A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of by Matt Garcia

By Matt Garcia

Tracing the heritage of intercultural fight and cooperation within the citrus belt of better l. a., Matt Garcia explores the social and cultural forces that helped make the town the expansive and different city that it really is this present day. because the citrus-growing areas of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys in jap la County elevated through the early 20th century, the rural there constructed alongside segregated traces, essentially among white landowners and Mexican and Asian workers. at first, those groups have been sharply divided. yet la, not like different agricultural areas, observed vital possibilities for intercultural alternate improve round the arts and inside of multiethnic neighborhood teams. even if fostered in such casual settings as dance halls and theaters or in such formal companies because the Intercultural Council of Claremont or the Southern California solidarity Leagues, those interethnic encounters shaped the root for political cooperation to handle hard work discrimination and clear up difficulties of residential and academic segregation. although intercultural collaborations weren't constantly winning, Garcia argues that they represent a tremendous bankruptcy not just in Southern California's social and cultural improvement but additionally within the better historical past of yankee race relatives.

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Additional info for A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970

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Although I have made an effort to situate the history of Southern California in the broader history of the United States, as a native to the citrus belt I still value my home for the ‘‘exceptional’’ place that McWilliams understood it to be. In writing A World of Its Own I have attempted to combine the unabashed, passionate regionalism of McWilliams’s work with the fluorescent histories of Mexican American struggle, creativity, and labor throughout the twentieth century. In this way, I hope to complement the most perceptive interpreter of Southern California culture and pay tribute to the friends and family whose labor made it possible for me to make this contribution.

Headed by the indefatigable George Pigeon Clements, the department quickly grew into one of the most influential government agencies in California and the West, influencing farm operations from Fresno to the Mexican border. Clements believed that the prosperity of a great city or metropolis depended on its ability not only to feed itself, but also to dominate regional, and if possible, national markets. Southern California possessed an environment unusually endowed with rich agricultural land that allowed it to achieve these two objectives.

By exploring their participation in two types of cultural institutions, ‘‘Little Theater’’ and dance halls, I demonstrate how young Mexican Americans used popular culture to improve intercultural relations among the many people living in, and moving to, the San Gabriel Valley. Although mediated by segregation, material inequality, and the influence of white patrons, Mexican American thespians at the Padua Hills Theatre and a culturally diverse body of young musicians and audiences at dance halls such as Rainbow Gardens and El Monte American Legion Stadium imagined a world where the possibilities of interethnic communication and shared spaces became a reality.

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