376 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Justice, Power, and Politics
Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974
The Poor People's Campaign of 1968 has long been overshadowed by the assassination of its architect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the political turmoil of that year. In a major reinterpretation of civil rights and Chicano movement history, Gordon K. Mantler demonstrates how King's unfinished crusade became the era's most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration and sheds light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Mantler argues that while the fight against poverty held great potential for black-brown cooperation, such efforts also exposed the complex dynamics between the nation's two largest minority groups.
Drawing on oral histories, archives, periodicals, and FBI surveillance files, Mantler paints a rich portrait of the campaign and the larger antipoverty work from which it emerged, including the labor activism of Cesar Chavez, opposition of Black and Chicano Power to state violence in Chicago and Denver, and advocacy for Mexican American land-grant rights in New Mexico. Ultimately, Mantler challenges readers to rethink the multiracial history of the long civil rights movement and the difficulty of sustaining political coalitions.
"The often-overlooked partnership between Mexican American and African American activists of the 1960s receives much-deserved attention in this important contribution to the history of the civil rights era. . . . Recommended. All academic levels/libraries."
“[Reflects] the way that this particular aspect of the civil rights movement was shaped both by the distinctive groups and individuals who were involved and by its timing in relation to the historical dynamics of twentieth-century American party politics and foreign policy, specifically Democratic Party liberalism and the trajectory of the Vietnam War.”
--North Carolina Historical Review
"Deft, graceful, and remarkable. Mantler completely changes the way we think about the final years of the modern civil rights movement."
--Paul Ortiz, University of Florida
"Mantler's important new book underscores the diversity within the Poor People's Campaign and emphasizes its potential to build political coalitions across regions and across race."
--Lorena Oropeza, University of California, Davis
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press
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