Forgotten alliance: Jews, Chicanos, and the dynamics of class and race in Denver, Colorado, 1967-1971.
This is a narrative history of a short-lived, local Latino reform and cultural initiative, Denver's Centro Cultural, which developed with the support of the American Jewish Committee affiliate in that city. It unfolds within the late 1960s heyday of Black and Brown Power nationally, and in the Denver of Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales's militant Crusade for Justice. The article tells the story of the personalities, and tensions, instrumental in the rise and fall of Centro Cultural. It further opens out onto much broader issues concerning Jewish-Latino relations, and the differing but overlapping trajectories of revolutionary late '60s nationalist movements and ones premised on cultural nationalism and relative moderation.
In the late 1960s as civil rights coalitions were breaking down into highly politicized ethnic groups, a small group of Jews and Chicanos in Denver were attempting to buck the trend. (1) Denver's political and racial landscape looked quite different from other hotbeds of racial tension like Oakland, Detroit, and Chicago, given its more complicated racial landscape made up of three different officially designated racial groups: white, black, and Hispanic. As the coalition politics among Jews and blacks broke down across the country, some groups, like the Denver Unit of the American Jewish Committee (AJC Denver), attempted to build new forms of coalition, and in Denver, those happened between Jews and Chicanos. (2)
This coalition between Jews and Chicanos was named Centro Cultural, and it took root within Denver's West Side. At more than sixty percent of the population, Chicanos were the majority ethnicity in the areas of Lincoln Park, Baker Junior High School, and Auraria, which comprised the West Side at this time. Chicanos, on the other hand, made up slightly less than seventeen percent of the total population of Denver, which hovered around half a million during the 1960s. The remainder of the population of the Mile-High City comprised African Americans and Anglos, at about ten and seventy five percent, respectively. Most Jews living in and around these three Chicano neighborhoods, but especially Auraria, had already moved southeast, away from the declining urban core and into the predominately white neighborhood of Hilltop. Indeed, Jewish neighborhoods to the immediate west and east of Auraria had been in decline for more than a decade. Moreover, Jewish institutions either were in the process of moving or had already done so. For example, the Guldman Center, a Jewish community center to the west of Auraria, shuttered its doors in 1964 and relocated under a different name near Hilltop. (3)
Despite the recent residential distance between Jews and Chicanos, however, this interethnic coalition, working in the spirit of civil rights for all peoples, tried to empower Chicanos on the West Side through the arts, engaged in efforts to secure a more just public school system, and created a safe and inviting venue where individuals and organizations could socialize and organize. Moreover, Centro Cultural was a non-violent, interethnic, and coalitional alternative to the militant Crusade for Justice, which was the most vocal and volatile of all Chicano rights organizations in Denver at this time. (4) At the same time, Centro Cultural's story is also about the conflicting cultural identities between Jews and Chicanos. In other words, did Chicanos perceive Jews as Anglo, or an equally persecuted ethnic minority on the fringes of American life? Moreover, how did members of the AJC perceive their own place as ethnic outsiders? Evidence suggests that Chicanos did not conceptualize Jews as ethnic outsiders, but as privileged Anglos, and in some cases challenged individual Jews on their own identification as a persecuted people in the United States. Analysis of this tension will add to the increasing body of literature on Jews and whiteness, illustrating how yet another ethnic group eventually grew to view Jews as white folks, and how Jews reacted to and navigated this reality. (5)
While my central theme is the story of Centro Cultural as an interethnic coalition and the interplay of whiteness within that organization, I will also address a second theme, and that theme is the clash between cultural and social activism, and the link to ethnicity and class. For example, as an institution founded by middle-class professionals--lawyers, teachers, scholars and businessmen--Centro attempted to walk a fine line when it came to the image it presented to the community; namely, whether to be an organization grounded in the dissemination of cultural heritage, which all its founders considered safe and non-controversial, or a politically strident organization focused on social action, which many of its founders considered militant and controversial. As I will argue, however, the clash between cultural and social activism was unavoidable in the case of Centro. It eventually had to deemphasize cultural activities, such as plays, history classes, and language courses, and focus on the day-to-day needs of the surrounding community With these two themes in mind, it is time to tell and analyze the case of Centro Cultural.
The story of Centro Cultural and Jewish-Chicano cooperation in Denver begins with a Jewish woman from Pennsylvania, Judith Brostoff, and her future husband Jesse Sauceda, a Mexican American from Texas. It was her asthma and Colorado's arid climate that compelled the young and impressionable Brostoff to come west in 1946. More important, however, it was far away from her controlling parents back east. While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, Judith studied education, English, and art and eventually fell in love with a dashing Mexican-American man by the name of Jesse Sauceda. (6) Jesse was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and, according to the Rocky Mountain News, "moved to Texas with his family when he was four years old." (7) After serving in World War II, Jesse came to Colorado and studied education and law. The courtship between Judith and Jesse lasted three long years, and in 1949, they married. As Judith recalled, "I had one hell of a wingding [in Colorado at that time]." (8) She also recounted that part of the reason behind marrying Jesse was to avoid going back home where she would have to face her disapproving father. For their honeymoon, Jesse took his new "Jewish wife [Judith] and mother to Mexico City." (9) His mother had never been to the capital and he "couldn't resist." (10) "That," wrote the News, "was Mrs. Sauceda's [Judith's] introduction to Mexican culture." (11) That trip may have been her introduction, but it was through her own four children and marriage, in her words, that "she [eventually] became a part of the Hispanic community." (12)
By 1967, Judith was teaching at Baker Junior High School at a time when Chicano activism was on the rise among the students in her predominantly Mexican neighborhood. In her oral history, she recalled an episode there that appeared to disturb her core values as a human being: "I was teaching at Baker ... and I had a kid, his name was Padilla ... He told me a story that he was trained in using guns on the roof of the Crusade in case there was an attack. I was aghast. How could you! How could you train a kid like this! And I just could not abide by that. I didn't want any part of what they [the Crusade] were doing to the youth." (13) After that unsettling incident, Judith and Jesse severed ties with the Crusade and began to become more involved in the newly founded AJC Denver. In essence, this episode created a moment of opportunity for Jews to engage constructively with the West Side's Chicano community.
That same year, Roger C. Cohen, Gordon Rosenblum, and Pearl Alperstein informally organized AJC Denver--it was officially chartered one year later by the national organization headquartered in New York City. The national AJC was founded in 1906 in response to antisemitic outbreaks in Russia. Throughout the decades, however, it grew into a global Jewish defense organization. (14) In Denver at the time, only twelve to fifteen couples, including the Saucedas, were involved in the loosely knit Denver chapter. In fact, Cohen and Rosenblum, two local attorneys, had hired Alperstein to organize the chapter and find it some constructive projects, Alperstein was an organizer for the Jefferson County League of Women Voters and had just come off a failed campaign to get the future Democratic governor of Colorado, Roy Romer (1987-1999), elected to the United States Senate. Inspired by the civil and social turmoil in the country--the riots in African-American ghettos, opposition to the Vietnam War, and the increasing radicalization of the civil rights movement--AJC Denver began a program, in conjunction with Sheldon Steinhauser at the Mountain States Office of the Anti-Defamation League, to end discrimination in the elite men's clubs in downtown Denver. (15)
The Denver Club, University Club, and Denver Athletic Club, as well as the Town Club, which was exclusively Jewish, all received letters and private visits from members of AJC Denver. In her oral history, Alperstein reasoned that it would be unfair to force Gentile clubs to end their discrimination, while not pressuring the Town Club to drop its Jewish-only requirement. Ironically, organizations like the Town Club were founded in response to exclusionary policies in clubs run by Gentiles. But the point of demanding no more separate clubs in Denver (16) was AJC Denver's adoption of a philosophy of unsegregated space even for Jewish groups and organizations like the Town Club. In essence, this meant that AJC Denver was utilizing its class and position of whiteness to end all discriminatory practices in Denver. Indeed, not just anyone could approach the powerful men who operated these exclusive institutions.
One particular strategy of AJC Denver was to visit with the boards of directors and "educate" them on the injustice of their discriminatory practices. AJC Denver also scheduled informal meetings with the presidents of these establishments. Occasionally, however, these executives avoided AJC Denver members. This apparently happened, for example, with the Denver Club, which was slow to capitulate in changing its policies. Nevertheless, in most cases the clubs dropped their discriminatory practices toward people of color, Jews, and in the case of the Town Club, Gentiles. (17)
After the successful campaign to end discrimination in the downtown clubs, AJC Denver began to take note of the Chicano Rights Movement, which was beginning to become more vocal and visible in Denver and across the country. The Chicano Rights Movement (el movitniento) did not have a single charismatic leader to coalesce around, or even a coherent ideology or a long-term goal. Moreover, its leaders and participants differed on the direction it should go and even the set of symbols it should use. However, despite this lack of coherence the movimiento hoped to address a number of pressing social issues that negatively affected the quality of life of most Mexican Americans--chief among them an underfunded and often racist educational system. Across the Southwest, Mexican American students staged walkouts (sometimes peaceful and sometimes violent) at schools, protesting unequal and bigoted treatment at the hands of school officials and curricula that ignored Mexican history and culture. (18)
Entwined with this struggle for social and political justice was also a call for cultural renewal that embraced the Indian-mestizo side of Mexican culture. In other words, "brown was beautiful," and some, but certainly not all, Mexican Americans began referring to themselves in novel ways in recognition of this heightened sense of cultural awareness and pride. In fact, the term "Chicano," as historian Sarah Deutsch has shown, "originated as a pejorative term, an abbreviation of 'Mexicano.'" Nevertheless, whatever Mexican Americans called themselves, they all agreed on one thing--that the oppressive conditions they experienced on a daily basis had to end. (19)
In Denver, the name Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales was synonymous with the movimiento. Born in Denver in 1928, he attended West High School. An amateur boxer, restaurateur, and bail bondsman, he found economic prosperity in the Mile-High City. Gonzales even attained some degree of political notoriety within the Democratic Party and later became director of the local Neighborhood Youth Corps, a federal program intended to create jobs for disadvantaged youths. That all came to a crashing end in 1966, however, when Mayor Thomas Currigan fired Gonzales, accusing him of discriminating against black children. The very same year Gonzales launched his Crusade for Justice. (20)
Gonzales' organization was revolutionary in nature and dedicated to rejecting the established political, social, and economic order. "[W]ork against the system," he argued, "Let's ... work against the two parties that I say are like an animal with two heads eating out of the same trough, that sits on the same board of directors of the banks and corporations, that shares in the same industries that make dollars and profits off wars" (21) As for any Chicano who wanted to work from within the system to change it, Gonzales suggested that such a person was "not an ally, he becomes an enemy because he's contaminated." (22) More belligerently, he continued, "in communities where we are a majority ... You can create your own security groups, and place a gun here to protect the people, not to harass them, but to protect them from the Man who is going to come in from the outside" (23) Historian Richard Gould argues, "the Crusade for Justice cultivated an aura of violence that proved counterproductive in the end." (24) In other words, it alienated middle-class Chicanos like Jesse who were interested in a nonviolent means of change. Indeed, the actions and rhetoric of the Crusade equally concerned middle-class Jews in Denver. In remembering the Crusade, Alperstein insisted that "individuals [in AJC Denver] were ... frightened by the kind of violence that could erupt around the Crusade for Justice. They thought there could be a better way." (25) However, it is important to point out that both Centro and the Crusade did have overlapping goals at times. For example, they both worked to save the Auraria neighborhood from the bulldozers of urban renewal and promoted Chicano history and culture within the city.
In September 1967, that "better" approach to Chicano rights in Denver began to emerge at the Saucedas' home not far from Lincoln High School, a majority Chicano school. Members of AJC Denver and middle-class segments of the Chicano community came to the Saucedas' home for cocktails and to discuss issues affecting Denver's West Side. At one of these parties, the Saucedas suggested that a Chicano cultural center might be worthy of AJC Denver's time and limited financial resources. They might have suggested such a venture because Denver's Chicano community was lacking a dedicated cultural center, and because such a proposal would not be construed as controversial and confrontational by Anglos. (26) Moreover, it was a cultural approach to Chicano civil rights that was missing in Denver at this time. After several more meetings at the Saucedas' home, "it boiled down to those who were really interested in the project ... Those who remained interested became board members. It was as simple as that," said Judith. (27) In effect, the Saucedas became the catalyst that got AJC Denver involved with the Chicano Rights Movement in Denver. Moreover, such a project was in alignment with AJC Denver's concerns with the civil rights of all peoples, not just Jews.
By 1968, Jesse laid out the aims of the organization, which the board had named Centro Cultural. He stated that the chief task of Centro was "to give primarily the young people a pride in themselves and a knowledge of their heritage. ... Unless a person has pride in himself ... these other programs [government welfare] are meaningless. If he has pride the other programs are unneeded. He can fight his own way through life." Simply put, Jesse was in opposition to President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty and its focus on social welfare in urban areas. Pride, in Jesse's estimation, started with an understanding of history. "The books in the whole school system," he observed, "are oriented towards an Anglo society excluding the contributions of other groups which are not Anglo." He elaborated on this point by stating, "A lot of the history of the Southwest is primarily the history of the Mexican-American people. Basically, the textbooks ignore this or place it in a bad light. They leave the child with the impression that he is not a first-class citizen." Perhaps that is why Jesse emphasized the fact that Centro planned to have a library with "all the major works of the Southwest in both Spanish and English." In this planning phase, Centro also had hopes of offering Spanish language courses, sculpture classes, dance classes, and art exhibits. The board lined up five volunteer teachers to conduct the classes, and they had a printing press, too. (28) The significance of this early work to get the center up and running demonstrated that AJC Denver and the Chicanos on the board of Centro were working as a cohesive unit.
Moreover, the broader Jewish community covered, and to a certain extent accepted, this unique partnership. For example, the Intermountain Jewish News, a local Jewish weekly in Denver, reported positively on Centro in November of 1968. In this article, the Jewish News emphasized the constructive role AJC Denver members were playing in the organization, and the fact that "Centro Cultural owes its existence to a Jewish organization--The American Jewish Committee." (29) Paternalistic language like this also suggests that Jews believed that Chicanos were incapable of establishing a cultural center on their own and needed the help of white liberal Jews to get it established. Indeed, it is important to keep in mind that feelings of paternalism would eventually permeate the relationship between Jews and Chicanos on Centro's board and become a factor in AJC Denver's exit from the organization in 1971. However, before feelings of paternalism emerged, Centro had to find a suitable building to conduct the day-to-day operations of the center.
That task was assigned to Harvey Deutsch, a local real estate attorney and AJC Denver member. Deutsch conducted negotiations with the Inner City Ministry, which owned a Spanish Methodist church on 935 West Eleventh Avenue, between Kalamath Street and Santa Fe Drive in the heart of the West Side. The Inner City Ministry eventually agreed to lease the building to Centro for one dollar a year for three years. Centro's board formally accepted the offer on June 19,1968 and devised a plan to fix the rundown building. (30) In the months that followed, Centro's board organized a community effort to fix the church. (31) The Denver Post noted that children from the surrounding neighborhood came to help lay brick for an outdoor patio. Other kids, like Steve Ruy-bal and Tom Koyama, "mix[ed] paint at the church which will house future art shows." (32) The more active members of Centro, like Sister Lydia Marie Pena, a professor at Lorreto Heights College; Gilbert Martinez, a union organizer in the meatpacking industry; Ed Lucero, Centro's treasurer and a local accountant; and Levi Beall, director of the Neighborhood Youth Corps, all took to diligently painting the brown chairs of the former sanctuary. (33) However, the United Church of Christ provided most of the funding necessary to bring the building up to code. The Mershon-Gimeno Construction Company renovated it at cost. (34)
As Centro began to take shape as a cultural center, there still remained the task of selecting a suitable director. Minutes from August 13,1968 indicate that Centro's leadership formed a personnel committee, consisting of two AJC Denver members and a Chicano. (35) However, it was not until February 3, 1969 that Centra's board decided unanimously to hire Gilbert Martinez for the job. (36) Martinez was out of a job and needed the modest pay of $10,000 a year to feed his family. The Saucedas counted Martinez as a friend and an ally, and--crucially--the community trusted him. Whether he was a competent director was irrelevant. In the end, all that mattered was that he gave Centro credibility on the streets, and especially with the working-class Chicanos who labored in Denver's meatpacking district. (37) In other words, they recognized the class divide between themselves and those to whom they were preaching.
Early funding for day-to-day operations of the center came in the form of grants and loans. For example, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver gave $52,610 to five community groups in mid 1969. Among these groups was Centro, which was awarded $10,665 on the condition that it "provide trained personnel for programs to stimulate in the Hispanic community creativity and an appreciation of its cultural background" (38) In addition, AJC Denver guaranteed a $3,000 dollar loan. (39) Unfortunately, funding issues would plague Centro for the duration of its short life.
Securing income for the center was vital, to be sure, but highlighting Centro and its charismatic chairman, Jesse, on the national scale was important as well. In early March of 1969, Jesse traveled to Palm Springs, California to address the Western Regional Conference of the American Jewish Committee. "Some 200 delegates," according to the AJC Newsletter, "augmented by many Palm Springs residents and national members who are part of the'winter colony' heard an outstanding cast of speakers pose questions and answers on the theme '1969--Progress or Conflict?'" The chairman of the Western Region, Dr. Max W. Bay, outlined the AJC's agenda for the conference. First, he announced, we must "[d]eal more effectively with the issue of identity--the roles and behavior of Jews in a pluralistic society." He then called for an acceleration of AJC's "work in the metropolitan areas to provide job opportunities, better education, more adequate housing, and full equity for all groups in our society." Above all, however, he declared that the AJC must "[m]aintain a constant vigilance toward those extremist forces in our society which threaten to undermine and destroy our democratic institutions." Perhaps that was the reason why the AJC invited a reform-minded Chicano to speak at a conference that focused heavily on the volatile question of race relations in the United States. In essence, Jesse became the "Mexican-American point of view" for the conference, speaking on behalf of all Chicanos. Indeed, the AJC Newsletter referred to Jesse as "a charming, eloquent and gifted spokesperson for [the] Mexican American culture of the Southwest" (40)
The AJC's inviting Jesse and other peoples of color to the Western Regional Conference also indicates that the dean of all Jewish communal agencies was following through with its national agenda of "new pluralism." Historian Arthur Goren described this ambitious program as an insistence "that ethnic group life and ethnic group interests were permanent and central features of American society that necessitated public recognition." In other words, "Only if public policy responded to the legitimate grievances and needs of the ethnic group ... would it be possible to stop the 'polarization' of American society into black and white, haves and have nots." (41) Therefore, in a larger context, the AJC was attempting to constructively engage different ethnic and racial groups, including African Americans, Chicanos, and ethnic whites, to discuss and guide racial policy in the United States in an effort to avoid the racial meltdowns that had been witnessed in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and Detroit.
The question over race, racial privilege, and the polarization of American society became clear in the Friday morning session. Harry Ashmore, executive vice president of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, chaired this session, which included Jesse, Hyman Bookbinder of AJC Washington, D.C, and an African-American politician, San Francisco Assemblyman Willie Brown, Jr. Ashmore expressed concern over the radicalization of individuals and the rejection of democratic values. Bookbinder, adhering to the dogma of the AJC's new pluralism, described the racial polarization gripping the country: "We are a year closer to being two societies, black and white, increasingly separate and scarcely less equal." Assemblyman Brown attempted to reassure the conferees that "[o]n the question of Black anti-Semitism ... it was not a general attitude in the Black community." On the other hand, he added that African Americans were not mistrustful of Jews because of their faith, but because they had "white skin" Seizing on the issue of Jews' whiteness and claim to ethnic outsider status, Jesse proceeded to systematically reject Jews' attempt to suggest that Jews and Mexican Americans could make common cause around their equal marginalization."We [Mexican Americans] don't see ourselves as you [Jews] see yourselves. Your forbearers wanted to seek a new life, rejecting their old world life for the new. Mexican-Americans cannot reject their history ... [and] if we are to make adaptation, you have to adapt to us. America is not a melting pot, but boxes layered upon each other, bounded by barrios and colonies, and gilded ghettos." (42) In other words, when Jesse surveyed the audience he saw a people who were completely white, and who benefited from that status in any number of social, political, and economic ways. He did not perceive a similarly persecuted people attempting to identify with him and his people's struggle. This also meant that this alliance between Jews and Chicanos in Denver was fragile, and was perhaps on a trajectory to be short lived due to the fundamental issue of whiteness. For although Jews were advocating for a pluralistic society where the rights of different ethnic and racial groups were respected, recognized, and celebrated, it also appears that this was a double-edged sword, since at the same time Chicanos and African Americans were calling out Jews on their own whiteness. Indeed, Jews were not the ethnic outsiders they had thought they had been.
Michael Alexander, in his work, Jazz Age Jews, argued that Jews "imitating, defending, and actually participating in the group life of marginalized Americans" is nothing new. (43) He termed this behavior "outsider identification, and it is a paradox in the psychology of American Jewry." (44) Judith personified this behavior of taking part in the political, social, and cultural life of "marginalized Americans" and took great offense when others challenged it. In essence, she not only identified with the plight of Chicanos, but as a Jew saw herself as a persecuted ethnic minority as well. To a certain extent, this attitude also reinforces Jesse's perception of Jews as Anglos. For example, Judith recounted that a Chicana told her at a party that she would never understand "what it means to sit in the balcony." (45) In response to that comment, Judith invoked the tragedy of the Holocaust to justify her status as a marginalized ethnic minority. "Six million Jews aren't enough," she said, "six million Jews aren't enough, and I don't know what it means to sit in the balcony!" (46) Decades later the indignation in her voice was palpable, indicating that she still did not recognize that there were some aspects of Chicano life that she, and other Jews, would never comprehend, no matter how hard they clung to the belief that they were somehow on the fringes of American society.
African Americans, as I have demonstrated, also questioned Jews' status as marginalized Americans. Historian Eric L. Goldstein observed in his study, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity, that "Jews after 1965 encountered a [similar] rejection by African Americans, who often challenged their right to present themselves as a persecuted minority." (47) Black nationalism, as it turned out, was changing the dialogue to that of a black-white dynamic between Jews and African Americans, and on that account, Jews were most certainly perceived by African Americans as part of the white power structure. For example, Goldstein noted how prominent African-American thinkers like James Baldwin and Harold Cruse "had already begun to develop [by 1967] a new critique of American Jewish identity" that rejected the equating of Jewish suffering with that of African-American suffering. (48) As the Chicano Rights Movement was several years behind that of the Black Civil Rights Movement in asserting itself, one can see how such ideas influenced Chicanos like Jesse and the Chicana who confronted Judith about her claim to ethnic marginalization in American life. In effect, these confrontations became a brown-white dialogue between Chicanos and Jews and--ironically--Chicano rejection of Jews' status as co-persecuted American minorities.
When Jesse returned to Denver from Palm Springs in 1969, Centro gradually began to become more engaged in social activism along the West Side. Cultural programs that instilled a sense of pride and history in the West Side's youth were important, to be sure, but the practical problems of the barrio began to become more obvious and unavoidable. For years, for example, Denver Public Schools had been ignoring the educational needs of Chicano students. Even worse, accusations began to surface that a certain teacher at West High School, Harry Schafer, was being verbally abusive to Spanish-surnamed students, insinuating that they were lazy, stupid, and ugly. (49) Such blatant racism prompted a student rebellion at West High on March 20 and 21. Remembering the rebellion, Judith recalled two of her art students--by then she was teaching at West High--"jumping on police cars and just destroying them." (50) In response to the upheaval at the school, Centro hosted a meeting to solidify unity among the community for change in the schools.
For two hours, on March 23, 150 Chicanos packed the former sanctuary on West Eleventh Avenue. Speakers at the gathering included A. Edgar Benton, a member of the Denver Board of Education who sought reelection in the May 20 election, and attorney Monte D. Pascoe, also a candidate in the school board race. Jesse introduced the two candidates and stated that Centro "had considered running Chicano candidates of their own, but decided instead to endorse the two Anglo candidates on the understanding they would seek to work for Mexican-American interests." Jesse's political calculation to endorse the two white men for the school board was probably based upon the belief that a Chicano candidate could not win in the fast-approaching election. Later, when the audience began to become critical of the two candidates, but especially of Benton, Jesse argued that Benton "has offered the most sympathetic ear of any school board member to Hispano complaints and problems." Pascoe, on the other hand, was "convinced that new technology such as computer teaching and expanded use of television could be put to work quickly to improve the quality of education in all Denver schools." He also asserted that the only way to bring this about was through "integration," which was a liberal response to rising calls for ethnic separatism in the form of specifically Chicano political candidates and self-defense forces. Rhetoric about technology and integration only angered members of the audience, for "they preferred to hear talk of immediate improvement in the schools as they are now constituted, rather than promises of integration or improved technology later." Some even argued that integration "would Anglicize them and destroy cultural identity." A Chicano teacher at West High, Jesus Sena, came under harsh criticism from the audience when he suggested, "a basic problem in the school is lack of communication between West and the parents of its students or the community in general." (51)
As the meeting dragged on and began to degenerate into all-out infighting, an unidentified Chicana stood up and "insisted [that] such ... fighting has historically undercut the Mexican-American's hopes for unity.""We need to unite," she said, "We always have good ideas but we don't back them up." Martinez echoed this woman's sentiments: "If we are going to have unity and brotherhood it must start with our own people. For too long--you know this--we have been fighting with each other." Finally, at the end of the meeting, and at Jesse's insistence, the group adopted several resolutions that would be sent to school officials: one called for the repealing of "a state law banning teaching in any language but English"; another demanded "accurate teaching of black and Chicano history"; still another wanted the Denver Board of Education increased to nine members, "elected by districts"; "opposed was one giving police officers greater power to make arrests"; and "a resolution backing West students as well as calling for a Mexican-American principal and more Hispano teachers there." (52) By April, according to historian Ernesto Vigil, "school officials were now more attentive to student demands." (53) With the situation at West High now seemingly under control, Centro now looked forward to its grand opening.
Although Centro had been informally open since 1968, it was not until early May 1969, two months after the West High incident, that it held its grand opening. Centro officials planned a grand fiesta from May 2 to the eve of Cinco de Mayo. In an April 23 article, the Denver Post reported that the fiesta would include "serenading, dancing and parading," and that "the celebration starts at 7 p.m. May 2 in Centro's auditorium with live music provided by youngsters from 5 to 11 years old.""Later," the Post continued, "the slide show, 'Zapotec: People of the Clouds' will be shown. It can be seen again on May 4. The first night will end with a community songfest." (54) This program tells us that although Centro flirted with social activism on the West Side, it was still primarily interested in exhibiting art, history, and cultural heritage, which it felt was its unique contribution to the West Side. Moreover, it was concerned with tapping into the neglected Indian roots of the Chicano community. For example, one of its most popular cultural programs was a weekly dance class where local youths from the barrio would come and perform traditional Mexican, Aztec, and Mayan dances. Eventually, a dance troupe formed out of these classes and performed at local high schools, businesses, and churches. (55)
On the second day of festivities, Centro planned a parade at the Sunken Gardens Park near West High, with "floats entered by various Latin-American student clubs from Denver schools, mariachi bands and horseback riders." (56) At Centro's headquarters, Chicano merchants set up booths. For example, El Galeon, a Larimer Square Mexican import shop, was advertising all its "merchandise at a 20 per cent discount" for those who attended. (57) Guitarist and singer Arnold Gonzales, owner of the Casa Mayan restaurant, provided music for the live stage. The Rocky Mountain News reported on May 4 that "[s]ince Friday evening, a grand fiesta has been in progress and Sunday it will wind up with a mariachi mass at 11 a.m., the ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. and entertainment through the afternoon." The center, the News observed, "has been swept, adorned and decorated, and filled with paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and craft objects by Hispano artists from the Denver area and the entire Southwest." There was even "a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe ... Included are several santos carvings, the religious folk art of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.""Besides the santos," the News continued, there are other examples of folk and native art including several of those droll terra cotta dogs created by the Colima Indians of Mexico, tinwork masks and textiles." Charlotte Espinoza, a local artist and art instructor at Centro, even had her "protest" paintings featured during the grand opening. (58)
The grand opening became a symbol, uniting, at least temporarily, Jews and Chicanos. In addition, it served as a peaceful contrast to the riots that had occurred at West High. Indeed, weeks of work went into organizing the grand opening, and it went off without a hitch. In fact, "approximately fifteen thousand people--most of them from Denver's 'Chicano' west side filled the center and the adjoining street." (59) Years later, Harvey Deutsch happily remembered taking his children to the grand opening and delighting in its festivities. (60) Even dyed-in-the-wool politicians like Lieutenant Governor Mark Ho-gan gladly took time out of their busy schedules for a photo op with Centro members Espinoza, Martinez, and Jesse, who gave him his ticket in the form of a ducat. (61) Centro was not the Crusade, after all. It was, in the words of Judith, "middle of the road." (62) On the other hand, being "middle of road" meant moderating Chicano activism and alienating the Crusade.
As 1969 wore on, a debate began to emerge within Centro: would the center continue with its cultural programming, or wholeheartedly dedicate itself to social activism? It had played an important role as a platform for the community to voice its complaints about the schools, but would it endanger its primary mission as an institution promoting culture? At its August 7 meeting, board members discussed the very mission of Centro. As the minutes reflect:
The Board then discussed the purpose of Centro Cultural and its role in the Mexican-American community. Lena Archuleta felt that Centro should be primarily cultural. Ed Lucero felt that Centro shouldn't duplicate the Crusade ... He felt that Centro had spent $14,000.00 in the last year and had little to show for it. Levi Beall also felt that Centro shouldn't get involved in social action issues, such as the UMAS demands or the Splash-In. Jeff Sachs suggested that once Centro was well-established, perhaps in three or four years, that it could then deal with social issues without losing its identity. (63)
On the other side of the issue, "Gil Martinez, Bal Chaves, and Cyndi Khan felt that Centro must become relevant to the local West Side Hispano community. The group recognized the difficulty in drawing a line between cultural and social issues." At the end of the meeting, Centro's board concluded "that until Centro Cultural is in better financial shape that Centro and its director should put priority on cultural and not social activities." (64) In retrospect, the debate within Centro seemed to be concerned with the Crusade, and replicating actions that would stain Centro as militant. Tellingly, social activists like Martinez and Khan wanted to marginalize cultural activists like Lucero and Archuleta, indicating an ideological rift. Despite the conclusion of the board, however, and the apparent triumph of the cultural activists, events on the West Side would once more compel Centro to act on behalf of the people. Urban renewal and its bulldozers were coming.
The West Side's Auraria section consisted of about three hundred low-income Chicano families who had lived there for decades. Indeed, Mexicans had been migrating to Auraria since the 1920s, establishing mutual aid societies like the Sociedad Mutualista Mexico and the Sociedad Protectora Hispana Americana, Moreover, St. Cajetan's Church, which was built in 1926 in the Spanish Colonial style, served as the center of Chicano life in the area, providing a school, clinic, and credit union. However, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) viewed the neighborhood as a central location for an urban campus that would house the University of Colorado, Denver, Metropolitan State College, and the Community College of Denver. (65) In her work, the History of the Hispanic Settlers of Auraria, Magdalena Gallegos writes, "In the Sixties the people in the neighborhood did not know what was being planned for them until the decision had already been made." (66) When Auraria residents first heard of the plan for the urban campus, it was only a matter of months before the proposed six million dollar special bond election to fund it. Urban renewal authorities did little more than leaflet neighborhood homes about the proposed dislocation and dismemberment of their community. (67)
With Auraria residents in a state of shock and panic in late 1969, they looked to two main West Side institutions for help: Centro Cultural and the Auraria Residents Organization, which was headed by Father Pete Garcia, pastor of St. Cajetan's Church. According to Gould, these "[t]wo organizations led the resistance" against DURA and CCHE. (68) While Father Garcia hammered away at DURA and CCHE from the pulpit, Bal Chaves and Waldo Benavidez, both Centro directors, confronted the movers and shakers in the corridors of power atop Capitol Hill. In late October, Chaves and Benavidez, along with other representatives of Chicano groups including the Crusade, trekked to Lieutenant Governor Mark Hogan's office to pressure him to come out against the urban campus. (69) During an hour-long session, Chaves and Benavidez attempted to secure the support of the uncommitted Democrat. However, as time went on, Chaves realized that he was getting nowhere with the politician; in fact, all Hogan agreed to do was to serve on a committee to make sure those who were displaced were dealt with fairly. Disgusted with Hogan's neutrality on the issue, he walked out of the meeting. Indeed, Chaves expressed that he "felt that we were getting a lot of double talk. ... He was saying a lot of nice things but wasn't taking part. He was saying in effect,'Why should I get involved in the controversy?'" (70) Benavidez, on the other hand, kept a cooler head, stating, "We feel since he (Hogan) is a candidate for governor, he will be in a position to help us." (71) Perhaps Benavidez was insinuating that if Hogan wanted to win in the next gubernatorial election, he would come out against the project. He never did, and on November 4, 1969 voters narrowly passed the measure to fund the urban campus. (72)
In the aftermath of the devastating November defeat, the West Side began to mobilize in a coordinated effort to take control of their community; a great deal of Auraria may have been consigned to the bulldozers of urban renewal, but what was left of the West Side had to be preserved and developed on the residents' terms. Minutes from December 3,1969 reveal, "Four Centro Board members have been involved in establishing the West Side Coalition." (73) Moreover, Benavidez went on to explain, "the Coalition was formed basically from groups which had opposed Auraria. Its purpose is to redevelop West Denver as a residential community. The groups will coordinate individual organization efforts. They wish to hire a planner for the West Side." In addition, the board chose Chaves and Martinez to be Centro's representatives on the Coalition. (74) Although victories for the Coalition were modest, they did, according to Gould, prevent "an additional one-way street from running through the neighborhood; they stopped a Greyhound Bus terminal--another industrial encroachment--from being built near West Colfax. They closed down an X-rated theatre near Santa Fe, and they helped get a new health center and new recreation center for the neighborhood." (75)
While the Coalition was gearing up its activities, Centro was making a concerted effort to become more activistic within the West Side. The Auraria crisis had finally taught them that being on the fence with regard to social and political issues was a mistake. It also signaled the triumph of the social activists within Centro. In fact, what appears to be an amended mission statement demonstrates that social activism was now a core goal of the organization. "After several months work in the community," it reads, "the Board of Centro Cultural realized that by holding the center aloof from the real and immediate practical problems of thepeople [sic] they had pledged to help, their work would be largely ineffective; pride cannot be engendered in a powerless community" (76) By late November, according to the Rocky Mountain News, Centro was giving a "six-hour driving education class, designed primarily for Mexican-Americans who anticipate difficulty with the driver's exam." (77) "Nearly 85% of the 200 people who took the course passed the exam and received their licenses," reads a 1971 report from the center. Some individuals even went on "to acquire chauffeur's licenses." (78) It is no surprise, then, that this class was one of the most successful and popular of all the courses and activities hosted at the center. Its other activities attracted relatively little interest, except for the traditional dance classes. Mobility, it seems, was more important to Westsiders than plays and pottery classes.
By 1970, Centro was hosting a number of West Side organizations and continuing on its newly charted course of social activism. (79) AJC Denver, on the other hand, was deeply concerned about the financial stability of Centro, and the fact that Jesse was looking to become less involved in the center's activities due to obligations at his law practice. More important, however, AJC Denver members believed that their role in the organization was becoming increasingly paternalistic, and that this paternalism was generating a feeling that "Anglos are running everything." (80) This fact suggests that at this point AJC Denver members were aware of the fact that Chicanos were perceiving them as being white and domineering, and that this was interfering with the success of the venture as a whole. Indeed, up until 1971, AJC Denver members had written most of Centro's proposals. (81) On the other hand, it is unclear whether the Chicano members of Centro ever took the initiative to write any of the proposals in the first place.
Layered on top of feelings of paternalism on the part of the Jewish participants was a creeping antisemitism among some members of the Mexican-American community. Judith, for instance, remembered a Chicana who referred to her as a "rich Jewish bitch." (82) AJC Denver's Jean Dichter wrote that Chicanos seem to believe "that all Jews are rich.'" (83) Simply put, fierce antisemitism may have changed Jewish perceptions of Chicanos for the worse. This echoes the parting of ways of Jewish and African-American activists in the late 1960s. However, it was Centro's financial insolvency and tax issues that finally caused AJC Denver to end its relationship with the organization it had helped to found.
Centro was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service and owed thousands of dollars in back taxes. Apparently, Martinez had not paid withholding for the center's employees. Learning of this, George Kellman, AJC counsel in New York, advised that AJC Denver cease all involvement with the organization they had helped to found: "With regard to what you [Neil Sandberg of AJC Denver] have characterized as 'future involvement with Centro', my advice is 'none."'"Above all," he emphasized, "there should be no future involvement of AJC in this organization in any shape, manner or form. Once the obligations [an AJC guaranteed loan to Centro] are cleared off, it might be that in some way ... AJC could take credit in responsive quarters for having been a catalyst of a much needed group, which, having been born, now charts its own course and leads its own life." (84)
Kellman's reaction to the tax situation at Centro was one of an individual, a thoroughly law-abiding individual, reflexively recoiling from a lawbreaker. In other words, Kellman was saying to AJC Denver that Jews did not associate with lawbreakers, and by implication those lawbreakers were Chicanos. On the other hand, Chicano members of Centro did not view the tax situation as seriously as Kellman did. In fact, they had worked out a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service that only required the principal to be paid, with no further penalty. (85) However, by the summer of 1971, AJC Denver had taken the advice of Kellman and withdrawn from all Centro-sponsored activities, most likely causing the collapse of the organization later that year. (86) In addition, Centro was in need of $10,000 to continue operations, which AJC Denver members were unable or unwilling to provide. (87) Therefore, members of AJC Denver may have departed from Centro with the impression that their Chicano partners were lawbreakers, which was antithetical to a white liberal Jewish viewpoint that embraced the concept of the rule of law. This incident also pointed toward an enormous cultural chasm that separated the groups, notwithstanding their alliance.
Despite the eventual failure of Centro, its concept may have spread to other communities in the Southwest. Evidence suggests that AJC Phoenix was interested in establishing an organization similar in scope to Centro, indicating that other liberal-minded Jews were interested in working with middle-class Chicanos in the West. In late 1969, Jay Kanow wrote AJC Denver, informing them that the "Phoenix Chapter of AJC is most anxious to facilitate a Mexican-American cultural center for the Greater Phoenix community. They know of your success in Denver and are most anxious to find out from you the process by which your'Centro Cultural' was established." (88) However, by early February 1970 it appears that the driving force behind the project in Phoenix had disappeared. The "original spark, Joe Villa," wrote Mike Rosenthal, "left Phoenix to accept an ... [assistant] professorship at San Jose. His successor, Father Ernesto, has been transferred to another diocese out of the state, and this group is evidently left leaderless." (89) Without a guiding force it is likely that AJC Phoenix abandoned the idea of a Chicano cultural center, making Centro unique in the region.
For a brief time, reform-minded Jews and Chicanos came together to forge a unique cultural, social, and political coalition in Denver that seemed trapped between competing concerns, communities, and discourses. Based initially on the goal of promoting Chicano culture, Centro ultimately evolved into a focal point of social activism within the barrio. Moreover, Centro was a non-violent, coalitional, interethnic, and less controversial alternative to the militant Crusade for Justice.
This case study also illustrates how Chicanos racially defined Jews in the West. Often times, they viewed Jews not as marginalized Americans, but as privileged Anglos. And this was happening as Chicanos were politicizing their own racial identities. Even Jews like Judith, who had married into Chicano families and lived and worked in their community, were still perceived as white and incapable of understanding how it felt to be racially excluded from certain aspects of American life. However, in other instances the fact that she was a Jew became key to their understanding of her as an individual. And the fact that she was a Jew helped them build a coalition of a certain segment of white Americans, white liberal Jews.
This study also demonstrates how race, ethnicity, and class are intimately tied together and not easily disentangled. Indeed, because of this close link there was an eventual clash within Centro between cultural and social activists, which split the coalition along well-defined ideological boundaries. In addition, perceived antisemitic attitudes on the part of Chicanos were also an aggravating factor in the severing of the relationship between AJC Denver and Centro, demonstrating how some cultural divides could not be bridged, no matter how good the intentions on both sides. Ultimately, however, it was the Internal Revenue Service's investigation into Centro's finances, paternalism, and the insinuation that Chicanos were lawbreakers that finally prompted AJC Denver to terminate the relationship. Yet in a broader sense, this forgotten alliance is important for us to remember because it represents the tenuous and often complicated nature of interracial coalitions in the late twentieth-century American West.
(1.) The literature regarding Jewish-black relations is rich, with many decades of fruitful and careful scholarship behind it. For example, see Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006); Eric J. Sundquist, Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005); Jack Saltzman and Cornel West, eds., Struggles in the Promised Land: Toward a History of Black-Jewish Relations in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); and Murray Friedman, What Went Wrong? The Creation and Collapse of the Black Jewish Alliance (New York: The Free Press, 1995). On the other hand, the study of Jewish-Chicano relations in the West has received relatively little attention from historians. In fact, the only notable exception to this trend has been George J. Sanchez's treatment of the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1950s. In this article-length study titled, '"What's Good for Boyle Heights is Good for the Jews': Creating Multiculturalism on the Eastside During the 1950s," Sanchez examined the social and political collaboration between Jews and Mexican Americans and the positive impact this relationship had on "civil rights" and "radical multiculturalism" in the neighborhood. Moreover, it has only been in recent years that historians like Ellen Eisenberg have begun to write book-length studies on the often complex relationships between Jews and other racial and ethnic minorities in the West. See Sanchez, '"What's Good for Boyle Heights is Good for the Jews': Creating Multiculturalism on the Eastside During the 1950s," American Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 3 (September 2004): 634; Eisenberg, The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal During WWII (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008).
(2.) For more information on Denver's tri-partite racial structure, see Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel, Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1990).
(3.) George Rivera, Jr., Aileen F. Lucero, and Richard Castro, "Internal Colonialism in Colorado: The Westside Coalition and Barrio Control," in Vincent C. Debaca, ed., La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (Denver: Colorado Historical Society, 1998), p. 207; Phil Goodstein, Exploring Jewish Colorado (Denver: The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, 1992), p. 58.
(4.) As the cutting edge of the Chicano Rights Movement in Denver, the Crusade for Justice sometimes advocated and utilized violence to achieve its goals. I discuss this in more detail later in the article.
(5.) Excellent studies on the topic of Jews and whiteness include Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999) and David Roedigger, Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs (New York: Basic Books, 2005).
(6.) Judith Sauceda, interview by the author, 13 May 2009, digital recording, Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, University of Denver.
(7.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(8.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(9.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(10.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(11.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(12.) Judith Sauceda interview. In Judith's oral history she almost always uses the term "Hispanic" and not "Chicano." A likely explanation is that she ascribed militancy to the latter and not to former. In addition, most contemporary sources, when discussing Centro, refer to it as a "Hispanic" cultural center, once more eschewing the militancy that was ascribed to the term "Chicano." Lastly, Jesses early years are uncertain at best. While interviewing Judith, for example, she could not recall when exactly he was born. Therefore, I reconstructed his life mainly through newspaper accounts.
(13.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(14.) For more information on the American Jewish Committee see Marianne R. Sanua, Let Us Prove Strong: The American Jewish Committee, 1945-2006 (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2007).
(15.) Pearl Alperstein, interview by Anna Dean Kepper, tape recording, 13 July 1978, Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, University of Denver.
(16.) Pearl Alperstein interview.
(17.) Pearl Alperstein interview.
(18.) F. Arturo Rosales, Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Houston: Arte Publico Press, 1997), p. xviii.
(19.) Rosales, Chicano!, pp. xvii, xix; Sarah Deutsch, No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. vii.
(20.) Ernesto B. Vigil, The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999), pp. 3-26. Vigil's work is quite sympathetic to the Crusade, principally because Vigil himself was a Crusade member. However, Vigil does make a compelling argument that much of the violence that surrounded the Crusade was due to governmental provocation.
(21.) Rodolfo Gonzales, "Chicano Nationalism: The Key to Unity for La Raza," in Renato Rosaldo, Robert A. Calvert, and Gustav L. Seligmann, eds., Chicano: The Evolution of a People (Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1973), p. 425.
(22.) Gonzales, "Chicano," p. 427.
(23.) Gonzales, "Chicano," p. 426.
(24.) Richard Gould, The Life and Times of Richard Castro: Bridging a Cultural Divide (Denver: Colorado Historical Society, 2007), p. 111. Unlike Vigil, Gould is less sympathetic to the Crusade and instead argues that there was a culture of violence within that organization. For example, he documents numerous instances where members of the Crusade, including Corky Gonzales, engaged in physical violence against members of the West Side Coalition, a rival Chicano organization.
(25.) Pearl Alperstein interview.
(26.) It is important to note that the Crusade did not open its Escuela Tlatelolco, a school of Chicano culture and arts located on Downing Street, until 1970. Thus, Centro was on the cultural cutting edge when it opened in the late 1960s. See Vigil, Crusade, pp. 160-162.
(27.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(28.) Rocky Mountain News, 15 September 1968, festival section, 1.
(29.) Inter mountain Jewish News, 14 November 1968, p. 12.
(30.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 19 June 1968, folder 3, box 2, American Jewish Committee, Colorado Chapter, El Centro-Cultural Project Records, Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, University of Denver (hereafter cited as AJC).
(31.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 30 July 1968, folder 3, box 2, AJC.
(32.) Denver Post, 1 September 1968, contemporary section, pp. 6,7.
(33.) Denver Post, 1 September 1968, contemporary section, pp. 6,7.
(34.) " Proposal," June 1969, 6, folder 11, box 2, AJC.
(35.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 13 August 1968, folder 3, box 2, AJC.
(36.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 3 February 1969, folder 4, box 2, AJC.
(37.) Pearl Alperstein interview; Judith Sauceda interview.
(38.) Denver Post, 30 July 1969, p. 45.
(39.) Pearl Alperstein to Gordon Rosenblum, 21 November 1969, folder 9, box 2, AJC; AJC Colorado Chapter Executive Board Meeting, 1 February 1970, file 1, box 1, AJC.
(40.) AJC Newsletter, 1969 Western Regional Conference Edition, folder 7, box 1, AJC. The conference avoided the use of the term "Chicano," and instead used "Mexican American," revealing that the organizers were well aware that it was a politically charged term.
(4l.) Arthur Goren, The Politics and Public Culture of American Jews (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), p. 205.
(42.) AJC Newsletter, 1969 Western Regional Conference Edition, folder 7, box 1, AJC.
(43.) Michael Alexander, Jazz Age Jews (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 1. For further analysis of how Jews negotiated whiteness see Eric L. Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).
(44.) Alexander, Jazz, p. 1.
(45.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(46.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(47.) Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness, p. 5.
(48.) Goldstein, Price of Whiteness, p. 218.
(49.) Vigil, Crusade, p. 83.
(50.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(51.) Rocky Mountain News, 24 Match 1969, p. 7.
(52.) Rocky Mountain News, 24 March 1969, p. 7.
(53.) Vigil, Crusade, p. 86. Vigil assigns much of the credit for change in the schools to the Crusade, when, in fact, it was a community endeavor on the part of reformers and revolutionaries.
(54.) Denver Post, 23 April 1969, 2; flyer, folder 7, box 1, AJC.
(55.) "Centro Cultural--Status Report," March 1971, 6, folder 16, box 2, AJC.
(56.) Denver Post, 23 April 1969, 2; flyer, folder 7, box 1, AJC.
(57.) Denver Post, 23 April 1969, 2; flyer, folder 7, box 1, AJC.
(58.) Rocky Mountain News, 4 May 1969, festival section, 1; flyer, folder 7, box 1, AJC.
(59.) "ProposaL"June 1969, 7, folder 11, box 2, AJC.
(60.) Harvey Deutsch, interview by the author, 8 May 2009, digital recording, Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, University of Denver.
(61.) Denver Post, 29 April 1969, p. 13.
(62.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(63.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 7 August 1969, folder 5, box 2, AJC. UMAS stands for United Mexican Amercian Students. The Crusade sponsored "Splash-Ins," protesting unequal swimming facilities throughout Denver.
(64.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 7 August 1969, folder 5, box 2, AJC.
(65.) Rivera, Lucero, and Castro, "Internal Colonialism," p. 207.
(66.) Magdalena Gallegos, History of the Hispanic Settlers in Auraria: the Forgotten Community (Denver: by the author, 1985), p. 28.
(67.) Gallegos, History of the Hispanic Settlers, pp. 28-29.
(68.) Gould, Life and Times, p. 32.
(69.) The Crusade had its power base in the East Side of Denver at this time, and would only move into the West Side in a more concerted effort in the early 1970s to confront the newly established West Side Coalition.
(70.) "Hogan is Neutral on Auraria Issue," 29 October 1969, clipping, box 2, folder 13, AJC.
(71.) "Hogan is Neutral on Auraria Issue."
(72.) Jodi Michelle Summers, "Auraria: From Neighborhood to Campus" (Masters's thesis, University of Colorado, Denver, 2003), p. 47.
(73.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 2 December 1969, folder 4, box 2, AJC.
(74.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 2 December 1969, folder 4, box 2, AJC.
(75.) Gould, Life and Times, p. 44.
(76.) "Centro Cultural Statement of Purpose," undated, folder 2, box 2, AJC. Although undated, the last paragraph in the document appears to be an amendment to the original five goals of Centro as a cultural center. Moreover, the early activities of the center were cultural, and not social or political in nature.
(77.) Rocky Mountain News, 17 November 1969, p. 36.
(78.) "Centro Cultural--Status Report," March 1971, 6, folder 16, box 2, AJC.
(79.) "Centro Cultural--Status Report," March 1971, 3, folder 16, box 2, AJC.
(80.) AJC Centro Cultural Committee Meeting Minutes, 8 October 1970, folder 3, box 1, AJC. This was a subcommittee in AJC Denver that tracked the progress of Centro Cultural.
(81.) AJC Centro Cultural Committee Meeting Minutes, 1 January 1970, folder 3, box 1, AJC
(82.) Judith Sauceda interview.
(83.) Jean Dichter to Neil Sandberg, 7 April 1971, folder 6, box 1, AJC.
(84.) George Kellman to Neil Sandberg, 2 February 1971, folder 6, box 1, AJC.
(85.) Centro Cultural Board Meeting Minutes, 11 January 1971, folder 7, box 2, AJC.
(86.) Jean Dichter to Gordon S. Rosenblum, 28 May 1971, folder 6, box 1, AJC. The letter reads as follows: "AJC's relationship with Centro Cultural is to be terminated as of June 1. This is in accordance with a statement made by Cyndi Khan. In order to make this a matter of record, I would like to request that you send a letter to Centro Cultural informing them of this action, or as you prefer, I will prepare such a letter for your signature." That same year, Centro was also delisted from the telephone book; it never reappeared.
(87.) "Centro Cultural--Status Report," March 1971, 4, folder 16, box 2, AJC.
(88.) Jay Kanow to Pearl Alperstein, 8 October 1969, folder 5, box 1, AJC.
(89.) Mike Rosenthal to Pearl Alperstein, 12 February 1970, folder 5, box 1, AJC.
Michael A. Lee University of Colorado, Boulder
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2012|
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