Wherever There's a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California

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Overview

Wherever There's a Fight captures the sweeping story of how freedom and equality have grown in California, from the gold rush right up to the precarious post-9/11 era. The book tells the stories of the brave individuals who have stood up for their rights in the face of social hostility, physical violence, economic hardship, and political stonewalling. It connects the experiences of early Chinese immigrants subjected to discriminatory laws to those of professionals who challenged McCarthyism and those of people who have fought to gain equal rights in California schools: people of color, people with disabilities, and people standing up for their religious freedom. The authors bring a special focus to the World War II internment of Japanese Americans, focusing on the infamous Korematsu case, which was foreshadowed by a century of civil liberties violations and reverberates in more recent times—regrettably, even today in the Patriot Act. And they follow the ongoing struggles for workers' rights and same-sex marriage. State and federal constitutions spell out many liberties and rights, but it is the people who challenge prejudice and discrimination that transform those lofty ideals into practical realities. Wherever There's a Fight paints vivid portraits of these people and brings to light their often hidden stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Californians battle over Prop. 8's hotly contested ban on same-sex marriage, ACLU veterans Elinson (coauthor of The Development Debacle) and Yogi (co-editor of Highway 99) offer crucial perspective on the history of minority rights in a state long considered a political trendsetter. Beginning in the mid-19th century—amid the expulsion of Chinese communities from hundreds of California towns and state-sponsored genocidal campaigns against indigenous tribes—the authors describe, in hefty but clear and cogent detail, the shifting patterns of fear, xenophobia, white supremacy and economic competition and exploitation that have repeatedly motivated majorities of Californians to undermine the civil liberties of minorities. But the silver lining to this shameful history is boldly painted: from the free speech fights on behalf of workers by the IWW or on behalf of artists by poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Californians have relentlessly asserted their constitutional rights in cases and campaigns that have often strengthened the rights of all Americans. Readers will find this an essential reference in navigating the slogan-riddled civil rights issues of the day. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597141147
  • Publisher: Heyday
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 338,954
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 1.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Elaine Elinson:
Elaine Elinson was the communications director of the ACLU of Northern California and editor of the ACLU News for more than two decades. She is a coauthor of Development Debacle: The World Bank in the Philippines, which was banned by the Marcos regime. Her articles have been published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, Poets and Writers, and numerous other periodicals. She is married to journalist Rene CiriaCruz and they have one son.
Stan Yogi:
Stan Yogi managed development programs for the ACLU of Northern California for fourteen years. He is the coeditor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California's Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, MELUS, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and several anthologies. He is married to nonprofit administrator David Carroll and lives in Oakland.

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