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Special Collections & University Archives: Edcouch-Elsa Walkout (1968)

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Edcouch-Elsa Walkout (1968) Research Guide

Edcouch-Elsa Walkout Research Guide, prepared by Shannon Pensa

Summary & Background: Edcouch-Elsa Walkout (1968)


This research guide provides information related to the Edcouch-Elsa Walkouts. The purpose is to offer students historical context though access to primary source materials housed at UTRGV Special Collections & Archives as well as highlighting relevant secondary (books) and external (websites) resources.


The 1968 walkout was organized over several days by Mexican and Mexican-American Edcouch-Elsa High School students seeking a better education and demanding an end to discrimination and racial injustice from their teachers and administrators. It culminated in a walkout protest of nearly 200 participants on the morning of November 14, 1968, after the School Board failed to meet the students' list of demands presented the previous day. In the days following the walkout, many participants faced reprisal from school officials, including expulsion and suspension. The Edcouch-Elsa Walkout became a defining moment in Rio Grande Valley education and history as well as the broader Chicano Civil Rights Movement.

Primary & Secondary Sources: Edcouch-Elsa Walkout (1968)

Digital Collections & Exhibits

Edcouch-Elsa High School Walkout 50th Anniversary Collection. BD0007. University Library, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX. Digital photographs documenting the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Edcouch-Elsa Walkouts, which took place in November 1968. The images primarily cover the march from the Edcouch-Elsa administrative buildings to the auditorium. The march was organized and led by original participants of the student walkouts.

RGV Primary Source Guides: Edcouch-Elsa Walkouts of 1968. Each RGV Primary Source Guide provides lesson plans and local primary sources focused on the history of the Rio Grande Valley. These are designed to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) aimed at local history at the 4th and 7th grade levels. Each lesson plan outlines the TEKS addressed along with the appropriate lessons on these topics.

Mapping Civil Rights in the RGV. The purpose of this online exhibit is to highlight formative events in the 20th-century history of civil rights in the lower Rio Grande Valley region of deep south Texas. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review and includes coverage for Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties.

Special Collections (Edinburg)

Walkouts, Series 17. Reference Files, ELIBR-0062. Education - Edcouch-Elsa Box 4, Series 17. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections & Archives, Edinburg Campus. Reference files contain photocopies of newspaper articles, telegrams from civil-rights groups, and more recent scholarly articles dealing with the 1968 Edcouch-Elsa student walkouts, where Mexican-American students left class to protest unequal education and treatment.

Edcouch-Elsa, 1966-2014, Container: 53, Box: 2, Folder: 20. Frances Isbell Collection, ELIBR-0053. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus.

1968 Edcouch-Elsa Walkout [Historical Marker], 2016, Container: 79, Box: 7, Folder: 22. Hidalgo County Historical Commission Collection, ELIBR-0079. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus.

Rio Bravo: A Journal of the Borderlands. An interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed publication of the Mexican American Studies Center at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The journal publishes scholarly and creative works about Mexican descent communities in both South Texas and nationally. The journal promotes debate, dialogue, awareness, and insight into the U.S.-Mexico border experience.

"The School Cultures in the Lower Rio Bravo Valley," by Patrick D. Lynch (1997)

External Print Resources

External Video Resources


The research guides compiled by UTRGV staff and students are intended to assist patrons who are embarking upon new research endeavors. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of the types of resources available on a given topic, including books, archival materials, and websites. In so doing, our compilers have taken care to include collections, digital items, and resources that may be accessed not only through UTRGV but also via other institutions, repositories, and websites.

We wholeheartedly respect the research interests of others. Therefore, please contact us if you wish to submit a resource for consideration, or if you have a question about or an issue with a specific cited resource.

Books from Our Catalog

Databases for Primary & Secondary Sources: Mexican American Civil Rights

Omeka Digital Exhibit: Mapping LRGV Civil Rights

UTRGV Digital Exhibit: Mapping LRGV Civil Rights

Mapping Civil Rights: Lower Rio Grande Valley website

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