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A dramatic response to American racism occurred in Los Angeles during 1855 when eighteen-year-old Francisco P. Ramirez published a Spanish-language newspaper, El Clamor Publico. Ramirez called upon a Mexican American majority to seize control of their destiny by electing themselves to public office. Ramirez was a radical liberal in a town controlled by white conservative Southerners with antebellum values. Nevertheless, from 1855 to 1859, he railed against slavery and ridiculed those in Los Angeles who supported it. His demands for Mexican equality, the abolition of slavery, free elections, and education for women were well ahead of his time. He was the first civil rights activist in Los Angeles. In December 1859 El Clamor Publico bankrupted for lack of popular support. For three decades afterward Ramirez was involved in every major political and social movement of his day. He continued to champion equality and civil rights as a San Francisco newspaper editor and the only Mexican American lawyer in Los Angeles.
Paul Bryan Gray, a California lawyer and historian, was honoured in 2001 with the Historical Society of Southern California's Donald H. Pflueger Award for distinguished research and writing, in connection with Forster vs. Pico: The Struggle for the Rancho Santa Margarita. Gordon Morris Bakken teaches American history at California State University, Fullerton. He is the author of twenty books as well as numerous articles and law reviews, book chapters and encyclopaedia entries, and book reviews.
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