3 to 5pm
Red, White, and Blue and Mexican: Mexican-Americans in Mid-Century Chicago
Deborah Kanter, Albion College
This paper focuses on the emerging second generation in Chicago’s Near West Side. Growing up at St. Francis of Assisi church nurtured a positive Mexican identity, shared with their immigrant parents, as well as a sense of belonging to the American Catholic world. These young people proudly called themselves Mexican, American, and Catholic. They created a lively social world featuring dances, clubs, sports teams for women and men, and a war-time newspaper. The second generation generally elected to live in a Mexican-American social scene, largely rooted in their evolving Catholic parish.
The Good Neighbor Comes Home: The Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and the “Spanish-Speaking Minority” Problem in the US Southwest during World War II
Natalie Mendoza, University of California at Berkeley
During World War II, the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) and local actors in the Southwest used the Good Neighbor Policy (GNP) and the wartime emergency to improve inequitable conditions among Mexican Americans. This dissertation chapter traces the OCIAA’s creation of the Division of Inter-American Activities in the United States (DIAAUS) in 1942 and how it identified, defined, and proposed solutions to problems in Mexican American communities at a moment characterized by rigorous inter-American cultural diplomacy and democratic rhetoric. Later chapters take up this same question but with a focus on local actors at the state level.
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