A CHICANO LATINO YOUTH QUITS THE GANG TO FIND HIS OWN WAY INTO THE FUTURE

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"San Fernando California, 1959" A coming of age novel, a Chicano Latino "Stand by Me"


 HE QUIT THE GANG TO FIND HIS OWN WAY INTO THE FUTURE     


A Novel

by Louis Macias

"San Fernando California, 1959" 

Synopsis

  • A large aspiring Chicano American family with a sensitive and adventurous eleven-year-old boy moves out of a venerable racially tolerant big-city multicultural neighborhood to the outskirts of the fast-growing post Second World War city. 

 

  • It is a “mission town” in 1959 and de facto apartheid is still strictly practiced in his new town. Here the racial hierarchy is strictly enforced and respected, and he is shocked. In his sophisticated multicultural boyhood, he had been happy and useful and protected. But now he must move out of the city to a small mission town on the outskirts of the county and into a life of strict separation of the races. 


  • He had grown up in a world filled with people from many European countries. In his big city neighborhood, there were Italian-American, Armenian-American, and representatives of many different cultures, Southerners, and “Okies” and Asian-Americans Chinese and Japanese as well as mid-westerners, longtime Californians were common and a small number of African-Americans. Many progressives from the Nineteen Thirties still worked with the kids after-school there and all the residents shared a universal feeling of mutual acceptance. 


  • It was part of the unspoken glory of living in Lincoln Heights in the Fifties, Los Angeles’s first neighborhood.


  • But things are different out in the mission town where White America sits staunchly on the east side of the railroad tracks and Chicano Latino America on the west. The line dividing the two groups is not a suggestion, it is an unrelenting and irresistible demand that is strictly enforced and soon after he arrives the reality of his new situation is made obvious to him.


  • A series of incidents take place that reveal a bald-faced unapologetic racism that sends a shock wave through the sensitive boy. He is stunned. Perhaps, even more so because this de facto apartheid goes seemingly unnoticed or tacitly accepted by almost everyone. 


  • He feels threatened and a need to defend himself against the racist civic structure that surrounds him. But most importantly he needs a coherent explanation for the oppressed condition of Chicano's in San Fernando, California in 1959. He must find the reason for this de facto apartheid and he must find that reason as soon as he can. 


  • He needs an explanation and he set out to find one, to know why and the story follows his search for the answers. 


  • At San Fernando, Junior High school, he joins a gang and accepts the “Cholo Life” but quits it, he finds work, makes great friends gets in and out of trouble as he bumps up against the new restrictions and makes his way haltingly forward. Then in his naivety, he does something that offends the entire community. That is when he learns that his hopes and dreams for the future could be stifled by both sides of the railroad tracks and that he must find a new way of life.


  • He finds his new path to the future at the library and in reading and makes a vow to read a book a week until he has fashioned a new dream to guide his life. 


  • TO SEE THE PROLOGUE AND TWO OTHER STORIES CLICK ON TV-SERIES AND NOVEL DROP DOWN ON THE NAVIGATION BAR ABOVE TO SEE EXCERPTS FROM "SAN FERNANDO, CALIFORNIA 1959.