CSO and ANMA

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Los Angeles was the place to find work if laboring was all you knew. Not speaking a word of English, but able to labor in the fields of California's various crops, Mexican immigrants flocked to Los Angeles. Los Angeles quickly became a Mecca for Mexicans wishing to partake of the American dream establishing themselves and creating families. The American dream, however, became just a dream as harsh unequal assessments by white Americans placed Mexican-Americans at the bottom of the social, economic, and political ladders. Whites believed that Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans had no place in their society: a place shared by many minorities (Del Castillo 7). Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles were at a great disadvantage despite their great numbers. No representation existed for the minorities. During the tumultuous sixties and seventies, civil rights and especially the rights of minorities came into sharp focus in the United States. Los Angeles would see the rise of ethnic Mexicans and Mexican Americans because of the formation of many groups targeting them and emphasizing their involvement within their community and within their government. "Mexican-American" would no longer be a term used by the group it tried to identify. To the group, the term "Mexican-American" implied that Mexicans living in the United States were second-class citizens; the hyphenation meant lower class. The group preferred "Mexican American" or Chicano and they used the hyphenated version ("Mexican-Americans") to identify Mexicans who had assimilated. The city of Los Angeles by this time contained a greater population of Mexicans and their descendents equaled nowhere else in the world other than Mexico City. It is then only proper for Los Angeles to be the rightful target of an investigation involving Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans. There were many groups and organizations attempting better the Mexican American Condition during the sixties and seventies: the Alianza in New Mexico, the Crusade for Justice in Colorado, La Raza in Texas, the Brown Berets, La Raza Unida Party, etc. Many of these groups were militant organizations aimed at bringing equal civil rights to Mexican Americans taking a forceful approach in the struggle for civil rights, but many militant organizations such as these and others were short lived because they lost federal support (Gracia 29). Two noteworthy civil rights organizations having some influence on public policies during the early sixties in Los Angeles were the Community Service Organization (CSO) and the Asociación Nacional Mexico-Americana (ANMA).

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