California Map

Mexican American parents sue the school board in Lemon Grove for segregating their children from Anglo children. The court deems racial segregation among children illegal. This is the first successful desegregation court case in the United States.

Chicanos establish the La Confederacion de Uniones de Campesinos y Obreros Mexicanos (Confederation of Mexican Farm Worker and Labor Unions, or CUCOM), the largest agricultural union.

1943 The Sleepy Lagoon case exposes judicial discrimination against Chicanos in Los Angeles. In the case, seventeen Chicano youth are found guilty of charges that range from assault to first-degree murder. The California District Court of Appeals reverses the convictions in 1944. 1964 The Bracero program establishes a contract labor agreement between

Mexico and the United States. The program brings over four million Mexican farmworkers to work in the agricultural sector of the United States. The majority of these Mexicans work in California.

The Zoot Suit Riots occur in east Los Angeles, in the aftermath of the Sleeping Lagoon Case. Mexican youth are exposed to Anglo criticism, prejudice, and violence.

In Santa Ana, Gonzalo Mendez, a Mexican American, files a lawsuit (Mendez v. Westminister School District) against segregation in the Westminster public school system. The federal district court rules segregation in schools unconstitutional, and this ruling sets the precedent for the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Residents of the Chavez Ravine Mexican American community are forced to sell their homes to the city of Los Angeles to make way for a public-housing project. The housing project is cancelled, and a stadium for the Dodgers baseball team is built on the land.

1958 Operation Wetback, a government program to deport undocumented workers, is established. The program leads to the deportation of 3.8 million people of Mexican descent, many of whom were living California.

The National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) is founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in Delano, California, to organize, serve, and protect farmworkers. The organization later becomes the United Farm Workers of America.

Democrats Phil Soto from La Puente and John Moreno from Los Angeles become the first Latinos to be elected into the California state legislature. They are known for their commitment to serving their communities.

The government terminates the Bracero program and the contracted importation of laborers from Mexico.

Luis Valdez founds El Teatro Campesino (Farm Workers’ Theater); drawing on a blend of Spanish and English, this theater portrays Anglo discrimination and Chicano resistance.

Cesar Chavez launches a nationwide strike and boycott of California table and wine grapes.

Professor Rudy Acuna teaches the first Mexican-American history class in Los Angeles.

The Brown Berets, a Chicano activist organization, is established in east Los Angeles. The group actively protests police brutality and the U.S. war in Vietnam. They also establish and run a free medical clinic and publish the newspaper La Causa.

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