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Neil Foley Lecture

Thursday, March 22, 2012

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

In his latest book, “Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity,” Neil Foley examines the issues and tensions that plagued Mexican Americans and African Americans in their efforts to end employment discrimination and school segregation during World War II and the years leading up to Brown v. Board of Education.

Neil Foley

Foley will discuss recurring themes from his book when he delivers the UT Arlington Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) Distinguished Lecture on April 18.  

The lecture, “Black and Brown in the Southwest: Historical Roots of Inter-ethnic Conflict and Cooperation,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in room 300 of the Chemistry Physics Building, 700 Planetarium Place. The event is free and open to the public.

Foley is a professor of history and American studies at The University of Texas at Austin. In the fall of 2012, he will join Southern Methodist University as the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair of History.

Susan Gonzalez Baker, UT Arlington associate professor of sociology and director of CMAS, said Foley’s lecture promises to be a “fascinating and timely look at how black and Latino advocacy groups were historically unable to work together on common topics and why.”

Foley says the issues are complex and he points to underlying differences in organizational strength, political affiliations, class position, level of assimilation and legal strategies.

“Quest for Equality reveals how these tensions and uncertainties—and African American-Latino efforts to overcome them—first emerged over fifty years ago in Texas and California where Mexican Americans and African Americans sought, against great odds, to cooperate with each other in the arenas of international civil rights politics, labor competition and educational equality,” Foley said.  “In the end, however, Mexican-American civil rights leaders and Mexican consuls saw little to gain and much to lose in joining hands with African Americans.”

Visit to learn more about UT Arlington’s Center for Mexican American Studies.

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