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Grounds For DreamingMexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement$
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Lori A Flores

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196962

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196962.001.0001

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Racial Meeting Grounds and Battlegrounds During Wartime, 1941–1947

Racial Meeting Grounds and Battlegrounds During Wartime, 1941–1947

(p.39) 2 Racial Meeting Grounds and Battlegrounds During Wartime, 1941–1947
Grounds For Dreaming

Lori A. Flores

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the conflict between Mexican Americans and a white mainstream that denied them equal treatment, and between Mexican Americans and braceros in a militarized, masculinized agricultural context, in the Salinas Valley during the World War II years (1941–1947). It considers the ways that Latinos negotiated their relationships with other racial groups—and with each other—during wartime as well as the impact of the Bracero Program on the region's labor and power landscapes and race relations. It also explains why the activism of Mexican Americans living in agricultural California appeared weaker, or progressed at a slower pace, than that of urban Mexican Americans. It argues that the intraethnic conflict between four groups of Mexican-origin men—military servicemen, braceros, U.S.-born farmworkers, and “zoot suiters”—created tension in the larger Latino community which, along with the Bracero Program, slowed the evolution of a postwar Latino civil rights movement in the Salinas Valley.

Keywords:   intraethnic conflict, Mexican Americans, braceros, Salinas Valley, World War II, Latinos, Bracero Program, race relations, activism, civil rights movement

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