Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun is a new study of the Chicano/a movement, El Movimiento, and its multiple ideologies from a broad cultural perspective. The late 1960s marked the first time U.S. society witnessed Americans of Mexican descent on a national stage as self-determined individuals and collective actors rather than second-class citizens. George Mariscal's book examines the Chicano movement's quest for equal rights and economic justice in the context of the Viet Nam War era.
Mariscal outlines the social and political conditions that made El Movimiento possible, especially the Cold War, U.S. military interventions, the Black Civil Rights movement, and anti-colonial struggles in the so-called Third World. This context paved the way for U.S. minority groups to politicize their cultural production and elaborate radical identities. Mariscal analyzes many issues that scholars have heretofore ignored when studying El Movimiento.
Mariscal argues convincingly that the term "nationalism" fails to adequately describe the complexity of the movement and shows how Chicano/a internationalism arose in response to the Cuban Revolution of 1959. He traces the ideological uses of the image of Cesar Chavez as a touchstone for debate within El Movimiento and explains how some activists such as Reies López Tijerina formed alliances across ethnic boundaries, specifically with African American militants. The final chapters look at attempts to democratize higher education in California and suggest ways in which the legacy of the movement might be relevant to contemporary political projects.
"George Mariscal gave us that extraordinary book Aztlan and Viet Nam. Here he turns his attention to a thoughtful analysis and description of the Chicano Movement of the Sixties and Seventies, in all its complexity, excitement, and promise. He finds fascinating connections between "el Movimiento" and certain historical figures like Che Guevara and Cesar Chavez. This book is a rich tapestry of provocative ideas and untold history."--Howard Zinn, author, A People's History of the United States