NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ760967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 29
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 83
ISSN: ISSN-0005-2604
Youth, Evidence, and Agency: Mexican and Mexican American Youth at the Whittier State School, 1890-1920
Chavez-Garcia, Miroslava
Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, v31 n2 p55-83 Fall 2006
Using case files of the Whittier State School, California's leading reform school in the early twentieth century, this essay examines the possibilities of gleaning the historical agency of Mexican and Mexican American youth who found themselves confined to an institution that granted them little, if any, decision-making power. As scholars have shown, escapes and attempted escapes from such institutions provide evidence of agency, that is, of real and symbolic moments of resistance to authority. This study demonstrates that, despite the odds against them, youth of Mexican descent had the courage to run away and did so repeatedly, more often than their Euro-American and African American counterparts. Sometimes they formed multiracial and multiethnic groups to plan escapes, and occasionally they used violence. Although Whittier State School staff eventually foiled the plans of most escapees, a significant number of them managed to stay away indefinitely, enabling them to take control of their lives, at least in the short term. (Contains 7 figures and 27 notes.)
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. 193 Haines Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1544. Tel: 310-794-9380; Tel: 310-825-2642; Fax: 310-206-1784; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California