Bridges of Reform : Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
In her first book, Shana Bernstein reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism by looking at its roots in the interracial efforts of Mexican, African, Jewish, and Japanese Americans in mid-century Los Angeles. Expanding the frame of historical analysis beyond black/white and North/South, Bernstein reveals that meaningful domestic activism for racial equality persisted from the 1930s through the 1950s. She stresses how this coalition-building was facilitated by the cold war climate, as activists sought protection and legitimacy in this conservative era. Emphasizing the significant connections between ethno-racial communities and between the United States and world opinion, Bridges of Reform demonstrates the long-term role western cities like Los Angeles played in shaping American race relations.
- Hardback | 368 pages
- 157.48 x 236.22 x 27.94mm | 589.67g
- 10 Feb 2011
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
Table of contents
Introduction ; Chapter 1: Los Angeles, the Early Days ; Chapter 2: Shadows of War, Forces for Change ; Chapter 3: The War Comes Home ; Chapter 4: Cold Warriors of a Different Stripe ; Chapter 5: The Community Service Organization and Interracial Civil Rights Activism in the Cold War Era ; Chapter 6: Los Angeles to the Nation ; Conclusion
A significant contribution .Its picture of rights groups working together is original and full, but does not shirk the gloomy side of the picture. * Journal of Interdisciplinary History * Bernstein's thoroughly researched history avoids a simple romanticization of the 'lost left' while also making clear that the cold war forced civil rights organizations and activists to make difficult choices about alliances, agendas, and definitions of political progress. * American Quarterly * Better than any historian to date, Bernstein demonstrates the multiracial composition and agenda of Los Angeles's civil rights organizations... As we consider how to struggle against ongoing discrimination and inequalities, we should read Bernstein's book about multiracial civil rights movements in the past as a guide for how we can move forward together in the future. * Social History * Bernstein's study is one of the few to emphasize how inter-racial activism actually grew, rather than being stifled, during historically conservative and volatile times. Furthermore, many other civil rights studies focus primarily on a specific ethnoracial group; Bernstein takes a non-traditional and more complex approach by revealing that ethnoracial groups such as the CSO...owes much of its origins and sustainability to inter-racial coalitions. * Planning Perspectives * Bernstein makes an effective case for the importance of interracial collaboration... Bridges of Reform is well written and thoroughly researched and is a valuable case study for civil rights activists balanced agency with the structural constraints placed upon them by geography and the social and political context. * Journal of African American History *
About Shana Bernstein
Shana Bernstein is Associate Professor of History at Southwestern University.