Digital copy of a film negative taken by photographer Juan Espinosa, documenting Chicano land rights activists and their families protesting at Taylor Ranch in the San Luis Valley in 1981 to demonstrate their traditional rights to the land. The march was part of a decades-long battle between the descendants of Hispanic land grant holders, who claimed rights to access and use the land at Taylor Ranch for water, hunting, grazing and firewood, and ranch owner Jack Taylor, who barred their access to his ranch lands.
Juan Espinosa was a journalism student at the University of Colorado in Boulder when he took this photograph. He won his first camera in a poker game at Da Nang Air Force Base in Vietnam while serving with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and, after his discharge in 1969, learned journalistic photography and darkroom techniques at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. Espinosa enrolled at CU Boulder in 1971, joined the United Mexican Student Association (UMAS), and worked as a stringer for the Colorado Daily newspaper and as a photographer for UMAS Publications, which published Somos Aztlan magazine and newspaper by the same name. In the summer of 1972, Espinosa founded the El Diario student newspaper during the summer of 1972, which primarily covered the Chicano civil rights movement and UMAS activities on the CU Boulder campus. Between 1971-1974, Espinosa photographed the events and people of the Chicano civil rights movement in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and California. In 1975, he and his wife Deborah moved to Pueblo, Colo., where they founded and published La Cucaracha, a community newspaper, from 1976-1984. Espinosa later worked as a reporter and photographer for the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper for 22 years.