The Spanish Conquest of Mexico
Although Hernan Cortes hardly considered himself the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztecs did-and his conquest of Mesoamerica utterly destroyed their world, exactly as prophesied. In this program, Spanish historian and Oxford University professor Sir John Elliott and cultural historian Dr. Elizabeth Baquedano survey political, cultural, and religious aspects of Aztec civilization; analyze Cortes' military campaign in detail; and discuss Spanish influences on Mexican culture. Artwork, artifacts, 3-D models, and excerpts from the writings of Bernal Diaz add depth to this penetrating study of Spanish opportunism in the New World.
Examines the beginnings of the movement by profiling Reies Lopez Tijerina and the land grant movement in New Mexico in 1966 and 1967. It shows how Tijerina's fight to convince the federal government to honor the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) galvanized Mexicans and Mexican Americans across the Southwest. It then moves on to discuss Rodolfo (Corky) Gonzales and his founding of the Crusade for Justice in Denver in 1966. Focusing on the importance of his poem I am Joaquin, it highlights how Gonzales reached out to Chicano youth. This segment is useful for its discussion of the roots of Chicano nationalism through its affirmation of cultural identity grounded in Aztec myths such as that of Aztlan, the mythical Chicano homeland.
Examines the importance of Cesar Chavez and his efforts to organize farm workers in the central valley of California. It delineates the various components of Chavez's strategy for farm worker self determination--strikes, boycotts, pilgrimages, fasts--and emphasizes his commitment to nonviolence and the importance of faith and prayer in achieving his goal.
It covers the Los Angeles high school blow outs of 1968 thoroughly and with passion. Part 3 is also likely to be the most interesting to students because they can witness young people their own age forcefully agitating for change. It is also striking because the catalysts for the walk outs--high drop out rate, crumbling schools, lack of Mexican American teachers--still resonate today. This segment is visually interesting as well because the filmmakers made a conscious effort to interview actual participants (which they do in all the segments). Here they actually go back and forth between a photo or video of a participant from the 1960s to that same person being interviewed today, and it is insightful to see how that individual changed in the intervening thirty years. For example, at one point the video discusses how the students were trying to garner outside support for their cause in order to legitimate it in the eyes of the school board. Robert Kennedy agrees to meet with student leaders and offer his support (he was running for president at the time and was in California to meet with Cesar Chavez), and we see a picture of Kennedy surrounded by student leaders. The camera then focuses on a young Harry Gamboa--one of the walk-out leaders--standing next to Kennedy and the video then fades away to a current day interview with him.
Discusses the creation of La Raza Unida Party as a third party force for political power and the importance of political rights. It culminates in the 1972 election and the Raza Unida convention, and the fragmentation of the party at the height of its membership and recognition.