Labor History Seminar: Marc Rodriguez, Notre Dame University

Labor History Seminar
Friday, December 7, 2007

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

“Youth Acculturation and Revolt in Mexican American South Texas: Understanding the Roots of Working-Class Ethnic Protest after 1960”
Marc Rodriguez, Notre Dame University
This paper, very much a work-in-progress, seeks to reframe a two-chapter section of a current book project into a single chapter on teen organization and acculturation among mainly Mexican American migrant farm worker teens in Crystal City, Texas after 1950. The first section of the paper examines political organizing in the high school context with attention to ethnic block voting, sports, and other issues related to teen life in Texas. The second section of the paper examines a well known political movement with an emphasis on the role played by teen and young adults in an effort that involved the Teamsters union and the Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASSO). These efforts culminated in the 1963 election of an “all Latin” slate to the city council, a dramatic event in Mexican American history which brought national attention to Crystal City and marked what some have termed the “first uprising” of the “Chicano Movement.” Rather than a sudden political movement, the 1963 election when placed within the context of the broader local and national history of mobilization and teen acculturation and political education emerges as one important peak in the long development of Mexican American political consciousness in Texas and the nation.

Commentators: Juan Mora-Torres, DePaul University, and Ramón Gutiérrez, University of Chicago