The Birth of Chicano Studies

No matter whether his teachers called him Carlos or Charles, their ingrained attitudes about his Mexican heritage narrowed his path.

A photograph of Carlos Munoz Jr. as a child.

“Right now, there’s an awareness of ethnic studies. … But the beginnings of ethnic studies, as a discipline, were right here at Cal State LA.”

“If you don’t know the truth, you can’t fix the future. … We need to know our history.”

Dolores Huerta speaking in front of a podium at Cal State LA

Pioneering Latino leaders trace their roots to Cal State LA

Commentary by Robert J. Lopez

Dolores Huerta speaking in front of a podium

Pioneering Latino Leaders trace their roots to Cal State LA

Commentary by Robert J. Lopez

“Now we’re very visible at universities across the nation. But during my career, I often had to face that perspective— you’re just ideologues, not scholars—from conservative faculty. It was not an easy path.”

Cal State LA students during the walkouts holding protest signs. One reading "We are not 'Dirty Mexicans'" and the other reading "School Not Prison".
Cal State LA students during the Walkouts of the 1960s.

“You couldn’t help but become involved, or at least think about it.”

Cal State LA students during the Walkouts of the 1960s.

Today, the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies offers more than 150 courses, taught by scholars from a wide range of disciplines.

Carlos Munoz Jr.

“Our whole purpose was assisting our community, supporting the aspirations of students and asserting our right to be here.”

Sandy Banks is a columnist at the Los Angeles Times.

Photo 1: Portrait of Carlos Muñoz Jr. (Photo by Peter DaSilva for Cal State LA) Photo 2: Carlos Muñoz Jr. as a child. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Muñoz Jr.) Photo 3: The 1968 East L.A. Walkouts. (Photo courtesy of the collection of Raul Ruiz) Photos 4 and 5: Cal State LA was well represented at the 1970 National Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War in East Los Angeles. (Photos courtesy of La Raza magazine, Cal State LA Special Collections and Archives) Photo 6: Portrait of Carlos Muñoz Jr. (Photo by Peter DaSilva for Cal State LA).

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