Editor's note: This is the first of a four-part series celebrating 25 years of Hispanic Business magazine.
Hispanic Business magazine was born at the end of the turbulent civil rights era. The first issue, a newsletter dated April-May 1979, reflected the times.
One article bore the headline "Lobby for La Causa?" while another article recounted a dance party hosted by Pancho Villa. Clearly, revolution was in the air, and as the magazine commemorates its 25th anniversary this year, it merits an analysis of how the revolution affected development of the U.S. Hispanic economy.
VIDEO: The 70s
The early 1970s brought Hispanics national presence as a social force. By 1971, Cesar Chavez had organized 80,000 workers into a labor union; the following year the United Farmworkers joined the AFL-CIO. Meanwhile, on college campuses throughout the Southwest, students organized to protest "Occupied Mexico/Aztlan," in the words of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee. The movement culminated in August 1970 with an NCMC-organized march by 20,000 protesters through East Los Angeles.
The movement carried an economic as well as social message. "The hope is that the Chicano movement, aspiring to deal with white America on more nearly equal terms, actually seeks the good things in life; and it thus makes the Chicanos indeed faithful dreamers of the American dream," wrote Tony Castro in his 1972 book Chicano Power: The Emergence of Mexican America. "The way American society … reacts in the future to the Chicanos and other minorities and their demands for equality will define for decades what kind of country America really is."
Hispanics in the East were living a different reality. In New York, New Jersey, and Chicago, the Puerto Rican and Dominican migrations of the 1950s were evolving into permanent neighborhoods. In Miami, the Cuban exile community realized it wouldn't be returning to the island any time soon and began building businesses in the context of the U.S. economy. In 1978, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana organized the first Calle Ocho Festival with a crowd of 100,000.
Hispanic Business brought these Hispanic communities together. The fledgling newsletter fostered unity with the premise that the Hispanic experience encompassed a massive geographic section of the United States and deserved national attention. And with this, the publication was at the forefront of the U.S. Hispanic economy.
"We could not be starting this enterprise at a more opportune time," wrote Editor and Publisher Jesús Chavarría in the debut issue. "It is this publication's task to cover the broad national scene of Hispanic business and professional life."
From the beginning, Hispanic Business emphasized statistical data and measures on the Hispanic market in the form of Census figures, industry statistics, and original research. "As the volume of Hispanic business and professional life has leaped forward in recent years, so has the volume of information vital to the success of such activity," Mr. Chavarría wrote in the first issue.