A multiracial history of civil rights coalitions beyond the farm worker movement in twentieth-century Bakersfield, California.
In Civil Rights in Bakersfield, Oliver Rosales uncovers the role of the multiracial west in shaping the course of US civil rights history. Focusing on Bakersfield, one of the few sizable cities within California’s Central Valley for much of the twentieth century in a region most commonly known as a bastion of political conservatism, oil, and industrial agriculture, Rosales documents how multiracial coalitions emerged to challenge histories of racial segregation and discrimination. He recounts how the region was home to both the historic farm worker movement, led by César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong, and also a robust multiracial civil rights movement beyond the fields. This multiracial push for civil rights reform included struggles for fair housing, school integration, public health, media representation, and greater political representation for Black and Brown communities. In expanding on this history of multiracial activism, Rosales further explores the challenges activists faced in community organizing and how the legacies of coalition building contribute to ongoing activist efforts in the Central Valley of today.
Oliver A. Rosales is a professor of history at Bakersfield College.
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