Alicia Escalante (1933 - ) is a Chicana activist who championed for welfare rights, economic justice, and women's rights in
Los Angeles during the 1960's Chicano Movement.
Escalante organized the East Los Angeles Welfare Rights Organization (ELAWRO) in 1967 after tiring of the indignities that
poor, single mothers of color suffered at the hands of local authorities. She was involved in (and arrested for) participation
in multiple social and economic justice movements, including Salvador Castro's East Los Angeles walkouts in 1968, and Ricardo
Cruz's Catolicos por la Raza's demonstration at St. Basil's Church in 1969. In 1969, Escalante also created
La Causa de los Pobres, a bilingual newspaper that was dedicated to bridging the language barriers between the government and Spanish speaking communities
in regards to welfare rights reform.
Escalante's papers span about 20 linear feet, the bulk of material range from the 1960's – 1980's, and consist of correspondence,
speeches, articles, publications, and internal organizational files that document her activism and sociopolitical involvement.
"Alicia Escalante was born in El Paso Texas, in 1933 to what she describes as a traditional family. She was the second oldest
of seven children, and she shared an intense bond with her mother. After 15 years of marriage, Escalante's mother decided
to divorce her father due to his infidelity, alcoholism and abuse. At the divorce court proceedings, her father was granted
custody of all seven children, because of her mother's lack of employment and housing. After the divorce, Escalante's mother
moved to Los Angeles to live with her sister and find work in hopes that she might be able to regain custody of her children.
Devastated to be separated from her mother, and miserable with "the oppressive situation" of living with her father's extended
family (who frequently blamed her mother for the divorce), Alicia Escalante vowed to be reunited with her mother at any cost.,
At the age of nine, Escalante jumped into an open freight car of the train that ran behind her house. She was determined to
make it to California by any means necessary.After the police discovered her, her father allowed her to continue on her journey
to California, where her legacy would begin.
20.42 Linear Feet
25 document boxes and 5 oversize boxes; 1 audio reel
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish
or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
This collection is open for research.