Cameron University to examine the multiracial democratization of Texas with historian Dr. Max Krochmal

In conjunction with Cameron University‘s current academic festival “American Identities in the 21st Century”, the Department of Social Sciences will present Max Krochmal, author of “Blue Texas: The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era,” on Monday, March 26. In his book, Krochmal tells the story of the decades-long struggle for democracy in Texas among the state’s marginalized minorities. The presentation takes place in the McCasland Ballroom of the McMahon Centennial Complex and will start at 2 p.m. with a book signing to follow. The event is open to the public at no charge.

book cover of “In ‘Blue Texas,’ Max Krochmal has written a dynamic account of an often understudied area of Texas history,” says Dr. Edris Montalvo, Associate Professor of Geography. “The themes explored are clearly relevant in today’s political atmosphere. Through comprehensive research, oral histories, and thoughtful analysis, Dr. Krochmal’s ‘Blue Texas’ provides a compelling and provocative narrative that is a salient contribution to both Texas history and civil rights history.”

Max KrochmalKrochmal’s book spans four decades, beginning in the 1930s when African American, Mexican American, and white labor and community activists gradually came together to empower the state’s marginalized minorities. At the ballot box and in the streets, activists demanded not only integration but economic justice, labor rights, and real political power for all. Their efforts gave rise to the Democratic Coalition of the 1960s, a militant, multiracial alliance that would take on and eventually overthrow both Jim Crow and Juan Crow.

Using rare archival sources and original oral history interviews, Krochmal reveals the often-overlooked democratic foundations and liberal tradition of one of America’s most conservative states. “Blue Texas” remembers the many forgotten activists who, by crossing racial lines and building coalitions, democratized their cities and state to a degree that would have been unimaginable just a decade earlier.

“Blue Texas” has won multiple prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book from the Texas Institute of Letters. It was also supported by the Summerlee Fellowship in Texas History at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

An associate professor of history and founding director of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University, Krochmal is also the founder and director of the “Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project,” a statewide collaborative research initiative and digital humanities website that received a Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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March 14, 2018