It is located beneath the San Diego- Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan, central of San Diego, California, and occupies 7.9 acres of the land. The occupants of this area are mostly Mexicans; both Mexican- American and Mexican- immigrants. The first Mexicans occupied this area in the 1890’s and were soon followed by others who were fleeing from the Mexican Revolution, which had started in 1910. In 1905, the name of this area was changed to Logan Heights, from East End. As the time went by, many Mexicans occupied the area and the Southern portion of it were later named Barrio Logan. When World War II began, the locals were denied access to San Diego Bay, which had waterfront access. The Naval installed blocks to prevent the locals from accessing this area, and this created a lot of resentment towards the government and its agencies. In the 1950’s, the area was rezoned as a mix of both residential and industrial purposes. There was much of noise and air pollution from the junk dealers and repair shops that were moved into the area, and this fuelled more resentment from the locals. These factors were making it hard for the residents to use the Barrio for residential purposes. As time went by, the Barrio was divided into regions in 1963 by the Interstate 5 and was divided in 1969, by the elevated ramps of San Diego- Coronado Bridge. Mexicans launched no complaints since they were used to not being represented when it came to matters concerning the community, and, they were usually not included in any of the discussions or decisions.
When the era of African American demand began and equality for other oppressed groups, the attitude of the Mexicans changed. Chicano Movement was started to fights for the rights and empowerment of the Mexicans. Mexicans had been demanding a park in the region, and the City Council approved the project in 1969. This was to compensate for the many homes and business establishments that been demolished during the construction of freeway and bridge. The construction never began till 1973. In 1970, construction for a parking lot had begun, and the residents were made aware of the situation by a student Mario Solis leading to a demonstration. Salvador Torres, a young artist, came up with the idea of adorning of the freeway support pillars with artworks. Money was raised to buy necessary artistic materials, by some artists and their organizations, and with time, they were joined by others from all over the state as the mural team of Charles ‘Gato’ Felix and the Royal Chicano Air Force of Sacramento.
El Teatro Campesino
The theatrical group was founded in 1965 by Luis Valdez as the cultural arm of the United Farm Workers since its original actors were all farm workers. They enacted events inspired by the lives of their audience, drawn from various traditions as Mexican folk humor. Their main aim was entertaining the farm workers, but later on, they began touring to raise funds for the striking farm workers. By 1967, they included other factors in their performance as education, racism, Vietnam War and indigenous roots. They moved their headquarters to San Juan Bautista in 1971 and adapted traditional plays as La Virgen del Tepeyac. With increased attention on the Chicano culture, Valdez received attention too, and he began teaching drama at Santa Cruz and University of California, Berkeley. The group worked with Peter Brook, a British theatre director in 1973, and they toured through Europe in 1976 performing La Carpa, which was sponsored by the State Department. The group disbanded in 1980, but El Teatro Campesino, still located in San Juan Bautista, holds their yearly Christmas pageants. In 2002, they did revivals of Valdez’s play Suit and their playhouse in 2007. In 2004, they did a southwestern tour of the zoot suit production.