SAN ANTONIO -- ACTIVATING THE CHICANO
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, had a resident population of approximately 750,000 in 1970, of which about 48 per cent was Mexican-American and 8 per cent Black. The minority Anglo population, however, constituted a majority on the voting lists by virtue of the fact that, in addition to all the other constraints on minority-group participation in politics, Texas maintained a poll tax until 1966 and, until overturned in the courts after the 1970 elections, the Texas Constitution required every voter to re-register every year before the end of January in order to be eligible to vote in primaries and elections after that date. This usually meant that registration took place before the candidates for various offices that year were even known. Local officials estimated Mexican-Americans to comprise only about 35 to 40 per cent of the city's voting lists.
An analysis of the rates of registration in 104 of the nation's largest cities in 1960 conducted by Stanley Kelley, Jr., Richard E. Ayres, and William G. Bowen ranked San Antonio 99th, with less than a majority overall -- 42.6 per cent -- of those eligible on the voting rolls of Bexar County. The only cities with a worse ratio were Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia, Portsmouth and Newport News, Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama. Although there was an acceleration of political activity among Mexican-