Building a Latino Civil Rights Movement: Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in New York City

Building a Latino Civil Rights Movement: Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in New York City

by Sonia Song-Ha Lee

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Overview

In the first book-length history of Puerto Rican civil rights in New York City, Sonia Lee traces the rise and fall of an uneasy coalition between Puerto Rican and African American activists from the 1950s through the 1970s. Previous work has tended to see blacks and Latinos as either naturally unified as "people of color" or irreconcilably at odds as two competing minorities. Lee demonstrates instead that Puerto Ricans and African Americans in New York City shaped the complex and shifting meanings of "Puerto Rican-ness" and "blackness" through political activism. African American and Puerto Rican New Yorkers came to see themselves as minorities joined in the civil rights struggle, the War on Poverty, and the Black Power movement--until white backlash and internal class divisions helped break the coalition, remaking "Hispanicity" as an ethnic identity that was mutually exclusive from "blackness."

Drawing on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, Lee vividly portrays this crucial chapter in postwar New York, revealing the permeability of boundaries between African American and Puerto Rican communities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469614144
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 05/26/2014
Series: Justice, Power, and Politics
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sonia Song-Ha Lee is assistant professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis.

Table of Contents


In the first book-length history of Puerto Rican civil rights in New York City, Sonia Lee traces the rise and fall of an uneasy coalition between Puerto Rican and African American activists from the 1950s through the 1970s. Lee demonstrates that Puerto Ricans and African Americans shaped the complex and shifting meanings of "Puerto Rican-ness" and "blackness" through political activism. African American and Puerto Rican New Yorkers came to see themselves as minorities joined in the civil rights struggle, the War on Poverty, and the Black Power movement--until white backlash and internal class divisions helped break the coalition, remaking "Hispanicity" as an ethnic identity that was mutually exclusive from "blackness."

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From the Publisher

Lee's thorough and careful research into the history of grassroots politics in the 1960s and 1970s represents an important addition to the literature on the civil rights movement and its coda in New York City. The story she tells of the uneasy collaborations between Puerto Rican and African American activists and leaders in this period adds much-needed depth to the history of New York in general and to the history of civil rights activism in particular.--Lorrin Thomas, Rutgers University-Camden

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