Museum Program Highlights Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement

By December 21, 2021January 4th, 2022Press Releases

LOS ALTOS, CA (Dec 21, 2021) In honor of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Los Altos History Museumpresents a less known period of local history, inspired by King’s activism for racial equality. The program, titled “Civil Rights in Early Silicon Valley: The Chicana/o Experience,” will be held online, Wed, Jan 12 from 7-8:30pm.

Alexandro Jara will present his research on Mexican American and Chicana/o activism during the 1970s, and how the local civil rights movement has shaped Santa Clara County politically and culturally. A San Jose native, Jara is earning his PhD in the Department of History at the University of New Mexico, with an emphasis on 20th century U.S. Urban and Latino history. He currently works as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of History at Santa Clara University and as co-editor of Chamisa: Journal of Literary, Performance, and Visual Arts of the Greater Southwest. His dissertation, which he hopes to turn into a book, is entitled: U.S. Latino Transnational Urbanism: Ethnic Mexicans, Culture, and Politics in Making San Jose, 1940-1980.

Perlita Dicochea will open the topic and field Q & As. Dicochea is the communications and events associate and program coordinator at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity at Stanford University. She earned her PhD in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, and taught Ethnic Studies at several educational institutions, including Santa Clara University, where Jara was one of her students. Both Dicocchea and Jara serve as members of the Museum’s Diversity Advisory Group.

“The research Alex is doing needs to be told and shared,” Dicochea said. “There’s so much to explore, reflect on, and consider the implications of, not only for the Chicana/o population, but for everyone. It’s a source of pride for those of us who know the history, and know the leaders who are our mentors. It’s important to acknowledge those people whose difficult work and sacrifice opened doors for later generations.”

“Chicana/o history is American history,” she adds, “which can be said of every racial ethnic group. This is our history. Santa Clara County’s history.”

To register for the free program, visit

Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.

The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours subject to docent availability. The outdoor agricultural exhibit, gardens and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit:, email, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact:
Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10,