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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Learning To Be Militant: A Case Study In Crystal City
Program #
Politics, Society

Social Issues
Alejandro Saenz
Armando Gutierrez
Mar 23, 1977

Learning to be Militant: a Case Study in Crystal City

Host Alejandro Saenz interviews Dr. Armando Gutierrez on his book, Learning to be Militant, which examines Chicano political activism in Crystal City, Texas. Crystal City was the first city where La Raza Unida, the Chicano third party, won control of local politics in 1970. It was also the site of a well-organized student movement, and Gutierrez discusses an extensive research project he conducted in the area that examined the origins of the student’s activism. Gutierrez, with the aid of UT students and the cooperation of Raza party officials, went to Crystal City and surveyed over 800 students on their political activism, many of whom had participated in the student walk out protesting the exclusion of Chicanas from the cheerleading squad. He found the students to be very politically aware and invested in collective action.

Moreover, the students reflected the city’s growing political consciousness. In the late sixties, Chicanos, and especially Chicanas, had become increasingly involved in locals politics. In fact, women were often the first to organize and the most politically conscious.

His survey also found that many students felt that racism and inequality were a function of individual beliefs and actions as opposed to structures. Gutierrez says that this failure to understand and address the underlying structural issues reflects some of the problems facing the national Chicano Movement as it attempts to articulate its goals and strategies.


Armando Gutierrez
Chicano Movement
Collective Action
Crystal City, Texas
Democratic party
Ethnic Pride
Herbert Hirsch
High School Students
La Raza Unida
Learning to be Militant
Minority Faculty
Political Organizations
Political Science
R & E Research Associates
Rural Politics
Social Movements
Student militancy
Student political participation
Third Party Politics
Women’s issues
Women’s political participation
Youth Culture

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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