The papers of Herman Baca, a National City, California, Chicano rights activist and prominent member of the Mexican-American community, document the contributions and accomplishments made by Herman Baca and the Committee on Chicano Rights. Since the 1960s, Herman Baca has been educating and representing the Chicano community and the rights of undocumented immigrants by means of organizing protests, encouraging self-determination, and defending human rights. The papers embody the organizational elements of the Committee on Chicano Rights, the Mexican-American Political Association, and La Raza Unida Political Party in the form of meeting minutes, correspondence, press releases, writings, membership materials, and articles of incorporation and bylaws. Biographical materials illustrate both Herman Baca's efforts as an individual and his work as a business owner, the latter reflected in the Aztec Printing production files; subject files; legal case documentation; conferences and events both organized and attended; writings of others; a visual component including videorecordings, photographs, individual artist's work and Chicano movement art, and a large portion of newspaper clippings dated 1964-2006.
41.4 Linear feet (67 archives boxes, 7 records cartons, 2 card file boxes, 28 oversize folders, 4 art bin items)
Selected materials from this collection have been digitized with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and can be viewed through links in the container list, or by clicking the link below.
Herman Baca was born to Nicholas and Eloisa Carrasco Baca on April 5, 1943, in Los Lentes, New Mexico, a small agricultural community outside of Los Lunas. When he was eleven years old, his family moved to National City, California, where Baca attended Sweetwater Union School District schools through high school. Starting in the printing trade business after high school, he worked in a few local shops before opening his own private business, Aztec Printing, in 1969.
With the emerging Chicano movement in the 1960s, Baca became involved in local electoral politics with a Chicano perspective. His father's (Nicholas Baca) participation in New Mexico's intense electoral politics influenced his development and transformation in California from a believer in the two-party political system into an independent Chicano activist committed to self-determination and human rights.
Having previously worked as a block captain for the 1968 Richard Nixon presidential campaign, Baca organized the National City chapter of the statewide Mexican-American Political Association (MAPA) in 1968 and served as its president and southern region director until 1974. Despite the opposition of the local Democratic Party, Baca successfully managed Peter Chacon's primary election bid to win a seat to the California State Assembly; Chacon went on to author the state's bilingual education bill. Baca also managed the campaign of Ben Moreno, elected as a Southwestern Community College trustee, as well as other Chicano candidates.
In 1970, prompted by the lack of Chicanos represented by either the Republican or the Democratic parties, Baca organized the San Diego County chapter of La Raza Unida Party, a national third-party effort to increase the participation of the Chicano commmunity as both registered voters and political candidates. That same year, he served as the Southern California representative to the National Congreso de la Raza Unida, the party's national convention. Also in the early 1970s, while chairman of the board of "War on Poverty" programs such as the Mexican American Advisory Committee, now the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC), and NEPSI, a narcotics education and prevention program, Baca organized and served as the chairman of the board of Casa Justicia, a community-based social service agency providing support for undocumented persons dealing with immigration issues.
Not long after working on Peter Chacon's campaign, Baca helped organize the Ad Hoc Committee on Chicano Rights, representing thirty-two organizations in the Chicano community, with a purpose to address issues affecting the Chicano communities' civil and constitutional rights.
Finally in 1975, in reaction to the co-option of the government-funded community organizations by the traditional political apparatus, he reorganized the Ad Hoc Committee as the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR). With Baca as its chairman, the CCR established itself as a community-based, non-profit, non-government funded, volunteer membership organization committed to developing social and political awareness in the Chicano/Mexicano/Latino communities.
Herman Baca currently operates Aztec Printing, resides in National City, and continues to address issues and be involved in local politics within the community, representing the Committee on Chicano Rights.
Herman Baca Timeline:
1943 Born and raised in Los Lentes, New Mexico
1954 Moved with family to National City, California
1961 Graduated from Sweetwater Union High School, National City
1968 Organized the National City Chapter of a statewide political organization, the Mexican-American Political Association (MAPA) and served as president and Southern Region organizer until 1974
1969 Organized Peter Chacon's successful primary election campaign for California State Assembly
1969 Established private business, Aztec Printing in National City
1970 Served as San Diego County organizer for the La Raza Unida Party, a Mexican-American national third-party, and acted as the Southern California representative to the National Congreso de La Raza Unida, its national convention
1970 Served as chair of the board for community organizations such as MAAC and NEPSI, a narcotics education and prevention program
1970 Organized and served as chair of the board at Casa Justicia, a community based social service agency supporting undocumented persons dealing with immigration issues
1970 Chaired the Ad-Hoc Committee on Chicano Rights, representing thirty-two organizations in the Chicano community
1972 Casa Justicia co-organized a Los Angeles march of 10,000 undocumented workers protesting the California Legislature's Dixon/Arnett Immigration Bill
1973 Organized a 500-person picket at the San Diego County jail, protesting Sheriff Duffy's order to taxicab drivers to report suspected "illegal alien" passengers
1975 Organized a 2000-person march in National City protesting a National City police officer's shooting and killing of an unarmed Latino youth, Luis "Tato" Rivera
1975 Organizer and founding chairman of the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR), a community based, non-profit, non-government funded, volunteer membership organization based on the principal of self-determination and dedicated to protecting the civil, constitutional, and human rights of the Chicano community
1975 CCR organized a recall of National City mayor and city council for their failure to address the murder of Tato Rivera
1977 CCR organized a 10,000 person unity march at the US-Mexico border protesting the Ku Klux Klan's planned apprehensions of undocumented Mexicans
1979 CCR organized a Chicano National Immigration Conference, representing 200 national organizations, followed by a memorial march of 4000 community members at the US/Mexico border
1981 CCR organized the Chicano National Immigration Conference Tribunal in San Diego, attended by major Chicano leaders to document the violence and brutality against person of Mexican ancestry. A 1,000 page document was delivered to the President of Mexico and to the Reagan administration
1983 CCR organized a 3,000 person "17 Mile Walk for Rights" from San Diego to the US/Mexico border protesting Congress's Simpson/Mazzolli Immigration bill
1984 CCR organized a rally to stop the National City Police Department from enforcing federal immigration laws
1985 CCR organized a rally protesting the INS policy of arresting, incarcerating and deporting minor age children
1986 CCR organized a protest of San Diego County Supervisor Susan Golding's utilization of police reports against undocumented immigrants
1987 CCR assisted Native Americans in opposition to the canonization of Father Junipero Serra
1988 Opposition to the 1987 Congressional approval of the Simpson/Rodino Immigration Act
1989 Protested the San Diego County Jail abuse of inmates
1990 Opposed talk show host Roger Hedgecock's campaign to encourage his supporters involvement in a "Light up the Border" effort at the US/Mexico border
1991 Assisted National City's Filipino community seeking redress for police harassment
1993 Opposed Senator Barbara Boxer's proposal to utilize California National Guard at the US/Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants
1994 Organized a campaign and boycott against San Diego's NFL Chargers football team for naming their defensive line the "Border Patrol"
1997 Campaigned against a Sierra Club's anti-immigration vote
1998 Addressed through press release the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
1999 Organized a political campaign regarding inferior education by Sweetwater Unified School District
2000 Campaigned against the US Census Bureau's labeling of Chicano/Mexico/Latinos as white
2003 Organized campaigns against National City's mayor and city council for failing to carry out voter mandates
Scope and Content of Collection
Papers of Herman Baca, prolific Chicano activist, political organizer, printer, and longtime chairman and one of several founders of the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR). Baca is known for his community-based grassroots organizing, especially for civil rights and political and judicial equality. Formed and based in National City, California, CCR operates by volunteer membership and was organized to strive for human, civil, and constitutional rights for the Chicano community. CCR has also organized several events and community protests, including the Chicano National Immigration Tribunal (1981). Baca was an organizer for the Mexican-American Political Association (1968-1974) and La Raza Unida Political Party, among others. He is also the founder and owner of Aztec Printing, a print shop in National City. The papers contain a biographical series that includes newspaper articles of interviews, quotes, editorial writings, and written pieces about Baca and the Baca family, in addition to several community recognitions awarded to Baca. The papers contain subject files, research materials, and newspaper clippings (1964-2006) related to current issues on immigration, border conflicts, police brutality, discrimination, and community events; conference materials both attended and organized by Herman Baca, in and around the Southern California/Tijuana area; court litigation case documentation; and writings of others on issues of immigration, citizenship, social economics, and migration analysis. The collection also contains both a large audio and visual component including recordings of testimonies of the Chicano National Immigration Tribunal; posters of events; Chicano artworks including original illustrations by David Avalos and working production files of Aztec Printing related to Baca's activism. The photograhs series contains black-and-white and color photographs of individuals such as César Chávez, Bert Corona, and Herman Baca, and CCR organized events: Chicano National Immigration Tribunal (1981), Unity March Against the KKK (1977) and the National Protest March Against the Carter Curtain (1979).
The papers are arranged in fifteen series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) COMMITTEE ON CHICANO RIGHTS (CCR), 3) MEXICAN-AMERICAN POLITICAL ASSOCIATION (MAPA), 4) LA RAZA UNIDA POLITICAL PARTY, 5) SUBJECT FILES, 6) COURT CASE FILES, 7) CONFERENCES AND EVENTS, 8) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 9) VIDEORECORDINGS, 10) PHOTOGRAPHS, 11) AZTEC PRINTING PRODUCTION FILES, 12) CHICANO ART, 13) CHICANO MOVEMENT ART, 14) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, 1964-2006, and 15) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.