Bridges of Reform

Bridges of Reform : Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles

3.28 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Bridges of Reform uncovers the early years of civil rights and the sophisticated ways it played out on the West Coast, a situation that radically differed from civil rights in the South and North. In this book, Shana Bernstein uses World War II and Cold War Los Angeles as a locus of civil rights activity and explores its roots in multiracial organizing. There, activists built multiracial collaborations, bringing together the Mexican-, Jewish-, African-, and Japanese-American populations. Later national civil rights legislation and Supreme Court rulings, as well as ethnic-specific community movements, emerged in part from these interracial efforts in Los Angeles. Detailed archival research reveals that significant domestic activism for racial equality persisted during the Cold War in the form of multiracial, anti-communist civil rights collaboration. The United States' global interests during World War II encouraged activists of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to join forces. The Cold War facilitated further coalition-building and the pursuit of ongoing racial equality goals as activists sought protection and legitimacy from each other in this conservative era.
From a city that incubated civil rights activism, Bernstein broadly connects West Coast activism with the domestic home front, the wars in Europe and Asia, and the onset of the Cold War, creating a unique study of comparative race, ethnicity, and civil rights.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195331672
  • 9780195331677

Table of contents

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Review quote

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 *
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About Shana Bernstein

Shana Bernstein is Assistant Professor of History at Southwestern University. Her research focuses on civil rights, race relations, and social reform in 20th century U.S. History, particularly in the West.
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Rating details

7 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
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4 57% (4)
3 14% (1)
2 29% (2)
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