Geisel Library Exhibit Traces Chicano Activism in San Diego

"A Time for Resistance: The Herman Baca Papers," sheds light on the activists and the grassroots activities and events that shaped the Chicano movement in San Diego and the American Southwest. The exhibit-which draws on a wide range of photographs, correspondence, newsletters, and political campaign materials-will be on display in UC San Diego's Geisel Library through September 23, 2012.

The Herman Baca Papers, housed in the Mandeville Special Collections Library, were acquired by the UC San Diego Library in 2004. The archive includes more than 40,000 items-ranging from posters and photographs to audio interviews and slides-documenting the trials and tribulations, as well as the triumphs, of the Chicano Movement in San Diego from 1964 to 2006. Earlier this year, the Library received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize the majority of the materials, making it widely available to teachers, students, and others.

The exhibit showcases Baca's political leadership in the regional Chicano community, including his work with MAPA (the Mexican-American Political Association). Through MAPA, Baca helped usher the nascent Chicano movement into local electoral politics, and then in the 1970s, he organized the San Diego County chapter of La Raza Unida, a national third-party effort to increase the number of registered voters and political candidates in the Chicano community. A founder and longtime chairman of the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR), Baca was known for his community-based grassroots organizing, and his dedication to civil rights and political and judicial equality.

As a young man from National City, California, who came of age in the politically-charged 1960s, Herman Baca became the region's most prolific Chicano activist and political organizer. The exhibit also illuminates Baca's relationships with other leading figures of the Chicano movement-including César Chávez, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, and Humberto Noé "Bert" Corona-and their efforts to address immigration, civil and political rights, educational opportunities, and other issues affecting Chicano communities. Materials included in the exhibit range from political campaign buttons and press releases to founding documents and newspaper clippings. Also on display are various posters, fliers, and other materials printed by Aztec Printing, a business Baca launched in 1969 which helped to support his political objectives.

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