Hundreds of stories of activists at the front lines of the intersecting African American and Mexican American liberation struggle
Not one but two civil rights movements flourished in mid-twentieth-century Texas, and they did so in intimate conversation with one another. Far from the gaze of the national media, African American and Mexican American activists combated the twin caste systems of Jim Crow and Juan Crow. These insurgents worked chiefly within their own racial groups, yet they also looked to each other for guidance and, at times, came together in solidarity. The movements sought more than integration and access: they demanded power and justice.
Civil Rights in Black and Brown draws on more than 500 oral history interviews newly collected across Texas, from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods and everywhere in between. The testimonies speak in detail to the structure of racism in small towns and huge metropolises—both the everyday grind of segregation and the haunting acts of racial violence that upheld Texas’s state-sanctioned systems of white supremacy. Through their memories of resistance and revolution, the activists reveal previously undocumented struggles for equity, as well as the links Black and Chicanx organizers forged in their efforts to achieve self-determination.
Max Krochmal is an associate professor of history at Texas Christian University. He is the author of Blue Texas: The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era.
J. Todd Moye is the Fenton Wayne Robnett Professor of US History and the director of the Oral History Program at the University of North Texas.
Civil Rights in Black and Brown does what too few civil rights studies do—it makes abundantly clear that the movement was not one thing. It was not led by one person. It was not confined to one place. It was not organized by one group. And it was not the product of one people’s struggle. Brilliantly weaving together familiar and forgotten stories of the modern African American and Chicano/a movements in Texas, Civil Rights in Black and Brown provides the nuanced interpretation of the freedom struggle that scholars have been longing for.
~Hasan Kwame Jeffries
Civil Rights in Black and Brown offers an urgent reminder that Texans don’t need Lone Star myths to be inspired. This indispensable book shows that the long struggles for civil rights and social justice have deep roots in Texas. It draws on an extraordinary collection of interviews that helped save the histories of everyday Texans who courageously organized for equality, justice, and democracy. This powerful book is required reading for anyone who wants to learn from the past to understand the present and to help build a more just future.
~Monica Muñoz Martinez
This book is an important contribution to the history of White supremacy and the unremitting struggle against it in mid-twentieth century Texas…[Civil Rights in Black and Brown] pulsates with energy and showcases exciting new scholarship from talented academics with varied perspectives...This book deserves a wide readership.
~Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The oral historians on this project covered twenty urban and rural locations throughout Texas, and in doing so, have enriched the historical record in a way that should pay off for generations to come...this book is a praiseworthy testament to the power and usefulness of oral history, not only for the sake of new scholarship itself, but also to the communities served. Civil Rights in Black and Brown documents a model oral history project that many of us will benefit from for years to come.
~Oral History Review
Contending with a racist political elite, police violence, and disenfranchisement, Black and Brown Texans struggled for decades to gain basic civil rights. Exploring the oft-overlooked history of these historic struggles is essential to paving a path forward for progressive politics in our era of right-wing reaction...In addition to addressing oft-overlooked battles in Texas, the authors of the essays [in Civil Rights in Black and Brown] also address another oversight in many histories of the era, putting the focus on the base rather than leadership.
Coalitional politics is a complicated and sometimes messy undertaking laden with varying degrees of rivalry, defensiveness, and hierarchy...This anthology steps into this turmoil, and this Chicano historian of Chicanx history is impressed...The [Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project] and this anthology are a veritable dream for anyone involved in public history, oral history, and the digital humanities...this excellent anthology joins a growing body of literature that examines such collaborations.
~Journal of Southern History
List of Illustrations
Foreword (W. Marvin Dulaney)
Introduction. Lone Star Civil Rights: Histories, Memories, and Legacies (Max Krochmal)
Part I. Violence and Resistance: African Americans in East Texas
1. Ignored News and Forgotten History: The 1963 Prairie View Student Movement (Moisés Acuña Gurrola)
2. “Plumb Chaos”: Segregation and Integration in Deep East Texas (Meredith May)
3. “Something Was Lost”: Segregation, Integration, and Black Memory in the Golden Triangle (Eladio Bobadilla)
4. Texas Time: Racial Violence, Place Making, and Remembering as Resistance in Montgomery County (Jasmin C. Howard)
Part II. Survival and Self-Determination: Chicano/a Struggles in South and West Texas
5. The South-by-Southwest Borderlands’ Chicana/o Uprising: The Brown Berets, Black and Brown Alliances, and the Fight against Police Brutality in West Texas (Joel Zapata)
6. The Long Shadow of Héctor P. García in Corpus Christi (James B. Wall)
7. “It Was Us against Us”: The Pharr Police Riot of 1971 and the People’s Uprising against El Jefe Político (David Robles)
8. The 1970 Uvalde School Walkout (Vinicio Sinta and Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez)
9. “A Totality of Our Well-Being”: The Creation and Evolution of the Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe in South El Paso (Sandra I. Enríquez)
Part III. Coalitions and Control: Black and Brown Liberation Struggles in Metropolitan Texas
10. Contesting White Supremacy in Tarrant County (J. Todd Moye)
11. Civil Rights in the “City of Hate”: Black and Brown Organizing against Police Brutality in Dallas (Katherine Bynum)
12. Self-Determined Educational Spaces: Forging Race and Gender Power in Houston (Samantha M. Rodriguez)
13. From Police Brutality to the “United Peoples Party”: San Antonio’s Hybrid SNCC Chapter, the Chicano Movement, and Political Change (Max Krochmal)
14. “You Either Support Democracy or You Don’t”: Structural Racism, Segregation, and the Struggle to Bring Single-Member Districts to Austin (J. Todd Moye)
Part IV. Inside the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project
15. Recovering, Interpreting, and Disseminating the Hidden Histories of Civil Rights in Texas (Max Krochmal)
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