Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
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.