The rich and often tragic history of Black and Latino Americans has long been ignored.
In Black Chronicle and La Cronica historians and educators use a newspaper format to tell of their contributions and struggles.

   

Using Black Chronicle & La Crónica


In the Family


"Let us establish truth on which right in the future may be built."
       - W.E.B. DuBois

"What is overlooked is the damage that can be inflicted on all children, majority and minority alike, by distortions of history. Indoctrinated with myths, they have no way of separating legend from truth. This ill prepares them to cope with problems in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society."
       - Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1971

The BLACK CHRONICLE and LA CRONICA present a different perspective from the one most of us received. The history we learned in our schools was written from the perspectives of the people in power. The BLACK CHRONICLE and LA CRONICA are written from the perspective of those who were the victims of history - who were without the rewards and the benefits of our systems and institutions.

OVERVIEW

The BLACK CHRONICLE is a set of fourteen newspapers that present United States history from the perspective of Black Americans. In LA CRONICA, with nine issues in English and Spanish, the perspective is that of Mexican Americans. Both publications have been created by educators and historians to enrich our understanding of the contributions and struggles of these two minority groups. The information in both is not fiction. Every incident has been drawn from authentic source materials, including historical newspapers, diaries and letters.

The newspaper format provides a variety of reading levels and consequently will be of interest to the skilled as well as the slow reader. Material on a beginning reading level includes headlines, advertisements, items and picture captions. On an intermediate reading level, there are news stories and historical features. Stories on advanced reading levels include analytical features and editorials. Maps, diagrams, and pictures appear throughout the issues of BLACK CHRONICLE and LA CRONICA.

As described above, in the GENERAL OBJECTIVES, the purpose of these publications is to:
  1. Increase awareness and understanding of the richness of Black American and Mexican American culture and history.
  2. Help young people and their families understand that the American heritage is the result of the achievements and contributions of people of all races, colors and creeds.
  3. Encourage and increase positive self-image among Black and Mexican American young people.
  4. Make young people and their families aware of the history of discrimination against Black Americans and Mexican Americans throughout American history.
  5. Highlight the individual and collective efforts of Black Americans and Mexican Americans to resist discrimination and neglect.

THE VALUE OF THE NEWSPAPER FORMAT

The newspaper format offers writing styles which range from straight reportorial to highly figurative and idiomatic. As applied to black and Mexican American history, it provides an emotional impact which maintains high interest level. The journalistic format is particularly valuable for an introduction to reading because it is one of our most accessible forms of literature.


HOW TO USE THE NEWSPAPERS

Review the newspapers before giving them to your children. List, for your own reference, the dates and overall topics of BLACK CHRONICLE and LA CRONICA. These will help you to plan family discussions.

Call attention to the tone and language in each issue of BLACK CHRONICLE and LA CRONICA. They may vary from issue to issue.

There are several ways in which this material can be made interesting for young people. This can be done through discussions and activities using charts, dramatizations, interviews and illustrations. There is a great deal of rich material in these issues which does not deal directly with the lead article, but because it brings color and variety to a historical moment will help put the material into the context of the time.

Youngsters should be given the opportunity to read the newspapers independently. However, you should try to familiarize them with the meanings of certain words before they read BLACK CHRONICLE or LA CRONICA. You might consider discussing and defining unfamiliar words before giving out the issues.

FOR BLACK CHRONICLE

Establish a comfortable environment for use of the terms "Colored," "Negro," and "Black." They have been used with varying frequency since Colonial times and may be an interesting topic for family discussion. (Other terms used have been "Aframericans," "Afro-Americans," "Oppressed Americans," "Afric-Americans," and, particularly in Colonial tines, "Africans.") Today's wide acceptance of the term "Black" is reflected by its use in the Black Chronicle.

FOR LA CRONICA

Readers should be familiar with the variety of names used by Mexican Americans. Mexican American is only one of many titles used by people of Mexican descent to describe themselves. Appellations have varied from state to state: In Texas, the terms used have been Latino American, Latin, Tejano and Texas Mexican; in New Mexico, the terms have been Hispano and New Mexican; in California the historical term was Californio. The term Spanish American has been used in a number of southwestern states by those who emphasize their Spanish ancestry while others have called themselves Hispano Americans and, since the 1900s, Mexican American. In the 1920s and 1930s, Mexican and Mexican American were used interchangeably, probably because of the enormous immigrant population. Today, Latino is widely used as well. In the 1960s and 1970s, young people began to call themselves Chicanos. The derivation of Chicano is uncertain. Some claim the term is a shortening of the word mejicano. Once considered by many a derogatory term, Chicano is used by people today to emphasize pride in their Mexican and Indian heritage.

FAMILY GROUP SETTINGS

Several families who are interested in exploring the material together could meet during the week or on weekends, perhaps in a church, synagogue or mosque. An issue of the newspaper could be assigned for reading in advance of the session. The following questions could be discussed:

What is the paper saying about persons, Black and White, Anglo and Hispanic?

What is it saying about United States social systems and structures?

What it is saying about individual attitudes and behavior?

What is it suggesting in terms of action in our churches, schools, courts and communities?

The most important lesson LA CRONICA and BLACK CHRONICLE can teach is that there is an irrepressible force for improvement and change in the Mexican American and Black communities that has overcome some of history's great obstacles and brought the contributions of these two vibrant peoples to our American culture.