From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • McNamara, Sarah
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964,” traces the transformation of Latina/o politics and culture in Ybor City and Tampa, Florida. This case study examines and compares the actions of two generations of Latinas as they fought for economic equality, social dignity, and political representation in the early battles for labor, women’s, and civil rights in the United States and abroad. I argue that Latinas were effective as political strategists and public figures because their gender facilitated their activism and protected them from the threats of racial and nativist violence experienced by men of color. In turn, these women’s actions and choices became part of a series of changes that would redefine the meaning and power of latinidad in Florida’s political culture. More than a story of regional activism, this project investigates the relationship between the nation and immigration. It considers the impact of global cultures on American identity to ask crucial questions about how race, ethnicity, and political affiliation influence who has access to American citizenship and why this matters. On the micro-level, this dissertation examines how Latinas and Latinos in Florida negotiated the racial and nativist political policies and social mores that governed their everyday lives. It is an untold story of Latina/os in the southeast—one that encourages scholars to consider Jim Crow’s reach as intersectional rather than black and white and highlights the interplay between different racial and ethnic groups as each sought representation. The broader implications of this case study illustrate how these histories of local and regional conflict underline present-day political battles. Historic precedents define and drive national debates surrounding immigration reform and social justice. Understanding the politics of the past brings visibility to unacknowledged histories and challenges resistance to a diverse and inclusive American identity.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Turk, Katherine
  • Deutsch, Sarah
  • Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd
  • Vargas, Zaragosa
  • Burrill, Emily
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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