Friday, August 26, 2005


Manuel Ramos

The upcoming Ricardo Falcon commemoration, which I note below, got me to thinking about the history of what we all know as El Movimiento (actually, it doesn't take much to get me thinking about that). Here are short summaries of a few books that relate to that history (please let us know about others of which you are aware):

The struggle in South Texas for political control has been described in two books that focus on Crystal City in the '60s and '70s - The Cristal Experiment: A Chicano Struggle for Community Control (University of Wisconsin Press) by Armando Navarro, and The Making of a Chicano Militant: Lessons from Cristal (University of Wisconsin Press) by José Angel Gutiérrez.The second book is the memoir of one of the early leaders in Texas who achieved national recognition and who still is active in progressive politics.

Another book by Armando Navarro is La Raza Unida Party: A Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-Party Dictatorship (Temple University Press). This book traces the party from its beginnings in 1970 to its demise in 1981—the events, leaders, ideology, structure, strategy and tactics, successes and problems, and electoral campaigns that marked its trajectory. The book covers political organizing in California, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Midwest, as well as LRUP's national and international politics and its party profile.

Denver activist Ernesto Vigil's book, The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent (University of Wisconsin Press) is an impressive work with documentation and precise references. This insider's look at the Crusade marked the first attempt at a full-length scholarly review of Chicano activism in Denver. The role of the police and other agencies such as the FBI in the "war on dissent" is explicitly detailed.

A well-received PBS documentary was the source for Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Arte Público Press), by F. Arturo Rosales. This book is filled with photographs and personal recollections from many veterans of the Movement. It also goes deep into the history of Chicano activism from the Mexican Revolution into topics such as youth organizations, the struggle for educational reform, and the quest for an identity.

Another PBS documentary was the source for The Fight In The Fields, Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement (Harcourt Brace), by Susan Ferriss and Ricardo Sandoval. The book tracks the story of the birth and eventual triumph of farm worker union activism.

And of course, there is the classic 450 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, first published in 1976 by the Chicano Communications Center, edited by Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez. The book was updated and re-published in 1991 by the Southwest Organizing Project as 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures. The book itself has an interesting history, apparently the second printing was shredded in one of those Movement intra-struggles that permeated politics back then. Martinez wrote about that event and others in the Monthly Review.

Two questions: Is anyone writing the "definitive" biography of César Chávez? Is there a good resource for history of the Movement in California?

Tribute and Commemoration Of Ricardo Falcon
1972 ~ 2005
Ricardo Falcon was an activist, student leader and organizing force in Colorado in the late '60s and early '70s. On August 30, 1972, he was killed on his way to the 1st National La Raza Unida Convention by a racist member of the Right-Wing American Independent Party. The killer was acquitted by an all-white jury and never spent a day in jail.
Saturday August 27, 2005
10:00 A.M. ~ Prayer at Hillside Cemetery (Ft. Lupton)
Caravan Procession ~ Brighton Recreation Center, 555 North 11th Avenue Brighton, Colorado
12:00 p.m. Open Ceremony Blessing ~ Grupo Tlaloc
1:00 p.m. Meal - Cost Donation
Speakers: Dr. Priscilla Falcon, Ricardo Romero, Dr. Rudy Chavez, Kiko Martinez, Louie Sandoval
Entertainment: Grupo Tlaloc, Ballet De La Tierra, Latin Touch, DJ: Larry Moreno

Visual art news:
The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council is celebrating twenty-five years of presenting the art and culture of the vibrant Chicano/Latino community of Denver and the surrounding areas. Stop by the gallery and immerse yourself in the most unique and popular Cultural Gallery in Denver
772 Santa Fe Drive Denver, CO 80204

Here's a lineup of current events and shows at CHAC:
Yolteotl - The Artist's Heart
Featuring CHAC Artists: Meggan DeAnza, Teresa Duran, Landau, Arlette Lucero, Stevon Lucero. The opening reception is September 2, 2005 5-10pm. Show runs through September 10, 2005

2005 Chile Harvest Festival
Add a burst of flavor to your Fall at the 2005 Chile Harvest Festival. Sept. 10 & 11 from 11am - 5pm. The Festival honors and celebrates Spanish - speaking cultures that have incorporated chile peppers into their lifestyles. Get the details here.

Piojos y Cucarachas
Los Animales presents: Piojos y Cucarachas
Exhibiting Artists: Carlos Fresquez, Veronica Herrera, Josiah Lopez, Merlin Madrid, Alfredo Ortiz, Francisco Zamora
Exhibition runs: August 17th - 27th
Los Animales is an art collective of contemporary Chicano artists addressing current issues and opening dialogue with the public through the arts. Personal experiences and collaborations with one another inspire the work. Goals are to define Chicano Art today and nurture its future.

I note the recent passing of Carlos Martinez, CHAC's longtime member, former Director, and cultural activist. Contact CHAC 303-571-0440 for any scheduled memorials and information.


msedano said...

Wow, what a list. El movimiento probably made more than one academic career for history and social science tipos. Glad to see Jose Angel Gutierrez in there. "22 Miles" is a superb poem. "looking at the world from the back of a truck."

Luis Montez is an old movimiento vato we're reminded. The movimiento motives the Oscar Acosta pieces, Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and Revolt of the Cockroach People. Lucha Corpi launches Eulogy for a Brown Angel with a woman fleeing the police riot on Whittier Blvd at Laguna Park. Stella Pope Duarte novelizes extensively on movimiento organizing in Let Their Spirits Dance, a Vietnam novel. Guy Garcia uses the police riot of August 29, 1970 in a memorable scene in Skin Deep. The Harvard-bound Chicano flees the charging batons, leaps a chain-link fence. Safe, he makes eye contact with a boy his age, in the instant both boys realize the one's a step too slow, and the first guy didn't make a move to pull the lost one over the fence with him.

Speaking of antiwar efforts, Roslio Muñoz, the speaker on the podium when the police charged has a campaign going to collect 1000 sigs for an anti invasion of Iraq petition. Info at (Duarte's version of Rosalio's speech is another gem of writing, btw).

Google Armando Rodriguez for a spate of news stories when Rodriguez organized counter watches to the MinuteholeSOS border watches.

Pax vobiscum. Heck, to all of us.


msedano said...

Navarro. Armando Navarro. Cien Años, I have 40 to go come next week. The memory is the second thing to go.

cindylu said...

I know there are definitely more books to read on el Movimiento. I agree with Michael, great list.

Robert said...

Ricardo Falcon was a convicted wife beator and drug user. He was hot tempered which led to his death. His death was the act of self defense by a man that finally stood up to a bully and his temper.

Robert Sharpe
Houston, TX

suazman said...

I am a chicano that went to CU with Ricardo Falcon. I know that he was involved in the fight to bring hispanics to the fore in terms of equality (education, jobs, civil rights and justice). But, I strongly resent the fact that he was portrayed as a heroic figure. He was a thug with cruel intentions. He did not want equality, he wanted to punish Anglos, or as he said "Gringos." I offer two examples: I was on the wrestling team at CU and Ricardo came out for a short time. Mr. Pat Patten, well into his 50's, worked out with us. He was much smaller than Ricardo, but that didn't stop Ricardo from beating on Pat. He would punch Pat in the face with his forearm or elbows and slam him. It got so bad that the rest of us began to beat Ricardo the same way. He quit the team a week later. Ricardo also knocked a fellow wrestler's pregnant wife to the ground and kicked her in the stomach, after beating her husband with a bat. All of that was because the other wrestler asked Ricardo and his family and friends to hold down their party noise so his wife could sleep. This was in family housing, the "quonset huts."
We called the police but not too surprisingly Ricardo was "on the run."
Is this a man we want to euologize or extol by saying he represents our people? Count me out! The TRUTH should be told! The uprising of Chicanos was merely an opportunity for Ricardo to commit violence against whites under the cover of activism. I'm sure that Ricardo was largely responsible for his own death. Lonnie Suazo, Boulder, CO