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Apostles of Change

Apostles of Change
Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio

Unraveling the intertwined histories of Latino radicalism and religion in urban America, this book examines how Latino activists transformed churches into staging grounds for protest against urban renewal and displacement.

Series: Historia USA

September 2022
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238 pages | 6 x 9 | 20 b&w photos |

In the late 1960s, the American city found itself in steep decline. An urban crisis fueled by federal policy wreaked destruction and displacement on poor and working-class families. The urban drama included religious institutions, themselves undergoing fundamental change, that debated whether to stay in the city or move to the suburbs. Against the backdrop of the Black and Brown Power movements, which challenged economic inequality and white supremacy, young Latino radicals began occupying churches and disrupting services to compel church communities to join their protests against urban renewal, poverty, police brutality, and racism.

Apostles of Change tells the story of these occupations and establishes their context within the urban crisis; relates the tensions they created; and articulates the activists' bold, new vision for the church and the world. Through case studies from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston, Felipe Hinojosa reveals how Latino freedom movements frequently crossed boundaries between faith and politics and argues that understanding the history of these radical politics is essential to understanding the dynamic changes in Latino religious groups from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.


2021 Finalist Raul Yzaguirre Best Political/Current Affairs Book, International Latino Book Awards

Winner of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education Inaugural Book Award

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: The People’s Church
  • 1. Thunder in Chicago’s Lincoln Park
  • 2. “People—Yes, Cathedrals—No!” in Los Angeles
  • 3. The People’s Church in East Harlem
  • 4. Magic in Houston’s Northside Barrio
  • Conclusion: When History Dreams
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Felipe Hinojosa is an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University and the author of Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, Western Historical Quarterly, American Catholic Studies, and Mennonite Quarterly Review and in edited collections on Latinx studies.


“Overwhelmingly readable, Apostles of Change is a counternarrative to the argument that religious politics in the United States became universally more conservative in the 1970s. Focusing on the "outsiders" as much as the "insiders," Hinojosa demonstrates how the "sacred" was actually part and parcel of the 1960s social movements.”
Lorena Oropeza, author of The King of Adobe: Reies López Tijerina, Lost Prophet of the Chicano Movement

“Felipe Hinojosa offers a textured narrative of urban Chicanx and Puerto Rican activism, comprising a treasure trove of rich detail and fascinating stories. Apostles of Change is an important and well-researched book, brimming with the ideas and voices of the Latinx activists that fill its pages.”
Llana Barber, author of Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945-2000


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3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca