The 1968 Walkouts: Selections from UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Collections


June 2, 2018 - July 7, 2018

In the early days of March 1968, approximately 5,000 students from five LAUSD high schools—Roosevelt, Garfield, Wilson, Lincoln, and Belmont—took to the streets. They sought a just education for Chicana/os, demanding curricula, books, and materials that were culturally relevant and educators that were culturally informed, as well as administrative changes, more parental involvement, and facility improvements.

Articles published during this period in the Los Angeles Times and the Herald Examiner used a rhetoric that stigmatized the efforts of the students and their sympathizers. Headlines such as “Brown Power Unity Seen Behind School Disorders” and “East Side Still Plagued with Hangover from School Boycott” negatively framed the walkouts and their participants and supporters. These dominant narratives were challenged by perspectives from community-based newspapers such as Chicano Student News and La Raza, which published calls to action and photographs and reportage of the walkouts. These grassroots publications, which focused on the experiences of students and community members, also shed light on police violence, revealed geography-based disparities among LAUSD facilities, and documented events involving educator Sal Castro and the group of fellow activists known as the East Los Angeles 13.

This exhibition of photographs, newspapers, and ephemera pertaining to the historic Eastside student walkouts of 1968 and additional actions in 1970 draws from six archival collections from the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles: Sal Castro Papers, La Raza Newspaper and Magazine Records, La Raza Photograph Collection, Chicano Newspaper Collection, Oscar Castillo Papers, and Oscar Castillo Photograph Collection. Although much of the documentation of Chicana/o activism against educational inequality focuses on events in 1968 and 1969, Castillo’s images record protests by students and community members who continued the fight for Chicana/o educational justice into the 1970s.

The 1968 Walkouts: Selections From UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Collections is organized by the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (CSRC). It is curated by Dr. Carlos Manuel Haro, CSRC Assistant Director Emeritus, and Bryant Partida, UCLA doctoral student in education, with assistance from Johnny Ramirez, UCLA doctoral student in education, and photographers Oscar Castillo, Luis C. Garza, and Devra Anne Weber.