The Benson Latin American Collection

Raza Unida Party Records

Descriptive Summary

Creator Raza Unida Party (Tex.)
Title Raza Unida Party Records
Dates: 1969-1979
Abstract Correspondence, directives, agendas, reports, memorabilia, photographs, and other materials documenting the history of the Raza Unida Party.
OCLC Record No. 24005920
Extent 4 linear feet, oversize items.
Language English, Spanish
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

The Raza Unida Party (RUP) was first established as a third political party in Crystal City, Texas, in January, 1970. As an alternative to the two-party system in Texas, Raza Unida sought social, economic, and political self-determination for Chicanos, other minorities, and the disenfranchised through local and, later, state politics. At its start, the party organized around county, local, and school district elections in south Texas; winning city council elections in Cotulla, Carrizo Springs, and Crystal City in April 1970. Also victorious in Crystal City were party founder José Angel Gutiérrez and two other candidates running on the RUP ticket for school board positions.

Meetings were held in 1971 to discuss the party?s possibilities of entering state electoral politics. The decision to place the independent party on the 1972 general election ballot was made at its first state convention on October 30, 1971, in San Antonio, Texas. Delegates from nine Texas counties representing such urban areas as San Antonio (Bexar County) and Fort Worth (Tarrant County) were in attendance. During 1972 party members conducted petition and voter registration drives, and campaigned for six state-wide candidates including Ramsey Muñiz for governor.

By November 1972, the party had not only been certified for a place on the general election ballot, but had been organized in more than forty counties, and had candidates running for district, senatorial, state representative, and school board positions on the RUP ticket. Although all of the Raza Unida candidates lost in the election, Ramsey Muñiz received 214,118 votes, winning 6 percent of the vote in the governor?s race

Raza Unida continued to organize and ran gubernatorial candidates Ramsey Muñiz in 1974 and Mario Compean in 1978 as well as other candidates for offices at all levels of government. The party also challenged an election law requiring a party to obtain 20 percent of the overall vote, instead of 2 percent of the vote needed to remain on the ballot. The law was overruled by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1976, and in the same ruling, RUP was allowed to hold primary elections without having to pay filing fees.

Despite losses in the gubernatorial elections, Raza Unida established itself as a minority third party with a liberal party platform in statewide and local politics, and became a dominant political force in some Texas communities.

Scope and Contents Note

Comprising the records of numerous state, county, and local activities and organizations, the Raza Unida Party collection is organized into four sections: RUP state papers, county papers, other states, and oversized materials. Each section is then further divided into a number of sub-series, including foundation and early history, numerous campaigns, graphic and audio-visual materials, RUP county papers, such as Tarrant and Zavala counties, and documents originating from the New Mexico faction. Herein one will find information on the goals and platforms of the RUP, party organization, state and national conventions, and voter and voting information, including legislative bills governing election procedures. Materials include correspondence, directives, notes, agendas, minutes, press releases, memorabilia, campaign literature, audio tapes, and photographs. In addition, there are some materials on the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Voluntarios de Aztlán.

Contributors to this collection include Evey Chapa, Martha Cotera, Luis Guerra, María Elena Martínez, and Carlos Puente.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

The Raza Unida Party Records are classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Compean, Mario.
Farenthold, Frances.
Gutiérrez, Armando.
Gutiérrez, José Angel
Mexican American Youth Organization (Tex.)
Mexican Americans--Civil rights--Texas.
Mexican Americans--Texas--Politics and government.
Muñiz, Ramsey, 1942-
Political parties--Law and legislation--Texas.
Raza Unida Party (Tex.)
Raza Unida Party (U.S.)--Congresses.
Voluntarios de Aztlan.
Other Authors
Chapa, Evey.
Cotera, Martha.
Guerra, Luis A.
Martínez, María Elena, 1941-
Puente, Carlos M.

Related Material

Additional materials relating to the Raza Unida Party can be found in the following collections: the Martha Cotera Papers, José Angel Gutiérrez Papers, and the Ramsey and Albina Pina Muñiz Papers. The listed collections can be found at the Benson Latin American Collection.

Separated Material

Originally a part of the Raza Unida Party Collection, the Ramsey Muñiz Papers have been separated to make their own collection, the Ramsey and Albina Pina Muñiz Papers, 1971-1977.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Raza Unida Party Records, 1969-1979, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory

State RUP Papers

1 Foundation and Early History
Source: Evey Chapa
1 Memos, Notes, Resolutions, Leaflets and Minutes of the RUP State Convention - Oct. 30, 1971
2 State Convention Attendence List and List of Delegates, 1971
3 RUP Platform Committee: Typescript and Handwritten Drafts to Texas Raza Unida Party. A Political Action Program for the 70's.
4 Memos, Minutes, Drafted Material of the Platform Committee Meetings - Nov. 21, 1971 and Dec. 12, 1971
5 (1) Letters of Inquiry to Potential Candidates, (2) List of Potential Candidates (State Executive Committee), 1971-1972
6 Texas Raza Unida Party: a Political Action Program for the 70's
7 Affidavit with Corrections to Temporary Party Rules; Letter from David Hall, Attorney (State Executive Committee), 1972
8 State Executive Committee: Memos, Minutes and Temporary Rules of the RUP, 1972
9 Outgoing Memorandums from Mario Compean (State Executive Chairman), 1972
10 (1) Legal Packet II, (2)Instructions to State Chairman (State Executive Committee), 1972
11 RUP: Strategy Meeting Minutes - Dec. 1972, Candidates List, List of State Party Members, Contacts, Candidates, Out of State Mailing List, 1972-1973
12 State Raza Unida Party Directives - 11-23-72 and 12-16-72, Strategy Meeting Minutes - 12-16-72, and Report by J. A. Gutiérrez of Meeting - 1-9-73
2 1972 Campaign
Sources: Carlos Puente and Evey Chapa
1 Correspondence Relating to Getting RUP on General Election Ballot, 1971-1972
2 Muñiz and Garza Letters Relating to Job Resignations - Feb. 1972
3 Raza Unida Party List of Candidates and District, County, Party and Precinct Officers, Feb. 1972
4 RUP Press Packet for State Convention, 6-10-72 - Includes Party Platform; Leaflets
5 Raza Unida Party Platform, 1972; Analysis Report on Housing
6 RUP Texas County Nominations for District Officers, May 20, 1972
7 Notes on the RUP State Convention, June 10, 1972
8 Tabulated Petition Signatures by Texas Counties; Notes, 1972
9 Directives and Materials Relating to Primary Election, Voter Registration, Poll Watchers, and Expenditures, 1972
10 RUP Party Handbooks, Temporary Rules, Legal Packet II, 1972
11 (1) Texas Map with Spanish Population; (2) RUP Calendar of Events
12 Primary Expenditures - Forms and Report/Campaign Expenditures - Hogg Co. - Oct. 1972
13 RUP Press Releases: Re: Candidates and General Election, 1972. Voters Guide Questionaire, Nov. 7, 1972
14 Campaign Materials, 1972
15 RUP Circulars, Memos, 1972
16 RUP Newsletters, Leaflets, Brochures, 1972
17 1972 Campaign Clippings, 1972
3 1972 Campaign and Convention
Sources: Carlos Puente and Evey Chapa
1 Newsclippings, 1972
2 Newsclippings and Articles, 1972
3 General Election Results, 1966-1972
4 Reports of Texas Voting Results, 1972
5 Reports: (1) Texas Raza Unida Party; (2) Evaluating Voter Education through Political Participation, General Election Results, Texas, 1972; (3) Misc. Notes
6 Raza Unida Party: State Office Election Analysis, 1972
Junta Nacional (National Convention, Sep. 1-4, 1972, El Paso, Tx.)
7 Delegates
8 Press Releases, Contact List, Telegram and Poems
9 Miscellaneous
4 Legislative Bills and Campaigns, 1972-1974
Source: Evey Chapa
1 Legislative Bills Regarding Elections, 1972-1973
2 Legislative Bills, 1973
3 House Bill 4 - Candidates Expenditures, 1973
4 House Bill 11 - Re: Conduct and Financing of Primary Elections in 1974 Elections, 1973
5 State Executive Committee - Memos and Notes, 1973
6 RUP State Meeting Agenda, 6-9-7; Congressional District Maps and Reports; RUP Rules
7 RUP State Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Reports - Oct. 6-7, 1973. Re: Issues: Single Member Districts; Cristal Service Center
8 Primary Research Committee - Memos and Notes, July-Aug., 1973
9 RUP State Meeting Agendas. October 6-7, 1973
10 Draft of Conducting Primaries, RUP Primary Research Committee, Oct., 1973
11 (1) Conducting Primaries, Oct. 1973; (2) Texas Voter Registration, 1973; (3) Texas Voter Registration.
5 1974 Campaign -- Chapa Papers
Source: Evey Chapa
1 Mujeres por La Raza, 1973-1974
2 Letters to Evey Chapa Re: Primary vs. Convention Route, 1973
3 Letters to Evey Chapa, 1973-1974
4 Election Procedures Workshop: Directives and Forms (Sec. of State Materials), 1974
5 Muñiz File, 1974 / Letters to Evey Chapa, 1974
6 Rules and Objectives Concerning Party Primaries (Sec. of State's Office Materials), 1974
7 RUP List of Statewide Candidates, 1974; RUP Platform Resolutions; Circulars; Notes; Newsclips
8 Raza Unida Party Rules, 1974
9 (1) Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks, (2) Materials on Primary Financing (Sec. of State's Office Materials), 1974
10 RUP Political Party Structure Draft, Notes, Calendar of Important Political Events in 1974
11 Ramsey Muñiz Campaign Manual, 1974
12 Primary Election Day, a Guide to Conducting Primary Elections for RUP, 1974
13 RUP State Convention, Sept. 21-23: List of Delegates, Agenda, Brochures
14 Memoranda from Alberto Luera, Sec., State Executive Committee, March-April 1974
15 Newsclippings, 1974
6 1978 Campaign -- Martínez Papers
Source: María Elena Martínez
1 Directives, Letters, Telegrams Issued by RUP State Chairperson María Elena Martínez, 1978, 1980
2 Texas Raza Unida Party: Materials Re: to María Elena Martínez, State Chairperson, 1977-1978
3 Incoming Correspondence to María Elena Martínez--Texas RUP Chairperson, 1976-1978
4 Incoming Correspondence to María Elena Martínez--Texas RUP Chairperson, 1979
5 Directives and Letters Issued by RUP State Chairperson--María Elena Martínez, 1976-1979
6-7 Raza Unida Party--Primary Election Budgets and Expeditures, 1978
8 Texas Raza Unida Party--1978 Gubernatorial Campaign: Leaflets, Memos, Newsclips
7 Graphic and Audio-Visual Materials
Sources: Luis Guerra and Evey Chapa
1 1/4" Tape Labled Gutiérrez Español Dubs
3 1/4" Tapes Labled Ramsey Muñiz Radio Spots
1 Contact Sheets and 1 Photo. 8x10 B/W
2 Raza Unida Party Photographs and Slides
3-4 Slides
5 37 Photographs
6 Raza Unida Party Paraphernalia
7 Raza Unida Party Bumper Stickers
8 Miscellaneous Materials
Sources: Evey Chapa, Carlos Puente, and Martha Cotera
1 Historical and Organizational Outline of Raza Unida Party
2 Notes Taken by Carlos Puente of the Oral Memories of J.A. Gutiérrez
3 Papers and Articles: "Raza Unida--An Alternative for Change", "Potential Voting Population in Texas: the Young and Old of It"
4 Puente, Carlos M. "Raza Unida Party Organization and Its Impact on the Vote of Seven Texas Counties." Master's thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, 1973.
5 Articles by Richard A. Santillan on RUP Published in The Black Politician: "El Partido La Raza Unida, Chicanos in Politics" (July 1971); "Third Party Politics, Old Story New Faces" (Oct. 1971); "Viva La Raza Unida" (Spring 1972)
6 Miscellaneous
7 Miscellaneous Brochures
8 Campaign Flyers, Bumper Stickers, and Buttons
9 Campaign Literature, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1977
10 Newsclippings--Ramsey Muñiz, Chicano Political Involvement, 1972-1977
11 Principles, Resolutions, Texas State RUP Conference, RUP Women, 1973, 1975

County Party Papers

9 Tarrant and Zavala Counties
Sources: Evey Chapa, Carlos Puente, and Martha Cotera
Tarrant County Raza Unida Party, 1970-1972, 1974
1 Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Alianza
2 1971-1972
3 Newsletter, Jan.-Mar. 1974
4 Notes from County Convention, May 13, 1972; Misc. Forms and Lists
5 Precinct, County and Regional Convention Minutes, 1971, 1972
6 Voter Registration
7 Speech at Arlington Unitarian Church by Carlos Puente, 1972
8 Miscellaneous
9 Research Paper: "The Organization of Tarrant County Raza Unida Party: The Initial Probe"
10 Minutes of County Convention, 5-13-72; List of Delegates to State Convention; Registration Forms and Miscellaneous Items
11 State and Tarrant County Official Candidates Lists, Press Information, Letters
12 Newsclips, Newsletters
13 Candidates, Newsclippings, and Leaflets on Party Organizing, 1972
14 Tarrant County (Campaign), 1972
Zavala County
15 Crystal City, Tex.: Raza Unida Party Correspondence, 1970-1971
16 Sample Ballot and Invitations 1979; Carta Noticiera, 1973, Crystal City Newsletter; Economic Profile of Zavala County
17 "Voluntarios de Aztlán" (Crystal City Memorial Library). Washington State University Correspondence, 1971
18 Publications--Guiterrez, Jose Angel.The Walkout of 1969: A Diary of Events. Crystal City, Tex.: Printing Trades, C.C.I.S.D., 1979
19 "Nov. 5, 1974 Election"
10 Bexar and Travis Counties
Sources: Martha Cotera, Evey Chapa, María Elena Martínez and Crystal City files.
Bexar County
1 Bexar County, 1972
2 RUP, 1972
Travis County
3 Raza Unida Party
4 Raza Unida Party, 1973-1974
5 Leaflets and Brochures, 1974, 1976-1978
6 Travis County (Campaign), 1974, 1977
11 Other Counties
Source: Martha Cotera
1 Caldwell County, 1972
2 Victoria County
3 Webb County, 1972
4 Wichita County, 1972
5 McLennan County, 1972
6 Waco City Council, 1974
La Salle County
7 RUP in Cotulla, 1970, 1972

Other States

12 New Mexico
Partido De La Raza Unida De Nuevo Mexico
Source: María Elena Martínez
Peña, Juan José, State Chairman
1 "The Chicano Movement, the Southwest, and the Role of the National and State Partido De La Raza Unida in the Southwest an Economic, Social and Political Profile from 1890 to the Early 2000's", 1977
2 "The Politics of San Miguel County and the Tasks of the Partido De La Raza Unida of San Miguel County", 1978
3 "The Anglo Question", 1979
4 "The Partido De La Raza Unida De Nuevo Mexico on the Socialist Workers Party Question", (1979)
5 "On the Question of the Chicano Family", 1979
6 "On the Question of Christian Theology", 1979
7 "The Socialist Workers Party Question" (Rewrite), 1979
8 "Raza Unida on Youth", (1979)
9 "A Study and Scenario on the Chicano National Question: The Secession and Autonomy Movements and Debate and Some Possible Implications", 1979
Eichwald, Chris
10 "Analysis of the "Marxist-Leninist" Left" (Preliminary Draft), 1980
Vigil, Maurilio E.
11 "Reapportionment and the Emergence of the Mama Lucy Faction in the New Mexico Legislature", 1977
12 Raza Unida de Nuevo México: A Manual and Political Program

Oversize Materials

OV Oversized Materials
Armando Gutiérrez Campaign, Graphic Materials
Graphic Materials, Logo for Political Campaigns
Newspapers (La Verdad, Echo)
Ramsey Muñiz Campaign, Graphic Materials
Voting Materials