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2.1: "The Chicano Movement"

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    Chapter 4 Objectives

    Students will be able to

    • Practice vocabulary with an increased understanding of the chapter words
    • Learn about essay structure and the process of writing a full essay with a clear thesis statement
    • Use word forms and phrasal verbs correctly in your writing
    • Read The Chicano Movement” by Jessica McBirney and answer comprehension questions based on this reading
    • Make connections between this chapter and previously assigned texts
    • Create an essay outline about social change
    • Develop complete sentences while editing for run-on or fragment errors

    Vocabulary Skill-Word Forms

    Exercise 1

    One way to increase your vocabulary is to learn the different word forms of words you already know. For example, you might already know the noun education, but do you know how to form the verb, adjective, and adverb? Fill in the table with the missing word forms of the words provided. Write the word endings (suffixes) at the top of each column as seen in the examples.





























    Table 16 Word Forms

    Vocabulary Skill-Phrasal Verbs

    Exercise 2

    Phrasal verbs are usually a combination of a verb and a preposition to form a meaning different from the meaning of the verb alone. For example, the verb drive is related to a vehicle; however, if you add the preposition “up” to form the phrasal verb “drive up”, the meaning is to increase. For example, “The policy is driving up the price of gas.” Look at the phrasal verbs found in the next reading. Match them to their meaning.

    ___ 1. take on (Paragraph 8)

    ___ 2. keep up (Paragraph 8)

    ___ 3. fall behind (Paragraph 8)

    ___ 4. stand up to (Paragraph 7)

    a. make less progress

    b. agree to do work

    c. continue at the same rate as everyone around you

    d. refuse to accept unfair treatment

    Vocabulary Introduction

    Exercise 3 Prior Knowledge

    Look at the words in bold in Exercise 4 without reading the example sentences. Rate your current knowledge of the word before doing the unit exercises. Use the numbered scale and write the number in front of the sentences in Exercise 4. With each exercise and by the end of the unit, your knowledge should work toward a "4," which means you will know the word, can explain it, and give an example. It is expected that you will mark many words with a "1" or "2" now since they might be completely new words.

    1. I do not know this word, and I have never heard of it before.

    2. I have heard of this word before. It sounds familiar.

    3. I can give an example of this word, but I cannot explain it.

    4. I know this word. I can explain it and give an example.

    Exercise 4 Definitions

    Read the sentences below. Guess the meaning of the words in bold based on the example sentence(s). Circle the best definition of the word in bold.

    _____ 1. The police had to collect evidence to prove Jose was the killer.

    Your definition:

    _____ 2. Sandra takes pride in the work she does. She is not embarrassed.

    Your definition:

    _____ 3. My goal/aim for this semester is to learn how to write a paragraph.

    Your definition:

    _____ 4. Restaurants segregated African Americans by putting them in a different section.

    Your definition:

    _____ 5. The students felt more secure with the police walking with them.

    Your definition:

    _____ 6. In South Africa’s apartheid, Blacks were oppressed by the white minority. Blacks had no rights.

    Your definition:

    _____ 7. Parents need to promote healthy eating.

    Your definition:

    _____ 8. David is dedicated to his students. He does a lot to help them.

    Your definition:

    _____ 9. Brandi needs to lose 5 more pounds before she accomplishes/achieves her goal.

    Your definition:

    _____ 10. If animals are mistreated, they will be taken away from their owners.

    Your definition:

    _____ 11. Union workers demanded more rights.

    Your definition:

    _____ 12. Violence on television might influence children’s behavior.

    Your definition:

    _____ 13. Hadi struggles to climb stairs. He needs a lot of help.

    Your definition:

    Reading Skill-Cornell Notes

    Cornell Notes is a style of taking notes from a reading or a lecture. In the left column, keywords, main ideas, and questions are written. On the right side, details and answers are written. Typically, a summary is written at the bottom; however, one could write unknown vocabulary words or questions for the instructor. It is important that you find the style of note-taking that fits your learning. See the template below.

    Title of Reading or Lecture Chapter and pages or date if a lecture

    Key Words/Main Idea


    Supporting Points

    • Details
    • Details
    • Details


    Table 17 Example Cornell Notes


    -New Vocabulary

    -Questions for your teacher or tutor

    Exercise 5 While You Read

    Use the template below to write Cornell Notes for the reading The Chicano Movement. The subheadings and some main ideas have already been added to the first column. Add details to the second column. Write a summary, questions for your teacher or tutor, or new vocabulary words below the table.

    The Chicano Movement (Title) Chapter 8

    Main idea/Keywords

    Supporting points/Details

    The word “Chicano”


    Roots of the movement


    Reclaiming land and identity


    Farmworkers’ rights


    Equality in education


    Political involvement


    Table 18 Cornell Notes for The Chicano Movement


    -New Vocabulary:

    -Questions for your teacher or tutor:


    The Chicano Movement by Jessica McBirney

    The Chicano Movement of the 1960s was a social movement in the United States. Activists worked to end the discrimination towards and mistreatment of Mexican-American citizens. As you read, take notes on the causes of the Chicano Movement and how it affected the lives of Mexican Americans.

    1In the 1950s, the word “Chicano” was an insulting name for children of Mexican immigrant parents living in the United States. People from the U.S. used it because they did not think Chicanos were “American enough;” people from Mexico also used it because they did not believe Chicanos were “Mexican enough” anymore. After several decades of being mistreated and called names, Mexican Americans decided to embrace the term “Chicano” as a symbol of ethnic pride. The name was then given to the growing Mexican-American civil rights movement of the 1960s: the Chicano Movement.


    2The Chicano Movement had many goals, some of which varied by location. Overall, the movement aimed to end discrimination and negative stereotypes against Mexican Americans, and it sought to expand workers’ rights, voting rights, educational equality, and land usage. The movement mainly took place in Southwestern states — such as Texas, New Mexico, and California — and the roots of the struggle ran deep.

    Roots of the Movement

    3It is possible to trace the movement all the way back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which redrew the official line between Mexico and the United States. People who had considered themselves Mexican now lived on the American side, and the treaty promised they would be full U.S. citizens with full civil rights. However, for many Mexican Americans — especially those who worked in agriculture — that promise was not fulfilled. They were never treated fairly by white U.S. citizens and often, especially during times of economic hardship like the Great Depression, they were actively removed from jobs and sometimes sent “back” to Mexico — even though they had lived in the U.S. for generations. In the 1960s, inspired by the success of the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the South, Chicanos began actively fighting for equality. The Chicano Movement expanded and covered many different issues, but it mostly focused on four: land ownership, workers’ rights, and educational and political equality.

    Reclaiming Land and Identity

    4In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the U.S. promised to let the people who owned land in the area keep their property, but in the end they did not keep their promise. Mexican Americans in the area had their land taken away.

    5Chicano activists worked to reclaim their lands in Southwestern states. However, they were unsuccessful, so they began promoting the idea of sacred, ancestral lands. They popularized the notion of Aztlán, an area in northern Mexico and southern United States, thought to be the origin land of the Mexican people. Even if they could not officially own the land, Chicanos saw Aztlán as a symbol of their heritage and their identity as Mexican Americans.

    Farmworkers’ Rights

    6Many Mexican Americans worked as migrant farmworkers who traveled from farm to farm harvesting different crops according to the season. Migrant farmworkers were some of the worst-treated workers in the country, and their children rarely got to stay in school for more than a few years. In the 1960s, the Chicano Movement hoped to win more protections for these migrant families.

    7They decided to organize groups of workers that were large enough to stand up to farm owners and demand more rights. Two of the most influential reformers were Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez; together they founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). The NFWA organized boycotts against fruit-growers who refused to give rights to their workers, and they worked with the government to give migrant workers greater legal protections. The government agreed to some of the NFWA’s demands and instituted some new laws, including higher wages and more secure employment contracts. Unions like the NFWA still fight for Mexican-American workers’ rights today.

    Equality in Education

    8A California court case in 1947 decided it was illegal to segregate schools between white children and Mexican American children, but there were still great inequalities within schools. Firstly, many Chicano children could only stay at the same school for a few months at a time because their parents were migrant farm workers. Secondly, even when they could stay, many had not grown up speaking English, and their parents still spoke little or no English, so it was hard for them to keep up in the classroom. Instead, they fell further behind; only about one quarter of Chicano students at this time graduated from high school. Thirdly, schools in poorer areas, which sometimes had a higher percentage of Chicano students, received less funding than schools in rich, whiter areas. Students began to realize how all these factors kept Mexican-American youths from achieving and left many of them having to eventually take on the same cheap labor jobs their parents had.

    9High school and university students organized to form the group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA). They walked out of classes on school campuses and negotiated with school administrators and political leaders for education reform. They also called for more Mexican-American history to be taught in classrooms, and they wanted more Mexican-American teachers.

    Political Involvement

    10None of the changes they worked for were made overnight, but some change came eventually. More importantly, MEChA made many Chicanos see that they could get involved with politics and important social issues. It eventually led to the formation of the Raza Unida Party, a political party focused on the needs of Chicanos across the nation.

    11The Chicano Movement is less well known than the Civil Rights Movement, which happened in the South around the same time, but it was just as important in establishing civil rights for an oppressed group of people. Although the movement mainly focused on land ownership, workers' rights, and education reform, it promoted equality for Chicanos in many different ways. For example, in the early 1970s there was a whole group of women dedicated to making sure healthcare forms were available in Spanish as well as in English. The movement accomplished many of its goals over several decades, and it is still working today to promote fairer treatment of Mexican Americans in schools, jobs, and even in entertainment. Perhaps most importantly, the Chicano Movement proved to Mexican Americans that they could have just as much of a voice in society and politics as anyone else.

    The Chicano Movement” by Jessica McBirney is licensed by CommonLit under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Text-Dependent Questions

    Exercise 6

    For the following questions, choose the best answer.

    1. PART A: Which statement best expresses the central idea of the article?

    A. The Chicano Movement was well-intentioned but failed to have any lasting impact.

    B. The Chicano Movement negatively impacted the progress of the African American Civil Rights Movement.

    C. The Chicano Movement successfully gained rights for Mexican Americans and paved the way for future progress.

    D. While the Chicano Movement did help migrant workers, it failed to address the needs of students who were being treated unfairly.

    2. PART B: Which quote best expresses the central idea in the answer to Part A?

    A. “In the 1960s, inspired by the success of the African American Civil Rights Movement in the South, Chicanos began actively fighting for equality.” (Paragraph 3)

    B. “The government agreed to some of the NFWA’s demands and instituted some new laws, including higher wages and more secure employment contracts.” (Paragraph 7)

    C. “Students began to realize how all these factors kept Mexican-American youths from achieving and left many of them having to eventually take on the same cheap labor jobs their parents had.” (Paragraph 8)

    D. “The movement accomplished many of its goals over several decades, and it is still working today to promote fairer treatment of Mexican Americans in schools, jobs, and even in entertainment.” (Paragraph 11)

    3. PART A: Which statement best describes the experiences Mexican Americans had before the Chicano Movement?

    A. Mexican Americans were encouraged to integrate in the United States.

    B. Mexican Americans revolted against the U.S. government because they wanted to return to Mexico.

    C. Mexican Americans were completely ignored by the United States government.

    D. Mexican Americans were subject to unfair and harsh treatment by other Americans.

    4. PART B: Which detail from the text provides evidence for the answer to Part A?

    A. “They were never treated fairly by white U.S. citizens, and often, especially during times of economic hardship like the Great Depression, they were actively removed from jobs and sometimes sent ‘back’ to Mexico” (Paragraph 3)

    B. “Chicano activists worked to reclaim their lands in Southwestern states.” (Paragraph 5)

    C. “The NFWA organized boycotts against fruit-growers who refused to give rights to their workers, and they worked with the government to give migrant workers greater legal protections.” (Paragraph 7)

    D. “They also called for more Mexican-American history to be taught in classrooms, and they wanted more Mexican-American teachers.” (Paragraph 9)

    Writing Skill-Thesis Statements

    Just like a topic sentence summarizes a single paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes an entire essay. It tells the reader the point you want to make in your essay, while the essay itself supports that point. It is like a signpost that signals the essay’s destination. You should form your thesis before you begin to organize an essay, but you may find that it needs revision as the essay develops.

    Strong Thesis Statements

    A strong thesis statement must be supported by reasons, facts, or examples. If your thesis statement is only a fact, then it is difficult to support. For example, “Tomatoes are a fruit.” One might respond to this saying, “so what!” However, to make a stronger thesis statement, one might write “Americans commonly mistake tomatoes as a vegetable for several reasons.”

    A strong thesis statement should also be specific. If the thesis statement is too general, the reader will not know exactly what the main idea will be of the essay. For example, “Discrimination is bad for America.” There are many questions a reader might have after reading this thesis statement. What type of discrimination (e.g., gender, age, race)? Is the discrimination from individuals or institutionalized? What part of America (e.g. its economy, education system, standard of living, government)? Answering these questions in your thesis statement will provide a more specific topic.

    Weak Thesis Statements

    Take a look at the pitfalls to avoid when composing your own thesis:

    • A thesis is weak when it is simply a declaration of your subject or a description of what you will discuss in your essay.
      • Weak thesis statement: My paper will explain why imagination is more important than knowledge.
    • A thesis is weak when it makes an unreasonable or outrageous claim or insults the opposing side.
      • Weak thesis statement: People who like pineapple on their pizza lack intelligence.
    • A thesis is weak when it contains an obvious fact or something that no one can disagree with or provides a dead end.
      • Weak thesis statement: Advertising companies use sex to sell their products.
    • A thesis is weak when the statement is too broad.
      • Weak thesis statement: The life of Abraham Lincoln was long and challenging.

    Exercise 7 Identify Weak and Strong Thesis Statements

    Read the following thesis statements. Identify each as weak (W) or strong (S). Revise the weak statements so that they conform to the requirements of a strong thesis.

    _____ 1. The subject of this paper is my experience with snakes as pets.

    _____ 2. The government must expand its funding for research on renewable energy resources in order to prepare for the impending end of oil.

    _____ 3. Edgar Allan Poe was a poet who lived in Baltimore during the nineteenth century.

    _____ 4. In this essay, I will give you lots of reasons why slot machines should not be legalized in Baltimore.

    _____ 5. Despite his promises during his campaign, President Kennedy took few executive measures to support civil rights legislation.

    _____ 6. My experience with young children has taught me that I want to be a disciplinary parent because I believe that a child without discipline can be a parent’s worst nightmare.

    Exercise 8 Practice Writing Thesis Statements

    Write a thesis statement for each of the following topics. Remember to make each statement specific, precise, and demonstrable.

    1. Attending college

    2. The legal drinking age in the United States

    3. Texting while driving

    4. Public transportation

    “Writing Skills-Thesis Statements” is derived from “Developing a Strong Clear Thesis Statement” by Barbara Hall and Elizabeth Wallace licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

    Writing Prompt: Social Change Essay

    This unit covers groups of people trying to make social change. Write a 5-paragraph essay that explains what you consider to be the most effective ways to make social change. Provide examples of movements from history or the present that use these strategies. Argue the reasons you think the strategies are effective.

    As you did when writing paragraphs, you will follow the writing process by brainstorming, outlining, and drafting.

    Social Change Essay Brainstorm

    Exercise 9

    Look at the list of ways to make social change. Circle the ones you think are effective. Cross out the ones you think are ineffective.

    Violent Strategies




    police or state control


    Non-Violent Strategies

    labor strike

    hunger strike




    civil disobedience (disobeying the law in a nonviolent way)

    public meetings

    educational campaigns

    negotiations with those in power/authorities

    Exercise 10 Social Change Essay Outline

    Transfer your strongest ideas into an outline. Give examples of these strategies, specific examples of these strategies being performed in history, and reasons why they are effective.

    Thesis statement:

    Body paragraph 1

    Topic sentence:

    Example strategies:

    Historical examples:

    Reasons why the strategies are effective:

    Body paragraph 2

    Topic sentence:

    Example strategies:

    Historical examples:

    Reasons why the strategies are effective:

    Body paragraph 3

    Topic sentence:

    Example strategies:

    Historical examples:

    Reasons why the strategies are effective:

    Restatement of the thesis:

    Vocabulary Practice

    Exercise 11 Sentence Completion

    Complete the sentences using the vocabulary in the box below.

    prove pride goal/aim segregate

    oppress promote dedicate accomplish/achieve

    demand influence struggle secure mistreat

    Table 19 Chapter 8 Sentence Completion

    1. Social media like Instagram and Facebook _______________ children.

    2. Mariela is _______________ to her children. She cares for them.

    3. Nobody should be _______________. We are all equal.

    4. When I took the math class, I _______________ to understand the formulas. It was difficult.

    5. The _______________ of this class is to improve your reading and vocabulary.

    6. The exercises will help you _______________ these goals.

    7. Children learn best when they are in a _______________ environment.

    8. Politicians should _______________ peace in their country.

    9. Cesar Chavez _______________ rights for farm workers.

    10. Eva has a sense of _______________ in her hometown.

    Exercise 12 Discussion Questions

    Take notes answering the questions below. Then discuss your answers with a partner or group.

    1. How can a student prove that he or she did not cheat on an exam?

    2. Describe three things from your culture you are proud of.

    3. How can parents promote a healthy lifestyle?

    4. What is your educational goal? How do you plan to achieve this goal?

    5. What are three factors that influence children’s behavior?

    Grammar-Sentence Structure Errors


    Fragments are incomplete sentences because they either have a subject or verb missing or they are incomplete ideas.


    Incorrect: Because you went to sleep late. (incomplete idea)

    Incorrect: Making dinner every day. (no verb)

    Incorrect: Is studying for her exam. (no subject)

    There are several ways to fix fragments.

    1. Add to the incomplete idea (dependent clause).

    Because you went to sleep late. You were tired this morning. (incorrect)

    Because you went to sleep late, you were tired this morning. (correct)

    2. Add a verb.

    Making dinner every day. (incorrect)

    Making dinner every day can save money! (correct)

    3. Add a subject.

    Is studying for her exam. (incorrect)

    Lulu is studying for her exam. (correct)

    Exercise 13 Practice Identifying and Correcting Fragments

    Determine if there is a fragment in the sentences below. If there is a fragment, write “F.” If there isn’t a fragment, write “C” for “correct.” Dependent clauses will begin with one of these subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, because, before, even though, if, since, unless, until, when, while. Circle the subordinating conjunctions as you scan through the sentences.

    ____ 1. Although Mariam loves to eat broccoli. She refuses to eat it.

    ____ 2. I will be successful on the test if I am able to practice.

    ____ 3. When it is summer. I don’t like to bake because the house will become too hot.

    ____ 4. Hussain traveled across California until his money ran out.

    ____ 5. Minori had a baby girl. After she returned to Japan.

    Run-ons and Comma Splices

    A run-on (or fused) sentence is when two or more sentences are written without punctuation dividing them. A comma splice is when two sentences are divided by a comma. Both a run-on and comma splice are incorrect English grammar.

    Run-on: The grass was tall I cut it.

    Comma splice: The grass was tall, I cut it.

    Run-on and comma splice sentences can be fixed in several ways.

    1. A period .

    The grass was tall. I cut it.

    2. A semi-colon ;

    The grass was tall; I cut it.

    3. A coordinating conjunction (, + for and nor but or yet so)

    The grass was tall, so I cut it.

    4. A conjunctive adverb (; ______ , or . _______ , )

    The grass was tall; therefore, I cut it.

    5. A subordinating conjunction

    Because the grass was tall, I cut it. (showing reason)

    The grass was tall before I cut it. (showing sequence)

    Exercise 14 Practice Identifying and Correcting Run-on and Comma Splice Sentences

    Identify whether the sentence is a run-on or comma splice. Correct the sentences using one of the five strategies above.

    ____ 1. Yasmeen had been planning this trip for months; however, when her work called she couldn’t say no.

    ____ 2. Ammar had enjoyed the trip he saw so many new places.

    ____ 3. Chen turned off the lights, he forgot to lock the door.

    ____ 4. Jose did not work today, however, he did not relax.

    ____ 5. Once Onika got home she began studying for her exam.

    This page titled 2.1: "The Chicano Movement" is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rebecca Al Haider.

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