The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American and Mexican American Relations during the Civil Rights Era

By Brian D. Behnken | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

BRIAN D. BEHNKEN

In October 1967 a large group of Mexican American and African American activists met in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual conference of the Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres. Called together by Alianza leader and New Mexican activist Reies López Tijerina, the meeting explored the possibility of black and Chicano unity and collaboration.1 Virtually every major Black Power organization sent a representative: Ron Karenga of the Us organization, James Dennis of the Congress of Racial Equality, Ralph Featherstone of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Walter Bremond of the Black Congress, and Anthony Akku Babu of the Black Panther Party. The most important Chicano groups also sent leaders to the gathering. These included Tijerina, José Angel Gutiérrez of the Mexican American Youth Organization, Bert Corona of the Mexican American Political Association, David Sánchez of the Brown Berets, and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles of the Crusade for Justice. Never before in the history of the African American and Mexican American freedom struggles had so many activists from so many different civil rights groups met in an attempt to forge a cooperative, cross-racial alliance. Blacks and

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