Chicano Power

Chicano Power tells the whole story of America's second largest disadvantaged minority, the Mexican Americans. Tony Castro's own Mexican-American heritage helps him get an inside view of the Chicano movement, as he traces his people's progress of disappointment, accommodation, and radicalism, concentrating particularly on the last decade. In this first thorough survey of the movement, Castro shows how the Mexican Americans finally turned against the miserable housing, meager job opportunities and inadequate schools that have been their lot in this country and launched one of the most noticeable and most successful movements of the 1960s.

At the center of the book are Castro's portraits of Mexican American leaders, the men who pushed the Chicano movement forward, by turns uniting and splintering it.: Cesar Chavez, whose strike against table grape growers in California garnered enormous publicity and the first union organization for migrant farm workers; Reies Lopez Tijerina, who wants to redistribute land in the Southwest to the descendants of the holders of the original Mexican land grants; Jose Angel Gutierrez, the radical founder of La Raza Unida, the Mexican American political party in Texas; and Corky Gonzales, the movement's theorist, who popularized the name Chicano and the concept of Aztlan, the ancient Mexican-Indian name for the American Southwest.

For all their talented leaders, the Chicanos, like the black movement of its time, have come to a period of regrouping their forces. The radical nationalists find their support tapering off, and many Mexican Americans have entered what Castro calls Brown Middle America. The Chicanos themselves disagreed on their role in American society and the routes they should follow to achieve their goals. Whatever the future holds for the movement, Chicano Power provides a reasoned, committed record of Mexican America's past and present.