Spanish-Americans: the New Militants

September 25, 1970

Report Outline
Rising Anger of Spanish-Americans
Roots of Spanish-Americans in U.S.A.
Quest for Opportunity and Advancement
Special Focus

Rising Anger of Spanish-Americans

The nation's second largest minority group is stirring from a century of lethargy and political impotence. Americans of Spanish heritage, next to Indians the poorest and most oppressed of this country's minorities, and next to blacks the most numerous, are showing a new and unaccustomed militancy as they strive to make their voices heard across the land. Behind this militancy is anger and trust rat ion over social and economic conditions that can best be described as feudal.

Their voices are beginning to be heard in a number of ways, through riots and disturbances in several cities, strikes in farm fields, and political activism. Washington is showing a new awareness of the voting potential of 10 million Spanish-speaking people in the United States and of a new leadership now emerging that seeks to weld unity among the diverse groups of Spanish-Americans—Puerto Ricans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban exiles, and other Latin migrants. President Nixon suddenly has shown a concern for Mexican-Americans which, the London Economist suggests, “comes from a desire to carry California in the 1972 presidential election.” Among other things, Nixon said at a recent dinner honoring President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico that the United States had unfulfilled obligations to its Spanish-Americans.

Demands of Spanish-Americans for a better deal from the “Anglo” community gained national prominence first through the work of Cesar Chavez in organizing a strike of California grape pickers that, now after five years, is largely successful. To a large extent, the workers are “Chicanos,” Mexican-Americans, and Chavez is the personification of the new breed of Chicano leader. He attracted to his cause the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, fund-raising society matrons, and other Americans from a broad spectrum of society.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 17, 2003  Latinos' Future
Sep. 18, 1998  Hispanic-Americans' New Clout
Oct. 30, 1992  Hispanic Americans
Jul. 30, 1982  Hispanic America
Sep. 25, 1970  Spanish-Americans: the New Militants
Civil Rights: Hispanic Americans
Outsourcing and Immigration