Cover

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Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

List of Abbreviations Used in the Text

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pp. xi-xiv

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Prologue

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pp. 1-13

On August 28, 1963, while much of America nervously watched the March on Washington, nearly one thousand demonstrators gathered in the all-black neighborhood of East Austin, Texas, to march toward the state capitol in 102-degree heat. Their two-mile route wound its way down crumbling streets, passed run-down houses and segregated schools, ...

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Chapter 1. People Are Power: The Mass Uprising and the Maverick Coalition

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pp. 14-55

In early 1938, nearly ten thousand mexicano workers walked off their jobs hand-shelling pecans in dismal warehouses scattered across the West Side of San Antonio. Organized block-by-block throughout the city’s sprawling, impoverished barrios, the general strike quickly took on a larger meaning. Activists and police authorities alike talked of “a mass uprising.” ...

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Chapter 2. Segregation Is an Economic Problem: Black Workers Win the Right to Vote

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pp. 56-86

The contributions were small—a nickel here, a few pennies there, maybe a dime or quarter once in a while. Members of the Houston NAACP’s Labor Committee stood on street corners and outside factory gates asking the city’s poorest for a few cents and a moment of their time, all for the cause of freedom. ...

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Chapter 3. Forcing Us Together in Self-Defense: The Cold War, the Black Vote, and the Liberal Movement

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pp. 87-132

On January 17, 1949, four African American men, led by barber and union organizer George T. “Pop” Nelson, convened a meeting at First Shiloh Baptist Church in Houston’s working-class Fifth Ward. Organizers of the steel workers and laborers unions joined him in issuing the call, as did other NAACP, neighborhood, and union activists. ...

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Chapter 4. Minorities Combine: G. J. Sutton, Albert Peña, and the Democrats of Texas

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pp. 133-170

“Negro Wins Jr. College Race,” blared the banner headline of the April 4, 1948, edition of the San Antonio Light. G. J. Sutton, the undertaker who had organized African Americans in support of the pecan shellers and Maury Maverick in the late 1930s, had won a seat on the city’s Union Junior College Board. He became the first black elected official in South Texas since Reconstruction, a feat that surprised most contemporary observers. ...

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Chapter 5. Unions Are Needed So Desperately Here: The Rebirth of the Labor Movement and the Seeds of the Bexar Coalition

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pp. 171-193

On March 14, 1959, “More than 1000 marchers, representing 60 union locals” from across San Antonio staged a parade that began at the Labor Temple and ended in a rally in front of the Alamo. Speakers encouraged a group of striking mexicana garment workers and highlighted their struggle’s larger implications. The national AFL-CIO’s assistant organizing director, Franz Daniel, ...

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Chapter 6. We Shall Be Heard: Civil Rights in Black and Brown from the Sit-ins to Viva Kennedy

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pp. 194-231

On Friday night, June 2, 1961, members of the Progressive Youth Association (PYA) held a fund-raiser at the headquarters of the all-black Longshoremen’s Local 872 beside the Houston Ship Channel. For the previous fifteen months, the PYA had staged sit-ins to desegregate local department store lunch counters, movie theaters, interstate bus stations, ...

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Chapter 7. Trying to Reach Substantially Unanimous Agreement: The “Latin Vote” and the First Democratic Coalition

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pp. 232-275

In the winter of 1961, Henry B. Gonzalez and Maury Maverick Jr., the two liberal legislators and frequent allies from San Antonio, each declared their candidacies for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Lyndon B. Johnson. Each of the two politicians believed that he was the true champion of the ideological left, the “unreconstructed fighting American liberal of the old school,” ...

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Chapter 8. Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Intraracial Divides Give Way to Interracial Unity

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pp. 276-314

In the fall of 1962, Albert Peña found himself in a pickle. As the state’s politicos switched their focus to the general election in November, Peña and other liberal activists worked to hold Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Connally’s feet to the fire. The firebrand commissioner and Texas Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations (PASO) chairman called on Connally to “take the lead” in abolishing the poll tax ...

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Chapter 9. They’ll Never Separate Us Again: The Multiracial Democratic Coalition on the March

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pp. 315-359

“About 300 veteran Democrats and liberals turned up” for the Democratic Coalition’s first statewide general assembly in Dallas in mid-July 1963, wrote Ronnie Dugger of the Texas Observer. “The four-way division of leadership was symbolized at the front table during the main session,” Dugger added, graphically demonstrating the new group’s structure and priorities. ...

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Chapter 10. New Power for Texas Minorities: Winning the Battles, Losing the War

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pp. 360-397

“What Now?” asked C. L. Mangus, a leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 60 in San Antonio, one week after the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas. Writing in SNAP News, the white union craftsman captured the sentiment of the nation and especially the legions of veteran labor and civil rights activists who stood on the precipice of victory. ...

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Epilogue: The Multiracial Marcha

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pp. 398-422

The last hurrah of the statewide coalition occurred in 1966. It began in the Valley, when several hundred migrant farmworkers struck the melon harvest at La Casita Farms near Rio Grande City, in Starr County. Eugene Nelson, a Texas native who worked for the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), the predecessor to the United Farm Workers, in California, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 423-428

Thank you—I can’t say it enough. It may seem trite, but there is no way this book would have become a reality without the help, support, knowledge, and love of so many of my favorite people as well as the many communities and institutions that I have called home. My first and greatest debt goes to my wife, Courtney Wait, to whom this book is dedicated, ...

Notes

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pp. 429-492

Bibliography

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pp. 493-512

Index

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pp. 513-538