Mexican Americans in an Anglo Community


Round Peg in October 1968.

As Guerrero mentioned publicly, there was a lot of “gringo” sentiment on Trinity’s campus.  Though reporters did not note any specifics to Guerrero’s statement, there are reflections from other Chicano students on campus.  “A Mexican American in an Anglo Community”  was penned by Alfredo Saenz, in October of 1968 in Trinity's underground alternative newspaper the Round Peg. It is an expression of the frustration that many Mexican American students were facing regarding representation and belonging on campus.

“The low number of Mexican Americans enrolled at Trinity is caused by one simple fact: to the Mexican American in San Antonio, attending Trinity is an unattainable goal.  To the San Antonio Mexican American Trinity is viewed not as a scholastically difficult school, but as one where an attempt to participate in the “melting pot” process might be completely futile… The greatest threat to the Mexican American considering an educational career at Trinity is the aspect of being forced to be Anglo or the possibility of social rejection.”

The first time the term Chicano was used in the Trinitonian was the May 1st, 1970 issue. Homero Garza, elected president of the Student Association for the 1970-1971 school year, was described as “a chicano and champion of town students.”  

In his candidate statement for president, Garza addresses the campus's relationship to the city specifically. “I feel that Trinity will have to take a long look at her "good neighbor" policy with other college  campuses in this city and with the city of San Antonio as a whole. It is time for Trinity to come out of  her Ivory Tower on the hill, and  "mingle'' with the community she boasts of in her public relations literature.” Trinitonian, April 24, 1970

In the same issue on page eight, there is an area for Black and Brown reflections. Students George Chavez, Jose Garza, Lidia Serrata led with “The question has arisen on campus as to what the term Chicano means.” The students go one to define and clarify what Chicano means to them and the movement.  

Brown Reflections tri-1970-05-01.jpg

“We reject the notion of subjecting our heritage in order to rise in the American society. Instead we present you, the Anglo, with the challenge of accepting us as equal human beings. The Anglo must realize that Chicanos are heirs to a great mixture of cultures: the Indian, Spanish, and also the Mexican culture. Added to this is the experience we have of living in an English speaking country which has and is attempting to erase our heritage.  Out of this conflict, the Chicano has formed his own unique mentality and language which is different from both the Mexican and the American. Prior to the movement these characteristics were considered inferior and vulgar forms of behavior, but now the Chicano views them as beautiful and positive points.”


When we look at these instances collectively, in relation to what was happening in San Antonio, the state of Texas, and the Southwest, we can see a groundswell develop that is ready for a social movement on campus. First with students supporting the strikes in The Valley, then with the purported termination of two faculty members who publicly supported city council candidate Pete Torres, with instances of prejudice against Mexican Americans on campus, the proclamation of defining Chicano in the Trintonian, the student body electing a Chicano president for the Student Association, and the creation of the Trinity Association of Chicano Students (which is discussed in the next part of the exhibit),  it’s clear El Movimiento had arrived at Trinity.