Tomas Summers Sandoval
Latinos at the Golden Gate
Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco
University of North Carolina Press 2015
Since the mid-19th century, San Francisco (or Yerba Buena as it was known during the Spanish colonial period) has been considered a gateway city ideally situated along the western edge of the North American continent and central in the development of global trade, communication, and cultural exchange. Despite the city’s early history as a Spanish colonial outpost, the historical record provides little mention of the region’s historic Latina/o roots and character. Addressing this historical omission, Tomas Summers Sandoval, Professor of History and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, has written the first historical work chronicling the Latina/o experience in the formation and development of The City by the Bay. In Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) Summers Sandoval connects the migrations of various Latin American groups to San Francisco with successive waves of European imperialism along the Pacific Rim of North and South America. Developing alongside capitalist penetration into Central and South America from the California Gold Rush to the late-20thcentury, Latina/o migrations to the city have resulted in a multi-ethnic conglomeration of latinoamericanos. Focusing on how this diverse group created a sense of community and collective identity, Summers Sandoval argues that Latinas/os in San Francisco forged Latinidad (pan-ethnic solidarity) through the shared experiences of transnational migration, local discrimination, and political activism. Shedding new light on a key segment within the development of the cosmopolitan character and progressive politics of the city, Latinos at the Golden Gate fills a major gap in the history of San Francisco.