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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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Chicano Poetry, Chicano Organizing
Program #

Linda Fregoso
Alurista, Isidro Ortíz
May 2, 1980

Chicano poetry, Chicano organizing

Linda Fregoso first interviews Chicano poet, Alurista, about the evolution of Chicano poetry. Alurista explains that while Chicanos poetry dates to the 19th century, their work was largely confined to local audiences. In contrast, 20th century Chicano poets have been able to reach national audiences. Alurista then traces the thematic development of Chicano poetry. In the 1960s, Chicano poetry largely dealt with contemporary political protests. In the 1970s, it became more retrospective and looked at the decline of the protest movement. Alurista believes that while some poets will continue to focus on art for art’s sake, other will seek to tie their poetry to their class and to third world struggles. He argues that this third world orientation has long marked Chicano consciousness and reads Americo Paredes’ poem to Augusto Sandino.

Fregoso then interviews Professor Isidro Ortiz about Chicano community organizing. Ortiz explains that the early 1960s saw intense nationalist organizing, but the political repression of the 1970s weakened the movement. Activists turned to electoral politics and began to neglect community organizing. Other groups, like the Catholic Church, stepped in and effectively mobilized some sectors of the Chicano population, who fought for increased amenities in their communities. However, these groups have largely ignored the economic issues that Chicanos are still confronting. Moreover, Ortiz explains that the 1970s witnessed a backlash against the civil rights movement. Consequently, Chicanos have struggled to preserve the limited gains of the sixties.


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

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