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Grant number like: FA-252520-17

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Danielle R. Olden
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9049)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018

Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America

A book-length study on school desegregation in Denver, Colorado, focusing on the impact on the Mexican American community.

Racial Uncertainties complicates understandings of school desegregation and racial formation in post-civil rights America. In a school desegregation case that was built around a black-white color line, Mexican Americans presented a challenge. Were they white or nonwhite? This debate was pivotal to the transformation of racial knowledge in the 1970s. As the courts wrangled over this question, Denverites tried to maneuver around the desegregation plan by claiming alternative races or by highlighting the arbitrariness of race, the elimination of which would have made it nearly impossible to create racial balance. Mexican Americans were central to these processes. The existence of such racial uncertainty is one of the hallmarks of the operation of race in modern America. It served an important ideological and political purpose: in the post-civil rights era anti-integrationists utilized the indeterminacy of Mexican American racial identity to frame their opposition to school desegregation.