With networks like CNN and VH1 determined to recount and profit off past historical movements it’s surprising how few take time to look beyond general American history, specifically events that have shaped Mexican-Americans.
In 1996, PBS aired the Hector Galan-produced, four-part series Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement, detailing the major situations that inspired and cemented the Chicano movement and is now available to stream. Each segment deconstructs a specific Chicano event between 1965 and 1975 starting with the quest to find a proper homeland in the United States. Angered and disenfranchised, the Chicano movement would soon see the rise of figures like Caesar Chavez and the UFW (United Farm Workers of America) that put a face on the exploitation of Mexican labor, documented in the second episode of the series. Later installments in the series focus on the 1968 Los Angeles high school walkouts and the implementation of the Raza Unida Party.
The series would walk away with a Golden Eagle Award and a Telly Award in 1997.
Other than giving a solid overview of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement, stories like those told in Chicano! are beneficial towards showing history’s inclusivity. There are only so many times you can hear about the significance of the iPod that it’s great to see series’ like these streaming to give audiences a new lease on the historical events that shape all of us. Considering our fractured political climate Chicano! comes at a time when we all need to see the long, bloody road to equality.