Thursday, January 28, 2010

LULAC: Then and Now

When discussing the Chicano Movement, we are generally informed about the familiar; the Crusade for Justice, La Raza Unida Party, and a trio of Chicano student groups (UMAS, MAYA, & MAYO) that in the Spring of '69 united to form the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan better known as MEChA. While there is no denying the importance and impact of the aforementioned organizations in regard to el movimiento, there is another Mexican American social movement surpassing the others both in history and accessibility.

In No Mexicans, Women, Or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, Cynthia E. Orozco reveals the architecture behind the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC). Orozco offers clear and brave insight into the inspiration, aspiration, and culmination of strategy that led a group of men to inaugurate (what has now become) the oldest Mexican American civil rights organization in the United States. On the 17th of February LULAC will celebrate its 81st birthday.

With an introduction that sets the tone of this first fully comprehensive study in context, Orozco opens No Mexicans with a look into the mission of LULAC by quoting from the League's constitution. "LULAC's original purpose," writes Orozco. "Was to develop within the members of our race, the best, purest, and most perfect type of a true and loyal citizen of the United States..." Orozco advances in interpreting the historically negative ridicule the League experienced at the hands of Chicano movement activists and scholars of the late 1960's and early 1970's.

The heart of the book is divided into three parts followed by a conclusion; Society and Ideology, Politics, and Theory and Methodology. Orozco writes her investigation of LULAC with sheer confidence as she disproves old beliefs and inaccurate assumptions. Not satisfied with stating the obvious accomplishments of the League, Orozco digs deep into LULAC's undeniable influence upon future Chicano organizations and groups. While ensuing organizations such as Corky's Crusade and Gutierrez's Party cultivated success, each somehow fell during the championship rounds of their fight. There is no doubt that the fraternities of the 60's and 70's embodied the same inspiration and aspiration of the League, but their strategy lacked the unity and endurance to transcend beyond el movimiento. It is with this evidence that Orozco repudiates the fallacy of LULAC's early image of lacking corazon and cultura.

Cynthia E. Orozco validates the belief and dedication of thousands upon thousand of students and adults who are members of LULAC as they are very much live participants of a present day Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Their belief system is not merely based on rhetoric and or terminology, but on a collective unity that aims always at fulfilling the League's mission. Que Viva LULAC!

No Mexicans, Women, Or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by Cynthia E. Orozco. University of Texas Press; November, 2009.

1 comment:

el poquito said...

Opened up the blog this a.m. and it was a shock to read the sign. My mother, when quite older, revealed her memories of the signs in her youth in southern Colorado and northern NM that read: NO MEXICANS OR DOGS ALLOWED. Hard to believe, but important to remember; it was not that long ago. Thanks for the education.