By Matt Garcia
Tracing the historical past of intercultural fight and cooperation within the citrus belt of better la, Matt Garcia explores the social and cultural forces that helped make the town the expansive and diversified city that it's this present day. because the citrus-growing areas of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys in japanese la County multiplied through the early 20th century, the rural there built alongside segregated traces, basically among white landowners and Mexican and Asian workers. firstly, those groups have been sharply divided. yet l. a., not like different agricultural areas, observed vital possibilities for intercultural trade strengthen round the arts and inside multiethnic neighborhood teams. no matter if fostered in such casual settings as dance halls and theaters or in such formal businesses because the Intercultural Council of Claremont or the Southern California cohesion Leagues, those interethnic encounters shaped the root for political cooperation to handle exertions discrimination and resolve difficulties of residential and academic segregation. notwithstanding intercultural collaborations weren't continually winning, Garcia argues that they represent an incredible bankruptcy not just in Southern California's social and cultural improvement but in addition within the better heritage of yankee race kin.
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Extra info for A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970
For example, among the many Paduanos I interviewed, some hesitated to classify their performances as ‘‘political’’ 10 • INTRODUCTION even as they explained that the Mexican Players had done much to improve race relations between Mexicans and whites in Southern California. ’’ Still other participants at both the theater and the dance halls expressed a consciousness about the political signiﬁcance of their acts and clearly articulated an anti-racist agenda. Through these interviews, I discovered the unique tensions experienced by historians using the methodology of oral history: our responsibility to interpret and contextualize peoples’ lives within a historical period and a geographical setting sometimes conﬂicts with the ways in which interviewees themselves assign meaning to their endeavors.
Although I have made an eﬀort to situate the history of Southern California in the broader history of the United States, as a native to the citrus belt I still value my home for the ‘‘exceptional’’ place that McWilliams understood it to be. In writing A World of Its Own I have attempted to combine the unabashed, passionate regionalism of McWilliams’s work with the ﬂuorescent histories of Mexican American struggle, creativity, and labor throughout the twentieth century. In this way, I hope to complement the most perceptive interpreter of Southern California culture and pay tribute to the friends and family whose labor made it possible for me to make this contribution.
Building on the work of Vicki Ruiz, I explore the development of a ‘‘packinghouse culture’’ among Mexican women employees. This chapter also delineates the cleavages in Pomona Valley colonias between native residents and their bracero neighbors as they competed for jobs and social space. Many natives and longtime residents believed themselves to be a cut above the braceros, whom they viewed with suspicion and at times outright disdain. In Chapter 6, entitled ‘‘Memories of El Monte: Dance Halls and Youth Culture in Greater Los Angeles, 1950–1974,’’ I explore the other side of interracial, intraethnic, and gender relations in Southern California by focusing on the development of two multicultural dance halls in the citrus belt, Pomona’s Rainbow Gardens and El Monte’s American Legion Stadium.
A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 by Matt Garcia