We have chronicled, promoted, and preserved evidence of Latinos’ cultural contributions to San Francisco for 45 years. Libros Latinos, which recently appraised our archives, described our role in this way:
“The history of Acción Latina and its newspaper, El Tecolote, comprises the history of the social struggles and artistic movements of San Francisco’s Mission District in particular, and of San Francisco in general, from 1970 to the present. No other existing archive contains the wealth of materials that helped precipitate, define, and describe those struggles and movements for almost half a century.”
El Tecolote newspaper collection (Aug. 1970–Present)
Our collection of El Tecolote newspapers, which spans four-and-half decades, is the centerpiece of our archive. Founded Latino students at San Francisco State’s Ethnic Studies Department, it is now the longest continuously published Spanish/English bilingual newspaper in California. The newspaper continues to address regional, national and international issues affecting Latino communities in the Bay Area and beyond.
Collection of line art created for El Tecolote (1970s–2000s)
Artwork includes political cartoons on topics such as immigration and the civil wars in Central America. The centerpiece of this part of the archive consists of art of various sizes by Rupert Garcia, Ester Hernandez, Spain Rodriguez, Yolanda M. Lopez, Emmanuel Montoya, Herbert Siguenza, Juan R. Fuentes, Antonio Burciaga, Carlos Alcala, and Tirso Araiza. Many became acclaimed artists, representing the vanguard of the Chicano/Latino art movement in the Bay Area. The line art also includes signed and unsigned pieces by unknown artists.
Photography collection (1960s–Present)
The photography collection includes photos taken by staff photographers as well as images by other photographers given to Acción Latina or El Tecolote. Themes represented include United Farm Workers (UFW) organizing in the Mission District, Mission Coalition Organization mobilization, immigration reform efforts, police brutality, and unrest in Latin America. Other photos depict historic or iconic buildings, sporting events, children, demonstrations, Latino theatrical and music events, and community activists and artists. For the first decade of El Tecolote’s publishing, the photographs are overwhelmingly black/white; in the 1980s, color prints become more common, with digital prints largely replacing film two decades later.
Poster Collection (1960s–Present)
This collection includes works commissioned by Acción Latina or El Tecolote to promote organizational events, as well as general posters collected over time. Unlike many of the collections of individual artists currently on offer to university libraries, these posters represent the social activism embodied by El Tecolote. Poster themes represent political and cultural issues such as support for the United Farm Workers, forced sterilization, the Cuban Revolution, Dia de los Muertos, the Coors Boycott, police brutality issues, and support for Latin American democratic movements.
New Mission News collection (Jan. 1982–Aug. 2004)
The archive includes approximately 197 hardcopy issues of the newspaper under its two titles—The North Mission News and The New Mission News—all in black and white except for two issues. Edited by Victor Miller, the monthly paper reported original stories from the Mission District. It includes columns by Mayors Willie Brown and Art Agnos. The New Mission News includes Tenant Times, a four-page insert, which is the newsletter of the San Francisco Tenants Union (three editions in 1986). OCLC lists four copies, two partial runs, and no digital copies.