In March 1968, thousands of Chicano students walked out of their East Los Angeles high schools to protest decades of inferior or discriminatory education in their so-called “Mexican Schools.” During these historic walkouts –– or “blowouts,” as they were known –– the students were led by Sal Castro, a Mexican-American teacher who encouraged them to make their grievances public after school administrators and school board members failed to listen to them.
A two-day conference at UC Santa Barbara, named in honor of Castro, who died last April, will take place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21 and 22, in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Titled “Chicano!” the conference will focus on the emerging historiography of the Chicano Movement. It is free and open to the public.
“This conference will showcase exciting new research projects on the Chicano Movement, the largest and most widespread civil rights and empowerment movement in Chicano history,” said Mario T. García, UCSB professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and of history. He is the conference organizer. “The movement in the late 1960s and 1970s initiated the rise of Latino political power in the United States today. The conference is named after Sal Castro, one of the great leaders of the Chicano Movement and of American history.”
The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21 with remarks by García and by Castro’s wife, Charlotte M. Lerchenmuller. A special panel on recently published books on the Chicano movement will follow.
The keynote speaker is Martha Cotera, an activist in both the Chicano Civil Rights Movement and the Chicana Feminist Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She will give a talk titled “The Chicano Movement and the Roots of Chicana Historiography” at 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 21.
A series of panel discussions will take place throughout the afternoon and continue on Feb. 22. Also on Feb. 22, a special guest panel will address “The Blowout Generation and Sal Castro.”
More information about the conference, including a complete schedule of events, is available at http://www.chicst.ucsb.edu.