State Management of Race and Gender

Solicited by the OAH-Japanese Association for American Studies Japan Historians Collaborative Committee

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Type: Paper Session

Tags: Immigration and Internal Migration; Sports and Recreation; Urban and Suburban

Papers Presented

Playing to Win: The Construction of Hegemonic Power in Recreational Spaces in Early 20th Century Los Angeles

Previous scholarship has shown that leisure activities of racial and gendered minorities in early 20th century Los Angeles were sometimes restricted by commercial establishments as well as by local municipalities. This paper places the regulatory management by municipalities on a continuum with restrictions by commercial and other private venues. By doing so, this paper examines the relationship between public and private stakeholders as they attempt to claim regulatory rights in leisure spaces. Both international and domestic migration to Southern California at the time become key to understanding the explicit and implicit motivations to gain hegemony in recreational spaces.

Presented By
Yuko Itatsu, University of Tokyo

The Rise and Fall of the Pay Toilet, and What We Can Learn about U.S. History from the Public Bathroom

Bryant Simon’s paper will look at one of the most hated things in US History, the pay toilet. He will trace the rise of these silver lock boxes attached to the outside of public bathrooms in the 1940s and their removal and disappearance in the 1970s. Along the way, the story will highlight the early hints of outsourcing and that crucial idea that “users” – not citizens – should pay fees for services provided by the government. This is also a story, as are all stories of public bathrooms, about the building of boundaries, and the management through material things and laws (by some and for some) of public space. It is, in addition, a story of a surge in feminist activity and of demands for “potty parity” and legal equality. Yet this isn’t in the end an upward trending narrative. The demise of the pay toilet didn’t lead to an enhancement of public space, but to further privatization and exclusion.

Presented By
Bryant Simon, Temple University

The Mariel Cuban Refugees and the Origins of Crimmigration

The arrival on US shores of more than 125,000 refugees from Cuba marks the beginning of the modern era of crimmigration, the overlapping of criminal and immigration law. Although most of the Mariel Cuban refugees were paroled in the United States, a few hundred who the US believed were mentally ill or had criminal backgrounds were not released and were sent to prisons across the country. By 1987, 2400 Mariel refugees who had been paroled into the US but had committed crimes were ordered to be deported. Since Cuba would not accept the return of these refugees, they remained imprisoned indefinitely. In November 1987, over 2000 Cuban detainees in Oakdale, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia, overtook the prisons and seized more than 100 hostages. In what would become the longest-lasting prison takeover in US history, the Cuban detainees demanded due process reviews of their cases before they were deported. This paper will focus on these individual reviews to explore the demographic makeup of the Cuban detainees and their reasons for fleeing from Cuba. The paper also argues that the response to Mariel Cubans and the prison uprising set in motion a series of legislative changes that grew into what is now known as crimmigration.

Presented By
Elliott Young, Lewis & Clark College

Session Participants

Chair and Commentator: Lisa M. McGirr, Harvard University

Presenter: Yuko Itatsu, University of Tokyo

Presenter: Bryant Simon, Temple University

Presenter: Elliott Young, Lewis & Clark College