In the 1960s the civil rights movement among African Americans and anti-Vietnam War protests gave impetus to Hispanic protest activities. Driven by anger and renewed cultural pride, Hispanics pressured public and private institutions to establish new organizations to correct social and political imbalances. In this spirit the Mexican American Youth Organization voted unanimously at a statewide meeting during the Christmas holidays of 1969–70 to found Colegio Jacinto Treviño. The mission of the college was to "to develop a Chicano with conscience and skills, [to give] the barrios a global view, [and] to provide positive answers to racism, exploitation, and oppression." A core planning group of fifteen set the initial goal-a bilingual, bicultural program to train teachers of Hispanic children. Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, agreed to lend its name to the development of a degree in education through its University Without Walls graduate program. In partial fulfillment of master's degrees in education from Antioch, fifteen students agreed to develop an undergraduate training program for teachers. The group was instructed by an adjunct volunteer faculty of university professors and others and supervised by a full-time Ed.D. Colegio Jacinto Treviño received small grants from the federal government, churches, and foundations. Income and expenses were shared among the graduate students. After a series of informal meetings in community centers, homes, and churches, the college settled into a two-story building in Mercedes, Texas. Enrollment ranged from fifteen to fifty students of high school and undergraduate age. The college had a constant flow of visitors who came to learn, advise, and even criticize.
Difficulties arose in the structure and governance of the college, criteria for selection of students and requirements for degrees. It was unclear how the school was to provide the broadest possible educational opportunities, compensate for past neglect, and also secure recognition of the school's degree. In addition to developing a teaching curriculum, the group proposed to provide a center of cultural dialogue encompassing a college press, a clearinghouse of information, and a distribution service for books in Spanish unavailable elsewhere in the country. To this end, members visited student groups and publishing houses in Mexico City. The first venture was to be a deluxe volume of art and poetry, "Semillas de liberación" ("Seeds of Liberation"). The college was managed by consensus, policy being set by a board of directors that met quarterly. The board's internal dynamics were political, intense, and eventually polarized in two identifiable camps. By the summer of 1971 irreducible tension resulted in the pulling away of one camp (some of whose members established another Hispanic center, Juarez-Lincoln University). Internal pressures were compounded by organized external efforts to close the college. Colegio Jacinto Treviño was closed in the mid-1970s.