Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights

Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights

Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights

Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights

Synopsis

"Rosales proceeds chronologically in a examination of such topics as Mexicans in the nineteenth-century Southwest; the internal, and international, effects of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the regimes that followed; massive immigration during the 1920s; the establishment of a Mexico de afuera by nostalgic exiles; the mobilizing of Mexican Americans in civil-rights groups to combat discrimination, particularly following World War II; workplace and labor groups such as the United Farm Workers; and the rise of militant groups and movements such as the Brown Berets, the Raza Unida political party, and the Chicano Moratorium." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The idea for this anthology of historical documents on the struggle to obtain civil rights by Mexican people in the United States came about after I indicated to Nicolás Kanellos, the director of Arte Público Press, that in preparing my books, Chicano! and ¡Pobre Raza!, I had amassed a treasure trove of primary documents pertinent to this topic. Professor Kanellos immediately suggested that we publish a documents history. We both felt that through the reading of original accounts, students, teachers, and lay people in general would obtain a better appreciation for the experience of Mexicans in the U.S as they struggled against rejection and repression. These records—personal letters, newspaper accounts, treaties, proclamations, government studies, diplomatic correspondence, family papers, founding papers of organizations, etc.—are contemporaneous to four eras in the overall history of civil rights and Mexican Americans. They reveal that the authors resorted to individual acts of resistance, to organizational efforts, and to appeals to the Mexican and U.S. governments to rectify problems of abuse. They fall under the rubrics of lost land identification, México Lindo nationalism, Mexican Americanism, and the Chicano Movement.

The documents appear in nine chapters organized around chronology and themes. Each section of primary sources is preceded by a short survey history for each era, which contextualizes the documents within a proper historical framework.

The Lost Land

The "Lost Land" era is chronicled in Chapter One. By the 1890s, railroads, outside capital, and outside entrepreneurs disrupted or eliminated the society forged by Hispanics and Anglos in the territories that the U.S. had acquired from Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century. Mexicans, native to the Southwest, felt as if they had lost their past and even their identity, ergo a "lost land" identity emerged. In this era, the southwest Mexican link to central Mexico was weak. Even early immigrants crossing the border from northern Mexico found more . . .

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