La Causa: Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Struggle for Equality in the Midwest


Edited by Gilberto Cárdenas

ISBN: 978-1-55885-422-2
Publication Date: April 30, 2004
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 176

The first examination of Latino activism in the Midwest.

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Accepted notions of demographics in the United States often contend that Latinos have traditionally been confined to the Southwest and urban centers of the East Coast, but Latinos have been living in the Midwest since the late nineteenth century.  Their presence has rarely been documented and studied, in spite of their widespread participation in the industrial development of the Midwest, its communications infrastructure and labor movements. The populations of Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban and other Hispanic origins living in the region have often been seen as removed not only from mainstream America but also from the movements for human and civil rights that dominated Latino public discourse in the Southwest and Northeast during the 1960s and 1970s.

In the first text examining Latinos in this region, historians and social science scholars have come together to document and evaluate the efforts and progress toward social justice. Distinguished scholars examine such diverse topics as advocacy efforts, civil rights and community organizations, Latina Civil Rights efforts, ethnic diversity and political identity, effects of legislation for Homeland Security, and political empowerment.

Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas, the organizer and editor, penned an overarching introductory essay, and contributors include David A. Badillo, Miguel Carranza, Patricia Mendoza, Renee Moreno, Judith Murphy, Victor Ortiz, Ricardo Parra, Sylvia Puente, Refugio Rochín, María de los Angeles Torres and Martha Zurita.

Combining both the research and analyses by these scholars and their supplementary documents, including charts, tables, and other materials, La Causa fills a gaping void in the literature available about the Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest.

“A fine collection of essays… This readable book details often-neglected history of Latino and Mexican immigrant life in the Midwest, and would make a fine undergraduate course volume or reference work for student research projects.”—CHOICE

DR. GILBERTO CÁRDENAS is a professor of sociology at Notre Dame University, where he is director of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture. He has served on the board of directors for reputable organizations and nonprofits such as the Smithsonian Latino Center Board, the Museum of Fine Art-Houston and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Learn more by visiting his faculty page.