December 1, 2021
In his recent Los Angeles Times column, “Mexicans have fought for a better California for 171 years. These books show how,” Gustavo Arellano highlights four books on Chicano and Mexican-American history in California, including Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era, edited by Mario T. García, and Ellen McCracken.
The most moving chapter deals with el movimiento in Fresno County during the 1960s and 1970s, where students from rural towns across the Central Valley came to the big city for a college degree only to find a society out of the Deep South.
“What Mexicans encountered [there],” said author Patrick Fontes, “was an area wholly founded by whites for whites — they indeed entered a foreign land.”
But Chicanos persisted, and vowed to return to their hometowns to make them better. Today, the Central Valley is slowly turning politically purple, like grapes ripening on a vine.
Read the entire column here.