Nuts and Bolts of Black/Brown Coalition Building: Learning from Texas History and United Fort Worth

Throughout the 20th century, Black and Chicanx activists in Texas have organized tight coalitions for liberation and justice, in contrast to the received academic and political wisdom. Inter-ethnic coalition-building is a process, not something natural or impossible. There are practical tools and examples from both history and the present moment that students and activists can apply in their own communities.

Lecture Description

Contrary to popular belief, Texas has a long tradition of organic radicalism, antiracist community organizing, and multiracial political coalitions. Yet the true stories of grassroots activism and of building alliances across the color line have been silenced and erased. This workshop will help participants recover that tale across the history of 20th century Texas and also shed light on one local example of present-day organizing, in the unexpected locale of Fort Worth.

Mixing interactive workshop with conventional lecture, Dr. Krochmal will first lead a discussion of common (mis)perceptions of Black/Brown relations, including the mass media narratives of immutable competition and the historical/social scientific myth of Mexican American whiteness. The scholar and audience will next examine intra-racial tensions and forces that produce possibilities for inter-racial coalition-building. Next, Krochmal will present several forgotten examples of Black/Brown alliances in Texas history, including in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas from the 1930s to the 1970s, and then share the more recent history of United Fort Worth, a multiracial grassroots organization that is rapidly dragging Cowtown into the 21st century. Last, the group will brainstorm how these examples can inform present-day struggles against racism/xenophobia in their local communities and governments, public school districts, and higher education.


Politics Social Movements

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