Martin Luther King, Jr will always be honored as one of the guiding lights of the Black Civil Rights Movement in U.S. in the 1960s. What many of us aren’t taught in school is how much MLK inspired and encouraged the various Latino civil rights organizers during that period as well. In honor of MLK Day next week, we bring you five videos concerned with Latino American civil rights. The Southern Poverty Law Center also provides a timeline of Latino civil rights for your reference.
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
“Corky” Gonzales wrote the famous poem,“Yo Soy Joaquín,” which introduced many people to the Chicago community. He started out as a boxer and then became a poet and activist, convening the first ever Chicago youth conference in 1969. This documentary discusses the seldom-taught history of Chicano civil rights in the 1960s, and is an excellent introduction to this important part of recent American history.
Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union Dolores Huerta emerged in the mid-60s as a leader in the search for worker’s rights. Since then she has expanded her areas of outreach to LGBTQ, women’s rights, and promoting female and Latino politicians. In this interview, Maria Hinojosa interviews Huerta on her history as a labor and civil rights advocate.
As a friend to the United Farm Workers Union, Bobby Kennedy went to great lengths to show his support for César Chávez. This video shows him speaking out against the unjust treatment of farmworkers in the United States and visiting with César Chávez at the end of Chávez’s 30 day hunger strike.
The most prominent leader of the Latino rights movement must be César Chávez—his is the name average citizens know. This inspiring lecture Chavéz gave in 1972 at UCLA explains the origins of the farm worker labor movement in California and why he was driven to get involved.
Each of these leaders honored the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by fighting against ingrained ways of thinking and doing business with the aim of improving people’s lives. As we remember MLK in the next several days, lines from many of the Reverend’s speeches will surely be splashed across the pages of media outlets across the country. Let’s also remember the action he inspired in others, and the important work of Latino civil rights leaders from the 1960s to today.