Pre-Chicana Movement Leaders

A significant key figure before the Chicana movement of the 1960s and 1970s was Josefina Fierro. She was a key leader in the LA Mexican community and, in 1939, was the national secretary in the first ever national Latino civil rights organization (Cervantes). She stated that Latina women faced many problems that ran deep such as discrimination in jobs, migratory problems, and schooling (Ruiz 97). Luisa Moreno also played an important role in the 1940s, especially in the 1940 conference of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born (ACPFB), she used the metaphor "Caravan of Sorrow" to present the lives of Mexican migrant workers (Ruiz 97). Both feminists acted as founding leaders to future generations of Chicana feminism.

In “From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America,” Vicki Ruiz quotes a portion of Luisa Moreno’s presentation at the 1940 conference,

Long before The Grapes of Wrath had ripened in California's vineyards a people lived on highways, under trees or tents, in shacks or railroad sections, picking crops—cottons, fruits, vegetables, cultivating sugar beets, building railroads and dams, making barren land fertile for new crops and greater riches.

These people are not aliens. They have contributed their endurance, sacrifices, youth and labor to the Southwest. Indirectly, they have paid more taxes than all the stockholders of California's industrialized agriculture, the sugar companies and the large cotton interests, that operate or have operated with the labor of Mexican workers (Ruiz 97).

Prev Next