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Products for grant FA-252520-17

FA-252520-17
Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America
Danielle Olden, University of Utah

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-252520-17

Racial Uncertainties: Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Racial Uncertainties: Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America
Abstract: Drawing on several decades of Critical Race Theory scholarship and historical studies of race in the United States, this project challenges the black/white binary by demonstrating the centrality of Mexican Americans to one of the most important school desegregation cases in U.S. history, Keyes v. School District No. One (1973). The case hinged on Mexican American racial identity. If they were white, then many Denver schools were not segregated. If Mexican Americans were nonwhite, however, then those same schools were segregated. Beyond the courtroom, Denver citizens contemplated this issue on their own, a debate that remained relevant long after the Supreme Court ruled. Many people, moreover, used Mexican American children’s ambiguous racial identity to challenge the court’s desegregation plan. The existence of such racial uncertainty, I argue, is one of the hallmarks of the operation of race in modern America. People’s inability to categorize Mexican Americans as either white or black, and subsequent debates about Mexican Americans’ location along the racial spectrum, raised questions about the legitimacy of court-ordered desegregation. Racial uncertainties thus served an important ideological and political purpose: in the post-civil rights era, when overt racism was no longer socially acceptable, anti-integration voices utilized the indeterminacy of Mexican American racial identity to frame their opposition to school desegregation. That some Mexican Americans were among these voices only added credibility to the idea that court-ordered desegregation was not only illegal, but un-American.
Author: Danielle R. Olden
Date: 03/06/2018
Location: Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Laying Down the Law: Critical Legal Histories of the North American West (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Laying Down the Law: Critical Legal Histories of the North American West
Author: Danielle R. Olden
Abstract: Panel discussant
Date: 11/02/2017
Primary URL: https://www.westernhistory.org/2017
Primary URL Description: Western History Association, San Diego, CA, 2017, includes link to conference program
Conference Name: Western History Association


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