Monday, September 14, 2009

UW-Milwaukee To Commemorate 40th Anniversary Of The 1970 Hispanic Community Takeover Of Chapman Hall

Takeover led to higher educational opportunities for Latinos in Wisconsin

By H. Nelson Goodson
September 14, 2009

Milwaukee -The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) officials announced on Monday, that a committee has been initially formed to begin planning for next years commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the historical takeover of UWM’s Chapman Hall by the Latino community in 1970.
The committee will officially begin to plan events around the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Chapman Hall, a pivotal event for Milwaukee’s Latino community, according to UWM administrators.
Enrique Figueroa, associate professor and director of the Roberto Hernández Center (RHC), has been directed by the Chancellor's office to lead and oversee the committee planning of events. Figueroa has appointed two co-chairs for the committee.

“Ernesto Chacon and Jesus Salas were centrally involved in the August 1970 takeover and have distinguished themselves as community activists and as public servants during their professional lives,” said Figueroa.
Although both men are now retired, Chacon most recently served as deputy director of Gov. Jim Doyle’s Milwaukee office. Salas was a professor at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and served as a member of the UW System Board of Regents.
The co-chairs are currently assembling a committee to fund raise for the 40th commemoration, develop a program for the event and bring together others who were advocates for the Latino community 40 years ago.
“The Chapman Hall takeover proved to be a seminal development for Milwaukee’s Latino community,” says Figueroa. “It directly led to the creation of UWM’s Spanish Speaking Outreach Institute (SSOI), which over time became the current Roberto Hernández Center. Indeed, the deceased Roberto Hernández was also a central figure during the takeover.”
Last August marked the 39th anniversary of the August 27, 1970 UWM takeover by the Hispanic community. Their contribution, commitment, and success led to changing the discriminatory UWM policy that restricted access to higher education for Hispanics during 1970, has today resulted in graduating large numbers of Latinos from public and private universities throughout Wisconsin.
Figueroa points out that 39 years ago, there were only a handful of Latino students and only one Latino faculty member at UWM. “Now there are over 1,300 students and more than thirty Latino faculty as well as a Latino chancellor. It’s important that our community celebrate the visionary activists of 40-years ago…Si se pudo!”

After 34 years of the Latino community takeover of UWM, on July 1, 2004, Carlos E. Santiago became the first Hispanic chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Chancellor Santiago has a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University (1982) and M.A. degrees in economics from Cornell University (1979) and the University of Puerto Rico (1975).
Unfortunately, today's educational institutions like Milwaukee Public Schools, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and other private educational institutions, as well as community based organizations have yet to provide, support, and make available a curriculum about the historical aspect of the 1970's UWM educational struggle by the Hispanic community to the younger generations of students.

To enlarge and open attached articles; please click on the first, second and last photos for the most comprehensive story ever written and authored by H. Nelson Goodson who himself was a student, and graduated from UWM. El Conquistador Newspaper first published the two-page article on July 13, 2001 as a special edition for The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference, which was held in Milwaukee on July 14-18, 2001. "The article actually depicts a descriptive point by point narrative, documentary and occurrences of historical events at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that will make you experience and feel the moment in time," Goodson said. Goodson's first publication of the article led to other studies and papers written about the historical event by UWM.

Link to UWM library website of chronicles of takeover and images included.

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