JAEH Archive / Vol. 40, No. 3, Spring 2021

Journal of American Ethnic History

Vol. 40, No. 3, Spring 2021

Table of Contents


Race, Revisionism, Ethnic Boundaries, and Japanese American Internment

By: Lon Kurashige


Recognizing the centrality of race in US immigration and ethnic history—what is known as the field’s “racial turn”—has been advocated, applauded, and globalized; but it has yet to be examined from a theoretical perspective. To better understand the appeal and limitations of the field’s race-centered analysis, historians can profit from studying the contemporary development of race theory, as well as the revisionism against it. There is a vigorous debate among social scientists about the significance of race. This article addresses this debate, especially from the revisionist side. In so doing, it highlights revisionist Andreas Wimmer’s model of ethnic boundary making, and explores its insights for the study of Japanese American internment during World War II.

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Off-White Romantics: Cross-cultural Histories of Immigrant Picture Brides and the Process of US Race Making

By: Kathryn Vaggalis


The stories of early twentieth-century Japanese picture brides—women in arranged marriages coming to the United States to meet the immigrant men to whom they were married by “proxy” according to the popular press—are widely known in memory, scholarship, and popular culture. Less is known about their Southern European counterparts—primarily women from Greece, but also Italy and Armenia—coming to the country at the same time, and to much less public outcry and legislative restrictions. Yet as this article demonstrates, the title of “picture bride “ was prominently and popularly applied to Southern European and Japanese women alike as a politically charged racial signifier that provides nuance to the complex yet fluid racial hierarchies of the early twentieth century. This article closely examines popular media depictions of “off-white” picture brides using Greek immigrants as a case study—the predominant European group practicing picture marriage from 1907 to 1924—to demonstrate the quotidian ways that audiences learned the politics of race and immigration through seemingly apolitical messages about family, marriage, and romantic love. This work argues that far from being a mere footnote in Greek American history, picture brides and their popular depictions in national newspapers were critical symbols of Greeks’ transition from “in-between” white others to ethnic white Americans. By contextualizing picture marriage as occurring across a diverse racial hierarchy, this work illumines the ways that white supremacy acts in contradictory, often hypocritical ways, excluding some groups while excusing and including others.

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“As bad as anybody else”: The Innocents, Political Violence, and the Creole-Italian Alliance in Reconstruction New Orleans

By: Christopher Joseph Cook


Coordinated, violent political attacks increased throughout the months leading up to the 1868 presidential election in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Among the various Democratic organizations involved in election campaigning and voter intimidation, the group that received the lion’s share of credit for political attacks was the Innocents. The Innocents were a multi-lingual organization, made up mostly of Sicilians and other immigrants from modern Italy, but the club was helmed by well-connected Creole gentlemen. This paper explores the alliance between the Innocents’ Creole officers and Italian membership. That New Orleans’s fledgling Italian community found itself at the forefront of coordinated Democratic Party efforts to suppress the black vote calls into question the characterization of this group as non-white: Italian immigrants could support and benefit from white supremacy while continuing to experience prejudice. Such alliances have a history in New Orleans, where before the Civil War the local Know-Nothings held the unusual policy of embracing Catholics and even courting the immigrant vote. Indeed, several former Know-Nothings and their allies can be found among the Innocents’ leadership. Not all of the Innocents supported their organization’s role in the reactionary violence of 1868, and the actions of the club’s liberal members provides interesting complications to the Democratic Party’s courtship of the Italian community in New Orleans. This paper concludes by tracking the Innocents into their next iteration, as the Columbus Legion, and the association between the Democratic Party and Italians in New Orleans through several elections and state constitutional conventions.

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Slavery's Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State by Christopher P. Lehman

By: Christy Clark-Pujara

Nación Genízara: Ethnogenesis, Place, and Identity in New Mexico by Moises Gonzales, Enrique R. Lamadrid

By: James F. Brooks

Asian Americans by Renee Tajima-Peña

By: Madeline Y. Hsu

These People Have Always Been a Republic: Indigenous Electorates in the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands, 1598–1912 by Maurice Crandall

By: Sandra Siomara Sánchez

Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre by Randy Krehbiel

By: Alicia Odewale

Troublemakers: Students' Rights and Racial Justice in the Long 1960s by Kathryn Schumaker

By: Eddie Bonilla

Democracy's Capital: Black Political Power in Washington, D.C., 1960s–1970s by Lauren Pearlman

By: Debbie Z. Harwell

The King of Adobe: Reies López Tijerina, Lost Prophet of the Chicano Movement by Lorena Oropeza

By: Dennis J. Aguirre

Dust to Dust: A History of Jewish Death and Burial in New York by Allan Amanik

By: Alan M. Kraut

Irish on the Move: Performing Mobility in American Variety Theatre by Michelle Granshaw

By: Anelise Hanson Shrout

The Mariel Boatlift: A Cuban-American Journey by Victor Andres Triay

By: Maria Cristina Garcia

Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity by Laura R. Barraclough

By: A. K. Sandoval-Strausz

Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms by Ismael García-Colón

By: Lori A. Flores

Hostile Heartland: Racism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest by Brent M. S. Campney

By: Kathryn Schumaker

Queen of the Negro Leagues: Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles by James Overmyer

By: Adrian Burgos Jr.

We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners' Rights in Postwar America by Robert T. Chase

By: Lawrence M. Friedman

The Immigrant Rights Movement: The Battle over National Citizenship by Walter J. Nicholls

By: Llana Barber

Taking Back the Boulevard: Art, Activism, and Gentrification in Los Angeles by Jan Lin

By: Sarah Schrank

Mexican Waves: Radio Broadcasting Along Mexico's Northern Border, 1930–1950 by Sonia Robles

By: David Robles

Black Man in the Huddle: Stories from the Integration of Texas Football by Robert D. Jacobus

By: Albert S. Broussard

Saving History: How White Evangelicals Tour the Nation's Capital and Redeem a Christian America by Lauren R. Kerby

By: Kristin Kobes Du Mez