Community Notes

A New Chicana/o Archive at SDSU: Unidos Por La Causa

October 8, 2010

   On Wednesday October 20, San Diego State University Love Library will be celebrating the opening of its new Chicana/o movement archive. The library will unveil an exhibit entitled  “Unidos Por la Causa: The Chicano Experience in San Diego,” a display of photos, art, and documents illustrating the early years of the Chicano movement for social justice and civil rights in San Diego.

   One of the dramatic presentations in the exhibit are samples of the 62 movement related posters and broadsides given to the archive by Carmen Sandoval. They were produced in the 1960s and 1970s advertising anti-war marches, UFW protests, student conferences and many other cultural and political events, demonstrating the movement’s fight for equal education and its resistance to injustice.

   A special reception will honor contributors and donors to the collection this will be followed by a talk by Mr. Martín Gómez, the Director of the Los Angeles Public Library, one of the largest metropolitan library systems in the United States. Mr. Gómez’s talk will discuss how this particular archive is part of a nationwide revitalization of libraries reflecting the increased Latino patronage. The talk will take place in SDSUs Love Library 430-431 on Wednesday, October 20 at 7 p.m and is open to the public.

   The Chicana/o Archive project is the result of four years of work by a committee of dedicated community activists, students, faculty and library administrators. The Chicana/o Archive Advisory Committee has raised more than sixteen thousand dollars with grants and private fund raising events to allow SDSUs Special Collections Department to process the materials it has collected. The Advisory committee members have received collections from more than twenty contributors some of which remain to be processed.

   A major emphasis of the archive is the selection of primary source materials telling of Chicana feminist activism of the San Diego area.

   One is the collection of Enriqueta Chavez with photos, notes, and documents that document of the founding of the student group MEChA, and the academic department in 1969, then called Mexican American Studies Centro de Estudios, one of the first in the nation.

   Other Chicana feminist collections include: the MANA archive, the San Diego Mexican American Women’s National Association papers, donated by Olivia Puentes Reynolds; the Charlotte Hernandez Terry Collection, a tribute to her art and music; and a 35mm film of the early days of the department’s founding donated by Sonia Lopez. Rita Sanchez, the first woman to be hired for a Chicano Studies tenure track position in 1974, donated the Chicano Studies Mission Statement and the Chicana Journal of student writings she edited called Vision.

   Other major collections are the Rene NuñezTribute Collections, an assemblage of materials honoring the late activist, one of the founders of Mexican American Studies Department; the Arturo Cazares Collection of photos about the early days of activism in San Diego; and the Leonard Fierro Collection, a homage to the SDSU Professor of Education, a pioneer of bilingual education in San Diego.

   The library is seeking additional collections from individuals and groups who have been part of the Chicana Chicano Movement as students, community workers, teachers, or administrators. The Archive Committee plans to collaborate with other border universities, colleges, and libraries in the region so that students and others will have access to a wide variety of research materials relating to the history of Latinos during the civil rights struggles here in San Diego.

   For more information about the archive or for those wanting to donate collections or money to benefit the SDSU Archive should contact Richard Griswold del Castillo, Chair of the CCS Archive Committee (619-246-1555) rgriswol@mail.sdsu.eud or the SDSU Love Library Department of Special Collections (619) 594-6791 screfe@library.sdsu.edu.

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