When the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) organized the so-called “Chicano takeover” of Crystal City’s school board and city council in 1970, Tejano activists launched Raza Unida Party to compete in elections in Texas. The party soon spread to Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, helped by an alliance with Crusade for Justice, Corky Gonzalez's Denver-based organiztion. Over the next four years, RUP ran campaigns in 40 different communities involving 176 candidates for local and state offices. Some were successful, especially in south Texas. But RUP’s electoral accomplishments outside of Texas were few. In California, the RUP organized 93 chapters between 1971 and 1973 but elected only one city council person and two school board members. Only in Texas did RUP secure official party status for statewide races. In 1972, Ramsey Muniz won 219,127 running for Texas governor on the Raza Unida Party ticket, not enough to win but an impressive showing for a third party. Researched by Josue Estrada. Sources below. The maps are hosted by Tableau Public and may take a few seconds to respond. If slow, refresh the page.
The four maps below show electoral campaigns and Raza Unida Party chapters
Sources: Chávez, Ernesto. "Mi Raza Primero!" (My People First!) : Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
Garciá, Ignacio M. United We Win: The Rise and Fall of La Raza Unida Party. Tucson: MASRC, the University of Arizona, 1989.
Los Angeles County La Raza Unida Newsletter, April 28, 1971. Herman Baca Papers. MSS 0649. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
La Raza Unida Party - San Diego County Newsletter, 1972-1973. Herman Baca Papers. MSS 0649. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
La Raza Unida notebook, 1970-1974. Herman Baca Papers. MSS 0649. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Navarro, Armando. La Raza Unida Party a Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-party Dictatorship. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.
Santillán, Richard. Chicano Politic : La Raza Unida. Los Angeles: Tlaquilo, 1973.
LULAC has represented Mexican Americans since 1929, making it the nation's oldest surviving Latino civil rights organization. Founded in Corpus Christi in 1929, LULAC expanded first in Texas. Victory in a precedent-setting 1945 lawsuit challenging segregation of Mexican American students in Orange County, California, helped the organization grow. By 1977, LULAC had chapters in 21 states.
When ethnic Mexican farm workers led by Cesar Chavez joined with Filipino American workers led by Larry Itliong in 1965 to strike grape growers in Delano, California, the modern farm workers' movement was born. Here we map more than 1000 strike actions, boycotts, and other UFW related events showing the movement's support across the United States and Canada.
Chicano students began to organize on college campuses in the late 1960s, forming organizations with various names. In 1969 most of these organizations merged forming El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (MEChA). MEChA spread in stages and as of 2012 claimed more than 500 chapters.
In the barrios of Los Angeles, Chicano youth founded the Brown Berets in 1967, modeled after the Black Panther Party. The organization was dedicated to combatting police brutality and racism but some chapters also demanded education, job, and housing equality. By 1969, there were 29 chapters mostly in California but units developed in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.
Scholars have paid some attention to the geography of Chicano activism but not in the detail that now becomes possible with the maps this project provides. This essay offers important observations while introducing the key organizations of the Chicano movement.