The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
“Brown Paper Report” is the manifesto of the Tejano [Texan-Chicano] San Antonio-based art collective Con Safo, written by artist Mel Casas in 1971. This short text presents the concepts of Chicano and “Brown Vision,” as well as the etymology and the meaning of the phrase “Con Safo.” The manifesto vacillates between defiance and pleas of inclusion, rejection, and embrace of mainstream white America. It postulates to replace the “monochrome” vision of the society with a diverse “polychrome vision,” which would allow the people to exist “in harmony with themselves.” It also defends the collective’s practice of writing graffiti: scribbling on walls the symbol C/S.
The art collective Con Safo was founded in 1968 by Felipe Reyes and five other San Antonio-based artists under the moniker El Grupo. Active until 1975, the group counted among its members José Esquivel, Rudy Treviño, Roberto Ríos, and Mel Casas, the author of “Brown Paper Report” and professor of San Antonio College. The name eventually adopted by the collective, Con Safo (from Spanish zafarse), is an old barrio term that conveys an attitude of sneaking out of difficult situations. Internal disagreements between the members of the group and lack of consensus, especially toward Casas’s belief in mestizo [mixed-race] awareness as the basis of a Chicano consciousness, led the author and two others—Carmen Lomas Garza and Amado Maurilio Peña—to leave the group in the mid-1970s. Subsequently, they formed their own collective, Los Quemados, in 1975. [See “Con Safos Resignation Letter,” document # 849230.] Nonetheless, “Brown Paper Report” is considered one of the foundational texts of the Chicano art movement.