In 1966, members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an African American civil rights group with Southern roots, joined Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union on its 250-mile march from Delano to Sacramento, California, to protest the exploitation of agricultural workers. SNCC was not the only black organization to support the UFW: later on, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Black Panther Party backed UFW strikes and boycotts against California agribusiness throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
To March for Others explores the reasons why black activists, who were committed to their own fight for equality during this period, crossed racial, socioeconomic, geographic, and ideological divides to align themselves with a union of predominantly Mexican American farm workers in rural California. Lauren Araiza considers the history, ideology, and political engagement of these five civil rights organizations, representing a broad spectrum of African American activism, and compares their attitudes and approaches to multiracial coalitions. Through their various relationships with the UFW, Araiza examines the dynamics of race, class, labor, and politics in twentieth-century freedom movements. The lessons in this eloquent and provocative study apply to a broader understanding of political and ethnic coalition building in the contemporary United States.
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1. This Is How a Movement Begins
Chapter 2. To Wage Our Own War of Liberation
Chapter 3. Consumers Who Understand Hunger and Joblessness
Chapter 4. More Mutual Respect than Ever in Our History
Chapter 5. A Natural Alliance of Poor People
"A solid and persuasive argument on the importance of pursuing multiracial politics of civil rights and economic justice simultaneously. To March for Others is at the cutting edge of work about black-brown coalitions."—Thomas Jackson, author of From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice
"Araiza has recovered the heroic efforts of leaders who forged effective multiracial coalitions by crossing the treacherous ground where class, geography, and organizational ideology and method intersected. . . . To March for Others is also useful as a crash course in the history of the UFW, and it serves as a solid refresher of the civil rights movement's major organizations and leaders, making it useful for undergraduate classes on the civil rights movement and postwar America."—Labor: Studies in Working-Class History
"Araiza's focus on coalitions is a welcome contribution to the literature of social movements in the United States."—Journal of American History
"A well-written, nuanced, and thought-provoking contribution. To March for Others joins a growing body of scholarship that looks at ethno-racial groups not only comparatively but relationally, and advances our understanding of the factors necessary for alliances across racial and other divides."—Shana Bernstein, author of Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
"Araiza's thoughtful analysis of the varying intersections of the UFW and black civil rights organizations . . . should lead scholars of the period to explore and examine further the different levels of cooperation and involvement between black and brown civil rights organizations. Her compelling work is an important reminder that these relationships were not one-dimensional or stagnant, but evolving and dynamic. To March for Others makes a significant contribution to scholarship on the long civil rights era."—American Historical Review
"To March For Others is essential reading for those seeking to broaden their understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and for those with an eye to the future of minority coalitions."—Pacific Historical Review