La Raza Unida Party (1970)
The struggle for participation in the politics of the U.S was some of the challenges facing the Chicano/Latino community throughout the 20th century. Through constant struggles and persistence, they were allowed to take part in the politics of the country. It led to the formation of several political parties meant to fight for the rights of the Chicano/Latino people. One such party was the “La Raza Unida Party” (National United Peoples Party) formed in the year 1970. The party founded by José Ángel Gutiérrez and Mario Compean was meant to fight for the rights of the Chicano/Latino people community in the United States. The party got involved in fighting for issues ranging from improved housing, better working conditions and equal education opportunities for all Chicano/ Latino people in the United States.
The formation of La Raza Unida Party came on January 17, 1970 in a conference attended by over 300 Chicano/Latino Americans. The conference was held in Crystal City, Texas and was led by the founders of the party including the chairman Xenaro Ayala. The leaders of this party had been involved with the formation of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in 1967. However, they believed this new party would help in looking at the plight of all Chicano/Latino people in the United States. The success of this great party was felt in the following years as it led to several election victories for the Chicano/Latino people.
La Raza Unida party got tasked with fighting for the improvement of the social, economic and political interests of the Chicano/Latino people in the entire Texas state. One of the first major achievements of the party was the election of the first Chicano/Latino Mayor of Cotulla, Texas and Crystal city, Texas respectively. It led to the growth of the party to other states such as California, Colorado among others. The continued success of the party led to the first Chicano/Latino American to ever run for the gubernatorial post of the Texas state.
In 1972, Ramsay Muniz a Chicano/Latino American stood for the post of governorship of Texas. He received the support of most Chicano/ Latino people in the state and was a strong candidate who ran twice in 1972 and 1974. Despite his popularity, he was unfortunate to lose out to Democrat Dolph Briscoe, a rich banker and farm owner from Uvalde, Texas on both accounts.
Ramsey Muniz addressing supporters during his campaigns for governorship in 1972
The formation of the “La Raza Unida party in 1970 was one of the most important happenings in the history of the Chicano/Latino people in the United States. It opened up endless possibilities for the Chicano/Latino people mainly in the political activities of the country. Since its formation, the Chicano/ Latino people in the United States have been active participants in the political activities of the country, and this has led to better economic and social welfare of these people. Retrieving this artefact was not that easy, it involved a lot of research and exploration. The image was found in the Texas State historical association’s official website https://www.tshaonline.org/ .
The image of Ramsey Muniz was very important as it showed how far the Chicano/Latino communities in the U.S. have come in terms of political participation. This image is important in our study of the Chicano/ Latino history as it shows the political history of the people. The formation of the La Raza Unida party was important for opening up political opportunities for all Latino/Chicano people in the U.S. starting from Ramsey Muniz to the current politicians of Chicano/Latino origin. This piece of history is very much related to Chicano history class as it helps us learn more about the political history of the Chicano/Latino Americans.
Gosse, Van. Rethinking the New Left: An Interpretative History New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.
Navarro, Armando. La Raza Unida Party: A Chicano Challenge to the U.s. Two-Party Dictatorship. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000. Print.
Texas State Historical Association official website https://www.tshaonline.org/ Accessed on May 22nd 2014