Sonia Song-Ha Lee
Building A Latino Civil Rights Movement
Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in New York City
University of North Carolina Press 2014
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 20, 2015 David-James Gonzales
In Building A Latino Civil Rights Movement: Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in New York City (UNC Press, 2014), Assistant Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis Sonia Song-Ha Lee challenges two common misperceptions surrounding the Civil Rights Movement. The first is the presumption that Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans played marginal roles in the advancement of civil rights and social justice causes, and second, that the aims and methods of Latinos diverged from those of African Americans preventing the two groups from building interracial coalitions and cooperating in their pursuit of racial and socioeconomic justice. Focusing on the social and political context of postwar New York City, Dr. Lee describes the issues, people, and organizations that were central in establishing cross-racial coalitions between Puerto Rican and African American parents, students, and activists. Realizing their shared struggle against racism, poverty, and marginalization, Professor Lee argues that Puerto Ricans and African Americans developed an “overlapping” sense of ethno-racial identity in which notions of blackness and Latinidad were “intertwined and mutually reinforced” through social and political activism.