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Chicano Movement

  • Date Submitted: 07/15/2010 09:35 AM
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Chicano Movement

Riding the wave of the American Civil Rights movement, the Chicano Movement was not far behind. While it is well known that African American citizens were discriminated against heavily until Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest against it, it is much less common knowledge that Mexican Americans and other Americans of latin descent experienced a similar problem. The Chicano movement was a series of protests by Latin Americans to eliminate discrimination of all forms against people of Latin descent. This did not simply mean that they wanted to have the same water fountains and schools, they also demanded improved working conditions, wages, and even land grants.
Much like the Civil Rights movement, the Chicano movement precipitated from years of discrimination, finally pushing many citizens into making a stand. The Chicano movement particularly gained steam after World War II, where several Chicano soldiers who died fighting for the United States were denied funeral services. The movement also caught speed when migrant farmworkers such as Cesar Chavez finally decided they had to stand and fight.1
Farming conditions could be extremely brutal for Chicanos. After toiling all day in the fields, they would generally get paid very low wages, if they were paid at all. Furthermore, they were seen as farming tools rather than farmers. That being said, it wasn’t particularly important to an employer if a worker had a sick family member, no place to live, etc. Since many Chicanos were desperate for work, an employer could easily offer very low pay for a job and still get people to do it. However, this took a major toll on Chicanos. It was not uncommon for children to roam the streets looking for food, nor was it uncommon for Chicanos to die within their 40’s due to overworking. 2
Cesar Chavez, a man who started working on farms at the age of 15, was a major leader of the Chicano Movement. By the age of 19, he had joined his first farm workers union....


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