“The Mexican-American in Fort Worth,” July 26, 1970

Six white interns, on summer vacation, in 1970, from various universities across Texas and the Midwest,  investigated the conditions of the Mexican American community for a special edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The Star-Telegram’s interest in the plight of Mexican Americans in Fort Worth is evident of both the gains made by the older WWII veteran activists led by Gilbert Garcia in the twenty five years since the end of the war and the national attention the younger Chicano activists brought to the continued inequalities in the lives of Mexicans in the United States. On the one hand, it is remarkable that the newspaper commissioned the piece—on the other hand, they gave the assignment to interns. The white interns initially attempted to knock on doors in barrios throughout Fort Worth on their own and found residents unwilling to speak freely. They expressed an inability to speak English or just told the interns there were no problems or discrimination issues. The young journalists then recruited several Mexican social workers and members of the Community Action Agency to accompany them. This time the residents were open to answering questions. The final analysis of the problems facing the Mexican American community in Fort Worth, according to these interns, was “related to their own culture”, and their “family ties to tradition and poverty.”  The interns’ stereotypical view of Mexican families and their problems is also evident in their choice of illustration for the front cover, a Mexican man and woman with six young children. The Star Telegram also reported that a new and younger generation of Mexicans, who “have adopted the name Chicanos” were now making noise and demanding equal rights. Click on each image to read the full article.


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