Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr. is scholar-activist who has been a central figure in the struggles for civil and human rights, social and economic justice, and peace in the United States and abroad since he was a student activist in the 1960s. He played a prominent leadership role as a founder of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. Muñoz was born in the “segundo barrio” in El Paso, Texas, and raised in the barrios of East Los Angeles, California. He is the son of poor working class Mexican immigrants. He earned his AA from Los Angeles City Community College, his BA with honors in Political Science from California State University at Los Angeles and his PhD in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley. After 42 years of teaching in higher education, he has gained international prominence as political scientist, historian, journalist, and public intellectual.
He was the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies department in the nation, in 1968, at the California State University at Los Angeles and the founding chair of the National Association of Chicana & Chicano Studies (NACCS). He is a pioneer in the creation of undergraduate and graduate curricula in the disciplines of Chicano/Latino & Ethnic Studies.
Muñoz is the author of numerous pioneering works on the Mexican American political experience and on African American and Latino political coalitions. His book, Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement won the Gustavus Myers Book Award for “outstanding scholarship in the study of human rights in the United States.” The 1st edition of the book underwent 12 printings and has become the classic study of the origins of the Movement. A revised and expanded 2nd edition of the book was published in 2007. The book was a major resource for the PBS television series Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Muñoz was the senior consultant for the project and was also featured in the series. The HBO movie, “Walkout” was based on that series.
Dr. Muñoz is currently working on two new books: Decolonizing America: Toward Authentic Multiracial Democracy and his autobiography, Victory is in the Struggle.
Dr. Muñoz is an acknowledged expert on the issues of ethnic and racial politics, multiculturalism and diversity, immigration, civil and human rights, and affirmative action. He has appeared on PBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and the Spanish-speaking UNIVISION and Tele Mundo. He has also been interviewed numerous times on Pacifica Radio and National Public Radio stations. He is a syndicated columnist with the Progressive Media Project. His newspaper columns are distributed nationally by the Knight-Ridder news wire service and have appeared online on Latino.com and on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service (Europe & Latin America).
As a scholar-activist, Dr. Muñoz has served as a leading organizer of various multiracial coalitions, including the Faculty for Human Rights in Central America, Faculty Against Apartheid in South Africa, and The Rainbow Coalition. In 1988, he was a key advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and is a co-founder of the Institute for Multiracial Justice in San Francisco, California. He also co-founded Latinos Unidos, a grassroots community organization in Berkeley, California. Dr. Muñoz is a Vietnam War Era Veteran and is a member of the Veterans for Peace. He is active in the Immigrant Rights Movement.
In addition to the numerous academic honors he has been awarded during his academic career, Dr. Muñoz is also listed in Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who Among Hispanic Americans, Who’s Who of Editors, Writers, and Poets, the Sutton Who’s Who in Academia, and in the Latino Encyclopedia.
In 1996, he received the University of Michigan’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Rosa Parks Award. In 1999, Dr. Muñoz received the Scholar of the Year Award from the National Association of Chicana & Chicano Studies. In 2001, the American Political Science Association honored Dr. Muñoz for his “Seminal scholarly contributions to the study of Mexican American and Latino Politics.” In 2005, Dr. Muñoz was honored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education for "Educating others and inspiring them in the Pursuit of their Goals.” In 2007, the National Black Student Conference honored him with their “Pioneer Visionary Award”.
In 2003 he was honored in a traveling national exhibition tour as one of 12 “civil rights activists who accomplished extraordinary deeds that changed the face of the nation and gave birth to the Modern Civil Rights Movement.” The exhibition, entitled “The Long Walk to Freedom,” was organized by Community Works and funded by The National Endowment for the Arts, The California Arts Council, and the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library.
In 2008, Dr. Muñoz was honored as one of the “Americans Who Tell the Truth - those with the courage, honesty, tolerance, generosity, wisdom and compassion that have made our country strong.” Other “truth tellers” who have been honored in the past include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. In 2012, he was named Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Scholar at UC Berkeley.