The primary source that is to be analyzed in the paper is the article called “800 Supporters of Sal Castro March on School Board”. The author, Ruben Salazar, was the first Mexican-American reporter working for Los Angeles Times (where he published the present text). The source does not contain any official documentation on the case; yet, it describes real court proceedings. The publication date is October 7, 1969, shortly after Sal Castro, who was a public school teacher in the East Los Angeles School, inspired his students to take part in the student movement (“blowout”) in order to express their protest against discrimination of Mexicans in educational institutions. The culture of the region, which was characterized by deeply rooted racial prejudices, triggered the Chicano walkouts.
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The main issue described in the article is the rally organized by Sal Castro’s supporters to protest against the transfer of the teacher. The major problem that caused this reaction of the general public was that, according to the chairman of the board-created Mexican-American Education Commission, “assigning Castro to a downtown job while the board of review was studying the case, a board rule had been violated”, which the court denied (Salazar, 1969, para. 6).
It is rather difficult to make conclusions on the position of the author since he does not develop any personal point in the article. The language of it is rather neutral: Salazar avoids any kind of judgment on Castro’s actions and personality, calling him a “controversial teacher” (Salazar, 1969, para. 1). However, knowing that the author himself is Mexican, it is still possible to trace some evaluative points. For instance, he stresses the fact that the marchers were peaceful even though they seemed unfriendly to the court (Salazar, 1969). Such close attention to details is the most demonstrative example to prove that the source is credible.
The intended audience of the article is rather broad. It is written in the form of a brief report without any discussion of the issue. The prestige of the newspaper ensures accuracy and reliability of the information provided. However, it produces rather a negative impact on the rhetorical strategy. Salazar was limited in expressive means; that is why he totally refrained from any radical statements (“controversial teacher”, “alleged conspiracy”) (Salazar, 1969, para. 3).
It is likely that Salazar prepared the document because he was tasked to update the population of the region with the latest news on the case. The occasion for its creation was the rally itself, which was unprecedentedly large in scale (involving 800 people). The biography of the author allows assuming that he was far from being indifferent to the movement (he died being struck by a tear-gas projectile during the National Chicano Moratorium Marched organized to protest against the military actions in Vietnam). That is why communicating the problem to the population, he surely realized that the success of the struggle was at stake. There is no evidence in the text that he was among the supporters of Sal Castro as otherwise it could have been heavily censored.
This source is important if one analyzes it in the historical context due to the fact that the case of Sal Castro put the beginning of a nationwide struggle against segregation. Even though the author could not motivate people to join the movement, he provided details on the injustices made to the teacher even before the case was adjudged in court. This could not help evoking response in people’s hearts. Emotional involvement is one of the determining issues in any kind of social or political struggle.
Salazar, R. (1960). 800 supporters of Sal Castro march on school board. Los Angeles Times. Web.