.. Growers Assn, just to name a few. Railroads paid Mexicans the lowest industrial salaries ranging from 35cents to 39 cents an hour. Packing houses were higher at 45 to 47 cents, while in steel they earned 45 t0 50 cents. In the plants management Blacks and Mexicans were played against each other.
In agricultural areas the White planted, irrigated, and cultivated, while Mexicans did heavier work of weeding, hoeing, thinning, and topping. The labor struggles of the 1920’s proved that Mexicans were neither tractable nor docile. A marked rise in the consciousness of Mexican workers took place. F. Greasers Go Home: Mexican Immigration, the 1920s – Opposition to Mexican immigration came to a head in the 1920s.
Reaction toward Mexicans intensified, as their numbers became larger. Industrialist imported Mexicans to work in the mills of Chicago – first as an army of reserve labor and then as strikebreakers. In 1921 when the Depression came the bottom fell out of the economy their was heavy unemployment. During the times of prosperity the Mexicans created hostility but in a time of crises the Mexicans became the scapegoats for the failure of the U.S. economy. Nativist efforts to restrict the entry of southern and eastern Europeans bore fruit with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1921.
Many wanted to include Mexicans in the provisions of the act. Things had changed by 1929 and the migration of Mexicans to the United States had considerably slowed down due to the fact that growers and other industrialists joined forces with the department of Sate, Agriculture and Interior and formed a solid front to overwhelm restriction heading off the passage to a bill placing Mexicans on a quota. 7 Mexican American Communities in the Making: The Depression Years A. The Nativist Deportations of the 1930s – After the stock market crash job opportunities dried up and nativism resurfaced with renewed vigor. Even though legal migration slowed down to a minimum during the Great Depression, undocumented Mexicans continue to arrive continuously. Mexicans were unwanted and Euroamentican authorities shipped over 500,000 back to Mexico.
A hysterical public treated even Mexican Americans, who were citizens as aliens. At the start of the 1930’s just fewer than 55 % lived in urban centers. Migration to the cities quickened during the next 10 years, as opportunities in agriculture dried up, with farmers hiring white over the Mexicans in California. In Texas the farmer relied heavily on the Mexicans to depress wages even furthers. B. Mexican American Rural Labor – New Deal programs in the 1930’s, which were to help agriculture, had a negative impact on Mexican workers.
The displacement of owners and sharecroppers contributed to the swelling of the ranks of rural labor. A series of strikes of unprecedented scope and intensity throughout the country caused the Mexican workers to suffer greatly from the restructuring which took place in the southwest in which production became concentrated in the hands of a few. C. Mexican American Farm Workers’ Revolt – Given the industrialization of agriculture, the exploitation of Mexican labor, and the abuses of the contract labor system, conflict would have occurred without the depression; the events of 1929 merely intensified the struggle. Farm industrialists determined to make up their losses. They fixed wages as low as possible.
In California, wages went from 35 – 50 cents an hour in 1931 to 15 to 16 cents an hours by mid-1933. Once again, Mexicans became angry strikers. There were several strikes so violent it led to killing. After the strike was settled, with the states intervention, it was decided to raise the rate of the workers to 80 cent per hour. D. Mexican American Urban Labor – Los Angeles’s mixed farm and industrial economy encouraged the movement of workers to the city. In the mid-1930’s, 13,549 farms operated in the county, with hundreds of thousands acres devoted to agriculture. Competition between the AFL and CIP helped in the unionization of Chicanos in other cities and regions.
Prior to 1937, the AFL cared little for unskilled minorities or women workers. It became less discriminative; however, given the successes of the CIP, whose industrial unionism was more attractive to Chinanos then the AFL’s craft orientation. E. The Mexican American Miners’ Revolt – Gallup, New Mexico, was one of the first mining districts of predominately Mexican workers to rebel. The depression had hit the area severely, and, by August 1933, 2,000 minters were reduced to a two to three day workweek.
Unions that promoted policies of ethnic and racial equality attracted Mexicans. The Mexicans concentrated themselves in limited industries. The CIP was essential in the building a strong Mexican American labor movement. Independent unions simply did not have sufficient muscle against the giant corporations. F.
Survival in a Failed Utopia: Chicanos in the City – The Mexicans’ struggle for survival was not limited to immigration and/or labor. The 1930’s saw increased urbanization among Mexicans in the U.S. Many new cities comers shifted from the rural Southwest to places like San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Chicago where they formed barrios that reflected the personalities of those cities. Adjustments to the new environment were difficult and increased numbers generated tensions as new and old competed for space. 8 World War 11 and the “Happy Days”: Chicano Communities under Siege A.
World War 11 and the Chicano – Many Chicano soldiers felt they experienced betrayal because of the racism at home. They were treated as second class citizens. Mexicans earned more medals of honor than any other ethnic or racial group in WWII. B. The Spy Game – During WWII, police authorities sought to strengthen social control of the barrios and spied extensively on the Mexican community. Despite its thoroughgoing scrutiny of the Chicano activities FBI reports did not uncover any evidence of Mexican American disloyalty.
Basically it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. C. Mexican American Workers: The War Years – WWII did not end job discrimination and few Mexicans were employed even in defense industries. Fewer were in supervisory positions. D.
Managing the Flow of Labor E. Keeping America Pure – Historically, Congress has passed immigration laws to control ideas and to protect the hegemony of the white race. The McCarran-Walter Act, which reflected this ideology, provided the mechanism for political control of naturalized citizens and laid the foundation for a police state. It was passed in 1952 over President Truman’s veto. He protested that it created a group of second-class citizens by distinguishing between native and naturalized citizens. This act also intimidated Mexican trade unionists.
F. Against All Odds: Continued Labor Struggles G. Politics of the G.I. Generation – The GI bill encouraged the suburbanization of the Chicano middle class. However there was much racism and indifference.
Veterans often became frustrated by the Veterans Administration because they did not receive their benefits on time. H. Post-World War 11 Human Rights Struggles – The struggle for civil and human rights was intense during this period. The defacto exclusion of Mexicans from public facilities, schools, trade unions, juries, and voting as common in many section of the country. The Mendez v. Westminster School District declared the segregation of Mexican children unconstitutional.
I. Bulldozers in the Barrios – During the 1950’s urban removal menaced Mexicanos. By 1963, 609,000 people nationally had been uprooted as a consequence of urban renewal, two-thirds of who were minority group members. For Chicanos, Los Angeles was the proto-type, but other cities mirrored its experiences. 9 Goodbye America: The Chicano in the 1960s A.
A Profile: San Antonio Chicanos, 1960-1965 – During the first half of the 1950’s, a decade of rapid change, the struggle for civil rights led to public recognition of poverty and forced the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to sponsor programs intended to mollify the Black masses. The Black-white confrontation produced a whirlwind of events that caused Mexican American and other minorities to escalate demands for similar human rights and political gains. B. North from Texas – The migration of Chicanos to the Midwest continued in the 1960s where farm production was undergoing a transformation. In the 1960s the cost of automation decreased.
Government research grants cut the cost of the machinery, and the cost of food production decreased while profits increased. C. The Mexican Connection: Un Pueblo, Una Lucha – The migration itself had multiple effects on the Chicano. First, after WWII a marked trend toward assimilation had occurred and many Mexican American parents refused to teach their children Spanish. Rather than a rejection of Mexican heritage, cultural nationalism created a renaissance in Mexican consciousness.
D. The Road to Delano: Creating a Movement- Many Chicano have incorrectly labeled the second half of the 1960s as the birth of the Chicano movement. By the mid-1960s traditional groups such as LULAC and the G.I. Forum along with recently formed political groups such as MAPA and PASSO, were challenged. Cesar Chavez gave the Chicano movement a national leader. He was the only Mexican American to be recognized by the mainstream civil rights and antiwar movements.
E. Echoes of Delano – Texas remained a union organizer’s nightmare. Its long border ensured growers access to a constant and abundant supply of cheap labor. Efforts to unionize farm workers had been literally stomped to death by the overt misuse of the Texan Rangers, the local courts, and the right-to-work laws. F. The Legitimation of Protest – The civil rights movement and the ghetto revolts of the mid- 1960s greatly affected the direction of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the subsequent war on poverty.
The act emphasized education and training jobs: Job corps, Neighborhood Youth Corps, work-study and community action programs. G. The Day of the Heros – The 1960s produced heroes at every level of protest, from Joan Baez, to Che Cuevara, to Stokeley Carmichael, to Herbert Marcuse. With the growth of nationalism, it was natural for Mexican Americans to identify leaders who best expressed their frustrations. During the late 60s Chicanos for a brief time had heroes that were legitimated by them and not the state.
H. On the Eve of the Storm – In the second half of the 60s authorities at all levels of government tightened up on dissidents. They moved to control so-called “revolutionaries.” As a consequence, everyone of color became suspect. I. Chicanos Under Siege-The war in Southeast Asia propelled militancy in the Chicano barrios.
The Vietnam War united Mexicans and moved even the middle class and flag-waving groups like the Forum to the left. In Los Angeles, community-police relations polarized even before the moratorium on August 29, 1970, a major anti-Vietnam demonstration. A casualty was news reporter Ruben Salazar.6 J. The Provocateurs K. After the Smoke Cleared- In spite of real change for most North Americans, Chicanos had made very little progress. The importance of activist, youth, and grass-roots organizations declined after this point.
The 1970s restored to the middle class its hegemony over the movement. The 1970s would witness the emergence of the business and professional classes in the Mexican American community and the return of the brokers. 10 The Age of the Brokers: The New Hispanics A. In Search of Aztlan – B. Sin Fronteras(Without Borders) C. The Celebration of Success: The Legitimation of a Broker Class- Organizational and leadership changes occurred in the Chicano community by the mid-70s. Brokers as such are not new.
Clearly LULAC and the American G.I. Forum had received heavy government funding since the 1960s. In 1964, LULAC and the Forum began administering the Service, Employment, and Redevelopment Agency (SER). LULAC and the Forum obtained these grants because of their Washington connections. D. Education: Inventing an American Tradition- U.S. education’s began with the invention of the myth that it is equally open to all North Americans, a myth that is rooted in the Euroamerican belief that North America is the land of opportunity and that if someone fails to make it, the fault is his or her own. Within the Euroamerican schools, class struggle is regulated; society is neatly stratified.
By the end of the decade, an all out war had been declared against bilingual education and educational quality. E. A Challenge to Male Domination – Chicano awareness of the oppressive effects of sexism increased. Mexican women took leadership roles in most groups. F.
The Dialectics of Space: Communities Under Siege G. Justice USA 11 The Age of the Brokers: The Rambo Years A. The Celebration of Success, Hispanic Style B. Sal Si Puedes(“Get Out If You Can”) C. The Urban Nightmare D.
The Catholic Church: A Counterhegemonic Force? E. Final Portrait: the Rambo Years F. Defending the American Way G. Central America: Another Vientam H. The Decline of the Blue-Collar Sector and its Impact on Chicanos I. Trends History.