Hispanic Movement from Rural to Urban areas in the 1960s
This essay from the Julian Samora papers discusses the movement of Spanish-speakers from rural areas to urban areas in the 1960s. As Spanish-speakers became more visible in society the census attempted to define and count this part of the population. The definition, or lack thereof, provided by the census is an important aspect of identity for Spanish-speakers. It attempted to not only include them in the democratic process, but also to give Spanish-speakers a validated position in society amongst the majority anglos and other minority groups.
From 1930-1960, the census used different criteria to identify the population resulting in inconclusive identification. Some of these criteria included: being born in Mexico or having parents who were born in Mexico, which does not apply to hispanics who lived in the Southwest region before the border was drawn; spanish spoken in the home, which not all hispanic families do; and Spanish surname, which not all hispanics have and some natives also possess.
One difficulty presented by this attempt to define Spanish-speakers is the struggle to identify a base constituency. Spanish-speakers come from many latin and hispanic backgrounds. Spanish-speaking political leaders struggled to relate to this conglomerate. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, many Spanish-speakers started to identify with the term "La Raza" to describe who they were and organize what they wanted from the government.