Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Legal History in the Dec. 2013 JAH

The December 2013 issue of the Journal of American History is out, and it includes several items of interest:
Navigating Segregated Life in America’s Racial Borderhoods, 1910s–1950s

Albert M. Camarillo, Stanford University - OAH President (2012-2013). In his presidential address to the 2013 Organization of American Historians annual meeting, Albert M. Camarillo takes a comparative approach to understanding how African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans dealt with urban residential segregation. Pointing to both similarities and differences in these groups’ experiences, Camarillo focuses in particular on the system of segregation of African Americans outside of the South and of Mexican Americans in the Southwest, which he terms James Crow and Jaime Crow. As he demonstrates, in cities across the North and West, African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans negotiated barriers by crossing, passing, and sidestepping color lines amid formal and informal attempts to enforce those color lines.

“Our Very Pronounced Theory of Equal Rights to All”: Race, Citizenship, and Populism in the South Texas Borderlands 

Gregg Cantrell explores Populism from a seldom-studied perspective, examining the People’s party’s efforts to win votes among the ethnic Mexicans of the south Texas borderlands. Populists there strove to build interethnic coalitions, only to run headlong into massive voter fraud perpetrated by Democratic bosses--a practice abetted by the legality of alien suffrage in Texas. This situation led one San Antonio Populist, T. J. McMinn, to spearhead an effort to end alien suffrage by challenging the right of Mexicanos to become U.S. citizens. The resulting federal court case, In re Rodriguez, laid bare the stark choices that Populists in the region faced: alienate Mexicanos by trying to eliminate fraud or stand by and watch elections be stolen by Democratic manipulation of immigrant votes.
 “Modern America Desperately Needs to Listen”: The Emerging Indian in an Age of Environmental Crisis
Paul C. Rosier examines American Indians’ perspectives on the “environmental crisis” that shook American society in the 1960s and 1970s. Indian activists, politicians, and intellectuals promoted ecological issues tied to political and legal questions of sovereignty commonly associated with Indians’ “red power” movement, while collaborating with non-Indians on environmental problems to find political support and common ground. His essay addresses the neglect of American Indians in coverage of the 1960s and modern environmental activism and underscores the relationship between political sovereignty and environment, the interplay of symbolic space and real place, and the roots and range of the environmental justice movement. He also offers an example of how Indians’ ideas and actions can be integrated into the broader narratives of modern American history.
The complete TOC, including book reviews, is available here. Full content is available to subscribers only, unfortunately.