Because Chavez also deployed faith and prayer in achieving his goal, he was able to fuse the Christian religion that was so important to the farm workers into a vital element of the Chicano movement in a way that advanced rather than impeded its political struggles.
Part 3, entitled "Taking Back the Schools," brings an urban dimension to the struggle for Chicano rights. The high drop out rate, crumbling buildings, lack of Mexican-American teachers all mobilized Latino and Latina students to walk out of their schools in 1968. They demanded better conditions under which to realize their education, and although not all of the urban ills were addressed by their collective action, this act provides an important reminder of the ability of young people in urban circumstances to use their anger for political rather than self-destructive means.
Part 4, "Fighting for Political Power," concludes the book. It describes the creation of La Raza Unida Party as a third party force for political power and the importance of political rights. But the 1972 election and the Raza Unida convention of that year resulted in an eventual fragmentation of the party at the height of its membership and recognition, and unfortunately drew the first chapter of the Chicano movement to kind of a close, as older alliances began to drift away, and the American nation as a whole began to lose interest in some of its political concerns. After the Vietnam War wound down, many Americans became less politically interested and mobilized.
Te major themes of Chicano mass mobilization and political enfranchisement are dealt with in an historical, agricultural, urban, and finally a political fashion, all stressing the author's central theme that unity in the community remains essential in obtaining political rights, even if this first phase of the Chicano civil rights movement is no longer active. The book uses testimony from the past, in the form of personal narratives, as well as historical documentation of the often-difficult relationship between Mexico and America to back up its stress upon the need for America to right old wrongs, and for Caucasians, Chicanos, and Latinos and Latinas across the nation to become active in securing greater recognition and political enfranchisement for Chicano workers. The prejudices chronicled in the book still have resonance today, as bilingual education and the rights of immigrants are often cast, however unconsciously in racist terms by the modern media, and the stress upon the need for community action is invigorating for individuals of all ethnicities who dwell in an increasingly individualistic and apolitical American media climate. The book is not simply important for its highlighting a chapter of an often forgotten era of recent American civil rights history, but what it says about the need for future collective action for Mexican-Americans, and Latino and Latina-Americans for all nations.
Rosales, Franciso Arturo. Chicano! The…
Sources Used in Document:
Rosales, Franciso Arturo. Chicano! The History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement. New York, 1996