Chicano Movement for Beginners
Written and Illustrated by Maceo Montoya
As the heyday of the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s to early 70s fades further into history and as more and more of its important figures pass on, so too does knowledge of its significance. Thus, Chicano Movement For Beginners is an important attempt to stave off historical amnesia. It seeks to shed light on the multifaceted civil rights struggle known as "El Movimiento" that galvanized the Mexican American community, from laborers to student activists, giving them not only a political voice to combat prejudice and inequality, but also a new sense of cultural awareness and ethnic pride.
Beyond commemorating the past, Chicano Movement For Beginners seeks to reaffirm the goals and spirit of the Chicano Movement for the simple reason that many of the critical issues Mexican American activists first brought to the nation's attention then--educational disadvantage, endemic poverty, political exclusion, and social bias--remain as pervasive as ever almost half a century later.
“Maceo Montoya’s book is extraordinary. It not only helps to describe the past, it elucidates the immediate future for all who are willing to accept the realities of the 21st century. The Chicano Movement was not an ephemeral spark in American history; it was a potent sign that the historical narrative of the entire hemisphere must acknowledge the humanity of all people, regardless of skin color or racial origins. Chicano Movement For Beginners lays this out clearly and brilliantly, with illustrations to boot!”
Luis Valdez, playwright, film director, and pioneering figure in the Chicano Movement
“As a Chicano Movement Veterano, I can tell you that Montoya's words are genuine and his art illuminating -- a literary mural many thousands of miles long! What is illuminating is his attention to the people-scape of a social movement - its pioneers, artists, students and community activists. Closely hold these incredible ones -- creative thinker-workers of brave moments that are rarely shared outside of the 'in-crowd' -- there is immense delight in Tijerina's story of the 'Cricket and the Lion,' of Larry Itliong's presence, of the dreamy-real occupation of Catalina Island, Gloria Anzaldúa and poet Alurista who both forged galvanizing Movement macro-concepts. A necessary book for changemakers, a clear and artistic-historical text for all colleges, community centers and peoples who want to create a glittering, equal, culturally true world, for all -- together.
Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States
“Chicano Movement For Beginners is an indispensable introduction to the cultural and political struggles of Mexican Americans during the 1960s and 1970s. This readable volume explores events and individuals central to understanding American history, it rests on the author’s deep understanding of recent scholarship, it foregrounds activists and artists and everyday people, and it shows how the legacies of the Chicano Movement continue to shape the 21st century.”
Stephen Pitti, Yale University, Professor of History
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