Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Chicanas y Chicanos en Phoenix Tambi�n Resisten! A Critical Race Educational History of the Phoenix Union High School 1970 Boycott


According to Valencia (2011), the persistent inequalities confronting Chicanas/os and leading to what he defines as school failure is a matter rooted deeply in history. Covering a range of 150 years of Mexican American education in the Southwest, San Miguel and Valencia (1998) examine how “the foundation of conflict, hostility, and discrimination, as symbolized by the Treaty [of Guadalupe Hidalgo], shaped the emergence, expansion, and changing character of public education for the Mexican American people.” In response to unequal educational conditions, Delgado Bernal (1999) states that Chicana/o students and their communities, influenced by the Black civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests, organized protests, walkouts, and boycotts as they struggled to call attention to and improve their quality of education across the Southwest.

This dissertation thus centers the historical counterstory of a nearly month-long Chicana/o boycott at Phoenix Union High School in 1970. This dissertation utilizes a Critical Race Educational History methodology to construct a counterstory by analyzing the role of race in creating the conditions for the boycott to take place through a Critical Race Theory in education theoretical lens. Focused on documenting and better understanding the educational experiences and community history of Phoenix Chicanas/os during this time, I explore the following questions: 1) Why and how was the Phoenix Union High School Chicana/o Boycott of 1970 organized and who were the main stakeholders behind the organizational efforts?; 2) What was the socio-economic context of the community within the attendance boundaries of Phoenix Union High School in the period of the 1970 Chicana/o Boycott? How is the socio-economic context relevant to the educational conditions of Phoenix Union High School during the period of the boycott?; and 3) What were the outcomes of the 1970 Phoenix Union High School Chicana/o boycott? How did the district and high school meet the demands and needs of the Chicana/o community?

A Critical Race Educational History is constructed as a response to these questions utilizing historical research methods. This includes drawing from primary archival sources collected from various archival holdings and collections at institutions including but not limited to Arizona State University, the Phoenix Union High School District, Library of Congress, and Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records. Moreover, collaborators contributed oral histories as a part of this dissertation study to explore and document the Phoenix Chicana/o educational experience while centering the experiences of Chicanas/os during the 1970 boycott of Phoenix Union in this counterstory. Building from these primary sources, this research documents the racialized school’s educational and community inequalities, the boycott’s organization efforts, and eventual short- and long-term outcomes of the 1970 boycott.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View