Posts Tagged: 'history+we+should+know'

Sep. 28th, 2020

It starts with the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

It may have ended the Mexican-American War, but the effects on Mexican-Americans were long lasting and devastating in many ways.

Under the terms, Mexico ceded 55% of its lands- which included parts of present day Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah.

The treaty extended the choice of US citizenship to Mexicans in the newly established territories, even before blacks, Chinese and Native Americans were eligible, giving them a year to accept or relocate. Many accepted it. Tensions are already high among the white settlers already in the area, with resentment towards their now Mexican -American neighbors.

In 1849, the Gold Rush brings an influx of white settlers, further raising tensions. Many settlers 'acquired' Mexican owned land by simply squatting on it- by living on and working it themselves. Even mining was racially segregated as white settlers pressured Congress to restrict mining jobs to whites only.

By 1850, the Spanish speaking community of California alone had shrunk to 15%, and Mexican-Americans were subjected to robberies, arson, lynchings and other racial violence.

Many Mexican-Americans were ranchers in California at the time. Because rancheros were given citizenship, it ignited serious tensions among white settlers, who resented their former Mexican neighbors. Many formed 'anti-Mexican' vigilante groups.

In 1851, the California Land Act forces Mexican-Americans to have to verify ownership of their lands. For many, it took 17 years to validate their lands. Others are never able to due to a corrupt system and lose their lands to white settlers.

In 1856 severe drought hits the area, forcing many to have to sell and relocate. The ranches were snapped up by whites who switched over to farming instead.

In 1862 the Great Flood hits California, which destroyed many of the remaining ranches and farms, devastating the farming community, after which, almost all of the remaining Mexican-American owned ranches then came under white ownership. Mexican-Americans start moving into cities, working low paying jobs, for menial wages.

To this day, there are still resentments, failed protections, broken promises and racial tensions stemming from this Treaty.

Sep. 21st, 2020

Feb 26, 1931

La Placida Raid, 1931

Feb 26, 1931.


La Placita, on Olvera Street in Los Angeles.

A gathering place for the hispanic community, where they could socialize, look for work, listen to mariachi bands, and so on.

INS barricades all exits and conducts a raid.

* * *

A few years prior, in the 1920s, anti-Mexican sentiment reaches a boiling point with the advent of the Great Depression. Repatriation of Mexicans begins.

* * *

On Feb 26th, 1931, INS detains and arrests roughly 400 that day, many of whom are American citizens. Over the next 2 weeks, they were deported to Mexico. Within 6 months, another 50,000 were 'repatriated '.

Thousands more left on their own.

It is conservatively estimated that over the next almost decade, until the end of the Great Depression and the advent of World War II, that nearly 2 million are 'repatriated ', of which *60% were American citizens*.

It was only then that the Repatriation movement ended, and Mexicans were actively encouraged to come north to work in the very fields many had left behind, and other work.

La Placita is now the home of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, where, in 1980, Father Luis Olivares resists attempts by INS to deport Central American war refugees, by declaring the area to be a sanctuary, which it remains to this day.

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