Reies López Tijerina and the Religious Origins of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement


Location: McKenna Hall, Room 210–214

Ramón A. Gutiérrez, The Preston and Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor of History; director, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; University of Chicago

Reies López Tijerina is usually deemed a radical activist who took up arms to ignite revolutionary change on behalf of Mexican Americans during the 1960s civil rights movement. While some of this characterization is true, what most people do not know is that Tijerina began his adult professional career as a pentecostal preacher in the Assemblies of God, staging religious revivals throughout the United States. This talk studies the sermons Tijerina preached
between 1954 and 1960 to explore the nature of his religious thought and to explain how concretely organized are the displaced rural poor of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado into the Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres, or the Alliance of Free City States.

Sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies