The Great Latino Revolt, Oscar Zeta Acosta, and the Birth of the Latino Insurrection. By Burton Moore. Edited by Roberto Cabello-Argandoña and Yasmeen Namazie. ISBN 978-1482773781. $17.95.
This is a joint publication of Floricanto Press and Berkeley Presses. The Brown Buffalo, as he was known in the barrios of Los Angeles among street people, at the height of the riots in in the late 1960’s and 7O’s, was the epitome of the Movimiento. He was smart, rebellious, unpredictable, occasionally high on drugs, but terrifyingly honest to himself and the world. This is the story of the rage and fury that swept the streets and courts of LA during the gestation of the Movimiento Chicano and particularly on Saturday August 29th, 1970, and of the remarkable life of Oscar Zeta Acosta, a radical civil-rights lawyer who defended Chicano activists, won new rights for Latinos, and challenged the LA estab1ishment. Ruben Salazar, the first latino L.A. Times
journalist, was accidentally killed in the Silver Dollar Bar by the Sheriff of Los Angeles. A coroner's
inquest ruled the shooting of the tear gas canister a homicide, but Tom Wilson,
the sheriff's deputy who fired the shot that killed Salazar, was never
prosecuted. At the time, many believed the homicide was a premeditated
assassination of a prominent, vocal member of the Los Angeles Chicano
The riot started when the owners of the Green Mill liquor
store, located around the corner from the Silver Dollar Bar on Whittier
Boulevard, called in a complaint about people stealing from them. Deputies
responded and a fight broke out. Later on that day, cadets from the nearby
Sheriff's Academy were bussed to the area and marched into the park. A fight
ensued, with the untrained cadets being beaten up. This led to more rioting.
The Green Mill liquor store is still located at the same place on Whittier
Boulevard. The owners later denied contacting the Sheriff's Department.
Half a century ago on Saturday, August 29, 1970, about 20,000
anti-war Chicano protestors marched through the streets of East Los Angeles
barrio to demand an end to the Vietnam War for the Chicano Moratorium Committee
had organized the protest to protest that Latino men were dying in the war far
out of proportion to their numbers in the population. The issues were that Mexican
Americans and other Latinos were dying in Indochina in higher proportions, but also
Latinos were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to experience poverty, poor
housing conditions, substandard education, and police brutality