Border Correspondent

3 March marks the birth of Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who was killed by a police during the Chicano Moratorium.

Salazar was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and immigrated to Texas with his parents and sister when he was an infant. He grew up in El Paso and graduated from El Paso High School in 1946.

Between 1965 and 1968, Salazar worked as a foreign correspondent in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam, then as bureau chief in Mexico City.

As the Chicano protest movement grew, Salazar authored numerous editorials criticizing the police reaction at such events. LAPD officers warned him to tone down the content of his columns and Salazar told friends he believed he was now under police surveillance.

On August 29, 1970, a crowd of 30,000 attended the Chicano Moratorium antiwar protest, the largest Mexican-American rally to date. When Sheriff’s deputies responded to calls by local business that claimed they were being robbed along the route, clubs and tear gas turned the scene into the bloodiest melee since the Watts riots.

In the midst of the chaos, Salazar and others sought refuge inside the ‘Silver Dollar Tavern’.  The 42-year-old journalist was killed when a deputy fired an armor piercing shell (used in barricade situations rather than in crowds) through the window of the tavern, hitting Salazar in the head. The death was ruled accidental and no one was prosecuted.

A classroom building at California State University, Los Angeles is name after him and includes his portrait. Sonoma State University also features a building named in his honor.  On October 5, 2007, the United States Postal Service included Salazar in a series of first – class postage stamps produced to honor five journalists of the 20th century.