Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
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In her first book, Shana Bernstein reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism by looking at its roots in the interracial efforts of Mexican, African, Jewish, and Japanese Americans in mid-century Los Angeles. Expanding the frame of historical analysis beyond black/white and North/South, Bernstein reveals that meaningful domestic activism for racial equality persisted from the 1930s through the 1950s. She stresses how this coalition-building was facilitated by the cold war climate, as activists sought protection and legitimacy in this conservative era. Emphasizing the significant connections between ethno-racial communities and between the United States and world opinion, Bridges of Reform demonstrates the long-term role western cities like Los Angeles played in shaping American race relations.