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Fronteras: 'Let the poor people in' — Some Latino activists in the late '60s occupied churches in the fight to save their barrios

The late 1960s were defined by civil rights protests and political unrest.

While some religious leaders participated in these protests, Latino activists in large U.S. cities felt abandoned by the churches meant to serve them.

Young Latino radicals were among those who rose up to target and occupy houses of worship of all denominations.

Felipe Hinojosa, associate professor of history at Texas A&M University, is the author of “Apostles of Change: Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio.” Hinojosa’s book focuses on protests in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Houston.

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University of Texas Press
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Hinojosa said while these occupations were brief, they left a lasting impact on their communities.

“Latinos and their movements…they become a force to be reckoned with,” said Hinojosa. “The nation is introduced to Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in a way that they had not been introduced to before. This invisible minority takes its place alongside the historic movements for Black freedom and the Black Panther Party.”

Hear part 1 of our conversation with Felipe Hinojosa here.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Marian Navarro produces for Texas Public Radio's Morning Edition and Fronteras.