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Aztlán Arizona

Mexican American Educational Empowerment, 1968–1978

Darius V. Echeverría

Publication Year: 2014

Aztlán Arizona is a history of the Chicano Movement in Arizona in the 1960s and 1970s. Focusing on community and student activism in Phoenix and Tucson, Darius V. Echeverría ties the Arizona events to the larger Chicano and civil rights movements against the backdrop of broad societal shifts that occurred throughout the country. Arizona’s unique role in the movement came from its (public) schools, which were the primary source of Chicano activism against the inequities in the judicial, social, economic, medical, political, and educational arenas.
    The word Aztlán, originally meaning the legendary ancestral home of the Nahua peoples of Mesoamerica, was adopted as a symbol of independence by Chicano/a activists during the movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  In an era when poverty, prejudice, and considerable oppositional forces blighted the lives of roughly one-fifth of Arizonans, the author argues that understanding those societal realities is essential to defining the rise and power of the Chicano Movement.
    The book illustrates how Mexican American communities fostered a togetherness that ultimately modified larger Arizona society by revamping the educational history of the region. The concluding chapter outlines key Mexican American individuals and organizations that became politically active in order to address Chicano educational concerns. This Chicano unity, reflected in student, parent, and community leadership organizations, helped break barriers, dispel the Mexican American inferiority concept, and create educational change that benefited all Arizonans.
    No other scholar has examined the emergence of Chicano Movement politics and its related school reform efforts in Arizona. Echeverría’s thorough research, rich in scope and interpretation, is coupled with detailed and exact endnotes. The book helps readers understand the issues surrounding the Chicano Movement educational reform and ethnic identity. Equally important, the author shows how residual effects of these dynamics are still pertinent today in places such as Tucson.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-2

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pp. 3-9

Out of the ashes of Arizona’s 2010 ethnic studies law, which eliminated four aspects of teaching (purportedly anchoring the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program), Mexican American studies were ultimately barred in the K–12 curriculum.1 This ban prompted students to stage walkouts throughout the Tucson Unified School District...

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1. Occupied Arizona: Mexican Americans and the Parameters of a Pedestrian People

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pp. 10-24

The cultural, economic, and educational contributions of Mexican Americans have figured prominently in the history of Arizona.1 To envision Arizona not influenced by Mexican Americans is to imagine a state without several of its traditions, much of its industry, educational pluralism, and an indefinite number of its accomplishments...

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2. A Measure of the Marginalized Mexican American: A Scholastic Survey of Spanish-Surnamed Strangers

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pp. 25-41

Historically, the Mexican heritage population has been the largest and oldest of the Hispanic subgroups. They consistently represented more than three-fifths of the total US Latino population and, more meaningfully, comprised one-fifth of Arizona’s population by 1970.1 As a result of unique settlement patterns, a range of acculturation rates, and immigration trends...

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3. Bias, Boycotts, and Battling Barriers Mexican Americans in Public Schools

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pp. 42-67

The academic struggles of Arizonan-Mexicans shook up the educational equilibrium, which set into motion unremitting activism. And based on events in recent years, with the shutdown of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies curriculum, student activism not only abounds but also is still needed. Yet, before awareness campaigns...

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4. Activists of Academia: Students, Scholars, and Staffers at Arizona State University

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pp. 68-92

The Arizonan-Mexican student movement of the late 1960s and 1970s was rooted in dissatisfaction with not only high schools but also college campuses. As a powerful, unifying force, Chicano students in colleges and universities alike became politicized, mobilizing into coalitions in order to protest discrimination against all Arizonan-Mexicans in every level of...

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5. The Promise and Peril of Protests: Undergraduates and Underrepresentation at the University of Arizona

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pp. 93-106

Like the students at Arizona State University (ASU), students at the University of Arizona (UA) also attempted to advance the academic interests of Chicanos and the wider social concerns of the Arizonan-Mexican community. Like their ASU counterparts and high school comrades in the Tucson United School District, UA students grew tired of creatively...

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6. A Part, Yet Apart: (Re)Arranging Academic Arizona from Hocus-Pocus to Horne

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pp. 107-124

Equal education is not only one of the greatest civil rights issues of our time but also one of the greatest competitiveness issues, making it one of the most consequential issues still today. Like class and race, educational differences have separated Arizona. This calls into question the very spirit on which the state was imagined: an ambition for equal education...


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pp. 125-158


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pp. 159-176


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pp. 177-180

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780816598977
E-ISBN-10: 0816598975
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816529841
Print-ISBN-10: 0816529841

Page Count: 197
Illustrations: 5 photos
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 876041670
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Aztlán Arizona

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Educational change -- Arizona -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Education -- Arizona -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Arizona -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • Chicano Movement -- Arizona.
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