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Voices of the People: The Mexican American Alternative Press in San Diego, 1963-1978


“Voices of the People: The Mexican American Alternative Press in San Diego, 1963-1978,” examines the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement in San Diego through the lens of community newspapers published in the 1960s and 1970s. This community study of civil rights era newspapers, the first of its kind in California, reveals the existence of a politically and ethnically distinct collection of Mexican American civil rights movements that cut across racial, ethnic, generational, national lines to advance the rights of all Mexican descent people in San Diego. Each strand of activism published a newspaper that recorded their efforts to improve the material and legal conditions of all Mexican people locally. These histories are generally absent in the larger histories of Mexican Americans in California, the larger Civil Rights Movement literature, and in academic and community histories of the Chicana/o Movement. Using History and Social Science methods such as newspaper content analyses and oral history interviews, this study reveals how Mexican Americans brought visibility to, and personally took action on, the issues that affected their communities such as educational inequality, lack of political representation, and economic justice along distinct ideological lines. “Voices of the People” situates San Diego within the literature of the Civil Rights Movement and Chicana/o Movement in Southern California and highlights how conservative, progressive, and radical ideologies informed how Mexican Americans worked individually and together to bring about community advancement in the most understudied and conservative of California’s major cities.

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