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For What It's Worth

A little Chicano history for the Anglo cultural masses

By Eugene Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: June 15, 2003


For What It's Worth


My first recollections as being Chicano came in 1967, when the Los Angeles Times published a picture about zoot suiters and pachucos during the Pandora's Box hippie nightclube riots.

These 1968 riots were the basis for Buffalo Springfield's song "For What It's Worth."

My parents, of course, had taught me to proud that I was a Chicano and that Chicano meant Mexican American. Not born in Mexico but a U.S citizen. they also mentioned the pachucos of both El Paso and Los Angeles, and the discrimination they endured.

But this LA Times article substantiated in print the existence of our culture, the word 'Chicano' and the fact that Chicanos had a cultural as well as historical impact in Los Angeles.

I remember others telling me about Chavez Ravine and the Palo Verde neighborhood. By the way, this was not the only Chicano housing development to fall to eminent domain. There was also the Mateo neighborhood in downtown LA, only Chavez Ravine was more controversial and tragic.

Anyway, I am old enough to remember the Bunker Hills Apartments and home, and I am nostalgic enough for a Los Angeles where City Hall, with its 32 stories, was the tallest building in the city.

I believe that the significance of the play "Chavez Ravine" is that it brings a little bit of Chicano history to the Anglo cultural masses, and one more part of our story in Los Angeles has to be told.

For instance, why is there a Mormon Memorial at the old Los Angeles School Board building when nothing is mentioned at all aobut the historic Chicano resistance during the 1846 - 48 Mexican American War?

About Eugene Hernandez:
Eugene Hernandez is an activist.




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