By Shana Bernstein
In her first booklet, Shana Bernstein reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism via taking a look at its roots within the interracial efforts of Mexican, African, Jewish, and eastern americans in mid-century l. a.. increasing the body of old research past black/white and North/South, Bernstein finds that significant family activism for racial equality continued from the Thirties throughout the Fifties. She stresses how this coalition-building was once facilitated by means of the chilly battle weather, as activists sought safeguard and legitimacy during this conservative period. Emphasizing the numerous connections among ethno-racial groups and among the USA and global opinion, Bridges of Reform demonstrates the long term function western towns like l. a. performed in shaping American race relatives.
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Extra info for Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
They burned down another Japanese man’s house in a white suburb, and after the police refused to help him, eventually forced him to leave. Whites beat another Japanese man in the same neighborhood when he refused to move. 45 Jews increasingly faced restrictive housing covenants too. To make matters worse for the region’s minority populations, the American government—local, state, and federal—often condoned discrimination against them. Institutionalized discrimination against immigrants, particularly Asians, Latin Americans, and Southern and Eastern Europeans, resulted from a rise in nativism in Los Angeles and around the country in the early twentieth century and became the norm by the 1930s.
Despite the city’s historical reputation as a place of relative freedom—at least compared to the areas of the South and West from which many of its migrants came, Los Angeles’s minority groups faced increasing marginalization during the late nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century. Southern California attracted many newcomers with its promise of cheap land, sunshine, beautiful beaches, and good health. What had been little more than a small western town grew in the late nineteenth century into an increasingly important population and business center.
In the 1930s, as the job pool dwindled and the demand for unskilled laborers diminished, white nativeborn residents turned against Mexican immigrants too as they increasingly viewed immigrant labor as competition rather than as necessary cheap labor. 9 Many of the early deportees returned voluntarily, especially those who had attained some ﬁnancial success. But most of the Mexicans who returned to Mexico by 1931 did so under pressure. Often American-born citizens of Mexican descent were “returned” to a country that never had been their home, as federal ofﬁcials together with local leaders tried to address unemployment problems by deporting Mexicans.
Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles by Shana Bernstein