Valdez, Luis (1940–)

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Valdez, Luis (1940–)

Luis Valdez is a playwright and screenwriter born in Delano, California. A central figure in Chicano theater and film, Valdez has brought an awareness of the Chicano struggle to the community itself and to U.S. society as a whole. In 1965 he founded El Teatro Campesino to support César Chávez and the United Farm Workers in the grape strike in California. This theater was the beginning of the development of Chicano theater. In the 1980s Valdez sought to educate mainstream audiences with his play and movie Zoot Suit (1981) and the movie La Bamba (1987) about the life of rock-and-roll performer Ritchie Valens.

See alsoHispanics in the United States; Theater; United Farm Workers Union.


Broyles-Gonzáles, Yolanda. El Teatro Campesino: Theater in the Chicano Movement. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.

Elam, Harry J., Jr. Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Valdez, Luis. Zoot Suit and Other Plays. Houston, TX: Arte Público Press, 1992.

Valdez, Luis. Luis Valdez—Early Works: Actos, Bernabé, and Pensamiento Serpentino. Houston, TX: Arte Público Press, 1994.

Xavier, Roy Eric. "Politics and Chicano Culture: Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino, 1964–1990." In Chicano Politics and Society in the Late Twentieth Century, edited by David Montejano. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999.

                                     Mark A. HernÁndez