Note:  For a PDF version of this graduate research prospectus, which includes all of its appendices, please see the following link: From Chicanismo to Chuy — Recovering the Long History of the Chicano Movement in Chicago’s Lower West Side, 1965-2015


The Chicago Tribune printed historic news on Tuesday night, February 24, 2015. The Mexican-American politician, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, succeeded in forcing a runoff against his opponent in the previous day’s mayoral election. The runoff, scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, became the first runoff in the history of Chicago mayoral elections. Though García lost that race by 11.4%, he had come closer to obtaining the highest office in the third largest city of the United States than any Latino/a politician before him. The closest comparison had been Gery Chico, who became the first Mexican-American to run for the office of mayor in 2011. Nonetheless, García topped Chico’s vote by 9.6% in the 2015 General Election. He captured majorities in every one of the fourteen wards dominated by “Hispanic” residents except for one: the 13th. More specifically, the 22nd, 12th, and 25th wards roughly corresponded to the Latino/a barrios of Chicago’s Lower West Side. García won these wards by ratios of 80%, 75% and 61% respectively. In part, his strong showing drew upon the fact that Chicago Latinos/as were more influential than they had ever been, at 33% of the city’s population, 19% of its voting-age citizens, and a handful of its elected officials. Yet, in order to fully understand these successes, we must go all the way back to the 1960s and 70s.[1]

García had a long and storied career that culminated in the 2015 runoff. More importantly, that career mirrored larger trends in postwar, Mexican-American activism for Civil Rights. He was born in Mexico in 1956, but he moved to Chicago at the age of nine because his father was a farm laborer in the WWII-era bracero program. When the family settled in the growing Latino/a barrios of the Lower West Side, these areas of the city were quickly filling up with both new migrants and displaced, Spanish-speaking wartime immigrants. García found himself in a rare climate of vigorous Latino/a activism known as the Chicano Movement. Many Latino/a residents in the Lower West Side were uniting under the banner of a new, cultural-nationalist ideology called chicanismo. They were agitating against issues like racism, gang violence, community neglect, immigrant and union rights, poverty, under-education, police brutality, joblessness, and urban renewal. [2]

García witnessed chicanismo activism firsthand. When he was thirteen, for example, over one-hundred Latino/a residents gathered in the street to attend a public meeting of ALAS. During this meeting, those present endorsed a local Mexican-American activist named Arthur Vásquez as the next executive director of Howell House, Pilsen’s settlement house, which had historically been home to the white, Presbyterian Czech immigrants. Vásquez became the house’s first Mexican-American director, and the center was re-christened Casa Aztlán. This name was a symbol of chicanismo that memorialized the ward’s demographic tipping point. One year later, in 1970, the city’s decennial census recorded the Lower West Side’s first ever Latino/a majority. The barrios Little Village/South Lawndale and Pilsen/Heart of Chicago have retained that majority to this day.[3]

García watched the Lower West Side erupt in protest during his youth. From 1969 to 1974, activists of the Chicano Movement organized school walkouts, sit-ins, protests, and boycotts. They clashed with forces of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) during such events as school lock-ins and takeovers. García looked on as the activists achieved what were some of their best victories, like the establishment of Benito Juárez High School and the social-service organization El Centro de la Causa in Pilsen, or the creation of a Latin American and Latino Studies Program at UIC. He even joined in on the action himself. Among other events, he picketed the decrepit Atlantic movie theater, led a sit-ins for jobs at the office of a local hiring official, and took over the chancellor’s office at UIC in order to lobby for the creation of the Latin American Cultural Center.[4]

In 1976, García enrolled at UIC to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. By the time he graduated in 1980, he joined up with veteran leaders of the Chicago Chicano Movement—like Linda Coronado, Juan Soliz, Carlos Arango, Arthur Vásquez, and, especially, Rudy Lozano. Together, this cadre of activist-leaders formed the Independent Political Organization of the Near West Side (IPO). Under the IPO, they started to launch formal campaigns for elected office. They distanced themselves from the cultural-nationalist language of chicanismo, but they ran their campaigns on its momentum. They worked from the same wards that were hotbeds of Latino/a activism during the Chicano Movement. They relied upon the movement’s rank-and-file members for grunt work; they used chicanismo institutions as staging grounds; they leveraged the local consciousness that the movement had built; and they addressed many of the same issues from the 1960s and 70s.

At first, García helped to manage the failed campaigns of older leaders, like Lozano, Soliz, and Juan Velasquez. Then, in 1986, he ran his own campaign for city councilmember of the Lower West Side’s 22nd Ward and he broke through the door. He became the first Latino/a alderman in Chicago history. In 1992, he followed up on this electoral success and broke down another barrier to political mobility when he became the first Latino/a state senator of Illinois. He remained in this position until 1998, when he retired to start a local non-profit organization called Enlace. Then, in 2010, he returned to formal politics as a commissioner and floor leader on the Cook County Board. In September of 2015, he was asked to replace an ailing Karen Lewis as the city’s mayoral candidate. He began his campaign out of the Lower West Side, where he had lived since 1964. Nonetheless, a lot had changed. He knew full-well that the discourse of cultural nationalism, of chicanismo, had lost much of its power since the 60s and 70s. Instead, a new discourse of multiculturalism and post-racial diversity reigned. And so, García rarely mentioned either the Chicano Movement or the ideology of chicanismo in his 2015 interviews. And yet, those who knew his story could not help but think that, in 2015, the Chicano Movement was preparing to bear some new fruit.[5]


The subject of this research project is historical connections between what has traditionally been understood as two separate eras of Latino/a socio-political activism: the Chicano Generation (1965-1975) and the Post-Chicano or the Hispanic Generation (1975-present). The project will use select wards of Chicago’s Lower West Side as a case study to investigate connections across these two eras and, in doing so, draw their assumed separation into question. The project will build off of a statement that was made, but not argued, in Lilia Fernández’s book Brown in the Windy City. In her introduction, Fernandez stated, “Ultimately, the activism among Mexicans and Puerto Ricans [in 1960s and 70s Chicago] laid the groundwork for more formal electoral participation.” [6]

As a research question, this project will ask, “How exactly did Latino/a activists based out of three wards in Chicago’s Lower West Side lay the groundwork for more formal electoral participation moving forward?” And put just a little bit differently, the project will ask, “How did this particular Latino/a community transition from being a local collection of grassroots organizations based in the cultural nationalism of chicanismo, and having no formal representation in municipal politics during the Chicano Movement, to being the heart of a solid political constituency, capable of sustaining a handful City Council seats as incumbent Mexican-American positions, and fielding a Latino/a mayoral candidate that could force an unprecedented runoff, by the year 2015?”

As a projected thesis, this project argues that the electoral successes of Chicago’s Latino/a community since the mid-1970s are best understood as a legacy of the earlier Chicano Movement. This project is significant because it has the potential to re-periodize the Chicano Movement and support assertions made by scholars like Francisco Arturo Rosales, who said of the Chicano Movement that “No Mexican American can escape its inheritance.” Further, Rosales argues that, “If the persistence of the Chicano Movement is measured only by the vestiges which are directly tied to the movement,” like chicanismo, then the movement died in the mid-70s. “A much broader perspective must be taken, however, one that traces the Civil Rights of U.S. Mexicans beyond the narrow period of the” 60s and 70s.” My project intends to do exactly that. By tracing the transition of Latino/a Civil Rights activism from the Chicano Movement to the historic election of 2015, I hope to provide a detailed case study that can show why Rosales’ and Fernandez’ are correct. One of the legacies of the Chicano Movement is that it laid the groundwork for formal politics.[7]

Re-periodizing or asserting a long history of the Chicano Movement is not necessarily new. Many historians have already made the claim that, to use Gonzales’s categories, the Post-Chicano or Hispanic Generation built off the activist successes of the Chicano Movement. For one example, Lisa García Bedolla has written that “Legislation passed in response to Chicano Movement activity opened up the political process…” However, despite the fact that many individual Latino/a activists besides “Chuy” made the transition from cultural nationalism to City Hall—like the Puerto Rican Herman Badillo or the Mexican-descended Henry Gabriel Cisneros—very few case studies have been written on these people and their communities. As a result, tracing the precise connections between the Chicano Movement and Post-Chicano Generation has been difficult.[8]

Part of the problem is that Latino/a politicians have largely distanced themselves from the discourse of chicanismo and embraced a rhetoric of post-racial diversity. We can see evidence for this in the interviews reporter Steve Bogira conducted with García before the runoff, when García emphasized diversity in an attempt to appeal to non-Latino/a voters. Scholars have tended to follow the lead of these politicians and downplay connections between chicanismo and the formal politics that came afterward. Generally, this happens not in the arguments that historians make—indeed, most of them do believe that the connections exist—but in the assumptions implied by the periodization of their specific works. Brown in the Windy City, by Lilia Fernández, is the perfect example. Although her introduction acknowledges some connections between the Chicano Movement and formal electoral participation, her work ends in the mid-1970s at the decline of the chicanismo discourse. This is particularly strange given that most of the organizations she has chosen to study—MLEA, El Centro de la Causa, Casa Aztlán—were still around by the 2015 runoff.[9]

But Lilia Fernández’s Brown in the Windy City is the rule and not the exception, especially when it comes to literature that is written about the history of Latino/a organizing in Chicago. Most scholars tend to assume that the success of formal politics in the early-80s was a watershed moment that should divide their works. Some of them—like María De Los Angeles Torres, David Freman, Teresa Córdova, Chas Sirridge, and Jaime Dominguez—have written about the years after chicanismo, while others—like Fernández or Jaime Alanís—have written about the years before. Overall, perhaps there is no better evidence of this division than the fact that a local, online magazine based out of Pilsen, called El BeiSMan, felt the need to publish separate articles on each period.[10]


The Lower West Side:

Before discussing the relevant primary sources, I would like to provide some working definitions of a few key terms. First, this research project is based in three of Chicago’s fifty “legislative districts:” the 12th, 22nd, and 25th wards. These wards are political units that overlap one of the city’s 77 “community areas,” known as Chicago’s Lower West Side. The wards are located part inside and part outside of this community area. They also contain a group of Latino/a-majority neighborhoods, often known as barrios, called Pilsen/Heart of Chicago and Little Village/South Lawndale. For the purposes of this project, the Lower West Side is used synonymously with the boundaries of these barrios and wards. When I mention Latino/a activism in the Lower West Side, I am referring to these same wards and barrios. However, while I am using these wards as a case study, it is important to remember two basic facts. One is that, although the majority of people in these wards are Latino/as, there are still non-Latino/a people that live there. Two, these three wards are not the only wards in the city where Latino/a residents either live or predominate.[11]

Latino/a, Chicano, and Mexican-America:

This project often uses the terms Latino/a and Chicano or Mexican American interchangeable. Although the majority of activists in the Lower West Side—whether working before or after the successes of formal politics—were of Mexican descent, there were also other Spanish-speaking residents, such as Puerto Ricans and Columbians, who participated in local community organizing. I have conflated the categories of Latino/a and Mexican American under the assumption that Latinos/as of all backgrounds joined in the activities of the Chicano Movement, and supported the formal political organizing of Mexican American activists thereafter.[12]

Activism and Formal Politics:

Throughout this prospectus, I often use the term “formal politics” to refer to Latino/a activists who campaigned for elected office in the case-study wards of the Lower West Side beginning with the formation of the IPO in the early-1980s. I do not call the post-1980s an era of “formal politics” because I believe that Latinos/as or Mexican-Americans were not campaigning for office before that. Rather, I use this term only to signify the point at which Latino/a activists were finally successful in breaking through barriers to elected office in Chicago.  In no way do I intend to imply that Latinos/as were not participating in formal politics during the 1960s and 70s, or that politicians of the post-1980s period were any less of activists than those of the Chicano Movement.

The Chicano Movement and Chicanismo:

The demographic transition of Chicago’s Lower West Side, and García’s arrival there, coincided with an era of intense political agitation for Latino/a Civil Rights known variously as the Chicano Movement, Chicano Power, and Brown Power. According to the scholar Manuel G. Gonzales, the Chicano Movement’s heyday lasted from about 1965 to 1975. As such, the movement and its ideology of chicanismo directly overlapped with the historic transformation of Chicago’s Lower West Side’s from a white immigrant stronghold to a series of Latino/a barrios, and it began the same year that García relocated from Los Pinos, Mexico, to Pilsen, Chicago. Nonetheless, as scholars like Gonzales and Lisa García Bedolla make clear, the Chicano Movement was “not one unified movement, but rather a number of distinct groups organizing activities in different” areas.[13]

During the heyday of the Chicano Movement, many Latino/a activists framed their Civil Rights work under the banner of a new, cultural-nationalist ideology called chicanismo. Chicanismo was a way for Latinos/as to advocate for Latino/a—and more specifically, Mexican-American—empowerment in a wide variety of social, cultural, and political spheres. As one historian, Juan Gómez-Quiñones, explains, “Chicanismo referred to a set of beliefs; [and] in particular, a political practice.” It emphasized ethnic “dignity, self-worth, pride, uniqueness, and a feeling of cultural rebirth” among Latinos/as. The ideology foregrounded “Mexican cultural consciousness and heritage as well as pride in speaking [the] Spanish language and economic opportunity.” Moreover, it was based on a foundational notion that Latinos/as living in the mostly white, Anglophone United States shared in some common experiences of discrimination as a result of their racial and cultural identities. As both a tool for socio-political activism and a popular discourse, chicanismo often differed from more-assimilationist forms of Civil Rights. As Lorena Oropeza states, the concept found a special popularity among a younger generation of Latino/as “who forcefully rejected the traditional standards of belonging that Anglo-American society had set forth and that many members of an earlier generation of Mexican American activists had attempted to emulate.”[14]

As a hotbed of Latino/a activism during the 1960s and 70s, the Lower West Side reflected the chicanismo ideology. The area was filled up with advocacy organizations that boasted Latino/a heritage and pride, including Casa Aztlán, the Alianza Latino-Americana para el Adelanto Social (ALAS), Mujeres Latinas en Acción (MLEA), and El Centro de la Causa. Moreover, many of these groups had direct connections to the national Chicano Movement. For example, several of the core activists, like Arthur Vásquez, attended the National Chicano Youth and Liberation Conference in Denver, CO, in 1969; after, they gave their settlement house a new nationalistic name, Casa Aztlán; and decided to name other institutions, like El Centro de la Causa and Benito Juárez High School, with a similar idea in mind. As the scholarship of Jaime Alanís has shown, the ideology of chicanismo held powerful sway in Chicago’s Lower West Side during the 60s and 70s. Photos from the era can demonstrate the central role that cultural nationalism played in activist culture.[15]


This study will examine primary sources for any and all evidence of direct or indirect crossover between the eras of the Chicano Movement (1965-1975) and the Post-Chicano or the Hispanic Generation (1975-present). As such, the study will rely heavily upon traditional sources of Chicago history, like major newspapers and municipal records, as well as comparisons between local archives for grassroots organizations in the Lower West Side and special collections of papers regarding Latino/a candidates from the Lower West Side who began campaigning for political office in the 1980s. These archival sources might be supplemented by interviews with community activists from the Lower West Side—people who participated in the Chicano Movement of the 60s and 70s and/or the campaigning of the post-1970s. I can also explore the decennial publications of the Local Community Fact Book to construct a more-accurate portrait of the demographic makeup for the Lower West Side from the 60s to the present day. Overall, the main objective will be to strike a balance between city-wide and neighborhood records, while exploring as many points of potential crossover between community organization and electoral participation as possible. [16]

For newspapers, this study will draw upon the archives of the two major journalistic institutions of Chicago: the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. It will augment this investigation with analyses of a few major newspapers that represent minority communities within the city, like the Chicago Defender and, particularly, Hoy (a Spanish-language edition of the Chicago Tribune designed to cater specifically to a Latino/a readership, f. 2003) and La Raza (f.1970). Hoy and La Raza are the premier, Spanish-language newspapers in the Chicagoland area and the primary representatives of Latino/a voices from the greater journalistic community. Moreover, these papers are not simply translations of English papers. Rather, they represent an idea of what content publishers and journalists in Chicago think the Latino/a community wants to or should read about.

Next, this study will compare content from such mainstream papers with community-based periodicals from within the Lower West Side. Prominent among this group is El BeiSMan, a bilingual monthly magazine published online by a non-profit collective of journalists and educators (f. 2014). This magazine will be especially helpful because it is produced out of the Lower West Side by local writers. The magazine’s contributors frequently comment on issues of local concern, like political organizing, history, and ongoing gentrification. Online newspapers based in Chicago, like DNIinfo, also have sections that focus exclusively on the Lower West Side communities like Pilsen and Little Village. Other periodicals that may be consulted for this study include the local paper The Gate News and the city-wide, alternative weekly newspaper called the Chicago Reader.

For sources about community activism in the Lower West Side from the 1960s and onward, this study will rely upon the archives of several, individual grassroots organizations. Lilia Fernández has already located the private and public archives for some of the most important groups, like El Centro de la Causa  and Mujeres Latinas en Acción. The latter archive is readily accessible to the public in the Special Collections department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, while the former organization’s archives are still in private hands and must be tracked down.[17]

For sources about Lower West Side political campaigning in the 80s and onward, this study will rely heavily upon the Rudy Lozano papers. This extensive collection of source material refers to a prominent Mexican-American politician, community activist, and local organizer. Lozano was a predecessor of Jesús García, who served as his campaign manager for his failed run for alderman of the 22nd ward in 1983. These papers are housed in about 21 boxes at the Richard J. Daley Library Special Collection and University Archives at the University of Illinois at Chicago. They detail Lozano’s life (1951-1983) and political career, including memories of him by various members of his family and supporters that extend into the year 2003. The Rudy Lozano collection features an amalgam of diverse material. The contents include newspaper clippings, old photographs, event ephemera (like programs, flyers, buttons, and posters), private and public correspondence, memo pads, collected literature and historical research materials, and video and audio recordings. Within this collection is housed all of the extant archival material that pertains to Lozano’s civic engagement with the Latino/a community in greater Chicago and the Lower West Side. [18]

Like his successor Jesús García, Lozano is suggestive of the greater Latino/a migrant story in postwar Chicago. He was born in the Mexican-U.S. border-town of Harlingen, Texas, but he was raised in the Lower West Side neighborhood of Pilsen while it was transitioning from a white ethnic community into a predominately Mexican-American community. He attended Cooper Elementary and the controversial yet now-defunct Harrison High School in South Lawndale. He then begun advocating for causes like the creation of Mexican-American History courses and increased hiring of Latino/a faculty when he attended the University of Illinois at Chicago during the height of the Chicano movement. Overall, Lozano’s papers will be crucial to my study because they detail a major activist’s close relationship with the Latino/a community during an era that bridged the Chicano Movement and the Post-Chicano or Hispanic Generation. In short, Lozano was a leading member in both periods of Latino/a activism. He was a youth organizer in the Chicago Chicano Movement when it achieved what was arguably its greatest success: the creation of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at UIC in 1974. He was also one of the first Latino/a politicians to run for formal electoral office. After his failed campaign, García went on the break racial barriers in 1986, when he became the first Mexican-American elected to City Council.

These papers will provide valuable insight into Lozano’s organizing efforts with dozens of Latino/a and multiracial local, regional, and national organizations. Such groups include the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression; El Centro de la Causa; the Midwest Coalition for the Defense of Immigrants; the Hispanic American Labor Council; the Coalition for Labor Union Women; Latin American Council for Labor Union Advancement; Por Un Barrio Mejor; Citizen’s Information Service; Operation PUSH; Chicago Urban League; the Chicago Peace Council; and the International Ladies Garments Workers Union (I.L.G.W.U). The papers will also provide insight into the literature Lozano was reading while he was a student at UIC and, thus, what formal and informal Mexican-American education was like during the Chicago Chicano Movement. Finally, the papers will provide insight into the campaigns of various Latino/a activists like Juan Soliz and García, who envisioned themselves as carrying forth Lozano’s legacy.[19]

But this prospectus is not concerned with Lozano’s biography for its own sake. Rather, its purpose is to explore direct and indirect connections between the activism of Latinos/as in Chicago’s Lower West Side during the pre-1980s and the decades thereafter. Basically, the prospectus asks, “To what extent did Latino/a people involved in Chicano Movement activism contribute to the formal political campaigns of the 1980s? And to what extent were they the exact same people?” In order to address this question, I will use the Lozano papers to investigate overlap between political participation in Pilsen-based groups of the 60s and 70s and electoral campaigns of Latino/a-Americans in the 80s. For an example, I will examine photo albums to see if there are figures who appear in both camps, and I will look at newspaper clippings to see if names overlap between these periods. In 1982, Lozano unsuccessfully ran for alderman in the largely Mexican-American 22nd Ward, which covered parts of Little Village and South Lawndale. But Lozano also organized other Latinos/as who pursued political office at the time, including Soliz, who ran for state representative in the 20th District of the Illinois General Assembly in the winter of 1982. A comparison of campaign materials may reveal a common network of activists from the Lower West Side.

In particular, I will be searching for any and all examples of direct or indirect crossover or collaboration between Lozano’s political circles and the various local organizations that are featured in the secondary literature on 1960s and 70s activism. This literature includes such works as Lilia Fernández’s study of Latino/a identity in postwar Chicago, Brown in the Windy City. In this work, Fernández focuses mostly on a small handful of Pilsen-based organizations—Mujeres Latinas en Acción (also MLEA or Latina Women in Action), El Centro de la Causa, and Casa Aztlán—as a way of sampling Mexican-American activism in communities of the Lower West Side during the Chicano Movement. In browsing through the online finding aids of the Lozano papers, a few examples of collaboration immediately suggest themselves. For example, Series V, Folder 2 contains some oversized posters of events held by Casa Aztlán. Other sources suggest intriguing places for investigation. Materials made in the wake of Lozano’s premature death in 1983—such as guest books and registers, sympathy cards, and memorial programs and materials—could help establish crossover between the Pilsen, activist communities of the late 1970s and those of the early 1980s. Likewise, “Mailing List cards” from political campaigns of the late 70s and local, telephone address books may help draw out some of these kinds of direct and indirect connections.[20]

Of all the materials listed in the Rudy Lozano papers, there is one that I am more interested in than the rest. This piece is an interview of Jesús G. “Chuy” García conducted by John J. Betancur and Doug Gills in August of 1995. Even more than Lozano, García is a figure whose life stretched from the activism of the 60s and 70s to the present. This paper explores if García’s mayoral run in 2015 should be seen as a legacy of the Chicano Movement. In this sense, his interview will be vital for seeing how García interprets his own success and its relationship to chicanismo. This source will help me understand whether, and to what degree, García acknowledges connections between the activist traditions of the 60s and 70s and the political traditions thereafter. Finally, the Lozano papers also include extant copies of El Sol de Pilsen, a local newsletter that was produced by the Pilsen Neighborhood Community Council (PNCC) during the 60s and 70s. The paper will help me generate a list of names that I can check against the records from later decades.[21]

Overall, I can use the Rudy Lozano papers to construct a working list, containing the names of those people who were involved in the electoral campaigning of the Mexican-American community in the early 1980s and beyond. I will attempt to identity not only political leaders but rank-and-file members of the campaigns—those who canvassed, registered voters on the streets, handed out fliers, held community meetings and informational workshops, or attended local rallies. These names can then be cross-referenced with those names that come up in the private archives of such organizations from Brown in the Windy City as El Centro de la Causa and MLEA. My intention is not only demonstrate a continuation of themes and ideas from the Chicano Movement to the Post-Chicano Generation, but also to trace out clear statistical proof of cross-fertilization.[22]

I will conclude this discussion of primary sources by mentioning a few more supplemental archives that can be consulted in conjunction with the Rudy Lozano papers. One of these archives is the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church Records in the Special Collections at the University of Illinois at Chicago. These records come from an historic Lower West Side church, and they contain materials on ALAS (the Alianza Latino-Americana para el Adelanto Social). I know for certain there was direct crossover between this organization and the 22nd Ward IPO because Arthur Vásquez was an organizer for both groups. And then there is CASA-HGT (the Centro de Accion Social Autonoma-Hermandad General de Trabajadores), an immigrant-rights advocacy group that was based in Southern California. The Chicago-chapter of this group was founded in 1974 by Lozano and it predated the formation of the IPO. The records for the parent group are housed at the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA. These records include the minutes of the organization’s meetings, their printed papers and memorandum, and their organization newspaper. Perhaps they will also hold correspondence with or about Lozano and other members of the Chicago chapter.[23]

Moving on, there are a few private archives that can be consulted after getting permission. These archives include that of Casa Aztlán, housed at their new location on Blue Island Avenue in Pilsen and that of the Pilsen Neighborhood Community Council (PNCC) on the same street. Most of the Lower West Side organizations that are still around today also have social media platforms like Facebook, through which I can track their involvement in recent events like the 2015 mayoral election and reach out to them for questions. On this note, I am open to the possibility of following up on my archival research by conducting interviews with members of these existing organizations to better understand how they interpret the legacy of the Chicano Movement in the so-called Post-Chicano era. Some people who work at these organizations have been there for a couple of decades. They can help me get a sense for how activists who are not running for political office interpret the historical legacy of chicanismo and the Chicano Movement.[24]


[1] See appendices one and two of this prospectus for maps and tables referring to the 2015 mayoral runoff. Bob Secter, “Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia forces runoff, steps into spotlight,” Chicago Tribune. 24 February 2015. Accessed on 27 April 2016.

[2] For more on the postwar origins of Latinos/as in Chicago and their migration from the Near West Side to the Lower West Side, see the first three chapters of Fernández. Brown in the Windy City, 22-91; for historical studies of Latinos/as who lived in Chicago before WWII, see Gabriela F. Arrendondo, Mexican Chicago: Race, Identity, and Nation, 1916-1939 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008); Michael Innis-Jiménez, Steel Barrio: The Great Mexican Migration to South Chicago (New York: New York University Press, 2013); and Michael McCoyer, “Darkness of a Different Color: Mexicans and Race in Greater Chicago, 1916-1960” (PhD Dissertation: Northwestern University, 2007).

[3] Fernández. Brown in the Windy City, 207-208; Chip Mitchell, “Swept from their homes, Chicago’s Latinos build new community,” 22 July 2014. Accessed 3 May 2016.; 1970 Census of Population and Housing: General Demographic Trends for Metropolitan Areas, 1960 to 1970: Final Report (Washington D.C.: Bureau of the Census, 1971); for current demographics of the Lower West Side, see Emily Chow et al., “Reshaping Chicago’s political map,” Chicago Tribune or the tables listed in appendix number two of this essay.

[4] For an example of these protests, see Edith Herman and Philip Wattley, “8 cops hurt in school battle: 9 are seized in takeover,” Chicago Tribune. Tuesday, June 5, 1973. Accessed on 4 May 2016. 973 /06/05/page/22/article/pupils-mourn-miss-cernys-death. Historians like Rodolfo Francisco Acuña, Lorena Oropeza, and Ignacio M. García have argued that one of the main successes of the Chicano Movement was the establishment of Chicano Studies Programs and improved education for Latinos/as more generally. Rodolfo Francisco Acuña, Occupied America: The Chicano Struggle Toward Liberation, 3rd edition, (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 392; Lorena Oropeza, ¡Raza Sí! ¡Guerra No!, 104, 118; Ignacio M. García, Chicanismo: The Forging of a Militant Ethos among Mexican Americans (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1997); 56.

[5] For information on the early political of ‘Chuy’ García, see David K. Freman, Chicago Politics: Ward by Ward (Blomington: Indiana University Press, 1988), particularly his chapters on the 12th, 22nd, and 25th wards. For an overview of García’s life, see Steve Bogira, “Jesus ‘ Chuy’ García’s Journey from a Village in Mexico to the Race Against May Emmanuel: Rahm Emmanuel is a Heavy Favorite, but García offers voters a compelling personal history,” Chicago Reader, 21 January 2015. Accessed 10 June 2016.; and Steve Bogira, “What Pilsen taught Chuy García,” I, 12 December 2014. Accessed 10 June 2016. at-pilsen-taught-chuy-garcia. García does not mention the Chicano Movement of chicanismo in either of these interviews.

[6] Manuel G. Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 191-261. For an account of the two periods as they are traditionally understood, see chapter 8 “The Chicano Movement 1965-1975” and chapter 9 “Pain and Promise 1975-1998.” Lilia Fernández. Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 19.

[7] Francisco Arturo Rosales, Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press at the University of Houston, 1997), 250, 267.

[8] Lisa García Bedolla, Introduction to Latino Politics in the U.S (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009), 86-87; another example of a scholar that has acknowledged these connections is John A. García, Latino Politica in America: Community, Culture, and Interests, second edition, (New York: Roman & Littlefield, 2011).

[9] Fernández. Brown in the Windy City, 19.

[10] María De Los Angeles Torres, “In Search of Meaningful Voice and Place: The IPO and Latino Community Empowerment in Chicago, in Gilberto Cardenas, ed., La Causa: Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Struggle for Equality in the Midwest. Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2004; Teresa Córdova, “Harold Washington and the Rise of Latino Electoral Politics in Chicago, 1982-1987,” in David Montejano, ed., Chicano Politics and Society in the Late Twentieth Century, 31-57. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999; David Freman “Chicago’s Spanish-American Politics in the ‘80s,” Illinois Periodicals Online. 18 January 1990. Accessed 24 April 2016.; Jaime Dominguez, “Latinos in Chicago: A Strategy Towards Political Empowerment (1975-2003)” (Phd diss., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2007); Jaime Alanís, “The Harrison High School Walkouts of 1968: Struggle for Equal Schools and Chicanismo in Chicago” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010); “BlowOuts: Latinismo and Chicanismo in Late 1960s Chicago.” El BeiSMan. 1 September 2014. Accessed 11 May 2016. 44#_edn3; Chas Sirridge, “Latino Political Organization in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village.” 4 April 2016. Accessed 19 April 2016. 1039.

[11] See appendix one at the end of this essay for a map of the three wards that I refer to as Chicago’s Lower West Side. For a brief explanation of the differences between wards, neighborhoods, legislative districts, and community areas, see the following, Jennifer Roche, “Chicago Neighborhoods, Community Areas, Wards—Maps and FAQs,” About Travel, 8 May 2015. Accessed 9 June 2016.

[12] For another work that conflates Latino/a and Mexican American in the Lower West Side, see Peter N. Pero, Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2011).

[13] Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States, 218-222; Lisa García Bedolla, Introduction to Latino Politics in the U.S (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009),  75

[14] Juan GómezQuiñones, Chicano Politics: Reality and Promise, 1940-1990 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990), 104.  Lorena Oropeza, ¡Raza Sí! ¡Guerra No! Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 83.

[15] Jaime Alanís, “The Harrison High School Walkouts of 1968: Struggle for Equal Schools and Chicanismo in Chicago” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010); “BlowOuts: Latinismo and Chicanismo in Late 1960s Chicago.” El BeiSMan. 1 September 2014. Accessed 11 May 2016. =344#_edn3; See appendix four for an image that epitomizes the chicanismo dimensions of 1960s and 70s activism. Another example of crossover between the national Chicano Movement is Rudy Lozano and the Chicago chapter of CASA-HGT.

[16] Local Community Fact Book Chicago Metropolitan Area (Chicago: Chicago Community Inventory, University of Chicago, years vary). The UIC archives hold records for every decade since 1938. See

[17] El Centro de la Causa, private archives, 731 W. 17th Street, Chicago, IL 60616. Mujeres Latinas en Acción Records, Special Collections Library, DePaul University,, 801 S. Morgan Street, Room 3-330, Chicago, IL 60607.

[18] Rudy Lozano papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago: https://www.uic.e du/depts/lib/findingaids/MSLoza12.html#N10000.

[19] See Chas Sirridge, “Latino Political Organization in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village.” 4 April 2016. Accessed 19 April 2016. 1039 and María De Los Angeles Torres, “In Search of Meaningful Voice and Place: The IPO and Latino Community Empowerment in Chicago, in Gilberto Cardenas, ed., La Causa: Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Struggle for Equality in the Midwest. Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2004.

[20] Fernández. Brown in the Windy City,  269-270.

[21] Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, interviewed by John J. Betancur and Doug Gills, August 4, 1995, Rudy Lozano Papers, Box 1, Series 3, Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections, UIC; El Sol de Pilsen Vol. 1, No. 4, Jan. 1982, Rudy Lozano Papers, Box 1 Series 1, Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections, UIC.

[22] El Centro de la Causa, private archives, 731 W. 17th Street, Chicago, IL 60616. Mujeres Latinas en Acción Records, Special Collections Library, DePaul University,

[23] For more on the relationship between CASA-HGT and its Chicago chapter, see Myrna García, “The Green Fords in La Villita, 1974,” El BeiSMan, 4 April 2016. Accessed 9 June 2016. &id=1038.

[24] Emmanuel Presbyterian Church Records, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago:; CASA-HGT Records at the University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA. Los Angeles, California 90095-1490; Casa Aztlán private archives, 1808 S. Blue Island Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608; Pilsen Neighborhood Community Council private archives, 2026 S. Blue Island Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608; El Hogar del Niño private archives, 1718 S. Loomis Street. Chicago, IL 60608.

Additional Information: 

Citations for the Featured Images: On the right, Image taken by Chris Sweda of Chicago Tribune. See David Heinzmann and Ray Long, “When Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia was in charge: Mixed results at community group,” Chicago Tribune. 30 March 2015. Accessed on 4 May 2016. On the left, Image taken by unknown photographer. See Edith Herman and Philip Wattley, “8 cops hurt in school battle: 9 are seized in takeover,” Chicago Tribune. Tuesday, June 5, 1973. Accessed on 4 May 2016. /06/05/page/22/article/pupils-mourn-miss-cernys-death.

Provenance: This research prospectus was originally written as a final project for the graduate seminar “HIS 202H — At the Crossroads: Recent Latina/o History,” taught by Professor Lorena Oropeza. The draft posted here was  submitted for a grade on June 10, 2016. For a PDF version of this research prospectus that includes all of its appendices, please see the following link: From Chicanismo to Chuy — Recovering the Long History of the Chicano Movement in Chicago’s Lower West Side, 1965-2015