In the Midst of Radicalism
Mexican American Moderates during the Chicano Movement, 1960–1978
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
The radicalism of the Chicano Movement marked a sharp break from the previous generation of Mexican Americans. Even so, historian Guadalupe San Miguel Jr. contends, the first-generation agenda of moderate social change persisted. His book reveals how, even in the ferment of the ’60s and ’70s, Mexican American moderates used conventional methods to expand access to education, electoral politics, jobs, and mainstream institutions. Believing in the existing social structure, though not the status quo, they fought in the courts, at school board meetings, as lobbyists and advocates, and at the ballot box. They did not mount demonstrations, but in their own deliberate way, they chipped away at the barriers to their communities’ social acceptance and economic mobility. Were these men and women pawns of mainstream political leaders, or were they true to the Mexican American community, representing its diverse interests as part of the establishment? San Miguel explores how they contributed to the struggle for social justice and equality during the years of radical activism. His book assesses their impact and how it fit within the historic struggle for civil rights waged by others since the early 1900s.
In the Midst of Radicalism for the first time shows us these moderate Mexican American activists as they were—playing a critical role in the Chicano Movement while maintaining a long-standing tradition of pursuing social justice for their community.
“Guadalupe San Miguel’s book significantly revises our understanding of the Chicano movement by including Mexican American liberals and moderates who also contributed to the Chicano struggle for civil rights and social justice.”—Mario T. García, author of The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement
“Challenging conventional notions about the ‘Chicano movement’ and rejecting the characterization of the 1960s and ’70s as purely radical, the author asks us to consider the continuation of the liberal tradition. San Miguel shows that moderates were an integral part of the era that brought forth needed social change, and he adds lesser-known names, including those of women, to the canon of Mexican Americanism and Chicanx thought."—Cynthia E. Orozco, author No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement