Michael Staudenmaier, University of Illinois and Christian Paiz, University of Southern California | Newberry

Michael Staudenmaier, University of Illinois and Christian Paiz, University of Southern California

Friday, April 15, 2016

3 to 5pm

Room B-84

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Early American History and Culture Seminar

The Division Street Riots of 1966: Rage and Euphoria in Puerto Rican Chicago

Michael Staudenmaier, University of Illinois

Only limited scholarly attention has been paid to the 1966 Division Street Riots, despite a general consensus that they marked a crucial turning point in the development of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. My paper focuses on the perspective of Puerto Ricans who participated in and observed the riots, emphasizing the interplay between anger at racist police and a cultural pride in Puerto Rican identity. I draw upon previously unused archives and contemporaneous press reports to paint a picture of a community in transition away from assimilation and toward a resurgent nationalist politics.

ChristianPaiz, University of Southern California

The Nature of Victories: the United Farm Workers’ 1969 Coachella Campaign and its Promise of a New America

In early 1969, the Delano-based United Farm Worker (UFW) Movement began a four-month organizing campaign in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, a small desert region that produced the state’s earliest table grape harvest. The Coachella UFW campaign director, Pete Velasco, described the union’s organizing strategy as akin to a boxer’s one-two punch: “The Coachella strikers are the first to remind you that the strike and boycott are like a boxers’ left and right arms, both necessary to win the struggle for a decent life for the farm worker.” On the right, the local strikers, who caused labor shortages, higher wages (to entice strikebreakers) and poor quality grapes; on the left, the city-based, white American consumers, who depressed grape markets through their boycott. In the cross hairs, laid victory.

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.