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Mapping the Movimiento

Places and people in the struggle for Mexican American Civil Rights in San Antonio.

Mexican American civil rights activists took to the streets of San Antonio in the ‘60s and ’70s with rallying cries that resonated not only in Texas but throughout the country. The movement—or movimiento—took shape on the roads of the Alamo City. So, it’s only fitting that those same roads now serve to guide us in visiting this rich and storied past. Welcome to Mapping the Movimiento: Places and people in the struggle for Mexican American Civil Rights in San Antonio, an interactive tour of a selection of some of the important places that have significantly contributed to Latino progress. The 15 sites represent only a slice of the many places around the city that galvanized a generation of Chicano activists.

Research for this tour utilizes archives from Special Collections housed at the UTSA Libraries and Institute of Texan Cultures and includes input from long-time community activists whose work was instrumental in calling for political, economic and educational reform. We hope the tour helps bring to life the journey taken by urban students, farm workers and factory laborers. And we hope it will document—for future generations—the movement made by San Antonians who fought long and hard for Mexican American advancement. ¡Adelante!

St. Mary's University

1 Camino Santa Maria St, San Antonio, TX, 78228, USA

Founded in 1852 by a group of French Marianists, St. Mary’s University played a pivotal role in social activism in the 1960s and saw the establishment of one of the boldest and most influential organizations of the Chicano Rights movement. 

Inspired by recent farmworker strikes in California and Texas and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Willie Velásquez, Juan Patlán, José Ángel Gutiérrez, Ignacio Pérez, and Mario Compean formed the Mexican American Youth Organization, or MAYO, as St. Mary’s students in 1967. The group intended to spark essential change not through the passive methods of letter writing and press conferences, but through direct community action.  

Over the next several years, MAYO was instrumental in the Edgewood and Lanier High School Walkouts, the founding of La Raza Unida party and the Mexican American Unity Council and initiatives such as Barrios Unidos and the VISTA Minority Mobilization Project.