, sought to end generations of formal and informal discrimination against Americans of Mexican ancestry and to remedy past discrimination by creating support for educational, social, and employment opportunities for Mexican Americans. Comprised of many regionally based movements, the Chicano Movement had several important loci of activism, rather than a central leadership. In some ways parallel to the Black Power Movement, it built upon an established tradition of Mexican American civil rights activism, even as it saw itself as a radical and youth-driven movement dedicated to the creation and celebration of a distinctly Chicano culture and politics.