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Beyond Alliances

The Jewish Role in Reshaping the Racial Landscape of Southern California

edited by George J. Sanchez

Publication Year: 2011

This volume focuses on the special role that Jews played in reshaping the racial landscape of southern California in the twentieth century. Rather than considering this issue in terms of broad analyses of organizations or communities, each contribution instead approaches it by examining the activity of a single Jewish individual, and how he or she navigated the social terrain of a changing southern California. In particular, this volume is one of the first to take seriously the unique racial/ethnic makeup of southern California for Jewish activism, with a particular focus on the relationship between Jews and Mexican Americans in the area around Los Angeles. The Jewish individuals who are this volume’s subjects represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives, ranging from an elected official to an activist lawyer, and from a local businessman to a Democratic Party organizer. The volume culminates with an interview with one of the most beloved of local university rabbis, who has been operating in the ever-changing environment of higher education in Los Angeles over the past thirty years. While its overall message is one of optimism, the volume does not shy away from taking on some of the more vexed issues in the scholarship of racial/ethnic interaction. While Jewish activism in shaping local civil rights is thoroughly discussed, the specific and unequal dynamics of power within the civil rights community is also analyzed. The changing relationship of Jews to “whiteness” in southern California during the late twentieth century, in both geographic and political terms, shapes many of these ongoing relationships. Finally, the volume provides a unique historical perspective on our understanding of contemporary Los Angeles in all its ethnic complexity, and specifically in thinking through the future of Jewish role in urban southern California.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Title, Copyright

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pp. vii-x

In my role as an editor, I always find my reading through of the draft articles of a new Annual Review a rather intense experience. As the one responsible for the final form of the Annual, I read each and every article, at one time or another, at least a half-dozen times; so I flatter myself that no one considers every...

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Introduction: Beyond Alliances

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pp. xi-xviii

I want to thank my colleague Bruce Zuckerman, Myron and Marian Casden Director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life at the University of Southern California, for the opportunity to work on this volume of the Casden Annual Review. Although this was a project that...

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Unexpected Allies

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pp. 1-32

In 1944, Soledad Vidaurri went to the 17th Street Elementary School in Orange County, California to enroll her children and their cousins, Ithe Méndezes, for the upcoming school year.1 While the administration accepted her two children into the so-called “American School,” they...

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Multicultural Music, Jews, and American Culture

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pp. 33-69

This essay traces the personal and professional story of William “Bill” Phillips, contextualized within the multiracial history of Los Angeles, and the larger discourse surrounding multiculturalism, whiteness, assimilation, and what historian...

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Rosalind Wiener Wyman and the Transformation of Jewish Liberalism in Cold War Los Angeles

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pp. 71-110

The end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War represented a transformative period for Jewish politics in Los Angeles. Jews, as a religious minority subject to discrimination, were an integral part of leftist and liberal interracial organizing from the 1930s through the 1940s. As...

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Fighting Many Battles

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pp. 111-142

Los Angeles-based Jewish labor organizer and civil rights activist, Max Mont, developed a commitment to social justice at an early age. “When I was six years old,” Mont recalled in 1987, “I was trying to make speeches in our living room about the ‘oppressed people’” (“Max Mont, ‘Labor...

About the Contributors

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pp. 143-144

The USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life

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pp. 145-146

E-ISBN-13: 9781612492261
E-ISBN-10: 1612492266
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557536235
Print-ISBN-10: 1557536236

Page Count: 128
Illustrations: 14 b/w photos
Publication Year: 2011