Published: May 13, 2024

Fifty years ago, on May 27, 1974, a bomb exploded in a car parked in Boulder’s Chautauqua Park, killing three occupants: CU Boulder alumni Una Jaakola (Psych’73) and Reyes Martínez (Law’73) and student Neva Romero (A&S ex’75). Forty-eight hours later, a second bomb exploded in another car at the corner of 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard, killing graduates Florencio Granado (A&S ex’73) and Heriberto Teran (A&S ex’73) and Francisco Dougherty.

The six people who died are now known as “Los Seis de Boulder" (or, "the Boulder six"). Five of the victims self-identified as Chicano/a, and all were involved in El Movimiento, the Chicano social justice movement. They sought parity of racial representation within the student body, and while the university has made progress in enrollment, retention and graduation rates among Latine students—the need for parity persists. 

While much of the story behind the deaths of the students, including how the bombs came to be in the cars, remains unknown, the events are established as an official part of CU Boulder’s rich and complex history, signifying both the struggles of historically minoritized communities and an institution coming to terms with its past. 

“At this 50-year anniversary of Los Seis de Boulder, we remember the tragic loss of six students and alumni, ” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “The university continues to preserve the memory of these events through historical research opportunities, preservation of artifacts and new opportunities to strengthen the next generation of leaders committed to a more equitable future.” 

Research opportunities

Primary sources on Los Seis de Boulder and the Chicano/a Movement at CU Boulder are housed in the University Libraries’ Rare and Distinctive Collections (RaD) archives. These sources include law enforcement investigation reports, issues of a bilingual student newspaper titled El Diario de la Gente, and a small collection documenting the activities of the United Mexican American Students (UMAS) organization from 1968-1974. The Libraries also hold related books, databases, digital humanities projects, and film and video. To assist people who wish to learn more about Los Seis de Boulder, the RaD section within the University Libraries has published a resource guide

“The University Libraries strives to preserve our diverse cultural heritage which means expanding our collections and building the tools to make these materials discoverable and accessible for the campus and beyond,” said Robert H. McDonald, dean of University Libraries and senior vice provost for online and extended education. “The events surrounding Los Seis de Boulder are campus history and they are also part of the greater history of the Chicano/a social justice movement. We hope our archives and archivists can be of service to scholars seeking to learn more about this movement by accessing our primary source materials within the University Libraries.”

Preservation of history

In 2019, a student- and community-led group installed the Los Seis de Boulder sculpture, designed by Jasmine Baetz (MFA’20) in memory of the six killed, in front of the Albert and Vera Ramírez Temporary Building Number 1. The sculpture was added to RaD’s archives in 2020 as a resource for research and teaching, while also remaining on site as a memorial. The Libraries completed a major conservation project on the sculpture in April 2024, in time for the 50th anniversary.

In 2021, the CU Boulder Office of Advancement and the University Libraries established the Chicanx/Latinx Endowed Library Fund to support Libraries materials that document the legacy of the Chicano social justice movement on campus, with a focus on developing resources that support research and instruction. Moving forward, the University Libraries seek to expand the fund’s purpose to encompass the full range, legacy and history of Latine, Chicano/a and intersecting communities on campus. 

“One of our goals is to broaden our library collections in areas that have been historically underrepresented for many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” McDonald said. “This means examining ‘who’ and ‘what’ is missing from collections, filling those gaps and making the materials accessible. Only by doing this can we move towards making the library a place that supports the scholarship and belonging of all people and communities.”

Newly established scholarship

More recently, additional initiatives have been developed to mark the history of the Los de Seis Boulder students. In 2024, The BUENO Center for Multicultural Education at CU Boulder established the Los Seis Memorial Scholarship, an endowed scholarship fund of $750,000 to award six $5,000 scholarships annually, each in the name of a member of Los de Seis Boulder. An active fundraising campaign for the scholarship is underway and Chancellor DiStefano has pledged to match the first $50,000 raised. 

“The scholarships are to support any student whose background and lived experiences would bring economic, racial or ethnic parity within the student body at CU Boulder,” said Tania Hogan, executive director, BUENO Center for Multicultural Education. “In community, we created this scholarship as a proactive measure in our ongoing commitment to the social justice mission that inspired and motivated Los Seis de Boulder. Continued focused action is critical in addressing this pressing need.”

Learn more

For those interested in learning more about the events of Los Seis de Boulder, University Libraries and the BUENO Center will host “Rediscovering History: Explore the Los Seis de Boulder & Chicano Movement Archives” with archivists from the Libraries’ RaD Collections, and Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Colorado Chicano Movement Archives, in the Norlin Library, Center for British and Irish Studies Room M549 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to all members of the CU Boulder community and the public. Archivists from both institutions will be on hand to display and discuss with attendees archival materials that document the legacy and history of Los Seis de Boulder and Chicano/a activism in Colorado.

Banner image: Viva la Raza excerpt from the UMAS records

El Diario de la Gente newspaper page dedicated to the Los Seis de Boulder

El Diario de la Gente newspaper page dedicated to Los Seis de Boulder, June 11, 1974.


Los Seis de Boulder memorial monument outside Norlin

Los Seis de Boulder sculpture on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, dedicated in 2019.


Photo in newspaper depicting students marching in commemoration of the people killed

Newspaper photograph depicting students marching in commemoration of the activist killed.