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Lesson

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement
¡Yo soy Chicana!

Although Chicanas were a part of the Chicano movement from the very beginning, they were often relegated to “domestic duties," while men occupied most of the leadership roles and acted as spokespersons for various initiatives. Chicana feminism, a social movement that began to take hold during this time, challenges stereotypes and traditional gender roles, and examines the ways in which different aspects of Chicana cultural identity (gender, ethnicity, race, class, and sexuality) intersect. In this lesson, explore the experiences of several Chicanas who have become important symbols of female empowerment. You will also have a chance to experience bolero through the eyes of Chelo Silva, a singer who became very successful in an overwhelmingly male-dominated business.

Lesson Components & Learning Objectives

  1. Dolores Huerta: Planting the Seed

    • Perform “This Little Light of Mine” and explain this song’s connection to Dolores Huerta.
    • Approx. 30 minutes
  2. Chicana Feminism

    • Describe several ways in which Chicana feminists have disrupted the machismo narrative and encouraged/empowered women to abandon their conditioned passivity and take their rightful place alongside men in the Mexican American community’s ongoing struggle for liberation.
    • 30 minutes
  3. Chelo Silva: The Tejana Queen of Bolero

    • Explain the stylistic characteristics of bolero and why Chelo Silva serves as an early example of Chicana feminism.
    • Approx. 40 minutes

More +
Less -

Bibliography

Text

Blackwell, M. (2011). ¡Chicana power!: Contested histories of feminism in the Chicano movement. University of Texas Press.

Del Toro, L. (1995). Chelo Silva: La reina tejana del bolero [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Espinoza, D., Cotera, M., & Blackwell, M. [Eds.] (2018). Chicana movitas: New narratives of activism and feminism in the movement. University of Texas Press.

Martinez, B. (1973). Brotando del Silencio [Liner notes]. Paredon Records.

Montoya, M. (2016). The Chicano movement for beginners. For Beginner Books.

Puryear, M. (2015). Songs my mother taught me [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Rosales, F. A. (1996). Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Arte Publico Press.

Vargas, D. R. (2012). Dissonant divas: The limits of la onda in Chicana music. University of Minnesota Press.

Audio

Hamer, F. L. (2015). This little light of mine [Song]. On Songs my mother taught me [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Paz, S. (1973). Quiero decirte [Song]. On Brotando del silencio: Breaking out of the silence[Album]. Paredon Records.

Paz, S. (1973). La Bamba chicana [Song]. On Brotando del silencio: Breaking out of the silence[Album]. Paredon Records.

Silva, C. (1991). Si acaso vuelves [Song]. On Tejano roots: the women[Album]. Arhoolie Records.

Video

National Portrait Gallery (2015). Portrait in a minute: Dolores Huerta [Video]. YouTube.

Images

Lopez, Y. (1978). Portrait of the artist as Guadalupe [Self portrait]. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material, 1965–2004, Yolanda M López to Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material, 1965-2004, (DSI-AAA)1739.

Carrasco, B. (1999). Dolores Huerta [Screenprint on paper]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, NPG.2015.23.

Richards, H. (1965). Dolores Huerta, Delano, California [Photograph]. Harvey Richards Media Archive, Estuary Press, Oakland, CA. Courtesy of Paul Richards.

  

Rodriguez, R. (1974). Dolores Huerta speaking at a rally [Photograph]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of George Rodriguez in memory of his brother, NPG.2015.116.

Richards, H. (1966). Cesar Chavez [Photograph]. Harvey Richards Media Archive, Estuary Press, Oakland, CA. Courtesy of Paulo Richards.

Unknown artist (ca. 1973). Brotando del silencio [Photograph]. In Brotando del silencio: Breaking out of the silence [Liner notes], p. 1. Parendon Records, Brooklyn, NY., PAR01016.

Unknown artist (ca. 1970). Dolores Huerta speaks at UFW rally [Photograph]. Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Murphy, C. (1975). Fred Ross and Dolores Huerta [Photograph]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., NPG.2016.137.

Cohen Cramer, S. (2015). Songs my mother taught me, by Fannie Lou Hamer [Cover art]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photograph by Louis H. Draper, courtesy of Neil Draper Winston, SFW40216.

Davies, D. J. (1965). Fannie Lou Hamer at 1965 Newport Folk Festival [Photograph]. In Songs my mother taught me, by Fannie Lou Hamer [Liner notes], 2015, p. 19. Smithsonian Folkways RecordingsWashington, DC. Provided by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, SFW40216.

Godwin, J. (2019). Dolores Huerta [Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons.

Unknown artist (1973). The women of la raza [Photograph]. In Brotando del silencio: Breaking out of the silence [Liner notes], p. 2. Parendon Records, Brooklyn, NY., PAR01016.

Unknown artist (n.d.). La raza Chicano power [Poster]. The University of Kansas Libraries, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, Lawrence, KS.

Lee, R. (1939). Woman rolling tortillas [Photograph]. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, DC.

Baughman, R. (1973). Machismo [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of J. Ross Baughman, 2010.0231.16.

Powers, M. J. (1968). Black panthers [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores García, 2013.0222.21.

  

Borjon-Lopez, P. (1970). Brown beret women [Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons.

Unknown artist (n.d.) Suni Paz [Photograph]. In Explore: Artist spotlight. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Valadez, R. (n.d.). ¡Sí se puede! [Acrylic on canvas]. Robert Valadez Fine Arts.

Young Women’s Christian Association (1971). La conferencia de mujeres por la raza [Poster]. In Wikipedia.

Unknown artist (n.d.) Newspaper icon [Clipart]. In Public Domain Vectors.

Unknown artist (n.d.) Las adelitas [Painting]. In Wikimedia commons. Uploaded by Wikimedia user Scalif~commonswiki.

Hernández, E. (1988). La ofrenda, from the National Chicano Screenprint Taller, 1988–1989 [Screenprint]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of the Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, 1991.65.3, © 1988, Self-Help Graphics & Art, Inc.

Hernández, E. (2010). Wanted [Screenprint]. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 2020.12.1.

Hernandez, E. (1975). La Virgen de Guadalupe defendiendo los derechos de los Xicanos [Etching and aquatint on paper]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Museum purchase through the Frank K. Ribelin Endowment, 2013.56.

Unknown artist (n.d.). Chelo Silva [Photograph]. In Tejano roots: The women [Liner notes], 1991, p. 27. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA., ARH00343

Weil, B. (1995). La reina Tejana del bolero, by Chelo Silva [Cover art]. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA. Photograph by Manuel Peña, ca. early 1950s, ARH00423.

Unknown artist (1958). “Caravana” poster advertising performance [Cropped poster]. In La reina Tejana del bolero, by Chelo Silva [liner notes], 1995, p. 6–7. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA., ARH00423.