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Renowned Chicano activist Carlos Montes’ collection donated to Cal State L.A.’s East L.A. Archive


Cal State L.A.

5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles , CA 90032 United States

Carlos Montes—a nationally respected leader in the Chicano, immigrant rights, and anti-war movements—donated his archive collection on Jan. 16 to California State University, Los Angeles.

The Montes Collection will be added to the East Los Angeles Archive, which is housed in the University’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library.

“I selected Cal State L.A. Library’s East L.A. Archive to donate my personal political files from the Chicano movement because Cal State L.A. is a local and respected educational institution that will make them available to the community, students, professors and the general public,” said Montes of Alhambra.

Montes was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano working class youth organization in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s. He was also one of the leaders of the Chicano Blowouts, a series of walkouts of East Los Angeles high schools to protest against racism and inequality in Los Angeles-area high schools. He is portrayed by Fidel Gomez in the 2006 HBO movie, Walkout. (See below for Montes’ complete biography.)

His first submissions to the archive included issues of La Causa Brown Beret newspaper, flyers of the political trial for the Biltmore case, legal transcripts of the court proceedings from the East L.A high school walkouts prosecution, the Los Angeles Magazine with article featuring Carlos Montes, and the Biltmore case grand jury indictment.

“Both of the cases addressed political repression against the Chicano movement, specifically the Brown Berets and myself,” Montes explained.

The East L.A. Archive at Cal State L.A. documents the lives and events of a historical community central to the social, political, and cultural history of the Chicano/Latino community in the United States. It collects, preserves, displays, and disseminates documents, artifacts and other materials related to the social and political life of the East Los Angeles region.

“The Montes Collection is an important addition to our East L.A. Archive, which supports the University’s commitment to civic and community engagement and learning,” said University Librarian Alice Kawakami. “Azalea Camacho, archivist, and Romelia Salinas, librarian liaison to the University’s Department of Chicano Studies, were actively involved in helping to bring this collection to our campus.”

The archive currently consists of The Gloria Arellanes Papers, The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) collection, the “Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles” Exhibit Collection, the Jose R. Figueroa Collection, and the Claudia Baltazar Poster Collection.

For more information about the archive or for how to donate collections or funding to the East Los Angeles Archive, please contact Archivist Camacho, John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Special Collections, at (323) 343-3997.

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2 thoughts on “Renowned Chicano activist Carlos Montes’ collection donated to Cal State L.A.’s East L.A. Archive”

  1. Carlos Montes was also arrested twice(FOUND NON-GUILTY) by Federal & local law enforcement due to his political beliefs.The latest arrest few years ago, police busted his door, ransacked his home, terrified his family for political reasons, only to be found not guilty during his trial. Who says there are no political prisoners in this country?

    1. Actually, i am the one that got Carlos going !    I was AMS President, and got him to attend our meetings, become an officer, and attend the ASB Council meetings — where, after i was drafted, he launched his battles — but The First One was when he confronted, as a student, the ASB at MY prodding !   Not trying to claim ANY glory, nor actual credit, but PROUD to be able to BRAG about it !   (For what its worth, my girl “i left behind” for the Army is a relative of Ceasar Chavez … & my parents MET as students @ Roosevelt — i mebbe am “white” but not prejudiced in case THAT comes up)