20 the new voters assured roybals victory in the

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20 The new voters assured Roybal’s victory in the summer 1949 city coun- cil election. He became the W rst Spanish-surnamed person to hold such a position since 1888, and he won handily, defeating his incumbent opponent, Parley Parker Christensen, by a vote of nearly two to one: 20,472 to 11,957. 21 Four years earlier, when Eduardo Quevedo sought the same seat, he had lost heavily: 17,683 to 2,277. Only 38.9 percent of the dis- trict’s eligible voters had gone to the polls on that occasion, whereas in 1949, 82 percent did so. CSO was the reason for the dramatic turnabout. 22 Though the registration drive and Roybal’s campaign were aimed at Chavez, Ernesto, et al. <i>My People First! : Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978</i>, University of California Press, 2002. ProQuest Ebook Central, Created from csla on 2019-12-01 18:10:35. Copyright © 2002. University of California Press. All rights reserved.
U.S. citizens of Mexican descent, the CSO also sought to serve resident aliens, a goal of most Mexican-American organizations. At the same time, CSO believed that resident aliens should become citizens and “actively participate in community programs and activities that are for the purpose of improving the general welfare.” 23 To the CSO, Mexican aliens should not be merely sojourners in the North but participants in the struggle to advance the Mexican-American community. 24 “What makes a nation indivisible?” asked a CSO pamphlet. “What generates this goal of unity, of oneness, of togetherness that holds a people of a country steadfast?” The answer is “citizenship, with its assurance of protection of home and family when it assures justice and a voice in the government.” This heightened interest in citizenship re X ected CSO’s deep concern with the rampant Cold War hysteria of the time. 25 McCarthyism nonetheless clouded CSO’s existence. Its organizers were vehemently anticommunist, so much so that Bert Corona believed that the CSO had been created solely to prevent “radicals” and “Communists” from gaining a foothold in the Mexican community. 26 This was an exaggeration, but Roybal was straightforward about his views: “We had been W ghting communism and communists in Boyle Heights for many years. They did everything they possibly could to get us involved in the Communist Party. We fought them and we were trig- ger happy when it came to communism.” 27 Such a strong stand helped the CSO survive a very di Y cult era. II The CSO was not the only group battling at the time for the rights of the Los Angeles ethnic Mexican community. Also active in the struggle was the Asociación Nacional México Americana (ANMA), a creation in 1949 of the Denver-based Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers (Mine Mill). Primarily composed of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, the union envi- sioned ANMA as its political arm and the “new voice” for Mexicans in the United States. Membership in this self-proclaimed “national association

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